A veteran NHL goalie coach was speaking at a coach's conference a few years back when the subject of goaltending naturally came up in the conversation. He was queried as to the percentage value he'd place on solid goaltending in a team's overall chance at success. While he insisted it wasn't an exact science to quantify such analytics, the coach was quite certain on the percentile he'd place on bad goaltending, confirming that it was nearly 100 percent of a team's failure rate. When the guys below are on duty, that isn't an issue. These are the best goalies in the NHL today:

Best current NHL netminders

 

The value of an outstanding netminder to Stanley Cup success is evident in the manner in which the NHL has doled out its MVP awards. The Hart Trophy has gone to the NHL's most valuable regular season performer since 1924 but it has been presented to a goaltender just eight times.

nhlOn the other hand, the NHL has presented the Conn Smythe Trophy to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs only since 1965, yet it's been won by a netminder 16 times, including four times by the netminder for the losing team in the final series - Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003), Philadelphia's Ron Hextall (1987), Glenn Hall of St. Louis (1968) and Detroit's Roger Crozier (1966).

So when you are making your NHL playoff wagers, monitor which netminder has the hot hand. It's often far more significant than which club in a postseason series is the better team.

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