top of page

NHL Position Group Rankings: Goalies

With NHL players reporting to training camp in about a month, it's time we start gauging just how teams will stack up in the 2022-2023 season. This week, I'm taking you through the position groups - forwards, defensemen, and goalies - for all 32 NHL teams. I'm using the current PuckLuck projections to rank each group among their peers, from worst to first.


We started off Wednesday when we ranked the forward groups and then ranked each team's blueline yesterday. Today, we'll dig into everyone's favorite - goaltending! Like the previous parts of this series I'll run through the notable offseason additions, update on injuries, and of course list the projected starters and projected net share for this season.


Unlike the forwards and defensemen, who were measured by GDV, we'll use PuckLuck's projected goals-saved above expected (GSAx) to rank each team's goaltending.


And with that, let's start with number 32:


32. Columbus Blue Jackets

Projected GSAx: -33.01

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share: [individual projected GSAx in brackets]

  • Elvis Merzlikins 60% [-10.69]

  • Joonas Korpisalo 35% [-21.56]

  • Daniil Tarasov 5% [-0.77]

Projecting goalies can be very difficult, as a player's performance at the position can be very volatile from year-to-year. A couple seasons ago, Merzlikins seemed like a budding star, but he took a major step back last season in a very difficult season physically, mentally, and emotionally. PuckLuck's projections weigh in previous success dating back as far as three seasons to help account for mitigating circumstances, but what doesn't help the Blue Jackets is Korpisalo projecting to hurt the club twice as much in a little over half the time in net.


31. Seattle Kraken

Projected GSAx: -24.57

Additions:

  • Martin Jones

Projected Net Share:

  • Philipp Grubauer 60% [-16.88]

  • Martin Jones 30% [-7.73]

  • Chris Driedger 10% [0.04]

Projecting the amount of starts for the Kraken netminders was difficult, since Grubauer struggled last season and Driedger - who is perhaps their best option - is coming off a torn ACL. Jones was signed for insurance, but his NHL pedigree is likely to earn him a fair share of opportunity this season. The bottom line is if Grubauer can bounce back for a down year, then Seattle should feel a lot better about their playoff chances this season.


30. Arizona Coyotes

Projected GSAx: -23.48

Additions:

  • Jon Gillies

Projected Net Share:

  • Karel Vejmelka 60% [-7.38]

  • Jon Gillies 30% [-10.07]

  • Ivan Prosvetov 10% [-6.03]

The Coyotes seem to really like Vejmelka, who performed ok in his first season considering the circumstances. He'll likely have to carry the bulk of starts again, since there's not a whole lot of upside behind him on the depth chart.


29. Philadelphia Flyers

Projected GSAx: -20.77

Additions:

  • Troy Grosenick

Projected Net Share:

  • Carter Hart 70% [-28.02]

  • Felix Sandstrom 25% [8.00]

  • Troy Grosenick 5% [-0.76]

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Hart was once deemed Team Canada's next starting goaltender, but a couple rough seasons in a row really hurts his outlook. He did show improvement at even-strength last season, but not enough to encourage a positive GSAx from the model. On the bright side, Sandstrom looked sharp in limited NHL action last season, so he's one to keep an eye on.


28. Toronto Maple Leafs

Projected GSAx: -19.61

Additions:

  • Matt Murray

  • Ilya Samsonov

Projected Net Share:

  • Matt Murray 50% [-11.28]

  • Ilya Samsonov 45% [-6.82]

  • Erik Kallgren 5% [-1.52]

After Jack Campbell departed in the offseason, it seemed like Toronto panicked to fill the void left in net. Murray was one of the league's best goalies in the second half of the season last year, but he hasn't consistently shown much recently to believe it's repeatable. Samsonov was once a top prospect, but he too had been unimpressive in his opportunity to seize the starting role in Washington. Which one will play more will likely be based solely on performance this coming season.


27. Ottawa Senators

Projected GSAx: -19.47

Additions:

  • Cam Talbot

Projected Net Share:

  • Cam Talbot 60% [-23.25]

  • Anton Forsberg 35% [4.15]

  • Mads Sogaard 5% [0.33]

We saw this a lot last season with various teams, but the Senators are strong candidates to routinely trot out the wrong goalie most nights. Given their investment - both trade and contract-wise - in Talbot, he's expected to garner a good majority of the starts. Forsberg has been a great backup the last couple seasons, and is knocking on the door for a bigger opportunity.


