Quite simply, there's no position more important than goaltender in the NHL. Though not as marketable as a high scoring forward or a flashy defenceman, goaltenders stand as the last line of defense for a team and serve as the backbone of their respective team. If the goaltender is having a rough night, it's more than likely that your team is going to lose the game. On the flip side, if your goalie is standing on his head, your chances increase exponentially. Due to this fact, teams with a question mark in net often make it their top priority to find a suitable starting goalie. As an example, let's look at the Edmonton Oilers and the moves they've made to try and find a solution. They drafted Devan Dubnyk and traded him before he matured. They traded for Ben Scrivens who they no longer believe in and they also traded for Viktor Fasth as another stop gap, but he's gone back to the KHL after a terrible stint. Hell, at one point, they even brought in Ilya Bryzgalov. This past summer, in their latest attempt to stabilize the position, they traded for Cam Talbot, who looked great in New York last year.
On this list, we'll see a mix of the elite, average and simply overpaid goalies. Too many teams have overcompensated in their search for stability in net and are paying for it dearly now. While others were lucky enough to have locked in their top shelf goalies in their formative years, as they'd now be worth double what they're making on the free agent market.
*All figures were taken from Spotrac.com and look at the cap hits for the goalies.
15 15. Mike Smith, $5.7 Million
14 14. Marc-Andre Fleury, $5.75 Million
13 13. Jonathan Quick, $5.8 Million
12 T11. Semyon Varlamov, $5.9 Million
11 T11. Kari Lehtonen, $5.9 Million
10 10. Ben Bishop, $5.95 Million
9 T7. Cory Schneider, $6 Million
8 T7. Corey Crawford, $6 Million
7 T7. Ryan Miller, $6 Million
6 6. Cam Ward, $ 6.3 Million
5 5. Carey Price, $6.5 Million
4 T3. Tuukka Rask, $7 Million
3 T3. Pekka Rinne, $7 Million
2 2. Sergei Bobrovsky, $7.425 Million
1 1. Henrik Lundqvist, $8.5 Million
Though he's not considered the top goalie in the league, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't consider Henrik Lundqvist one of the top five goalies in the world. Lundqvist has been the face of the Rangers for the last few years and won a Vezina trophy back in 2011/12. Even more impressive than his Vezina win is that he's received votes in the Vezina race every single year he's been in the league, which demonstrates his incredible consistency and why he's considered a truly elite goalie. The Rangers have one of the better rosters in the league at the moment and they'll need Lundqvist to be at the top of his game if they're to hoist Lord Stanley.
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