NHL

Goaltender Update: 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Losers Edition

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Thoughts on the Losers goaltenders so far

The Stanley Cup playoffs, the fight that ultimately leads to the prize has started. The goaltender update is going to focus on the losing team’s goaltending, how they performed and where the state of the organization’s goaltending is as a whole.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Tristian Jarry was the Pittsburgh Penguins Achilles heel this series. His glove hand specifically was the result of multiple goals and his decision-making cost the Penguins an OT game. Overall his performance may be the single greatest aspect holding this team back. Keep in mind that the Penguins have not won a series since 2018. Goaltending needs to be answered, that’s just how it is for the Penguins.

Florida Panthers

Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t the answer for the Florida Panthers, this much is true. Drieger may still be unknown but Spencer Knight may be the future. He has done well to this point, even under pressure. With that in mind see how far he can go and he might just be the next star goaltender in the NHL, but even if not, perhaps he is the Panthers answer in the net.

Edmonton Oilers

Despite getting swept, Mike Smith played decently from a statistical standpoint. He posted a .912% save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average. So Smith really cannot be blamed for their loss as a whole. The team did meltdown in game three though.  Overall, the Edmonton Oilers need to look to younger goaltenders, to the future. Smith is getting older and won’t be around forever.

Nashville Predators

Juuse Saros was an effective piece of the Nashville Predators team with a .921% save percentage and the Predators actually put up a fight against the Carolina Hurricanes as they won games 3 and 4 at home.  This being said, Pekka Rinne may be done in the NHL so the Predators will need a new backup goaltender.

Minnesota Wild

Cam Talbot was fantastic in the playoffs and really was the kind of goaltender that can help you go far in the playoffs.  The Minnesota Wild still lost yes but they did push the Vegas Golden Knights to six games.  The fact is, Talbot could very well be good enough to be a goaltender on a Stanley Cup winning team, the division the Wild are currently in makes winning a bit difficult, however.

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals may not really have a replacement for what Braden Holtby was, kind of like the Penguins with Marc-Andre Fleury. The Capitals goaltending was a bit shaky this season so a similar note to the Capitals here, find yourself a goalie. One or even two may already be in your ranks though you struggled with goaltending this year. If neither of your current goalies works out the Capitals will have to go goalie shopping again.

Final Thoughts

The understood truth in the hockey world is that the goaltender is one of the most important if not the most important position on the ice. Regardless of this, just because you have the better goalie, or the better goalie performance on any given day does not mean you will win. The St. Liouse Blues and Dallas Stars in game seven in 2019 for instance. Ben Bishop made over 50 saves and the Stars still lost. Joonas Korpisalo in the first round of last year making 70+ saves is another great example of this.

It is hugely important that the teams above in need of a goalie find one but the point here is that just because they do doesn’t mean they are championship bound. Good goalies can still lose in the playoffs, it just gives the team that has the great goaltender a better chance to succeed. Also, keep in mind some of these teams have good goaltenders and still lost. Nashville and Minnesota and the teams here.

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