NHL Players

10 Best NHL Goalies In The League Right Now

By Kapil Sapkota / 27 November 2023 08:16 AM

Source : twitter

Forwards and defensemen are crucial but what about goalies? They are underrated, yet the saviors who turn the tide of games.

Even if a team has a set of outstanding forwards and defenses, the team is incomplete without an elite goalie.

A talented goalkeeper is always vital in winning any match. A skilled goalie can prove an average team to be a competitive one.

There is no lack of skilled goalies in the NHL. Being the world's biggest ice hockey league, the NHL owns the greatest goaltenders in the landscape.

We have covered the top 10 goalies currently available in the league. The goaltenders are ranked based on their experience, save percentage, goals-against average, age, awards, etc.

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning drafted the Russian netminder Vasilevskiy in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was the first goalie to be drafted that year.

Vasilevski won the Vezina Trophy in the 2018-19 season, awarded to the top goaltender in the league. He is one of the most significant factors that make the Lightning franchise among the strongest NHL teams.

In five straight seasons from 2017-18 through 2021-22, the Lightning's goaltender led the league in wins. He became the Stanley Cup champion with Tampa Bay franchise in 2020 and 2021.

The Russian also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP in the 2021 playoffs. His 18 wins in 2020 are the record for the most wins in a single postseason.

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When the goalie made 20 wins in 25 games played during the 2017-18 regular season, he became only the sixth goaltender to hold the record in NHL history.

Vasilevskiy was selected for his first NHL All-Star game that season. He led the league in wins in both the regular season and playoffs.

During Tampa Bay's run for its second Stanley Cup in the 2019-20 season, Vasilevskiy recorded shutouts in all four of the Lightning series winning games.

His 5 consecutive shutout streak tied with Clint Benedict and Chris Osgood.

On 23 May 2022, the goalkeeper registered his NHL record-breaking sixth series with a shutout, having 49 shots saved against the Florida Panthers in a 4-game sweep.

He completed the series by allowing just 3 goals over 154 shots and had a .981 save percentage.

Vasilevskiy concluded the 2022-23 regular season by posting a record of 34-22-4 and a .915 save percentage. The previous season, he had a 39-18-5  record and a .916 SV percentage.

2. Ilya Sorokin - New York Islanders

Selected in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders, Sorokin debuted in the NHL in the 2020-21 season in a game against the New York Rangers on January 16, 2021.

Sorokin was initially slated to be the backup goalie for the game and entered the ice after the team's intended starter Semyon Varlamov suffered an injury during warmups.

On February 16, the goaltender had his first NHL win and shutout in a 3-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres recording 20 saves.

He played his first Stanley Cup playoffs versus the Pittsburgh Penguins in game 1 and won the match 4-3 in OT.

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The Russian goaltender stood with a 31-22-7 record in the 2022-23 season and had a .924 save percentage. He led the league with 6 shutouts and became a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

The Islanders' goalie posted a 26-18-8 stat in the previous season with a .925 save percentage.

His SV percentage was even better than Andrei Vasilevskiy in both seasons. However, Sorokin has appeared in fewer NHL games than Vasilevskiy.

The netminder was named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 2023. He was also selected for the NHL Second All-Star Team and was widely recognized as the key factor for the Islanders' playoff appearance in 2023.

Apart from the NHL, he competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for Russia and won gold. He also captured 3 bronze medals with the Russian national team at the World Championships.

3. Igor Shesterkin - New York Rangers

Another Russian goalie of the NHL, Shesterkin is ranked third for the best goalies in the league. He was drafted by the Rangers in 2014.

Shesterkin was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender in 2022. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2022 and was selected for the All-Star Game the following year.

The goalkeeper debuted in the NHL game on 3 May 2019 with a preseason game versus the Philadelphia Flyers. In that 4-1 loss match, the netminder saved 36 shots out of 40.

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In his first NHL regular season game on 6 January 2020 against the Colorado Avalanche, Shesterkin stopped 29 shots and won the match 5-3.

His first shutout in the NHL was recorded on 13 April 2021 in a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. He earned his second shutout 2 days later in a 4-0 victory against the Devils.

During the 2021-22 regular season, Shesterkin led the league in both SV percentage and goals against average, having a 36-13-4 record.

He was also selected as a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy and finished third in the voting.

Shesterkin completed the 2022-23 regular season with a 37-13-8, a .916 save percentage, and 2.48 GAA. He had an impressive .935 SV percentage in the previous season.

In the season opener game of 2023-24 against the Buffalos Sabres, the goalie made the record for the fastest Rangers goaltender to reach 100 wins. He appeared in less than 187 games to earn the record.

4. Connor Hellebuyck - Winnipeg Jets

The American goaltender Hellebuyck was drafted in 2012 by the Jets. He was assigned to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps for the 2014-15 season before his debut in the NHL.

On 22 November 2015, Hellebuyck was called up by Winnipeg after its regular goaltender, Ondrej Pavelec, suffered an injury during a game against the Arizona Coyotes.

