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The Top 5 Goalies Not in the Playoffs

Which Goalies Deserved a Better Fate?

With all the attention focused on the playoffs now, I began to think of those teams that did not make it to the dance. Nearly half the teams will soon be heading for the golf course and there must be some big names who deserve better. Or put another way, who is looking good for the World Championships? 

7 guys made my list of 5 – keep reading to see how!

Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Goalie

Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom will be sitting out the playoffs despite being amongst the league leaders in most goaltending categories.

So, let’s take a look at who is done (almost).

New York Islanders
Los Angeles

The thing that stands out for me is, well, the lack of names that stand out. Most of the top ‘tenders in the league are still playing for the Cup. It looks like most of the best guys were able to at least carry their teams into the top half of the league.

Still, here are, in my opinion five (well, seven) guys who deserve better:

  1. Niklas Backstrom – 4th in the league in wins with 37, 4th in save%, 3rd in GAA how exactly did they miss the playoffs?
  2. Pekka Rinne – if not for all the shutouts Mason got in an early run this guy would be at least as likely to win the Calder.
  3. Thomas Vokun / Craig Andersen the FLA tenders are 2nd and 3rd in save % – but a lot further down the list in GAA.
  4. Ryan Miller – 7th in save %. Without his injury Buffalo might still be playing.
  5. Dwayne Roloson Middle of the pack but only a few thousandths separates him from the rest in save% – only 4 goals over the course of the year on 2000 shots and clearly he carried the Oilers as best as he could for a long stretch.
  6. Scott Clemmensenhonorable mention – technicaly he’s in the playoffs, but he won’t see any game action and the way he played this year , and how he carried himself, he definately deserves better.

What stands out for me is that, without looking at first round playoff exits, if goalies are the most important factor (of course we are!) and I had to place my bet today I’d put my money on Finland in the World Championships. 

Who would make your list?

Check out this NBC video feature on Backstrom

Since this is a list – I want to give a special shout out here to Bruce K. Hollingdrake of who included our site in his list of top hockey blogs and their correspondent Brett Bodner did this profile of Scott Clemmensen.




photo thanks to Aticia, all rights reserved.

About The Author

David Hutchison

David is one of the founders of InGoal Magazine which he began in 2009. Of course he finds time for some goaltending of his own as well, and despite his age, clings desperately to the idea that some NHL team will call him to play for them - though in his mid-forties (OK, late 40s) it'll likely be for a practice when everyone else on their depth chart has the flu and the shooter tutor has gone in for repairs.


  1. Bruce > The Hockey Writers

    Great list – and thanks for the mention of our site.
    It’s a shame about Clemmensen bot getting in there. His wife left a nice comment on our site a few weeks back after we profiled Scott. One of the NHL’s best stories of the season.

  2. Heather Galindo

    Ugh. How are the Wild not in the playoffs? How long you got? 🙂