Prospect Ramblings: Handicapping Prospect Goalies Playoff Success Chances

Brayden Olafson

2020-07-31

 

 

With the NHL’s Phase IV of the Return to Play agenda underway, and now being only a day away from critical hockey games, there is one category of decisions that still seems to be uncertain for several teams in the league – goaltending. Under the constraints of the bubble hub city format, any lack of goaltending depth could prove to be a major risk for any team, with that risk increasing the deeper a given team moves into the playoffs. With that taken into consideration, it was in the best interest of every team to, in many cases, include not only a third-string goaltender but a fourth-string option as well. 

 

 

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Now, despite 13 teams carrying four goaltenders into the bubble, it’s highly unlikely that the third, let alone the fourth-string see any meaningful ice time over the course of the next few months, at least in most cases. That being said, I’m a sucker for a good old playoff goaltending controversy so today I want to go down the rabbit hole and talk about some of the goalies who have slightly better than 0% chance of becoming their team’s next best hope at a Stanley Cup. 

 

More importantly than simply discussing the chances of each of these goaltenders getting meaningful minutes, I want to discuss the possibility of them actually having success, for which there are many more factors at play. 

 

 

 

Chris Driedger, Florida Panthers 

Starting Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky

 

The Florida Panthers are carrying a total of four goaltenders into Phase IV. Up first to the plate will undoubtedly be their big-fish free-agent, Sergei Bobrovsky. Despite posting a dissatisfying 3.23 goals-against average through 50 starts in the regular season, Bobrovsky’s AAV unofficially dictates that he must be first in line to take the big punch. 

 

After Bobrovsky, the battle in net lies between 26-year-old Manitoban, Chris Driedger who started in 12 games for the Panthers this year, and the 23-year-old Quebec native, Sam Montembeault who started in 14. 

 

Despite the Panthers facing off against a relatively defensive-minded squad from Long Island, Joel Quenneville’s patience with Bobrovsky under such crucial circumstances will be much less forgiving than they were throughout the regular season. Should the 31-year-old Russian struggle in two consecutive games out of the gate, you can bet that the reigns will quickly be handed over to one of the more youthful netminders in an attempt to set a stronger course. 

 

Sadly, for this to come to fruition would mean that the Panthers will likely have bequeathed a bold margin to the Islanders, leaving e