Who's the best young goalie?

When Colin first started attending preschool, we quickly learned just how much these places are like a Petri dish, breeding grounds for all sorts of ugly and easy-to-pass germs. Ten days into his kindergarten year, we've found there's little difference.

And now, as I sit here waiting for my cold medicine to kick in (Colin, thankfully, is sound asleep), here's my list, in classic countdown order, of the five best young (defined as under 25 years old) goalies we'll see in the NHL this season:

No. 5:
Hannu Toivonen, Boston Bruins, 22 years old (5.15.84)
This is his year to make a statement. Must stay healthy. Will surpass Tim Thomas for starting gig early on, maybe before end of training camp.

No. 4:
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes, 22 years old (2.29.84)
Conn Smythe-caliber of play this season will send him up the list, maybe even to the top, very quickly. Doesn't get rattled. Nice down-to-earth kid as well.

No. 3:
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins, 21 years old (11.28.84)
I haven't given up on this kid. You shouldn't either. Though he's a bit flaky (Really, what Quebec-born goalie isnt? Must be all the pucks they see playing in the Q.) Maybe this is the year where the maddening inconsistency stops and the brilliance reinforces Penguins' faith.

No. 2:
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers 24 years old 24 (3.2.82)
Hard to argue with Olympic gold, though he did falter in NHL playoffs. I'll pin that on burnout rather than pressure. Olympics are played on a bigger stage, plus he had much better teammates.

No. 1:
Rick Dipietro, New York Islanders, 24 years old (9.19.81)
Can you imagine if he had a sound defense playing in front of him? And stable ownership? Confident, not cocky. Can handle the puck. Only Ward poses a serious challenge over this season.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toivonen will never be No.1 this season. Thomas is having a good year and Toivonen wouldn't even be in my top 15 for young goaltenders.
Lundqvist is probably the best young goaltender. He had an amazing season last year, playing behind a not very good defensive New York Rangers.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

That opinion of Toivonen was for the 2005-06 season and written before the season started.

I agree, too, that Lundqvist is a very talented goalie.

If you have the time, you might want to view my throughts on the best young goalie for the 2006-07 season.

11:15 AM  

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