Last season saw a little bit everything in the goalie department. Many backups stepped up to the next level, some teams shuffled their starter, and a goalie even scored. Looking ahead to the 2013-14 season, the goalie landscape should be a little more spread out. Teams like Vancouver and Los Angeles traded their star backups to teams that needed goalies. Here is a look at the goalie situations heading into training camp:
The Ducks have a great depth of goalies heading into training camp. Jonas Hiller is a solid number one goaltender, but despite getting the starts in the postseason, he needs to have a good training camp in order to beat out Swedish sensation Viktor Fasth. 2013 World Junior Championships MVP John Gibson is a future starting goalie, but whether he can crack the club this year is not a certainty. Young goalies Igor Bobkov and Frederik Andersen look to make some noise at training camp.
Tuukka Rask showed everyone that the Bruins can compete without Tim Thomas after backstopping them to the Stanley Cup Finals. The backup position should be between Chad Johnson and Niklas Svedberg who both have very limited NHL experience. Johnson, however, was remarkable in 4 games last season with the Phoenix Coyotes by only allowing 5 goals in 247 minutes. Prospects Adam Morrison and Malcolm Subban have a chance to make the team, but they will have a long look.
Despite the trade rumours, Ryan Miller is still in Buffalo and is still the face of the franchise. Although he can really perform well at times, he had a somewhat disappointing 2012-13 season. Backup Jhonas Enroth is slowing becoming a threat to overthrow Miller as the starter, but he still needs to gain more NHL experience. The Sabres also have some quality prospects in Matt Hackett, Andrei Makarov, and Nathan Lieuwen.
Whether Miikka Kiprusoff retires or not, the Flames have a goalie problem. The 36-year old had a poor season in 2012-13 and went through injury troubles. There is no obvious goalie that will replace him, but journeyman Joey MacDonald has performed great the past couple seasons as a backup. However, he is 33 years old and the Flames may want to have a young goalie to gain experience. A trio of European goalies; Karri Ramo, Reto Berra, and Joni Ortio will have a good chance to make the club. Ramo, a KHL all-star, has the best chance to be the starter if Kiprusoff retires. Laurent Brossoit is a long shot, but is young and shows promise.
Cam Ward should be the starter again despite missing a chunk of last season. Anton Khudobin was brought in from Boston to be his backup after Dan Ellis left. However, Justin Peters will try to make the club after playing 19 games last season, along with Mike Murphy, who is coming back from the KHL.
Before this season, goaltending was a question mark with Corey Crawford in net. However, he performed extremely well and was even invited to Team Canada’s camp. Losing Ray Emery was tough, but bringing in 40-year old Nikolai Khabibulin is a somewhat bold move. If age catches up to 4-time All-Star, then the Hawks will have to get a free agent or go with Antti Raanta as the backup.
After a disappointing season, the Avalanche need Semyon Varlamov to finally reach his potential. His backup J-S Giguere provides veteran leadership, while Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio are wild cards.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Vezina-winner Sergei Bobrovsky had a breakout campaign in 2013-13. However, the 24-year old has only played 3 seasons and still needs to prove himself before being considered the best goalie in the league. Backup Michael Leighton left for the KHL, so there is a wide open battle for that role between journeyman Curtis McElhinney, minor leaguer Mike McKenna, 19 year-old Oscar Dansk, and Allen York.
The new-look Stars have a solid depth of goalies all looking to make the roster this upcoming season. Kari Lehtonen is becoming a top-tier goalie in the NHL after posting another season of good numbers. Dan Ellis will likely back him up, but Christopher Nilstorp and Jack Campbell will put on some pressure.
Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard had a great season yet again as the Wings’ starter and the 29 year-old is entering his prime. Jonas Gustavsson will be given another chance to show that he can be an NHL goalie, but time is running out. 21 year-old Petr Mrazek showed promise in 2 games last season and former first round pick Thomas McCollum needs to take the next step.
