Goldipucks and the Three Netminders: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Anton Forsberg & Jake Oettinger

Rick Roos

2022-06-08

Welcome to a special edition of Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. For just the third time ever, the column is shifting gears to cover goalies instead of skaters, giving you Goaliepucks and the Three Netminders.

The positional focus might be different this time, but the rest of the column is unchanged in that instead of there being three bowls of porridge, I cover three players – here goalies – and declare one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). In addition, I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.

The three goalies dissected here are Andrei Vasilevskiy, Anton Forsberg and Jake Oettinger. Even though this isn't the usual Goldipucks column, the challenge to you, the readers, remains the same, namely to consider those names and try to predict which of the three was, for 2021-22, too hot, too cold, and just right, before reading further to see if you know your goalies as well as you do your skaters.

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Selected in the first round by Tampa back in 2012 despite them having just traded for up and coming goalie Ben Bishop, by the 2016-17 season Vas had shown the team enough to seize the starting gig and make Bishop expendable. Since then all Vasilevskiy has done is won 15 games more than the any other NHL goalie. In that same span, no one else who has played more games has a SV% over .915, versus .920 for Vas, or a GAA under 2.71, versus 2.49 for Vas. But after being considered the surest thing when it comes to goalies in years, this season saw Vasilevsky post his worst SV% since becoming a starter. Could we be witnessing him come back to earth, or was this just a case of getting readjusted to an 82-game slate? Signs seem to suggest not only might Vas' best days be behind him, but he could do even worse in 2022-23 than he did this season.

Amazingly when considering the shortened seasons for 2019-20 and 2020-21, Vasilevsky was able to keep intact a streak of 30+ win seasons, giving him a total of five by age 27. In the modern era, only four other goalies had that man