Pictured: Mediocrity

Pictured: Mediocrity

Before the season, on this thing called the Backhand Shelf Podcast (which you should totally listen to because we’re awesome), I predicted that Al Montoya would be the Winnipeg Jets starting goaltender by the end of the season because I needed something random and arbitrary and I think Ondrej Pavelec is terrible. On Saturday, Montoya got a shutout. On Monday, amongst Montoya discussion, our little podcast gang determined that Montoya was the definition of an “average” goaltender and, thus, the Montoya Line was born. Basically, if Montoya is the standard for being average, a goalie can rank above or below the Montoya Line. It’s a complicated system.

Today I had the thought Bourne told me to rank all the goalies in the NHL on the Montoya Line. I created a three-point system on either side. Basically, a goalie can rank anywhere from 1 to 3 points either below or above the line. Sometimes higher, though. And sometimes I just ranked goalies wherever I felt like it. Keep in mind this is entirely my opinion based on a rating system that I made up. YOLO, etc.

Note: Two goalies ranked at the same spot on the Montoya Line does not mean that those two goalies are equal in skill.

Note 2: This is not a real, valid, correct, or relevant ranking system. I feel the need to reiterate that.

Anaheim Ducks

Viktor Fasth – 1? 3? 12? Man, I shouldn’t have started with the Ducks. I haven’t really seen enough of Fasth to make a real judgement. The way he’s playing right now, he’s the next Patrick Roy. So let’s call it 2 points above the Montoya Line.

Jonas Hiller – What happened, man? I have no idea what to make of Hiller. I feel like he should be way above but he’s just…eh. 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask – This one hurts. You know why. He’s really good. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Anton Khudobin – Apparently good? 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Buffalo Sabres

Ryan Miller – Been anywhere from 1 to 3 points above over the last few years. I’m just going to go to the middle. 2 points above the Montoya Line.

Jhonas Enroth – What I like to call “Hedberg’d” as he basically never plays because he’s stuck behind a goalie who plays almost every game. So it’s hard to judge. 1 point below the Montoya Line because I don’t like how he spells his first name. What’s that ‘h’ doing there?

Calgary Flames

Miikka Kiprusoff – Should be way above the line but kind of isn’t anymore. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line but I’m not comfortable with it.

Leland Irving – Great name. That’s all I got. 1 point below the Montoya Line.

Carolina Hurricanes

Cam Ward – Love Cam Ward. He’s great. If you think he’s not, you’re wrong. I picked him to win the Vezina this year (I’m wrong). 2.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Dan Ellis – Totally Hedberg’d but not that awful. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Chicago Blackhawks

Corey Crawford – Hard to put him in perspective with the year that the Hawks are having. He’s been great but I’m not convinced he’s that good. But he has been really good, so…2 points above the Montoya Line.

Ray Emery – I’m afraid to rank him low because he might punch me in the face. 1 point above the Montoya Line for self preservation.

Colorado Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov – 0.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere – Play him more. 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Steve Mason/Sergei BobrovskyOh man. This isn’t going to be pretty. Collectively 1 point below the Montoya Line.

Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen – Playing really well. See Corey Crawford. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Richard Bachman – Who? 1 point below the Montoya Line for obscurity.

Cristopher Nilstorp – Double who? 1 point above the Montoya Line for having an awesome name. Actually, 0.5 points above the Montoya Line because that’s not how you spell Christopher.

Detroit Red Wings

Jimmy Howard – Maybe the most underrated starting goalie in the league. Yeah, I said it. 2 points above the Montoya Line.

Petr Mrazek – 2 points below the Montoya Line for that stupid mask.

Jonas Gustavsson – Hahahahahahaha. 3 points below the Montoya Line just cause.

Edmonton Oilers

Devan Dubnyk – I just really don`t think he’s very good. 0.5 points below the Montoya Line.

