Top NHL Goalie tandems in the Western Conference for the 2020-2021 season
Troubles continue to brew with regards to next season. If hockey is played it 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.
Due to the schedule it will put an emphasis on a team’s goaltending tandem. There is no doubt that making the playoffs for some squads will rely on having two very good goalies to shoulder the load.
Let’s rank the five best tandems in the Western Conference.
#5 NHL Goalie Tandem: Minnesota Wild
First off, when it comes to goalie tandems overall, the Eastern Conference had more to choose from. Minnesota probably doesn’t deserve to be on here but they really are the best of the rest.
Cam Talbot was signed via free agency and dubbed the number 1 goalie by Bill Guerin after trading Devan Dubnyk. The 33 year-old Talbot struggled as the man in Edmonton but had respectable numbers with the Flames.
His backup Alex Stalock is 33 and can clearly be counted on to play his fair share of games and perform well. I chose Minnesota because I really like rookie Kappo Kahkonen. Maybe the 24 year-old Finn can steal the job from Stalock in camp.
Prediction: 55/45 split with Talbot getting the lion’s share no matter who the backup is.
#4 NHL Goalie Tandem: Dallas Stars
The oldest tandem on this list is the duo of 35 year-old Anton Khudobin and and 34 year-old Ben Bishop. For Dallas they will need to survive Bishop’s recovery from knee surgery which will keep him out until March.
However once Bishop returns the Stars will have a formidable tandem the rest of the way. Look for the Stars to maybe bring in another veteran like Jimmy Howard or Craig Anderson to back up Khudobin.
Prediction: 60/40 split as Khudobin will need to carry the load until Bishop is healthy.
#3 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.
Prediction: A 55/45 split as Saros assumes the role as Predators top man in net.
#2 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!
Prediction: 55/45 split as Holtby grooms Demko for the starting job.
#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, and not just the West.
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.
Prediction: 50/50 split and ride the hot hand in the playoffs…if Fleury is still there past the trade deadline of course.