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The Metropolitan Division's Top 10 Goalies: 2014-15

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Continuing our breakdown of the Division's best, with a look at the men in net

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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Now that the forwards are out of the way (be it the left wingers, the right wingers or the centers), it's time to break down the Metropolitan's best between the pipes.

Honorable mention: Ray Emery, Thomas Greiss

10. Cam Talbot, New York Rangers
Last year's rank: NR


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Rangers) 21 1211 12 6 1 33 1.64 560 527 .941 3

Most backup goaltenders know that their workload is going to be somewhat limited over the course of a season; that's even more true for whoever ends up second in line behind a workhorse like Henrik Lundqvist, who regularly plays three-quarters of the season. It's probably not an easy job, but Talbot stepped into that role at the beginning of 2013-14 and excelled. He gave up just 33 goals in 21 appearances last season, winning 12 of those games - three of them via a shutout - and had the third-highest even-strength save percentage (.942) among all goalies. The jury's still out on whether he's actually as good as his numbers (small sample size being what it is)... but it was still quite the NHL debut to have at the young-at-heart age of 26.

9. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers
Last year's rank: Honorable mention


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Flyers) 61 3486 33 18 7 145 2.50 1751 1606 .917 4

Mason's six seasons in the NHL have been something of a roller-coaster ride, from his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season back in 2008-09 to the string of abysmal performances that followed to the relative renaissance he's had since arriving in Philadelphia. That he's not higher on this list is in large part due to those abysmal seasons in Columbus, when his save percentage hovered around .900 for four straight seasons leading up to his trade in 2012-13. But he has rebounded nicely as a Flyer, setting a new career-high save percentage and posting four shutouts en route to a 33-win season - and picking up the first two playoff wins of his career, turning aside 123 of the 131 shots he faced.

8. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
Last year's rank: 6


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Hurricanes) 30 1645 10 12 6 84 3.06 824 740 .898 0

If Mason's body of work has pushed him down a bit in the rankings, Ward's is likely keeping him afloat. Since coming off the bench in the 2005-06 postseason and helping propel the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup victory, Ward's numbers steadily improved in each of the next five seasons, and he posted at least 30 wins in each of those campaigns. He also proved to be something of a workhorse for his team, appearing in at least 60 games in five of his nine seasons (and a whopping 74 in 2010-11) and whitewashing teams 21 times over that span. Injuries in recent years have caused both his effectiveness and his appearances to dip, however, with just 47 games in the last two seasons... and a save percentage of just .902 in those games.

7. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last year's rank: 7


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Penguins) 64 3792 39 18 5 150 2.37 1774 1624 .915 5

Fleury has pretty well established himself as a decent goalie with the ability to be great at times (and a penchant for being the opposite of that at inopportune ones). 2013-14 was more of the same, with 60+ games and a save percentage just slightly above his career average. He did post 39 wins, however, second-most in his career, and his five shutouts (tied for third-most in the League) were the most he's had in a single season since his 40-win campaign back in 2006-07. The question mark for Fleury, however, has always been his postseason performance, where his save percentage dipped below .900 for four consecutive playoff runs after his 2009 Cup run. And to that end, the 2014 season was something of a bounceback performance (a few high-profile gaffes aside) - he maintained his .915 save percentage into the playoffs, and picked up two shutouts, tied for the League lead. Sustainable? We'll see.

6. Anton Khudobin, Carolina Hurricanes 
Last year's rank: NR


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Hurricanes) 36 2084 19 14 1 80 2.30 1076 996 .926 1

While Cam Ward has struggled to stay healthy, his starter's job in Carolina has gradually fallen to (or been taken by) Khudobin, who signed with the Hurricanes last summer. His resume is short on experience, with numerous backup roles and stints in the AHL scattered throughout, and 2013-14 was the first season in which he really carried the bulk of the workload. He seems to have adjusted to his new role pretty well - all he did was put up a .926 save percentage, the second-highest of anyone on this list, and the seventh-highest save percentage at even strength in the League. Of course, like Talbot, Khudobin still has to prove that he can repeat that kind of performance... and the Hurricanes will probably need him to if they're going to be competitive this year.

5. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
Last year's rank: NR


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Blues) 40 2238 24 9 4 83 2.23 1002 919 .917 4
2013-14 (Capitals) 12 701 5 4 3 27 2.31 383 356 .930 1
2013-14 Total 52 2939 29 13 7 110 2.25 1385 1275 .921 5

Halak's career has been an interesting one, to say the least, whether haunting the dreams of playoff opponents (...too soon?) or being involved in controversy in some way or another. On the ice he's been unpredictable; he's had phenomenal years and not-so-phenomenal ones, with a save percentage that ranges from .899 (in 2012-13) to .926 (the season before). Last season he finished tied for 13th with a .921 save percentage and picked up his 30th career shutout during his brief stint with the Caps... although oddly enough, he has never blanked an opponent in the postseason. He's played on teams that are shot-blocking menaces, on teams that are defensively strong and on the Capitals - so it'll be interesting to see how he does on an up-and-coming but defensively questionable Islanders team this season.

4. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals 
Last year's rank: 4


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Capitals) 48 2656 23 15 4 126 2.85 1475 1349 .915 4

After putting up near-sparkling numbers in his first three seasons (and standing on his head a time or two in the playoffs), Holtby's 2013-14 season was a setback. An overcrowded Capitals net and questionable coaching demands and decisions caused the usually-confident Holtby to stumble a bit. And yet even with that stumble, he still managed to finish the season with a .915 save percentage (.930 at even strength, ninth-best among NHL goalies appearing in at least 25 games) and four shutouts, thanks in part to a strong finish to the season. At just 25-years-old and with only 105 regular season games under his belt, he's got plenty of time to rebound from last season - and with a retooled defense in front of him, and new goaltending coach Mitch Korn guiding the way, he has the potential to do just that. And if that's not reason enough for confidence in Holtby going forward, this stat should be: since the start of the 2010-11 season, only three goalies have played 3,000 minutes and posted a better five-on-five save percentage than Holtby... and they've won the last three Vezina Trophies (and two of the three are still ahead on this list).

3. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
Last year's rank: 3


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 (Devils) 45 2680 16 15 12 88 1.97 1107 1019 .921 5

Schneider's arrival in Newark last summer was the surprise of draft day, as the former Vancouver Canuck landed in Martin Brodeur's territory - and promptly took it over. The wins and losses don't provide an accurate picture of just what Schneider was able to accomplish on a team that was outside of the playoff picture, but the individual stats certainly do, as Schneider gave up just 88 goals in 45 games and posted five shutouts (which he pretty much had to do, considering how infrequently his own team scored). His .921 save percentage last season was actually his lowest since making the jump to full-time NHLer, and still managed to crack the top 15 in the NHL. Up until now, of course, he's had to share the workload - and the spotlight - with another goalie, but with Brodeur gone, Schneider finally gets a shot at being the #1 guy, and he's got a fat new contract to do just that. Now all he has to do is prove that he's up to that challenge.

2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Last year's rank: 2


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 58 3299 32 20 5 131 2.38 1699 1568 .923 5

Bobrovsky has already done some pretty great things in his young career - for the Vezina Trophy-winning 26-year-old, however, what stands out is his potential. His first two seasons went from average to bad, but a trade to the Blue Jackets in 2012 proved to be a turning point. He turned that first campaign with Columbus into some impressive hardware, and then followed it up with very little drop-off and a furious run to the playoffs, where he picked up his first career postseason victory. As is the case with many young, relatively unproven goaltenders, the sample is small and there are still questions as to whether he's the real deal - but if he can keep it going, he's got the ability to take his team to the next level.

1. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers 
Last year's rank: 1


GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013-14 63 3655 33 24 5 144 2.36 1810 1666 .920 5

Some had more wins than him last season. Some had better save percentages or more shutouts or a better start to the season. It doesn't matter, because Henrik Lundqvist has been and remains the class of the Division, the Conference and the League. We've seen what he's able to do when he doesn't have the team in front of him; last season he had a few more pieces to work with, and was able to carry the Rangers all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Now entering his tenth NHL season, he has had at least 30 wins in all but one (the lone exception being the lockout-shortened 2013 season), has had at least five shutouts six times (hitting double-digits twice), has had a save percentage of at least .920 in five straight seasons and has been a Vezina finalist five times, winning it back in 2012.