Yann Danis – Inconclusive but he’s not Dubnyk so play him.  Directly on the Montoya Line because he’s not Dubnyk.

Nikolai Khabibulin – Jokes. 2 points below the Montoya Line.

Florida Panthers

Jose Theordore – Really? I have to write about Jose Theodore? Directly on the Montoya Line.

Scott Clemmenssen - Man, I just find the Panthers so average. Be more interesting, Florida. Directly on the Montoya Line.

Los Angeles Kings

Jonathan Quick – Don’t even care about this season. 3 points above the Montoya Line.

Jonathan Bernier – Docked for having the same first name as his competition. Probably really good. Would be easier to define if he was a starter somewhere. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Minnesota Wild

Nicklas Backstrom – 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Josh Harding – 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Darcy Kuemper – Who? 1.5 points below the Montoya Line for obscurity just ’cause.

Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price – He’s amazing despite playing on the Canadiens. 3 points above the Montoya Line.

Peter Budaj – He’s less than amazing. Kind of Hedberg’d. Also, not that good. 1 point below the Montoya Line.

Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne – Should probably be 3 points above the line. For some reason I have a hard time putting him that high. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Chris Mason – Hedberg’d. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line.

New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur – Basically grandfathered in at 3 points above the Line. Probably closer to a 1.5 or a 2 now. Or is he? 2.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Johan Hedberg – The ultimate Hedberg’d. He is the Hedberg’d. Hedberg’d.

New York Islanders

Evgeni Nabokov – Oh, man. I wish I could just say “Nabokov’d.” 1 point above the Montoya Line, I guess?

Rick DiPietro – ???????

New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist – 3 points above the Montoya Line. Bonus points awarded because he’s awesome.

Martin Biron – Hedberg’d. Directly on The Montoya Line.

Ottawa Senators

Craig Anderson – Enigma. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Ben Bishop – I’m not exactly sure. He’s definitely taller than the Line. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Philadelphia Flyers

Ilya Bryzgalov – He’s actually been pretty good this year. His team just hasn’t been. Insert 24/7 quote joke here. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

Brian Boucher – Hedberg’d. Not that good anyway. 0.5 points below the Montoya Line.

Michael Leighton – Miss you. 1 point below the Montoya Line.

Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Smith – He’s Mike Smith. You try to figure him out. He’s really good, maybe? Probably? 2 points above the Montoya Line but could be +.5 either way.

Chad Johnson – I have no idea. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line because he got a shutout that one time.

Jason LaBarbera – Directly on the Montoya Line.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury – 1 point above the Montoya Line though everybody thinks he’s a 2.

Tomas Vokoun – Play him more. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line.

San Jose Sharks

Antti Niemi – Not as good as people think. Neither is his team. 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Thomas Greiss – Directly on the Montoya Line.

St. Louis Blues

Jaroslav Halak – 2.5 points above the Montoya Line when healthy.

Brian Elliott – Am I the only person who thinks that Brian Elliott is becoming Brian Elliott again and last year was a fluke? Probably, right? 0.5 points above the Montoya Line, controversially.

Jake Allen – Hedberg’d. Injury replacement. Directly on the Montoya Line.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Anders Lindback – Watched him play for the first time yesterday so I’m probably wrong on this one. Looked really good. 1 point above the Montoya Line.

Mathieu Garon – 1 point below the Montoya Line.

Toronto Maple Leafs

James Reimer – Comes with the massive caveat of being healthy. Also with the caveat that I love him. 2 points above the Montoya Line when healthy. 12 points above the Montoya Line in my mind.

Ben Scrivens – Gave us “Scribbles.” Probably not as good as I think he is. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line. Love you.

Vancouver Canucks

Roberto Luongo – Elite goalie no matter what people say. 3 points above the Montoya Line.

Cory Schneider – Canucks goalies are scary good. 2 points above the Montoya Line.

