Goaltenders to Watch for 2016-2017
It's a given that Crawford is underrated and Lehtonen and Niemi share the spotlight equally for Dallas, but where are the pucks going to land for the rest of the goaltenders in the NHL? See who's moving up and who moved out for the 2016-2017 season.
Carey Price and Al Montoya, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price is not on the way out by any means, but he has had a run of bad luck recently with injuries and illness. A season-ending knee injury has kept him out of the net for the Canadiens since November 25, 2015. He was able to continue his winning streak for Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, but a bad case of the flu has again kept him from the ice for Montreal this season.
Price’s backup, Al Montoya, is new to the Habs this year but shows much promise. It’s not easy to fill Price’s skates, but this 31-year-old can stop the pucks in his stead. Montoya has played two years each for the Islanders, Winnipeg and Florida and maintains a .910 career save percentage.
James Reimer and Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
A long-time Toronto netminder, James Reimer signed a five-year contract with the Panthers on July 1st. Sharing the net with Roberto Luongo shouldn’t pose any problems for the younger veteran, but it'll be interesting to see if he can manage to shift the ice to the starting position. With nearly identical career save percentages, .914 for Reimer and .919 for Luongo, only time will tell if they’re the next Lehtonen/Niemi team for Florida.
Aaron Dell and Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Reimer and Niemi have both moved eastward from their brief stops with the San Jose Sharks to their current nets in Florida and Dallas, respectively. So, who will mind the nets for the Sharks now? Aaron Dell will be making his NHL debut after five years of testing the ice in the minor leagues and Martin Jones will be continuing his California-based career with the Sharks.
Both newbies have similar stats if you count Dell’s minor league numbers, but with Jones reaching the 100 games played milestone in the NHL he'll hopefully be a good influence to rid Dell of any debut jitters.
Jason LaBarbera Retires
So far only one goaltender has retired from catching pucks this 2016-2017 season. After a successful 16-season NHL career, Jason LaBarbera retired from professional hockey on July 19, 2016. He last played for the Anaheim Ducks but now coaches goaltenders for the Calgary Hitmen.
It's only the beginning of the season, but this year's goaltenders are sure to keep fans cheering. Keep watching to see who covers the puck.