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The Stanley Cup Final ended more than a month ago and the 2015-16 NHL regular season is more than two months away. There’s not much going on out there. So, with great trepidation, we took on the task of ranking the top 25 NHL players at each position. We did this a couple of years ago and you, uh, totally agreed with every single player’s ranking and generally thought we did a wonderful job. You most certainly did not suggest we were hockey know-nothings who should never attempt such an undertaking again...
Here’s our projected ranking of the NHL’s top 25 goalies in 2015-16. A couple of introductory thoughts: It certainly wasn’t easy slotting the game’s best puckstoppers, but it should be said it was the easiest position to break down. Carey Price was a slam-dunk No. 1 and we feel strongly about the top 15 as legitimate Vezina Trophy candidates … then it gets a little hazy after that. As for netminders who didn’t crack the top 25, take a look at the ‘Honorable Mentions’ to see where Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Bernier, Antti Niemi, Mike Smith and others stack up.
The NHL’s top 25 netminders in 2015-16:
1. Carey Price, Montreal: There’s no doubt about the best goalie in the game. Right? Right.
2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville: The guy with the best chance to knock Price off his perch.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers: Nobody has a better body of work over the past 10 seasons.
4. Tuukka Rask, Boston: He’s likely in for his toughest year yet, given the Bruins’ turnover in personnel.
5. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles: Two Stanley Cups in three years before missing the playoffs last season; look for Quick and the Kings to bounce back in 2015-16.
6. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus: What about Bob? Well, he looks good for another run at the Vezina Trophy.
7. Roberto Luongo, Florida: What about Bobby Lu? See above.
8. Cory Schneider, New Jersey: Try not to think about how bad the Devils would’ve been last year if not for Schneider’s spectacular play.
9. Corey Crawford, Chicago: Give the guy a little respect, he won another Stanley Cup.
10. Braden Holtby, Washington: We won’t argue (much) if you think he belongs in the top five.
11. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay: See above.
12. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado: The Avs fell off in 2014-15 but don’t blame the goaltending.
13. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota: The best goalie in the second half of last season needs to prove his NHL breakout was for real.
14. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh: You’d think the guy who led the league with 10 shutouts in 2014-15 would be ranked higher, but those old playoff flops are tough to shake.
15. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim: John Gibson might be the Ducks’ goalie of the future, but Andersen owns the crease in Anaheim at the moment.
16. Jake Allen, St. Louis: He’s so good he’s a two-time NHL All-Rookie Team member, in 2012-13 and last season.
17. Steve Mason, Philadelphia: It’s the same old story – a can’t-miss goalie who looked like he was on his way out of the NHL goes to Philly and revives his career in the city that traditionally eats its own netminders.
18. Craig Anderson, Ottawa: When he’s healthy and hot, look out.
19. Ryan Miller, Vancouver: Keep an eye on Miller, he might jump up 10 spots – or fall off the list entirely.
20. Cam Ward, Carolina: The Hurricanes had problems last season but Ward wasn’t one of them.
21. Brian Elliott, St. Louis: Do the Blues believe he can lead them to the Stanley Cup? It doesn’t feel like it.
22. Jonas Hiller, Calgary: The Flames were full of surprises last season and Hiller’s return to form after being exiled from Anaheim was a key factor in the team’s success.
23. Jaroslav Halak, NY Islanders: He needs to be better or the Isles will need to upgrade their upgrade.
24. Petr Mrazek, Detroit: Move over, Jimmy Howard.
25. Kari Lehtonen, Dallas: It says here he’ll rebound. And if he doesn’t, that’s why the Stars signed Antti Niemi.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Howard, Det; Jonathan Bernier, Tor; Cam Talbot, Edm; Antti Niemi, Dal; Ondrej Pavelec, Wpg; Mike Smith, Ari; Martin Jones, SJ; Robin Lehner, Buf; Eddie Lack, Car; John Gibson, Ana; Ben Scrivens, Edm; Michael Hutchinson, Wpg; Michal Neuvirth, Phi; Andrew Hammond, Ott; Scott Darling, Chi.
NHL Top 25 rankings by position:
Top 25 NHL left wingers
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