26. Chicago Blackhawks

Projected GSAx: -14.53

Additions:

  • Petr Mrazek

  • Alex Stalock

Projected Net Share:

  • Petr Mrazek 60% [-5.60]

  • Alex Stalock 35% [-5.27]

  • Arvid Soderblom 5% [-3.66]

Injuries hampered Mrazek last season, rendering him a disappointment in Toronto. To be honest, the Blackhawks seem uninterested in putting a reliable group together in net, so don't be surprised if they ride the 23 year-old Soderblom in a rebuilding year if the injury trouble continues to linger.


25. New Jersey Devils

Projected GSAx: -12.32

Additions:

  • Vitek Vanecek

Projected Net Share:

  • Vitek Vanecek 50% [4.03]

  • Mackenzie Blackwood 45% [-15.18]

  • Nico Daws 5% [-1.16]

The Devils had to like what they saw out of the youngster Daws in a pinch last season, but in order to let him properly develop they needed someone to split the net with Blackwood. Blackwood showed promise in the past, but has been extremely disappointing recently - leaving a good share of starts available for Vanecek to claim.


24. St. Louis Blues

Projected GSAx: -10.23

Additions:

  • Thomas Greiss

Projected Net Share:

  • Jordan Binnington 65% [-0.30]

  • Thomas Greiss 30% [-9.31]

  • Joel Hofer 5% [-0.62]

Losing Ville Husso after a career year will be a tough pill to swallow for the Blues. Yes, they'll likely ride Binnington most of the season, but Greiss is not the reliable backup he once was. The buzz around the NHL is surrounding Hofer, so we'll see if he's ready to push for playing time with the big club.


23. San Jose Sharks

Projected GSAx: -6.45

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Kaapo Kahkonen 45% [-2.87]

  • James Reimer 45% [-3.72]

  • Adin Hill 10% [0.14]

Reimer is coming off career bests last season, but Kahkonen is the guy the Sharks likely laud as the future. If they both stay healthy, general manager Mike Grier will likely be fielding plenty of calls on the availability of Hill.


22. Edmonton Oilers

Projected GSAx: -6.12

Additions:

  • Jack Campbell

  • Calvin Pickard

Projected Net Share:

  • Jack Campbell 65% [-2.42]

  • Stuart Skinner 30% [0.88]

  • Calvin Pickard 5% [-4.57]

With Mike Smith likely done for his career, the Oilers had to be aggressive to get their guy in net and believe they found him in Campbell. The former Maple Leaf starter was up and down last season, so there's plenty of questions about the stability he provides. Skinner projects to get the full-time backup job, with Pickard coming in as an insurance policy with previous NHL experience.


21. Montreal Canadiens

Projected GSAx: -26.65

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Jake Allen 60% [6.04]

  • Sam Montembeault 35% [-6.32]

  • Cayden Primeau 5% [-5.30]

General Manager Ken Hughes announced yesterday that Carey Price is unlikely to play this coming season, leaving Allen as the go-to guy in net. He projects well, but his potential backups do not. It's no secret that Montreal struggled to find good goaltending play in Price and Allen's absence last season, so they may need to look around for other options if that trend continues.


20. Florida Panthers

Projected GSAx: -4.88

Additions:

  • Alex Lyon

Projected Net Share:

  • Sergei Bobrovsky 60% [-2.73]

  • Spencer Knight 35% [-2.92]

  • Alex Lyon 5% [0.77]

20th is not ideal for a Florida team that invested heavy dollars and a high pick in their top two goalies, although on pedigree alone there's reason to believe they could outperform this ranking. There's some speculation that Knight could actually unseat Bobrovsky as the top dog (cat?) this season, but a little birdie told me the plan is to stick with Bobrovsky as the incumbent starter should the play warrant such.


19. Calgary Flames

Projected GSAx: -4.34

Additions:

  • Oscar Dansk

Projected Net Share:

  • Jacob Markstrom 75% [0.26]

  • Dan Vladar 20% [-3.85]

  • Oscar Dansk 5% [-0.76]

No doubt about it, Markstrom is the guy here. He started off stellar last season before fading a bit, but the projections are still positive for him despite a heavy workload. Vladar wasn't as good last year as Calgary had hoped in relief, but it's hard to see Dansk stealing his job here.


18. Dallas Stars

Projected GSAx: -4.29

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Jake Oettinger 75% [-0.81]

  • Scott Wedgewood 20% [-1.84]

  • Anton Khudobin 5% [-1.65]

If he can improve his GSAx in shorthanded situations, Oettinger will be a stud. He started last season as 3rd on the Stars' depth chart before remarkably vaulting to the sure-fire starter night in and night out. His backup situation is an odd one, with perennial NHLer Khudobin buried in the minors and journeyman Wedgewood coming off a surprisingly solid season. Expect a lot of Oettinger early and often.


