ESPN has their goaltender rankings in, as chosen by the 'experts': the NHL players who have to play against them. The names at the top of the list may not be surprises - Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Tuuka Rask - but what the list may show more than anything is the quality of goal-tending in the league, and the fickleness of any ranking system. For example, 10 of the top 12 on ESPN's list played for playoff teams last year. How much does simply playing for a competitive team boost a goalie's ranking?
Kari Lehtonen checks in on the list in a three-way tie for the 20th spot. A review by Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun discusses the merits of the individual goaltenders, and their respective rankings. Regarding Kari, they had this to say: "Frankly, I think Lehtonen is about where he deserves to be given questions about his durability and the fact he has just two postseason games to his credit."
Somewhat harsh perhaps to judge a goaltender by lack of playoff experience. Might as well start looking at win-loss records for keepers as a valuable stat. But regardless, it can't be understated that there are questions surrounding Lehtonen. Whether his fault or no, the fact remains that he has yet to be seriously tested on the ultimate stage, the NHL playoffs. And with past shortcomings in March or April, it has to be wondered if he has the ability to carry a team through a grueling stretch run, let alone a Cup run.
But at the end of the day, say whatever you like about Kari, and I'll reply with this.
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Following on from the ESPN list, Yard Barker has a composite ranking of the league's goaltenders, a little more stat heavy, but in a good way.
Everybody loves John Klingberg. Me? I just like the name. Too bad he'll be playing in Sweden most of this year. Click this link quick, before it gets pay-walled! [Sports Day DFW]
We looked yesterday at Reilly Smith's chances of cracking the lineup with Boston, but let's not forget Matt Fraser was included as another spare part in the same blockbuster deal. [Boston Herald]
Care for a rundown of training camp, Razor style? [Razor with an Edge]
I'm pretty sure the comments section of yesterday's links post contained this same debate, but for all you fashionistas out there, feel free to weigh in on the uniform debate at Sports Day DFW.
A Central Division All-Star team, courtesy of isportsweb.
Tim Thomas is back! Although to be honest, I didn't really notice when he left. Why did he leave again? [NHL.com]
I'm a sucker for news on this. Maybe it's cause I love Seattle and feel the only thing missing is an NHL franchise, but I followed the saga of the Coyotes closely over the summer, and now here's another rumor starting up. Expansion in the NHL? Well we are gonna have to do something to redress the East/West Conference disparity at some point... [SB Nation]
And finally, you want snark? Puck Daddy has a brilliantly smartasstic recap of news and rumors across the NHL this past weekend.