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The REAL top-30 NHL goaltenders

Pretty much the best.
Pretty much the best.
Bruce Bennett

There's been a rash of goalie rankings this offseason, culminating in one of the strangest lists I've ever seen:'s #NHLRank: Goaltenders. It was supposedly "based on their current level of play," which I suppose means last season's results should weigh a lot more than body of work. But if that's the case why is Jonathan Quick number 2? But if we're going by body of work, why is Sergei Bobrovsky in the top 4 with only 3 years' experience?

It ended up, I'm sure, with a lot of the guys they polled going, Oh crap I have to turn that in today? Uhhh......Lundqvist, Quick, and that Russian kid who won the Vezina last year. Pretty much anyone who follows goaltending at all could make a list that makes more sense than that one. Hey wait. I'm anyone, aren't I? Oh crap.

So now I've been sucked into this ranking thing.

What follows is my personal list of the "best" goalies in the league at the moment, and surprisingly it's not made up all of Finns. I admit it's subjective, because the point where a guy's potential overcomes his lack of experience (for instance) is subjective. But it's also as fair as I could make it.

The rules are that they have to have a current NHL contract or PTO (so that there's a likelihood of them being active in the 2013-14 season.) I'm not interested in balancing teams; if a team has two or three very good players, they all get ranked. If a team has none, they don't get ranked.

And while it's weighted towards "current level of play," how long a guy has been able to be good also matters. It's easier to know what a player with 200 NHL games is likely to do than a player with 60 NHL games. Still, it's meant to be a ranking of "right now," not "over the next few years" or "ten years ago."

I have to note that in a lot of these cases the rankings could have gone either way. It was personal judgment about what made their careers look the way they did and how I estimated their prospects for the immediate future.

Naturally, if I snub your favorite goalie it's because I hate your team and all it stands for. And because I'm an idiot.

  1. Henrik Lundqvist
    The most games at the highest level for the longest time. It's hard to find a hole in his game.

  2. Jonathan Quick
    Innovative and solid. He had a bad year last year, but watching him play, I have to think that was the anomaly.

  3. Pekka Rinne
    Unconventional. His worst season in seven years last year, but he was dealing with a hip problem all season. Steals games regularly for the Predators.

  4. Tuukka Rask
    I honestly think Rask is one of the best goalies I've ever seen. The tiebreaker between him and Rinne was Rinne's experience. And I'm still not convinced I got this right. A great talent.

  5. Jimmy Howard
    I think a lot of people who aren't Red Wings fans probably underestimate Howard, but three out of the last four years, he's been above a .920 while playing the vast majority of Detroit's games.

  6. Roberto Luongo
    You still can't convince me he's not an elite goaltender. He's been very good for a very long time, and based on his body of work I couldn't predict anything less than a solid season this year (barring injury.)

  7. Sergei Bobrovsky

    Was stunning for Columbus in 2012-13 and actually very, very good in Philadelphia before that. Still, three seasons is only three seasons, so it's tough to say firmly where he lands.

  8. Cory Schneider
    If I'm putting Bobrovsky in the top 10, I have to put Schneider there, too. The fact that he has played so few games every year makes me a bit nervous of ranking him this high, but he's been too good in the action he has seen to warrant a lower position.

  9. Ryan Miller
    Again, body of work matters with Miller. The Buffalo Sabres rely on him quite a bit, and that may inflate his apparent value. But it's hard for me to say that he's worse than the guys who follow him here.

  10. Carey Price
    Great technical goalie. I don't see him ever being one of those top-3 superstar goalies, but he'll be damn good. Plus he's only 25.

  11. Craig Anderson

  12. Antti Niemi

  13. Jaroslav Halak

  14. Mike Smith

  15. Niklas Backstrom

  16. Kari Lehtonen

  17. Marc-Andre Fleury

  18. Cam Ward

  19. Tim Thomas

  20. Braden Holtby

  21. Corey Crawford

  22. Devan Dubnyk

  23. Martin Brodeur

  24. Jonas Hiller

  25. Brian Elliott

  26. James Reimer

  27. Semyon Varlamov

  28. Tomas Vokoun

  29. Ben Bishop

  30. Jonathan Bernier

Well. That was fun. What do you think?