Elite goalies are tough to come by. But the Americans have been blessed with stellar goaltending in 2010 (Ryan Miller) and 2014 (Jonathan Quick). Though it didn’t translate into a gold medal, it certainly kept Team USA in the thick of things.
As we begin our scouting, here are the top five goalies right now who could compete for the three spots on the US roster. Outside of the headers, these are in no particular order.
1.) Ben Bishop
Coming off a hot season and leading his team to the Stanley Cup Final last season, Ben Bishop certainly left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can steal a game or two. Coming from Ottawa where he was the back-up for Craig Anderson, and moving to a young and growing Tampa team, he backstopped them to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. As of now Bishop is currently 5-6 this season posting up a current 2.34 GAA and a .917 SV%. Don’t let that record fool you-Bishop has been playing fantastic lately. Bad bounces and luck have cost them a few games. It is still early. That’s why the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
2.) Cory Schneider
Schneider so far has a record of 6-3 with a GAA of 2.16 and a SV% of .922. He actually is looking really good so far this season considering all he was went through within the past few years with constantly battling for a starting spot in Vancouver and New Jersey. He seems to be finding his groove lately and is fitting in quite nicely. Scheneider’s name should be penciled in if his dominance continues. He could push both Quick and Bishop for the top spot.
3.) Jonathan Quick
Quick as of now has a record of 6-4, a GAA of 2.28, and SV% of .918. His resume is one of greatness: 2 Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and an international showcase in 2014. Don’t let the early numbers fool you–Quick is already rounding back into his usual form. Ryan Miller challenged Quick for the top spot in 2014, but Quick ultimately secured himself as the starter. The competition between Quick-Bishop-Schneider will unfold uniquely as each is expected to back stop their team to greater heights. Bishop–a return trip to the Final. Schneider–a team with low expectations. Quick–a team back to the playoffs.
Quick’s best work is in the clutch.
On the Outside Looking In
4.) Craig Anderson:
Due to last season’s poor performance, Anderson was usurped by Andrew Hammond during the Senator’s torrid run to close the 2014-2015 regular season. Anderson has since rebounded. Right now, Anderson is starting the season with a 5-3 record and a 2.83 GAA. His save percentage is a modest .913% When Anderson is on, there is no solving him. The Red Wings shelled him for five goals on Saturday, however, showing that when he springs a leak, the net becomes a flood of pucks.
5.) Jimmy Howard
Jimmy Howard rounds out our top five in November. Howard this season is currently splitting time with Petr Mrazek after having a nightmare finish to the 2014-2015 season. As of now, Jimmy is 3-2 and isn’t looking too bad. Regardless of his hot start, I expect injury or inconsistency to victimize him again.
A Wings fan talking here, Howard has always been a step too slow when the Red Wings have needed him. The up and coming Mrazek was favored over Howard in last season’s Atlantic Division Semi-Final, and took the Wings within a whisker of upsetting the Lightning. Howard has been battling for his job since. Sporting a .934 save percentage and a 2.01 GAA, Howard has certainly made some wonder if the second half of last season was an anomaly. After all, Howard enjoyed an All-Star caliber season prior to a groin injury in January. It remains to be seen if he can continue this pace–and remain healthy.
Tomorrow, BLR looks at the top ten American defensemen.