Goalie Tandems: Which ones are working, and which ones are not
It's no secret that teams have changed the way they use their goaltenders over the past handful of seasons. You're not seeing many group projects in-net anymore, where one goalie does all of the work, and the other one just puts their name on it right before it's due.
Smart teams are carefully managing their workloads, gravitating towards something more closely resembling a timeshare between their starter and their backup.
Everyone is generally more aware of the detrimental effect fatigue can have on player performance at this point, largely due to the advances in sports science. That manifests itself in any number of ways, from decreased efficiency to an increased likelihood of missing games due to injury. The reason why teams care is obvious -- they want to protect their players, but they also want to protect the investments they've made in them, by having them available when the games matter most.
The unique nature of this season's compressed timeline has shined an even brighter light on the importance of this trend. With the number of games being jammed into tight windows to try and fit everything in this year, there have been some crazy scheduling quirks where teams are playing three times in four nights, five times in eight nights, and so on.
Having two goalies that you can rely on and play confidently on any given night, without worrying about giving away valuable points, is a massive luxury in the NHL today. But whether it's because of injuries, whiffing on player evaluation, or seemingly not prioritizing it in their roster building, not every team does.
Let's take a closer look at what each team is getting from their respective goalies so far this season. We'll do so by differentiating between their starter and their backup, and how each of them has performed individually. Which teams have had the best duo in-net? Which ones have been most reliant on their No. 1? And which ones are still in pursuit of the right combination?
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