This is the second article in this series of ranking NHL goaltenders, and it hasn’t gotten any easier.
As already mentioned, a lot of the goalies throughout the league, especially in these middle rankings, are very similar. Still, it is a fun list to try and put together nonetheless.
As mentioned in the previous article, this list isn’t based off of just last season, though it does play a factor. The attempt is to try and base it on who you would want in net for your team during the upcoming season, while also factoring in how they have faired over the last few seasons. This is again tough, as some of the guys on this list have only been in the league for a season or two.
Without further ado, here is the ranking from 20-11 of the NHL’s top starting goaltenders.
It seems crazy to have a 26-year-old who has already won two Stanley Cups at just number 20 on this list, but it goes to show how much Matt Murray has struggled the past few seasons. The Pittsburgh Penguins were aware of these struggles as well, as they recently traded him to the Ottawa Senators, electing to keep Tristan Jarry instead.
This move comes just three years after the Penguins decided to leave longtime franchise goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury unprotected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft for the Vegas Golden Knights to claim. To be clear, this isn’t a shot at the Penguins management, it just goes to show how highly regarded Murray was throughout the league just a few years back. The Senators clearly believe he will turn it around as they signed him to a giant four-year, $25 million deal.
While the contract Murray was given may be an overpay, acquiring him was just one of many solid offseason moves the Senators have made over the last month. Though they will likely still not be a playoff team this upcoming season, they have improved a ton. This is still a young team however, meaning the first season or two of Murray’s tenure may be a bit of a struggle.
Coming in right above Matt Murray is the man the Penguins believed was the better of the two to keep, Tristan Jarry. The 25-year-old was taken in the Second Round (No. 44 overall) just a year after the Penguins drafted Murray in the Third Round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (No. 83 overall). Despite being a higher pick, it has taken Jarry much longer to develop than his former goaltending partner.
This past season, Jarry was the far superior of the two netminders which is why General Manager Jim Rutherford made the decision to stick with him going forward. However, Jarry has just 62 career games to his name, making it a very risky move. While Jarry has had a solid professional career to this point with a 34-20-4 record with a .914 Save Percentage and a 2.61 Goals Against Average, his NHL experience is very limited.
The 2020-21 season will be huge for Jarry as he will be relied upon as an NHL starter for the first time. With a strong season he has a chance to climb well up this list, but a bad one could have him drop near the bottom. Playing behind another strong Penguins team indicates he should be able to put together a successful season, but it remains to be seen.