Next season (if there is a next season) will be a consolidated schedule. Word has it that the NHL is proposing a 60 game schedule to be complete between 4 – 4.5 months. That would be one game every 2.25 days.
This is going to put a serious emphasis on a team’s goaltending tandem. There is no doubt that making the playoffs for some teams will rely on having two very good goalies to shoulder the load.
Let’s rank the five best tandems in the Eastern Conference.
#5 NHL Goalie Tandem: Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens goalie duo of Carey Price and Jake Allen comes in at number five. While the 33 year old Price is expected to carry more games than any other goalie on this list, Allen will help.
Marc Bergevin was smart enough to jump on the 30 year-old Blues back up for next season. Allen played 24 games last season and notched 12 wins to go with a 2.15 GAA and a .927 SV%.
Prediction: 60/40 split and another great season for Carey Price.
#4 NHL Goalie Tandem: Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals moved on from longtime goalie Braden Holtby and replaced him with Henrik Lundqvist. This was done to allow the 23 year-old Ilya Samsonov to grow into the role of number one. That would’ve been harder with Holtby signed for 5-7 years.
While Lundqvist struggled on the Rangers with a weak defense, the 38 year-old still maintained a SV% over .900 in his last three seasons. He also did well against high danger chances with an .850 SV%. To put that in perspective, Andrei Vasilevskiy finished last season with a .844 HDSV%.
Prediction: 50/50 split with Henrik Lundqvist pushing Samsonov for the starting job in the playoffs.
#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.
Prediction: A 55/45 split with Shesterkin leading the way.
#2 NHL Goalie Tandems: Columbus Blue Jackets
The duo of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins is one of the best in the NHL. Either of these two would likely be a starter on a majority of teams in the league.
Their stat lines are both impressive for the 26 year-old goalies, with Joonas playing 37 games last season to Elvis’ 33. Korpisalo picked up 19 wins with a 2.60 GAA and a .911 SV%. While Merzlikins notched 12 wins on the strength of a .923 SV% and a 2.35 GAA.
Prediction: Another even 50/50 split with John Tortorella tapping the hotter goalie down the stretch for the playoffs.
#1 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 the best overall team 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.
Prediction: 55/45 split with Rask regaining his championship form.