The first half of this season produced surprisingly uneven goaltending. Several well-regarded netminders struggled mightily.
Here were the 10 worst offenders:
Ilya Bryzgalov, Flyers: He made the Coyotes a playoff-caliber team by earning seven shutouts and posting a .921 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average. Philly GM Paul Holmgren placed an “all-in” bet on him and jettisoned forward Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to create budget space for him (among other reasons). The first-half results have been disastrous: a 3.07 GAA and .891 save percentage. He was good in November (4-1-1, 2.52, .918) but terrible the rest of the season. He was 6-3-1 in December with a 3.20 GAA and .878 save percentage.
Ryan Miller, Sabres: His career 2.55 GAA and .916 save percentage coming into this season were pretty pedestrian – and then things went horribly (10-12-2, 3.01, .902) wrong this season. Back in October he was 4-4 with a 2.14 GAA and .930 GAA. So he still has it in him.
Jonas Hiller, Ducks: His bout with vertigo-like symptoms appear to be over. During January and February last season, he posted a .936 save percentage and 2.18 GAA. Overall his 2.56 GAA and a .924 save percentage in 46 starts last season put him in the upper tier. In his first four seasons, Hiller's save percentages were .927, .919, .918 and .924. But this year he and the Ducks collapsed. He posted awful numbers (10-17-6, 3.14, .898). He has had back-to-back bad months after an OK start (4-4-1, 2.55, .904).
Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: He eased veteran Marty Turco aside and enjoyed a stellar season (33 victories, a 2.30 GAA and .917 save percentage) a year ago behind coach Joel Quenneville’s tight-checking system. A poor November (3.27, .866) skewed his first-half ratios. He went 3-1 in a span of four starts, allowing just six goals. But he dropped his first game in January in ugly fashion. Ray Emery could steal some starts in the second half.
Dwayne Roloson, Lightning: After coming to Tampa Bay, he posted a 2.56 GAA and a .912 save percentage. At 42, he suddenly got old – going 6-9-2 with a 3.76 GAA and an .880 save percentage. That stunning turn of events tanked Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes.
Cam Ward, Hurricanes: His 2.66 GAA and .912 save percentage during the past five years make him a second-tier goaltender, despite his generally high victory totals. During his previous six years, Ward never saw his save percentage drop from the season before. But look at his numbers this year: 14-16-5, 3.15, .900. He was good in October (4-2-2, 2.34, .928) but lousy since. Carolina is riddled with injuries and likely to dump talent before the deadline.
Miikka Kiprusoff, Flames: This workhorse has generally been a save percentage liability in recent years. He improved his ratios from last season – 2.63 to 2.40, .906 to .918 – although his GAA was 2.51 and 2.52 the last two months. This season he is 19-14-2 with a 2.49 GAA and .915 save percentage. But the team is headed the wrong way and the Kipper was 2-2 with 3.07 GAA and .896 save percentage.
Steve Mason, Blue Jackets: During the last two seasons his goals-against average soared from to 3.05 and 3.03 from 2.29. He was 24-21-7 with a .901 save percentage last year. This season got really ugly (5-16-2, 3.46, .882). How could such a good netminder go so bad?
Mathieu Garon, Lightning: He became the starter by default in Tampa Bay this season. His overall numbers aren’t horrific (11-11-2, 2.85, .903). But his ratios slipped in December (3.46, .898) to create more urgency for a goaltender trade. He started January 0-2 with a 4.51 GAA and an 857 save percentage.
Nikolai Khabibulin, Oilers: He was terrible a year ago, posting a .890 save percentage, 45th among the 47 goaltenders with 25 or more games played. He GAA of 3.40 ranked 46th. He enjoyed overall improvement this season (11-13-3, 2.36, .921). But his numbers declined month to month after his remarkable start (5-0-2, 1.12, .960 in October). He was terrible in December: 2-5-1, 3.20, .896. And it didn’t get better in January (0-2-0, 3.57, .894).