Five Goalies with Everything to Prove

Justin Goldman




Five Goalies with Everything to Prove: The School of Block turned three years old on Saturday, so I thought a fitting way to celebrate was to repeat the very first session ever held. That first article did one thing – analyze situation. And since that is of utmost importance heading into the week of training camp, let's look at five goalies with a ton of their fantasy future hanging in the balance of how they start.



Carey Price – No goalie has a shorter leash with their fans and media than Price. He not only needs to show a higher level of consistency than last year, but the elite skills must be there as well. Even if he won his first five games, one or two weak goals would result in that momentum falling apart fast. There's no margin for error – every move he makes is in the spotlight. Not many goalies at his age can fulfill such lofty expectations, so some nurturing support from the fans and his teammates would go a long way in helping his cause. He won his first two starts last season, but lost his next seven. Aside from a 2-1 win in Buffalo, he allowed three or more goals in every game last October. A more consistent start will help him develop a thicker skin in what will be a very long season. So the bottom line is this – better preparation in camp is the key to higher confidence in October.


Jimmy Howard – He has nowhere near the pressure or the skill upside as Price, but still has lofty expectations. The coaching staff also expects to see continual improvement, while also securing wins on a consistent basis. His situation is clearly more comfortable than most goalies under pressure to prove their worth. But after such a successful rookie season, at his age, he can't afford to lose games in a row or fall into the dreaded sophomore slump. Like all second-year goalies, the book is now out on him. Shooters know better than ever how they can exploit his overzealous positioning. Howard actually lost his first three starts last season, but quickly turned things around and went 6-2 in November. That's proof of mental toughness and that will have to be on display again this season if he expects to break through the mold of a sophomore starter.


Kari Lehtonen – His career clock only has a few ticks left, so the pressure is on to prove his merit. Lehtonen has taken all of the steps ne