We wrap up our look at the positional rankings across the Metropolitan Division with a look at the top-10 goalies in the division.
Two different teams have multiple players crack the list (including one team that, shockingly, has three goalies) while one team does not get a single player in the top-10 (Columbus Blue Jackets starter Elvis Merzlikins does not make the top-10 here).
Let’s get to the list!
1. Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders. Not only is Sorokin the best goalie in the Metropolitan Division, I think he is the best goalie in hockey. And I mean that is no disrespect to Igor Shesterkin, Juuse Saros, Connor Hellebuyck or Andrei Vasilevskiy. Sorokin not only should have taken home the Vezina Trophy last year, he should have been an MVP finalist for what he did for for the Islanders in dragging them to the playoffs. I think he is one of the most impactful players in the sport right now.
2. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers. You have to love the Rangers’ commitment to always seeing how many shots and chances they can allow and how poorly they can play defensively and still win. They get a great goalie, and they let the goalie do everything. They did it with Henrik Lundqvist, they are doing it again with Shesterkin. Their whole organizational philosophy seems to be “our goalie is better than yours, the hell with everything else.” To their credit, their goalies are so great it usually works.
3. Darcy Kuemper, Washington Capitals. I think I am a bit higher on Kuemper than most people, but I really like him and think he bounces back this season after a tough debut year with the Capitals. He is not a superstar. He may not steal you many games. But he is not usually going to be the reason you lose games.
4. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins. Another goalie that I am anticipating a bounce back from. A lot of us are down on Jarry, and for good reason at times. But when he is healthy he has shown that he can be an above average NHL starter. He is a two-time All-Star and has had some very respectable stretches. He just needs a little more consistency and some better health luck. As well as a big game in a big moment to help erase the narrative that has followed him for not playing well in tough spots.
5. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders. Varlamov is good enough to start on a lot of teams in the NHL, even today, but he still finds himself as a backup on Long Island. He is one of the best backup goalies in hockey and gives the Islanders an outstanding duo that covers the many flaws the rest of the roster still possesses (both offensively and defensively).
6. Vitek Vanecek, New Jersey Devils. The one thing I am not entirely sold on with the Devils is their goaltending situation. Akira Schmid had a strong showing last season, but it is still a very small sample size and I am not sure if he is even going to be their starter. Vanecek is the more established starter here, and he is another solid, if unspectacular goalie. You could do a lot better. You could do a lot worse. I just do not know if either of these guys are the answer.
7. Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes. Andersen has been a little up-and-down the past couple of years, going from a top-line starter at times to just an ordinary starter a year ago. He is getting a little older, he has had some injury concerns, but he can still be a strong starter that can play winning hockey. The good news for the Hurricanes is they have a ton of depth at the position with a lot of interchangeable options.
8. Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers were hoping that Hart would finally be the goalie to solve their decades long problem in goal, and all he has done is add to the legacy. He is fine. He is not the star they hoped he would be. He is not a total disaster. He is an average starter playing behind an awful team.
9. Antti Raanta, Carolina Hurricanes. He would be higher on my list here if he simply played in more games. His number the past couple of years have been solid. But he has not played in more than 28 games in either season and has not appeared in more than 33 games since the 2017-18 season. Good depth for the Hurricanes at least.
10. Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes. Kochetkov is the biggest wild card not only in Carolina, but also perhaps the entire division. He probably has the highest upside of any of the three Carolina goalies long-term, but the jury is still very much out on him. But I like him a lot more than some of the other backups in the division and at least one starter (Columbus).