Two Russian Goalies Listed Among Ten Best in NHL According to the Experts
USA — August 27, 2018
NHL Network has announced their list of the TOP-10 best goaltenders in the National Hockey League, and two among these ten – are Russian.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergey Bobrovsky is at the top of the list,
"The one thing that stands out to me with Sergei Bobrovsky is his athleticism," said Brian Boucher, who was an NHL goalie for 13 seasons
"This guy is as good an athlete as we have in the game today. One of the things that allows him to be so great [is] that cross-ice plays are not an issue for Sergei Bobrovsky. This guy is so powerful in his legs, his flexibility is so good, he's able to get to pucks that other goalies simply cannot get to."
Bobrovsky won 37 games last season with a 2.42 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and five shutouts. That followed up his Vezina Trophy-winning season in 2016-17, when he was 41-17-5 with a 2.06 GAA, a .931 save percentage and seven shutouts. He also finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP that season.
The “bronze” medal according to the experts went to another Russian keeper, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, who is considered to be one of the most promising young players overall.
In his first season as Tampa Bay's No. 1 goalie, the 24-year-old finished tied for the NHL lead in wins (44; Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets) and shutouts (eight; Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators), and had a 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage to finish third in voting for the Vezina Trophy.
"For Vasilevskiy, being 24 years old, one would have to think that his best years are coming down the road," Boucher said.
That's a scary thought for opposing teams in the Eastern Conference. You're going to have to get through Tampa Bay, who already has a good team and then they've got a goaltender like this back there. [With] Vasilevskiy, like Bobrovsky, we talk about athleticism. These guys are truly gifted in the sense that not only do they not quit on pucks, but their agility, their flexibility allows them to just get to pucks that guys could only dream about getting to. They get to it with regularity."
Other notable goaltenders listed in the TOP-10 include Washington Capitals guard of the gate Braden Holtby, Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, Los Angeles Kings keeper Jonathan Quick, Vegas Golden Knights hero Marc-Andre Fleury, Nashville Predators player Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask from Boston Bruins, Frederik Anderson from Toronto Maple Leafs and, eventually, John Gibson from Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
The 102nd NHL season of 2018/2019 is scheduled to begin October 3, 2018.