The goalkeeper had his first NHL win game on November 27 versus the Minnesota Wild. His first shutout in the league was recorded on December 27 in a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Source : instagram

During the NHL 2017-18 season, Hellebuyck earned a 44-11-9 stat in 67 games to set the record for the most single-season wins by an American goalie in the league. He was selected as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in April 2018.

In the 2019-20 season, the netminder's 31 wins became the second-highest in the NHL among the goaltenders who appeared in at least 20 games. He was first in shutouts (six) and seventh in SV percentage (.992).

Hellebuyck had a 31-21-5 standing with a 2.57 GAA and was awarded the Vezina Trophy for the season. He became the first goaltender in the Jets history to win the award.

The American goalkeeper recorded his 200th NHL career win on 24 April 2022 in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Connor was named to the NHL All-Star Game in 2018, 2020, and 2023. He was selected to the First All-Star Team in 2020 and Second All-Star Team in 2018.

He registered a 37-25-2 record with the conclusion of the NHL 2022-23 regular season with a .920 save percentage and 2.59 GAA. Hellebuyck was 29-27-10 the previous season, having a .910 SV percentage and 2.97 GAA.

5. Linus Ullmark - Boston Bruins

Ullmark was drafted into the NHL by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2012 Entry Draft. The Sabres assigned him to their AHL affiliate, Rochester Americans, for the 2015-16 season.

One of the best active netminders in the NHL debuted on 24 October 2015 in a 4-3 defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

He saw his first win in the league in his second match, 3-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ullmarks spent most of his next season with the Americans, accumulating a 26-27-2 record.

Source : instagram

Beginning the 2018-19 season, the goalie joined the Sabres franchise as a full-time.

Ullmark earned his first NHL shutout on 13 October, saving all 36 shots in a 3-0 victory against the Arizona Coyotes. He posted a 15-14-5 in 37 games while backing up Carter Hutton for the season.

The goaltender left the Sabres organization as a free agent in July 2021 to join the Boston Bruins as a starting goalie. He won his first game with Boston, 4-1, against his former team, the Sabres.

Boston completed the 2022-23 regular season with record-setting wins (65) and points (135) and won the Presidents' Trophy. Ullmark and his teammate Jeremy Swayman were awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy.

With his 40-6-1 record, Ullmark led the league in wins, SV percentage (.938), and GAA (1.89). He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the season.

The goalie had a 26-10-2 stand playing in 41 games in the previous season with a 2.45 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

6. Juuse Saros - Nashville Predators

The Finnish goalie Saros was drafted in 2013 by the Predators franchise.

Saros compiled a 33-23-7 record in the 2022-23 season having a .919 save percentage and 2.69 GAA.

He earned two shutouts through 64 games and tied with Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets franchise for the NHL lead in games. Nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the goaltender finished fourth in voting.

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The Predators' netminder faced the most shots (2,099) and made the most saves (1,928) than any other goaltender in the last season. He spent the most minutes on the ice (3,809:59) than any other goalie in the league.

He was also a Vezina Trophy finalist during the season and finished third. At the end of the season, Saros led the league in games played and starts (67) accumulating 38-25-3.

The Predators qualified for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Saros was regarded as a critical factor. However, the team was swept in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche, with Saros absent.

Saros' record in the 2021-22 season was even better. He appeared in 67 games and posted a 38-25-3 record. He had a .918 SV percentage and 2.64 GAA.

In January 2023, the Finnish made a franchise-record 64 saves in Nashville's 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The player was selected for the NHL All-Star Game in 2022 and 2023 for his outstanding performance. He was also named to the All-Rookie Team in 2018 during his rookie season.

7. Jake Oettinger - Dallas Stars

Oettinger was selected by the Stars franchise in the first round of the 2017 Entry Draft. The product of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program played for Boston University during his collegiate career.

The American netminder was assigned to the Stars' AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, in March 2019. During his first eight games with Texas, the goaltender registered a .897 SV% and 3.34 GAA.

He debuted in the NHL in the third period of the second game of the 2020 Western Conference Final on September 8 over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Source : instagram

Beginning the 2020-21 season, Oettinger became backup to the Stars' netminder Anton Khudobin. Then, the backup goalie played his first regular season game in January 2021, in a victory match over the Detroit Red Wings.

Appearing in 29 contests, the goaltender concluded the season earning an 11-8-7 record with a .911 save percentage and 2.36 GAA.

He started the 2021-22 season playing in the AHL. After playing 10 games for Texas, he was called up to play for Dallas following the injuries of other netminders in the team.

Oettinger accumulated a 30-15-1 record as a starting goaltender with a 2.53 GAA and a .914 save percentage. The Stars qualified for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, and the goalkeeper was a significant factor in the team's achievement.

The Stars earned the final wildcard berth, and Oettinger led all goaltenders in the first round with a .954 save percentage. It was also the second-highest in the history of the Stars franchise.

