5 best goaltending duos in the NHL
Load management has become one of the hottest topics in the modern NHL, with teams looking for new ways to gain an advantage during the regular-season slog.
In 2018-19, we saw more teams shift toward a platoon between the pipes, and the need for multiple netminders who can handle a significant workload has never been greater.
With that in mind, here's a look at the NHL's top goaltending duos entering the 2019-20 campaign.
5. Jonathan Quick - Jack Campbell, Kings
When it comes to raw talent, few teams boast a stronger tandem in net than the Kings.
Quick struggled in 2018-19, but don't let one down year fool you. The two-time Stanley Cup champion posted a goals-against average of 2.45 or lower over his previous eight campaigns, and there's still plenty left in his tank.
Campbell, a 2010 first-round selection, is a highly touted netminder who finally put his bona fides on display last season. The 27-year-old posted a 2.30 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage over 31 games for a defensively weak Kings team.
Los Angeles will likely miss the playoffs for the second straight season, but the team's shortcomings won't come in goal.
4. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Curtis McElhinney, Lightning
Vasilevskiy is a safe bet to continue playing at an elite level after collecting his first career Vezina Trophy in 2018-19. The Russian won 39 of his 53 starts for the Lightning last season, losing consecutive games just once - and never in regulation.
The experienced McElhinney provides the team with a reliable second option to lean on while managing Vasilevskiy's workload.
McElhinney's career numbers don't exactly pop off the page, but the veteran has quietly been one of the league's steadiest backups over the last three seasons. The 36-year-old has notched 39 wins in 63 starts with a 2.51 goals-against average and .919 save percentage since the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
McElhinney also impressed with a strong postseason stint for the Carolina Hurricanes last spring. He allowed just nine goals over five playoff contests while posting a .930 save percentage.
3. Ben Bishop - Anton Khudobin, Stars
With Bishop leading the way, the Stars conceded the fewest goals in the Western Conference despite giving up over 30 shots per game in 2018-19. The 32-year-old Vezina Trophy finalist last season was outstanding, allowing 87 goals in 46 starts to significantly outperform his expected goals against of 105.22.
When Bishop was out with an injury, Khudobin provided a reliable option in relief. The Russian collected 16 wins while posting a 2.57 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage over 37 starts.
The pair was also sensational when faced with top-quality scoring chances. Bishop led all goaltenders (minimum 1,000 minutes played) with a high-danger save percentage of .885, and Khudobin finished seventh at .850.
Even if Bishop stays healthy in 2019-20, the Stars can still lean on Khudobin to keep their starter fresh for another potential playoff appearance.
2. Pekka Rinne - Juuse Saros, Predators
The Predators finished in the top two in save percentage and top four in goals against in each of the past two seasons. With the same tandem protecting the crease in 2019-20, Nashville makes for a stingy opponent.
Saros could assume starting duties on a handful of NHL teams, but the 24-year-old has been stuck playing behind Rinne since debuting in 2015-16. The 5-foot-11 puck-stopper suffered back-to-back regulation losses on just two occasions in 2018-19, and his 17 wins over 27 starts were each career bests.
The 36-year-old Rinne continues to stifle opponents during the latter stages of his career. The towering Finn has posted a goals-against average of under 2.50 in five consecutive seasons, and he ranks second in wins (178) since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
1. Tuukka Rask - Jaroslav Halak, Bruins
Inking Halak to a two-year deal ahead of the 2018-19 campaign was easily the Bruins' most significant transaction that offseason. Adding the 34-year-old as a secondary option behind Rask made the team extremely difficult to beat.
Consequently, the Bruins allowed the third-fewest goals in the league last season, and the duo's combined nine shutouts also ranked third.
Of the four teams that finished with multiple 20-win goaltenders last season, Rask and Halak formed the only tandem still intact for 2019-20. Boston was also one of two clubs with both goalies posting a goals-against average below 2.50 (minimum 20 starts).
With Rask turning 33 next March, expect the Bruins to use a similar platoon this season, and that will cause problems even for the league's top offenses.
All advanced stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick
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