17. Colorado Avalanche

Projected GSAx: -3.78

Additions:

  • Alexandar Georgiev

Projected Net Share:

  • Pavel Francouz 55% [1.14]

  • Alexandar Georgiev 40% [0.00]

  • Jonas Johansson 5% [-4.91]

It sounds like newcomer Georgiev may get the first shot at the starting job, as general manager Joe Sakic commented on how well he handled himself in the role when needed with the Rangers. The reason we project more starts for Francouz, whom Sakic also gave a vote of confidence, is because he's been simply better across their respective careers. I suspect he will steal the net and run with it. A minor side note: the Avs will be better to turn to Justus Annunen in a pinch over Johansson, who's been brutal every time he sees NHL action.


16. Tampa Bay Lightning

Projected GSAx: -0.98

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Andrei Vasilevskiy 75% [6.03]

  • Brian Elliott 20% [-1.65]

  • Maxime Lagace 5% [-5.36]

If you're wondering how a team with Vasilevskiy is only middle of the pack in the ranks, you may be underrating the value of having quality backups. Tampa is expected to coast to the playoffs, and it's been a long time since Elliott performed at a high level in net should he garner more starts against bottom feeders and off back-to-backs. Also there's a little fear if 3rd-stringer Lagace is called upon, as referenced by his projected GSAx.


15. Pittsburgh Penguins

Projected GSAx: -0.85

Additions:

  • Dustin Tokarski

Projected Net Share:

  • Tristan Jarry 65% [0.48]

  • Casey DeSmith 30% [0.25]

  • Dustin Tokarski 5% [-1.57]

The difference between Jarry's 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons is significant, which goes hand-in-hand with proving the volatility of the position. Slightly above league average is probably a fair projection for him, which is a projection also mirrored by his backup DeSmith.


14. Nashville Predators

Projected GSAx: 0.05

Additions:

  • Kevin Lankinen

Projected Net Share:

  • Juuse Saros 80% [9.85]

  • Kevin Lankinen 35% [-6.04]

  • Connor Ingram 5% [-3.76]

The Predators relied on Saros heavily last season and the signing of Lankinen all but solidifies they will do the same this season. There's still some optimism for the prospects of Ingram, but signing a below-average backup likely means Nashville would like to see a little more development time in the AHL.


13. BUffalo Sabres

Projected GSAx: 0.75

Additions:

  • Eric Comrie

Projected Net Share:

  • Eric Comrie 45% [8.75]

  • Craig Anderson 40% [-4.81]

  • Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen 15% [-3.19]

Comrie projects to play the least of all the presumed starters, mainly because the Sabres' emphasis on re-signing Anderson and the likelihood of prospect Luukkonen getting a long look at some point during the season. Comrie's underlying stats are so impressive in limited games that his projection, even with regression, is strong enough to vault Buffalo all the way to 13th. If the Sabres have any shot at the playoffs, he could be the major reason why.


12. Anaheim Ducks

Projected GSAx: 1.00

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • John Gibson 80% [1.59]

  • Anthony Stolarz 15% [-0.06]

  • Lukas Dostal 5% [-0.53]

The projections favor a bounce-back season for the once-dominate Gibson, which bodes well for the Ducks going with him between the pipes for a healthy chunk of the season. Dostal is a nice prospect, and Stolarz had a nice season in 2021-2022, so the is some support for him here as well.


11. Minnesota Wild

Projected GSAx: 4.16

Additions:

  • Filip Gustavsson

Projected Net Share:

  • Marc-Andre Fleury 70% [9.12]

  • Filip Gustavsson 25% [-4.22]

  • Zane McIntyre 5% [-0.74]

The Wild moved on from Cam Talbot, carving out a path for Fleury to be the workhorse. They could do worse with Gustavsson as a backup, who does have some upside, but this one is simple - if Fleury still has it, Minnesota will be a contender.


10. Vegas Golden Knights

Projected GSAx: 4.88

Additions:

  • Michael Hutchinson

Projected Net Share:

  • Laurent Brossoit 45% [3.02]

  • Logan Thompson 45% [3.41]

  • Michael Hutchinson 10% [-1.54]

The news of Robin Lehner being out for the season was rough for Golden Knights fans. This dropped them out of the top five in our projections. The good news? They're still top 10! Brossoit has quietly been one of the league's best backups dating back to his days in Winnipeg, and Thompson was so good last season he almost single-handedly carried a struggling Vegas club to the playoffs. Between the two of them, the Golden Knights should be able to get pleasant results in net this coming season.