Despite the Stars facing twice as many shots as the Flames in Game 7, Dallas took the match to overtime. Oettinger recorded 64-shot saves in that contest before the Stars lost 3-2.

Oettinger concluded the 2022-23 season, recording an impressive 37-11-11 stats through 62 games. He had a .919 save percentage and 2.37 GAA.

8. Alexandar Georgiev - Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche owns one of the best goalies in the league in the form of Alexander Georgiev. Alexander is the first Bulgarian-born player to play in the NHL.

Before his NHL career, the netminder played for the Finnish team Turun Palloseura (TPS). In Liiga, he also won the best GAA (1.70) award in 2017.

Undrafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Georgiev was invited to participate in the New York Rangers' developmental camp. He played most of the 2017-18 season for the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack.

The goaltender debuted in the NHL with the Rangers on 22 February 2018 in a 3-1 lost match versus the Montreal Canadiens.

Source : instagram

On March 3, the player earned his first NHL win, 3-2, against the Edmonton Oilers. Georgiev's first shutout was recorded on November 21, 2021, winning 5-0 against the New York Islanders.

When the goalie made a career-high 55 saves in a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on 10 February 2019, he became the goaltender to make the second-most saves in a game in Rangers franchise history.

Georgiev was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in July 2022. He led the 2022-23 regular season in wins with his new team and compiled a 40-16-6 from 62 games.

He recorded a fantastic .919 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average.

Beginning the 2023-24 season, the Russian goaltender has earned a 12-5-0 record through 17 matches. Currently, he stands with a 2.95 GAA and a .892 SV percentage.

9. Filip Gustavsson - Minnesota Wild

Gustavsson may be overlooked for his fewer appearances in the NHL. However, the Wild's goalie stands among the top goalies in the league for stopping the most challenging shots.

The Swedish goaltender was drafted in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He continued to play for his old team, the Lulea HF, for the 2017-18 season.

Gustavsson was traded to the Ottawa Senators in February 2018 without playing a game for the Penguins. The Senators assigned him to their AHL farm, the Belleville Senators.

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The player appeared in his first NHL contest on 17 March 2021 against the Vancouver Canucks as a backup to Joey Daccord. He stopped all eight shots faced, but the Senators lost the match 3-2 in the shootout.

On 22 March, he entered the ice as the starting goalie versus the Calgary Flames and stopped 35 shots in a 2-1 win.

During the 2021-22 season, Gustavsson played 18 games for the Senators, starting 16. He posted a 5-12-1 record with a .892 SV percentage and 3.55 GAA.

He spent most of the season for Belleville and compiled an 11-6-1 stat through 20 games.

In July 2022, the Senators traded Gustavsson to the Minnesota Wild for goalie Cam Talbot. Filip began the season as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Swedish earned his first NHL shutout on 10 December 2022 against the Canucks in a 3-0 victory.

Gustavsson concluded the 2022-23 regular season with a record of 22-9-7, having a .931 SV percentage and 2.10 GAA through 39 games.

His save percentage and GAA were second in the league among the goaltenders who played at least 25 games.

The Wild's goalie appeared in his first Stanley Cup playoffs on 18 April 2023 against the Dallas Stars. His 51 saves in a double-overtime 3-2 win set the Minnesota franchise playoff record.

10. Jeremy Swayman - Boston Bruins

Another goaltender from the Bruins franchise, Swayman, shouldn't be missed while talking about the most talented NHL goalies.

The Bruins selected the American netminder in the 2017 NHL Draft. He played collegiately for the Maine Black Bears following his draft in the NHL.

During his 3 seasons at the University of Maine, Swayman led the Black Bears' all-time goalies with 3,130 saves and 5,906:45 minutes played. His .927 save percentage became second, and his 2.51 GAA was fifth in franchise history.

Source : instagram

Swayman signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins in March 2020 and was assigned to the team AHL's affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

He earned an 8-1-0 record through 9 games with a .933 save percentage and 1.89 GAA and was named to the AHL Atlantic Division All-Star Team at the end of the 2020-21 season.

The netminder played his NHL debut match on April 6, 2021, in a 4-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. He stopped 40 shots to earn a win in his very first NHL game.

On April 16, he made all 25 shots over the New York Islanders in a 3-0 contest to earn his first NHL shutout. The goaltender accumulated 7-3-0 stat playing in 10 games for the last six weeks of Boston's regular season.

Swayman completed the 2021-22 regular season with a 23-14-3 stat from 40 games and led all NHL rookie goalies with a .913 save percentage, 2.37 GAA, and three shutouts.

He was named to the 2022 NHL All-Rookie Team for his achievement.

The Bruins completed the 2022-23 regular season with a new record in both wins (65) and points (135) and won the Presidents' Trophy.

Swayman and his fellow goaltender Ullmark were awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy together.

To visualize his performance in the 2023-24 season, the netminder has posted a 7-1-2 record from his first 10 games. He currently holds a 2.28 GAA and .927 SV%.

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