After failing to get Cory Schneider, the Oilers will have to make do with Devan Dubnyk as the starter this season. The so-so starter had an alright GAA in 2012-13, but his save percentage of .920 was great. Free agent pickups Richard Bachman and Jason LaBarbera will battle for the backup spot.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings were able to get some value back for Jonathan Bernier, but Jonathan Quick will try to make fans forget about losing the young backup. Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones will battle for the backup position this training camp.
35 year-old Niklas Backstrom played alright last season, but he needs some relief. Josh Harding was unfortunately diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, but the Bill Masterton winner may be able to play some games. Darcy Kuemper is also in the mix to play some games this season.
Carey Price and Peter Budaj will likely be the starter and backup respectively again next season. However, Robert Mayer and Dustin Tokarski are approaching their mid-20s and have a chance to make the roster.
Pekka Rinne is a good candidate to have a bounceback season, but the question of who his backup will be is a concern. Carter Hutton was a third-stringer on Chicago last season, Atte Engren signed with a KHL team, and Magnus Hellberg has no NHL experience.
New Jersey Devils
Cory Schneider will be Martin Brodeur‘s successor once the legend retires, but the only question is what will happen this season. They will likely split time while a trio of young goalies; Keith Kinkaid, Maxime Clermont, and Scott Wedgewood; look to make an impact at training camp.
From acquiring Tim Thomas to demoting Rick DiPietro, last season was really crazy for the Islanders in the goalie department. Nevertheless, 38 year-old Evgeni Nabokov will look to keep his starter job, while Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin will battle for the backup role. Mikko Koskinen, however, is a wild card who may surprise.
New York Rangers
It is hard to imagine Henrik Lundqvist having a bad season. He has been so consistent as the Rangers’ starter ever since coming over from the Sweden. Martin Biron will look to keep his role as a reliable backup, while Cam Talbot may make some noise in training camp.
Can Ray Emery be a starting goalie? He definitely showed he can after going 17-1 with the Blackhawks last season. Steve Mason will probably back him up, but if the former Calder Trophy winner does well, then he may put pressure on Emery.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun split time last season, so if one struggles the other can easily take over most of the starts. Jeff Zatkoff played sensational for the minor team last season and should play some games if Fleury or Vokoun get injured.
San Jose Sharks
Antti Niemi is a goalie the Sharks can trust to play at least 60 games. Alex Stalock is an up-and-coming goalie looking to make the roster this season. He will have to battle Harri Sateri and J.P. Anderson for the backup job.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have a solid trio of goalies all worthy to play in the NHL in Jaroslav Halak, Jake Allen, and Brian Elliott. Although Elliott had a disappointing 2012-13 season, he will be looking to bounce back to his 2011-12 form. Halak played alright last season, but will need to pick it up in order to play most of the games. Jake Allen was impressive in 15 games last season.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning were in a tough position last season after the Anders Lindback experiment did not go as planned. Thereofore, they acquired another behemoth in Ben Bishop. The two goalies have loads of potential, but Bishop has the upper edge when it comes to who will likely play more games. Young guns Riku Helenius, Jaroslav Janus, and Cedrik Desjardins will look to make an impact.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer will battle for the starter role in Toronto. The duo had great seasons in 2012-13 , but they will likely split time if they both continue their success. If any of them get injured, Drew McIntyre or Christopher Gibson will likely be replacements.
Roberto Luongo is now the undisputed starter in Vancouver, but his backup may be a concern to some. Eddie Lack and Joe Cannata are underrated, but lack experience.
Topics: Anders Lindback, Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider, Fleury, Goalie Situations, Goalies, Jacob Markstrom, James Reimer, Jaroslav Halak, Jhonas Enroth, Jonas Gustavsson, Jonathan Bernier, Josh Harding, Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff, NHL, Ondrej Pavelec, Rask, Ray Emery, Tomas Vokoun, Viktor Fasth