9. Boston Bruins

Projected GSAx: 5.05

Additions:

  • Keith Kinkaid

Projected Net Share:

  • Jeremy Swayman 55% [5.36]

  • Linus Ullmark 40% [0.45]

  • Keith Kinkaid 5% [-0.75]

Much like with the Colorado Avalanche, we are expecting the cream to rise to the top in a timeshare in Boston. Swayman has consistently outperformed an otherwise solid Ullmark in net, which should warrant a healthy dose of games falling in his hands. We're getting on a run of some of the more impressive duos here, before yielding way to some of the league's elite incumbents.


8. Los Angeles Kings

Projected GSAx: 5.21

Additions:

  • Pheonix Copley

Projected Net Share:

  • Jonathan Quick 55% [1.93]

  • Calvin Petersen 40% [3.19]

  • Pheonix Copley 5% [0.09]

Just when it looked like this was Petersen's net, Kings legend Jonathan Quick reclaimed his throne for most of last season. Which way this year's crease will be split is very much up in the air, but the projection is not all that much different. Goaltending will be a strength in Los Angeles.


7. Detroit Red Wings

Projected GSAx: 8.01

Additions:

  • Ville Husso

Projected Net Share:

  • Ville Husso 55% [2.14]

  • Alex Nedeljkovic 45% [6.64]

  • Victor Brattstrom 5% [-0.77]

For the second straight season, the Red Wings have gone out and signed a goaltender off an incredible season seemingly out of nowhere. It didn't work out ideally for the team with Nedeljkovic last season, but he and Husso both project favorably on a much-improved squad.


6. Carolina Hurricanes

Projected GSAx: 9.55

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Frederik Andersen 60% [5.00]

  • Antti Raanta 35% [4.45]

  • Pyotr Kochetkov 5% [0.11]

Andersen was outstanding last season and probably earned workhorse status, except for the fact that Raanta was equally impressive at times and Hurricanes probably want to keep both their goalies fresh. Even Kochetkov, Carolina's polarizing youngster, was great in emergency starts at the end of last season.


5. New York Islanders

Projected GSAx: 10.12

Additions:

  • None

Projected Net Share:

  • Ilya Sorokin 60% [12.15]

  • Semyon Varlamov 35% [-1.27]

  • Ken Appleby 5% [-0.76]

Sorokin deserved to take over the Islanders' net a couple seasons ago, and excelled when he finally did last season. The under-the-radar season Varlamov had, though, really helps solidify that the Islanders have some of the best goaltending in the NHL.


4. Washington Capitals

Projected GSAx: 11.48

Additions:

  • Darcy Kuemper

  • Charlie Lindgren

Projected Net Share:

  • Darcy Kuemper 75% [7.60]

  • Charlie Lindgren 20% [2.07]

  • Zach Fucale 5% [1.81]

With Ilya Samsonov never really putting things together and the Capitals desiring more from their goaltending, it was clear an overhaul was in order. What better way to overhaul the position than acquiring the Stanley Cup winning goalie? On top of that, Lindgren was super impressive in spot starts last season, warranting a shot at a supporting role.


3. Winnipeg Jets

Projected GSAx: 14.20

Additions:

  • David Rittich

  • Oskari Salminen

Projected Net Share:

  • Connor Hellebuyck 75% [23.33]

  • David Rittich 20% [-8.37]

  • Oskari Salminen 5% [-0.76]

Hellebuyck is routinely among the league's best, so it's no surprise to see the Jets ranked top three at the position. Rittich has not been great as of late, so it will be interesting to see if his name and experience will help him spell Hellebuyck more often than those of years' past.


2. Vancouver Canucks

Projected GSAx: 28.77

Additions:

  • Collin Delia

Projected Net Share:

  • Thatcher Demko 75% [17.76]

  • Spencer Martin 20% [13.27]

  • Collin Delia 5% [-2.27]

I'm expecting a big year from Demko, who seems primed to be the NHL's next hyped Vezina contender. While his backup, Spencer Martin, isn't a big name, he was absolutely incredible when given the opportunity to play in six games last season.


1. New York Rangers

Projected GSAx: 41.27

Additions:

  • Jaroslav Halak

  • Louis Domingue

Projected Net Share:

  • Igor Shesterkin 75% [39.64]

  • Jaroslav Halak 20% [0.00]

  • Louis Domingue 5% [1.63]

Yes, the Rangers have the best goalie and therefore the best goaltending in the league. We're projecting an incredible .935 save percentage and 1.99 goals-against average for the reigning Vezina winner, after factoring in regression from his amazing season and the bump back up from normal development for goalies heading into their 26 year-old season. Adding proven support in Halak and Domingue certainly doesn't hurt, as well.



Previous:

Comments


bottom of page