The NHL is coming back in two weeks and one of the keys for many teams will be goaltending. Aside from staying as healthy as possible, teams with two solid goaltenders will be in great shape to make the postseason.
A grueling 56 game schedule to be completed in four months will call on backups more often than usual. Should a team’s number one go down, that back-up better be 1B material to get a team into post season action.
Here are the top 5 tandems for the 2020-21 season.
#5 NHL Goalie Tandems: Nashville Predators
Age and youth work harmoniously in Nashville. Last season, 25 year-old goalie Juuse Saros played just one more game than Pekka Rinne. The young goalie sported a 17-12-4 record with a 2.70 GAA and a solid .914 SV%.
The 38 year-old Rinne struggled but should bounce back with a slightly less work load. His .895 SV% was the lowest of his 14 year career as was his 3.17 GAA. He will benefit with fewer games and help Nashville to the postseason.
#4 NHL Goalie Tandems: Vancouver Canucks
I absolutely love the Canucks goalie tandem of Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko. While Jacob Markstrom is better than Holtby it isn’t by much. The 31 year-old Holtby has a Cup to his name and will bounce back from a sub-par season.
The 24 year-old Demko came on the scene and played fairly well for the Canucks in the regular season. It wasn’t until the playoffs arrived that he blew the doors off of skeptics. In 4 games (3 starts) he posted a 0.64 GAA and a jaw-dropping SV% of .985!
#3 NHL Goalie Tandems: New York Rangers
The New York Rangers bought out Henrik Lundqvist to make way for Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. Jeff Gorton and the organization realized early the new trend of playing both your goalies. The days where the number one played 70 out of 82 are about dead. This realization will be incredibly important to the Rangers next season.
Shesterkin was a highly touted prospect and he lived up to the hype with a 10-2 record in 12 games. The 24 year-old did that with an impressive .932 SV% and 2.32 GAA. He is coming in as the number one, while Georgiev will act as a 1B. The 24 year-old has proven to be capable with a .910 SV% in his brief NHL career of 77 games.
#2 NHL Goalie Tandems: Boston Bruins
From young goalies to the oldest tandem on the list. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are grizzled veterans. Rask is the clear #1 goalie and is 35 years-old and is backed up nicely by the 35 year-old Halak.
It also helps that the Boston Bruins are also one of the better overall teams on this list. That’s why this aging duo takes the top honor. You can expect Rask to get the majority of games, but Boston will play it smart to not wear him out.
#1 NHL Goalie Tandems: Vegas Golden Knights
The goalie tandem of Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury make the Vegas Golden Knights a lock for postseason play. While the Knights are still listening to offers for MAF, this duo is the best in the NHL.
Lehner should be ready for the start of the season as he underwent a cleanup procedure on his shoulder. The 29 year-old signed on for 5 more years in Vegas and over took MAF for the #1 job with a sparkling .920 SV%.
On the flip, MAF is no slouch. Before Lehner took the reins he picked up 27 wins last year on the strength of a 2.77 GAA and a .905 SV%. The Knights are a great team and having these two make them a Cup favorite.