Earlier today, I looked at the five most consistent goalies in the league. The group below is the mirror image of those first five, the least consistent goaltenders in the NHL. It’s a varied bunch, featuring goalies old and young, European and North American. The common factor is that none of the five goalies have been especially good this season; their performances range from poor to middling. And unlike the top list, which featured some surprises, this group is pretty much as expected.

1. Cristobal Huet.

  • Save Percentage: 0.898
  • Average Per-Game Save Percentage: 0.880
  • Standard Deviation: 10.63

Like I said, this wasn’t a surprise. I really expected Huet to bounce back after a subpar 2008-09, but he’s done the opposite, becoming the heel to Chicago’s Achilles. The Blackhawks had turned to the French-born goaltender after Stanley Cup winner Nikolai Khabibulin stunk for three out of four seasons, but the experience has been basically the same: spending lots of money for poor results. At this point, I doubt it would surprise anyone if Antti Niemi (also struggling of late, with six poor performances in his last seven games) started in net for the playoffs.

2. Pekka Rinne.

  • Save Percentage: 0.901
  • Average Per-Game Save Percentage: 0.884
  • Standard Deviation: 10.16

Ever since they trade Tomas Vokoun, the Predators have followed a pattern with their goaltenders: a brilliant performance for one season, followed by a fall from grace which creates an opportunity for the next guy. It happened with Chris Mason, who was replaced by Dan Ellis. Then it happened to Dan Ellis, who was replaced by Rinne. Now Rinne’s created all sorts of room for Ellis to re-take the job. He’s alternated between good and bad performances all season, and unfortunately he simply hasn’t been all that good overall.

3. Steve Mason

  • Save Percentage: 0.899
  • Average Per-Game Save Percentage: 0.884
  • Standard Deviation: 10.08

Last season, Steve Mason won the Calder Trophy. In so doing he established himself as not only the goalie of the future in Columbus but also the goalie of the here and now; the Blue Jackets sent away Pascal Leclaire and Mason was even a dark horse contender for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. This year has been an unmitigated disaster; Mason’s gone from brilliant to brutal and now finds himself in a tandem situation with slightly less disappointing journeyman Mathieu Garon.

4. Jose Theodore

  • Save Percentage: 0.910
  • Average Per-Game Save Percentage: 0.895
  • Standard Deviation: 9.91

There are parallels between Washington and Chicago: both excellent teams with perceived weaknesses in net. Injuries have pushed Jose Theodore into a prominent role with the team, and the 2002 Hart Trophy winner has been, well, adequate. At least in the big picture; over the season he’s had mini-stretches. He’s coming off his first shutout of the season, the third in a string of three strong performances, which in turn come on the heels of three weak performances. It’s unclear which goalie will show up in the post-season, and the Capitals will probably opt for Semyon Varlamov instead.

5. Jonas Gustavsson

  • Save Percentage: 0.899
  • Average Per-Game Save Percentage: 0.886
  • Standard Deviation: 9.87

Between heart trouble, the struggles of the team in front of him, and playing in his first North American season, it would perhaps be surprising if Gustavsson were consistent. He narrowly edged out former Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala for the final spot on this list. Inconsistency is a double-edged sword for Gustavsson; on the one hand the team would undoubtedly prefer a more even keel, but at the same time those occasional flashes of brilliance might be glimpses of what Gustavsson will someday become.