Sunday, March 01, 2009

Will We See Another

While I was a little rough on the Devils organization and Martin Brodeur when they sent Scott Clemmensen down, they have seemed to prove me wrong with their decision. Since returning, Brodeur has recorded shutouts 99 and 100, which puts him three behind Terry Sawchuk for career shutouts and the three wins puts him at 547, four behind Patrick Roy's all-time record.

This begs the question, with the dominance we have seen in the crease from Brodeur and Roy in the past decade-- will we see anything like this in the new wave of faces behind the mask??

In a world where it seems that platooning in the pipes is a constant and where anyone can jump out of the blue to take over a starters role, will there be a constant starter in the future to be able to sniff the success Brodeur and Roy have had?? Also, with a diminishing crop of stand-out goaltenders coming through the ranks, you have to wonder if there's anyone out there to step-up their game in order to make their way up the table and get to the top of the mountain with Brodeur and Roy.

There's always one or two prospects who are deemed as the next big thing coming through the systems, but once they get to the show-- they can't come through. Whether it's a product of the system they were brought up in or just not being able to handle the pressure of the NHL grind, something never seems to happen for these young netminders. Granted, Steve Mason could very well break that mold, but only time will tell if he can keep this pace up with the team in front of him.

Also have the surprise goalies, who were forever back-ups, but somehow steal the starting role from the incumbent, only to find out that they weren't that solid of a starter to being with, just stole a few games against weaker opponents. Sure, there's plenty who can keep the starting role and actually prove to be good, but then you have guys like Craig Anderson and Brent Johnson who don't have the ability to have the day-to-day grind, thus making it a platoon situation from there on.

Plus, you look at all the injuries that have been happening with star goaltenders this year. Brodeur with his arm, Roberto Luongo with his groin problems, and others-- it allows the back-ups to step up and those their game to play out. Of course, it turns into a situation where controversy looms when the starter returns if the back-up just played out of their mind....but of course, the back-up then wants a place where he can start, gets traded there, and just completely burns out horribly.

Kari Lehtonen could be an example of a system letting him down, as the Thrashers haven't had anything solid defensively....well, forever. You can also chalk up Lehtonen's lack of success to his injuries as well, but when you're barraged with the amount of shots he usually is-- you're going to break down quickly. Chris Mason is a perfect example of a back-up stealing a starter's role only to have his flaws picked out very quickly, though the Nashville system hasn't brought about a solid starter since they traded away Tomas Vokoun. While the jury is still out on what Clemmensen could want once he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer or what could happen with the deadline looming and teams in need of goaltending help.

In a world of where goaltenders are based on the "What have you done for me lately" model, it's a very far-fetched claim to think anyone will be trying to get the records of Roy, Brodeur, and Sawchuk. Platooning, injury and rushing young talent will hinder anyone's attempts to try and get to the records these three have reached.

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