Skip to content

Who’s in Net for all 30 NHL Teams in 2008-09, Part 2

September 14, 2008

Good morning again from Music City, MD. Before I get into more NHL Netminders, I’ll quickly mention that I have an accompanying blog called Triple M where you can go after reading my thoughts on the greatness of goalies here. In the most recent installment of Triple M, I mention some of the most recognizable people in the world who hail from Maryland – USA. I also give all the fun details of living where a gang might be trying to take over. But of course, my fingers can wait no longer – who is the NHL team with the best goal tending situation at the start of the new season? Let’s see….

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who lost Conklin to Detroit over the Summer, still have Marc-Andre Fleury and Sabourin, with some NHL experience has one more year on his contract left with the Pens. This leaves two fellas in the system, Brown and Curry, still competing for the chance to warm the bench for Pittsburgh this upcoming season. When I say “warming the bench,” I do not mean that as a bad thing. If a goalie’s going to learn something about a game, that goalie is going to probably learn it by watching another goalie, game in and game out, or that goalie is going to learn it by playing, sink-or-swim style. At least that is the pattern I’ve seen in my many years as a fan. It does suck to be a back-up to a pair of guys who will play almost every game of a season, but it is the NHL and after a certain point, the AHL just isn’t going to give you what you need. This is true with skaters, but not to the same extent. Regardless, whether it is Curry or Brown, I think, given some of the other net minder set-ups of the other 20 teams, Fleury and Sabourin are a decent pair. What happens with the rest of the team – I couldn’t even posture a guess right now.

The Atlanta Trashers have five goalies heading into their training camp. Lehtonen and Hedberg are a sure thing for the roster. May seem harsh of me, but my feeling at this point is that Lehtonen and Hedberg should be considered a “duo”, rather than a starter and a back-up, because Lehtonen, who I think will have a great NHL career, should not play more than 50 games, if that many. Since the new CBA, I have noticed that it is more and more rare that one person can defend the net, almost every game and still be on a Playoff bound team. I realize that the guy I have dubbed “His Goaliness” (Martin Brodeur) is an example in the other direction, but he is, after all only 1 out of 30. Atlanta may need to find a happy medium between playing Lehtonen and Hedberg interchangeably to have a fighting chance this season. Five goalies may seem a lot, but not if you’re the Boston Bruins.

Boston has goalies coming out of their ears. There are three rookies on the training camp roster and four veterans on the training camp roster. I have recently lost track of Alex Auld (I think), but he’s not one of the seven names “Goalie Bob” will have to take a good look at over the next few weeks. Manny Fernandez is a name on that list. I always feel like Fernandez is like a super-goalie, but there always seems to be something that keeps him from totally displaying why I think that about him. And, one of my NHL favorites, Tim Thomas will also appear in his black and gold again this year. I don’t know a lot about Rusk and Nastiuk, but they are in the position of competing against both veterans and rookies, so we’ll all see how that turns out a bit later in the month.

The Edmonton Oilers are okay with Garon and Roloson. If a third, halfway decent third goalie comes up shining pre-season, I’d have to say that Edmonton will have more energy to worry about other things (skaters, coaches, etc.), because Garon and Roloson can both do what they need to do. If just one of the four rookies shows NHL promise, I think Edmonton will be good to go. Oh, and I do tend to look at net minding as a three person gig ever since the new CBA. I have been waiting for news to spread throughout the NHL. Despite what some “old-schoolers” might think, the new CBA has changed the goalie position a great deal. Every year since, there have been rule changes that have made it almost impossible for people like Martin Brodeur to exist in the NHL. With two guys sharing the net, both get practice in the real situation, the chance of losing a “starter” due to injury lessens by 50% and the almighty goalie ego gets kept in check by the other “starter”. Having a third in case something happens to one of the other two is just plain smart if your team has any chance in the playoffs. There is a lot less stress involved on most ends as well. Anyway, Edmonton is on the right track.

As for the Nashville Predators, I have to admit I was impressed with their tenacity to get to the playoffs last season. I didn’t know that much about Dan Ellis last season, but I have had a couple of months to check-in on Nashville and Dan Ellis. The guys got skills, but if the five guys who are on the training camp roster are the Predators best hope, I feel for Dan Ellis. I’m thinking, based on pre-draft training, MacIntyre and Pickard will be the stand-outs. If nothing else, this will be an excellent season for Ellis to establish his NHL career. I can’t imagine the Predators will get anywhere this year without a balanced group of skaters.

