Ranking the NHL’s top goaltenders for 2023: Why Vasilevskiy is the clear top choice
- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
There shouldn’t be a debate about the NHL’s best goaltender, at least according to one goalie coach.
“For me, the No. 1 is clear cut,” the coach told ESPN. “He is the king right now. He’s been the king for a while. There is no argument there.”
That’s quite a statement. Consider that nine different goaltenders have won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder in the past nine seasons. There are more than a few netminders with a claim to that throne. So we turned to the experts to find out which goalie they believe sits upon it.
ESPN’s 2023 NHL position-by-position ranking collected 20 surveys that represented those on the ice and behind the scenes.
Here’s how it worked: Surveys were conducted over the past two months. Respondents were asked to rank their current top 10 players at center, winger, defenseman and goaltender, based on a predetermined list of the top 25 to 35 players at each position. Players who were ranked in the top 10 were given a numerical score — No. 1 earned 10 points, No. 2 earned nine points and so on.
There were 10 NHL players surveyed — six from the Eastern Conference, four from the Western Conference. They range from NHL award nominees to veteran role players. To balance that perspective, we surveyed 10 people from the hockey operations departments of NHL teams, including three coaches and three general managers.
Combined, their insights led to rankings that go behind fan conjecture and media narratives to reveal the best of the best — at least according to those inside the NHL.
Here are the top 10 goaltenders, according to our surveys, with additional reporting from yours truly, Kristen Shilton and Ryan S. Clark to add context to the choices. Stats are collected from sites such as Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Reference and Evolving Hockey.
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