I normally don't talk goaltenders. Justin Goldman does such a good job that it seems fairly redundant to do so. I do however have this theory on goaltenders in the current NHL, the gist of it being that goalies are the most replaceable players in the NHL. I believe there are probably a hundred goalies currently playing around the globe that could step into an NHL lineup and win games right now. All they need is an opportunity and a little bit of luck. That is why every year we see the same story; rookie goalie comes out of nowhere to put together an amazing run helping to push his team to new heights. It never fails. Every season there is at least one rags to riches or before his time story.
What we have trouble with is determining if they are for real. Every rookie sensation comes in with self-confidence and conveys to us a certain sense of infallibility to the point that we have a tough time believing the good times will end. But remember, there are plenty of goalies who can do it for brief periods. The trick is in maintaining that for long stretches. So what we must do is look for signs, hints, the proverbial writing on the wall that we so often ignore. Some goalies are built to succeed for the long haul, others will fade away.
This year's goalie crop is no different. It just so happens that the inspiration for this whole piece, the brilliantly nicknamed James Reimer (Optimus Reim), gives us a whole new way to look at these rookie sensations. Are they truly the guardians of truth and justice or are they more sinister beings, simply baiting us with unsuspected gifts. In other words are they Autobot or Decepticon?
Sergei Bobrovsky – 27-11-6 – 2.53 GAA – .917 SV% 0 SO
Two things stand out right away when looking at Bobrovsky's numbers. The first is his lack of shutouts. That tells me he struggles to maintain his focus for entire games, which is entirely understandable for a goalie playing not only his first NHL season but also his first North American season. The second thing I see is that his numbers are nearly identical to those of his teammate Brian Boucher. Boucher is your classic Decepticon. When he broke into the league over ten years ago with the Flyers he set the league on fire. He impressed not only with his regular season play but also helping the Flyers to a long playoff run.
Boucher never did rediscover that form and it makes perfect sense. That was a career year for Boucher, at any le