I actually quite enjoyed making this particular list. I often base my rankings heavily of statistics, but am also often disappointed at the results and change them a bit to my liking. With this list the results came out a list that I liked very much. Without further ado, here is the first half of the Top 10 Goaltenders since the 2004-05 Lockout:
- Braden Holtby
The youngest goalie on the list at just 27, Holtby started his career in 2010 with the Capitals and played two short seasons before getting in 36 games for the 2012-13 season, winning 23 games. The 2014-15 season was a breakout year for Holtby, as he led the NHL’s goaltenders with 73 games played, winning 41 contests along the way. Holtby continued to carry the load for the Capitals in the 2015-16 season with an incredible 48 wins, leading the league in that category and winning the Vezina for the first time. Holtby was also voted to the First All-Star Team. As of the writing of this, Holtby has nearly finished another very strong 2016-17 season on an incredibly good Washington club.
- Jonathan Quick
Quick played his first games in the 2007-08 season, but became a regular in 2008-09, playing in 44 games with the Kings. The following season, Quick played a stunning 72 games, winning 39 of them. The 2011-12 season was a strong one for Quick, as he finished second in Vezina voting, partly due to his sparkling .929 save percentage. Quick led the league with 10 shutouts and also led his team to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, with Quick himself winning the Conn Smythe. Quick and the Kings won the William Jennings trophy in 2014 and also won another Stanley Cup. The 2015-16 season was another very successful one for Quick, as he led the league with 68 games and also managed a career-high 40 wins. Quick finished third in Vezina voting during that season. Quick is currently the all-time games and wins leader for the Kings.
- Pekka Rinne
While Rinne played 2 games in the 2005-06 campaign, his career didn’t really start until the 2008-09 season, when he surprised the Predators by being a capable NHL starter. In 2010-11, Rinne would improve to the point of an impressive .930 save percentage and a second-place finish in Vezina trophy voting. Rinne played an amazing 73 games the following year and also led the NHL in wins with 43 for the Predators, garnering him enough attention to finish third in Vezina voting. After a couple of off seasons, the 2014-15 season featured a brief resurgence for Rinne, as he won 41 games and had a .923 save percentage, good enough for second in Vezina voting. Rinne holds almost every single Nashville Predators goaltender record, including all-time games, wins, and shutouts.
- Tim Thomas
If there was ever the perfect example of a late-bloomer, Tim Thomas was it. Thomas didn’t become a regular until the 2005-06 season, at the age of 31, and even then, he didn’t become a star player until the 2007-08 season, at 33 years of age. The 2008-09 season saw Thomas take home the Jennings and the Vezina Trophy thanks to his impressive .933 save percentage. In 2010-11, the 36-year old has an even more impressive season with a .938 save percentage, winning his second Vezina trophy. Thomas also won the Conn Smythe that year as the Bruins captured their first Cup in 39 years. After another strong 2011-12 season, Thomas took a year off. He returned at 39 years of age in the 2013-14 season, first for the Florida Panthers, and was traded during the season to the Dallas Stars. Thomas retired at the end of that season. Only four goaltenders have ever been older than Thomas and won the Vezina and Thomas is still the oldest goaltender to win it in the post-lockout era.
- Ryan Miller
Although Miller had dabbled in the NHL prior to the 2004-05 lockout, it was in the 2005-06 season that he really began playing more games. Miller had a strong 2006-07 season for the Sabres, winning 40 games. Some years later in 2009-10, Miller exploded for 41 wins and a .929 save percentage, winning him the Vezina and a spot on the First All-Star Team. Miller continued to be a consistent and reliable force for the Sabres until the 2013-14 season deadline, when Buffalo traded their long-time goaltender to the St. Louis Blues. Miller then signed with the Canucks and has continued his reliable ways, despite now being 36 years old. Miller remains the Sabres’ all-time leader in wins and games and is currently third in all-time wins among American goaltenders, just 12 behind Tom Barrasso.