I get the news e-mail sent by the Sharks at an e-mail address I haven’t checked in a while. I mention this because I have discovered an NHL team that spends more time and effort on e-mail news than they do on having a user-friendly, well-maintained website. Since I haven’t seen my news e-mails for a while, I am not exactly sure what the goal tending situation looks like in San Jose, other than I am sure that Evgeni Nabokov will be the number one guy this upcoming season. The San Jose Sharks have made changes this Summer that I’d like to investigate further, however, I have not been as successful at finding appropriate information on the Sharks website. As a matter of fact, no more than five of the 30 sites devoted to each NHL team have updated their roster post-summer transactions. I know Tampa Bay did it almost immediately after things changed. Regardless, I’d say the Sharks have much bigger things to worry about than their goalie, Nabokov. As much as I talk-up Martin Brodeur, I was pulling for Nabokov to get goalie prize last season. I’ll have to get back to San Jose before the season starts. Like Nabokov has proven to be on of the rare few left who might still have the capacity to pull-off an entire season as “The” starter, Marty Turco will keep the net for the Dallas Stars.

Marty Turco won me over the first time I saw him play in the playoffs with the Stars. At the moment, there are three goalies on the roster. I’m pulling for Turco all the way. And, again this season I am thinking that the Stars will be playoff bound – again. Not much more to say about Dallas at all this time around. The opposite seems to be the case with the Minnesota Wild however.

The Wild is one of those teams that I follow and push for every season. I’m not sure the affinity of the Wild for me, but there’s always something going on with the Wild that draws my attention to them. As for the four guys between the pipes at Minnesota’s training camp, Backstrom (G), not of the Washington Capitals, he’s got that goalie in spades, as some might say. Impressive! If one were to look only at goalies, Niklas Backstrom is to goaltending as Alex Ovechkin is to skaters. If the Wild and Backstrom can stick with each other – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wild went all the way – and fast. Not very many teams will build around a goalie, but in this case – it couldn’t hurt! Two of the four appearing at training camp catch right – Harding and Schaefer. I specifically checked for left-handed catchers and right-handed catchers this season. From what I can tell, there are rarely right-handed catchers on any training camp roster, let alone two. I have no idea if it means anything or not, but it does make sense to have at least one of each-handed net minders on an active roster. I won’t say Backstrom will be the best NHL goalie ever, but I will say that he’s fantastically good for a goalie of his age an experience. If he stays consistent, he’ll be one of the greats of all time. But hey – no pressure right? I’ll also be checking back with Minnesota just prior to the beginning of the season.

I mentioned in part 1 that I would check back with Colorado. So, as I like to mention, Colorado lost Jose Theodore to the Washington Capitals. Theodore catches right, so the Capitals have at least one of each-handed goaltenders. Colorado has Raycroft. I do my best not to be so hard on the guy, but he doesn’t make it easy. Regardless, he’s the oldest and most experienced goalie on the training camp roster, so I expect he’ll have another chance to redeem himself. he doesn’t suck and he does have well-honed goalie instincts, he just loses his mojo a little more than a goaltender of his age and skill should. hence, I give him a hard time when I write about him on my blogs. Who knows, with the skaters he’s got in front of him at he start of the season, he might just blow the doors off of his roller coaster stats and shut me up. The pattern however, would indicate that Colorado better have a stand-out in the other four. The chances they will need him are high.

It did take me longer than a week to get this posted. I am not in good health, as some have said, so I get delayed. Plus, I’m about as poor as someone can get without being homeless at the moment, so I have to beg and borrow for the use of a computer and internet access. That tends to slow things almost to a halt. I will get the rest of the 30 NHL teams in Part 3. I’ll also re-visit the teams I mentioned I would re-visit in this blog. I think the season will be starting by the time I get a good look at the goalies who will most likely wear an NHL jersey at least once in the 2008-09 season.

Please remember to note that all information regarding goalies, trades, team training or regular rosters came directly from each team’s official NHL website as found directly through NHL.com.

If you can’t sing in the net, you can at least hum in the net. Less than a month to go NHL hockey fans! peace – mia

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: