Both the Western Conference Final and the Eastern Conference Final were interesting in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, notably because of the goalie matchups in both series. Marc-Andre Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck faced off in the West, with Braden Holtby and Andrei Vasilevskiy meeting in the East. The most interesting takeaway is that both the veteran goalies, Fleury and Holtby, led their teams past the playoff rookies Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Here’s a look at the details of each series, and all four goalies who were a part of them.
In this 2017-18 NHL season, Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck burst onto the scene to steal the starting job in goal and cement himself as a top goaltender in the league. Hellebuyck broke into the league in the 2015-16 season, playing a number of games in relief of then-starter Ondrej Pavelec. It wasn’t until this year, however, that he proved he has the skill to be a solid starting goaltender and fill the spot the Jets have had missing for years.
A number of weeks ago, the National Hockey League announced it would be hosting the 2018 NHL Global Series, sending a number of NHL clubs overseas to various countries in Europe to hold their training camps and play a series of regular-season games against each other, repeating what they did this past season when they held games in Stockholm, Sweden. The league will also be sending teams back to China for another round of the NHL China Games, just as they did a year ago. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and other league officials claim that the goal of these trips is to grow the game, but the details suggest anything but.
Many NHL teams addressed the goaltending position this offseason, as was expected with the expansion draft complicating their respective situations. Some squads made predictable moves while others left us scratching our heads. Some teams decided to stay put and ride on their goalies from last season. Here are 3 goalies I think are going to “boom” in the 2017-18 season and 3 that I think are going to “bust.”