2013 Goalie Statistical Projections
With the hectic and chaotic week of NHL training camps behind us, it's finally time to dig into the start of the condensed season.
For the goaltenders, it will be a true test of sheer physical strength and mental will. With Game 1 breeding the intensity and importance of a playoff game, it won't be hard to see who stayed in shape during the lockout. You'll hear goalies across the league discuss the importance of getting into a rhythm, getting their timing back on track, and staying patient with that process.
But I have to say, I'm pretty optimistic in terms of how goaltending as a whole will perform. I expected to see a few goalies suffer injuries this past week, but the only one to surface was Nikolai Khabibulin in Edmonton, and this was more about his off-season surgery than a recent or "fresh" injury.
To know that 99% of the goalies in the NHL stayed healthy is a great sign, and might reveal itself with some better-than-expected performances this weekend.
Of course some goalies will take longer than others to get back into the groove, and that adjustment period could mean the difference between making and missing the playoffs. So the pressure is on to hit the ground running, and that's going to make these first few games even more intense and important.
By now, you've certainly heard analysts and writers discuss the importance of NHL backups this season. Their ability to step up and win key games in a condensed and grueling schedule (especially in the Western Conference) has never been so vital to a team's success, and that calls for a lot of potential shifts in value for inexperienced and promising long-term prospects.* Read the remainder of this Article in the Premium Content