Goaltending Situations (Pacific Division)
What the battle in the net looks like in next year’s Pacific Division.
We start out on a tough one. The Ducks have great talent in Jonas Hiller and Victor Fasth. Hiller brings experience into play while Fasth was a breakout star last season. Behind the scene is a fight between a pair of rookies still waiting on their first NHL game. Igor Bobkov posted decent numbers in the OHL an AHL in 2011-12. He posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.68 goals against average in 4 games with the AHL’s Syracuse and a .902 save percentage and 3.64 goals against average in the OHL with Kingston. Frederik Andersen, a native from Denmark; hasn’t played in North America yet but is well on his way. 20-year old John Gibson is next on the list as one of the top goaltending prospects worldwide. In 2011-12 he had a .938 Sv% and a 2.67 GAA with Kitchener. It will be up to the coaches next season about what will happen in the Duck’s crease.
The Calgary Flames find themselves in one of those weird moments when they have no idea where each of their goalies should go. With the loss of Miika Kiprusoff it is an all-out battle between internationally experienced goalie Reto Berra, KHL all-star Karri Ramo, not so new face Joey MacDonald, young gun John Gillies, unproven Joni Ortio, and prospect Laurent Brossoit. Out of those 6 goalies only MacDonald has played games with the Flames and only 2 have NHL experience (MacDonald and Ramo). Reto Berra, a top candidate; led Switzerland to silver in the international championship and is expected to play in the Olympics with them. Laurent Brossoit still has a ways to go and isn’t very likely to play but he is tearing up the WHL posting top 3 league-wide stats. Jon Gillies has been playing great in the USHL and will also fight for a roster spot, while Joni Ortio is looking to make the jump from Finland to North America. Karri Ramo is the goaltending king of the KHL and has also played 48 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his stats didn’t compare to his KHL ones. Joey MacDonald backed up Kiprusoff last season because of poor preformance by Leland Irving, and is expected to be the starter or backup.
Edmonton is in a great goaltending situation, even after losing Nikolai Khabibulin. They will most likely start Devan Dubnyk, who started for them last year. Edmonton is backed up with two goalies aquired via free agency. One is Richard Bachman, who used to be backup for Kari Lehtonen and the Dallas Stars and managed to get a .901 Sv% and a 2.94 GAA in 32 games. The other is Jason Labarbera, who has played for many teams, but just came from Phoenix. In his career he totaled a .908 Sv% and a 2.84 GAA in 175 games, but in his last two seasons he has played great with a .923 Sv% and 2.64 GAA in 15 games from last season. Two seasons ago he had a .912 Sv% and a 2.54 GAA in 19 games, but his best season was in 2009-10 with the Coyotes when he got a .928 Sv% and a 2.13 GAA in 17 games. Bachman and Labarbera will battle for the backup position. Next up are young goalies Tyler Bunz (21), Olivier Roy (22) and Frans Tuohimaa (22). Bunz is a top prospect who has done great with the Medicine Hat Tigers from the WHL and amassed a .921 Sv% and 2.57 GAA in 61 games. Roy played in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder in 2011-12 and got a .925 Sv%, 2.49 GAA, and 16 wins in 40 games. Tuohimaa still has to make the choice to come to North America though, and is a large question mark for the oilers.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings, who have recently swapped backup goalies with Toronto; are not in a bad position with superstar goaltender Jonathan Quick leading the crease. After that the ex-Toronto backup Ben Scrivens will take Jonathan Bernier’s place as backup goalie, then confusion starts. Recently drafted Patrick Bartosak isn’t in a position to become a starter for the minors, or even the backup as he was drafted 5th round at 146th overall. Jean-Francois Berube is poised to make the AHL after a decent season in the ECHL, and Martin Jones will most likely continue to start in the AHL after a great AHL season.
The Coyotes are not in a bad situation, but not a good one either. Mike Smith had a decent NHL season last year, but it wasn’t even close to his breakout season in 2011-12, despite that he is still expected to start this up and coming season. 27-year old Thomas Greiss is a definate backup in his first season elsewhere than San Jose, and is excited to have a new beginning. A mystery begins next with 4 young goalies battling for placing in the minors. Louis Domingue had a good few seasons with the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL but still needs to make the jump to the minors. 19-year old Marek Langhamer is still undetermined, Michael Lee is putting up some good numbers in the WCHL, and Mark Visentin is also looking to make the jump to professional hockey after four very good season in the OHL with Niagara.
San Jose Sharks
2012-13 Vezina candidate Antti Niemi is the obvious starter, who will be backed up by Alex Stalock, then young 21-year old goalie J.P Anderson. San Jose is lacking depth though, and after those three goalies only Harri Sateri remains. Sateri had a decent season but isn’t NHL ready, which may be a problem in the future.
The Vancouver Canucks are lacking depth after trading Cory Schneider, and only have three goalies (Luongo, Lack, Cannata). Roberto Luongo is going to start, and will most likely be followed by Eddie Lack. After him Joe Cannata will be the backup’s backup. What next? Nothing. Vancouver needs depth, but the salary cap won’t allow it.
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