Washington Capitals

Braden Holtby – If it was the 2012 playoffs all the time, he’d probably be ranked higher. But it’s not and he’s not very good, so…Directly on the Montoya Line.

Michal Neuvirth – 1.5 points below the Montoya Line just because I don’t like him for some reason.

Winnipeg Jets

Ondrej Pavelec - I legitimately think he’s the worst goaltender in the league. At least amongst guys who play regularly. 2 points below the Montoya Line.

Al Montoya – He is the line. Come at the king, you best not miss. Directly on the Montoya Line, obviously.

Comments (36)

  1. “Petr Mrazek – 2 points below the Montoya Line for that [BROKEN LINK]”

    Hedberg’d

  2. You’re definitely not the only one thinking that about Elliott, his regression began once he took over in the playoffs.

  3. yeah, like anyone cares what a Leaf fan has to say about Goalies, im assuming you wrote this in your pre-ejaculate stained Toskala jersey

  4. “Jimmy Howard – Maybe the most underrated starting goalie in the league. Yeah, I said it. 2 points above the Montoya Line.”

    Maybe? No, not maybe.

  5. “Rick DiPietro – ???????”

    The Montoya line injured him.

  6. This is rad though I think more goalies should be at the line or below. Did you get the math right Jake?

  7. Now we need to rank the design of the goalie masks. In that list the Jets are #1.

  8. Meh, I think the Pacific goalies are kind of off. Quick is good but not one of the best in the game, ignoring last season he above average but not significantly better than Lehtonen or Hiller. Same with Smith only I’d rank him below the other three. Spot on with Niemi though; he’s not as good as people think he is.

    • I don’t mean the numbers are off since that’s totally arbitrary, but I think the ranking relative to each other is off.

  9. Jhonas Enroth needs to let Cristopher Nilstorp borrow his extra “h”.

  10. I agree with everything in this post except for the use of YOLO

  11. Kari Lehtonen (2.17, 0.933) has been playing much, much, much better than Cam Ward (3.22, 0.902) this year, so I was surprised to see Ward at +2.5 and Lehtonen at only +1.5.

    Lehtonen’s number’s are getting better every single year as well, but I”ll see him play for this season tonight. Ran into Eriksson and Nystrom downtown today, interrupted them, they were friendly, especially Nystrom.

    These guys are large individuals,not much bigger than me on paper, but maybe it was b/c I’m used to seeing them fly around at 30 km/h which is kinda cool, and scary.

  12. you really think all those on the montoya line are better than dubnyk? yowsers.. this reminds me on a list i was recently reading about the top 10 metal songs of the 21st century… he had some good songs on the lsit.. some i had never heard of, but i figure this guy new what he was talking about so i’d check them out… but then i get to number 1.. and he has lateralus by tool.. lost all cred with me.. seriously.. tool.. and a top 10 list with no lamb of god.. things got weird after that… thats just what happened here.. cept with goalies

  13. I seriously LOVE the omar reference.

    long live the wire.

  14. where is ron hextall?

  15. The Montoya Line? Isn’t that: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

  16. “Henrik Lundqvist – 3 points above the Montoya Line. Bonus points awarded because he’s awesome.”

    You misspelled “handsome” as “awesome.”

  17. by the way, Nihlstorp has a ‘h’ in it (sorry!). Does that increase/decrease his Montoya Line rating?

  18. Devan Dubnyk has a .923 save % this year and a 2.58 GAA. Both stats are better than Jimmy Howard. Also in the second half of last season he had similar stats. He’s starting to prove himself as a legit #1.

  19. I love the way Montoya has become a byword for mediocrity. Some I agree with n there and some I disagree with. Not too sure on Reimer being +2, jury is still out for me.

  20. Just an observation…you split every team’s goaltenders except the Jackets? If you’re gonna split everyone else’s, why not go ahead and split Mason & Bobrovsky? Did you just get lazy, or do you really hate that team or something?

  21. DiPietro is day to day with montoya linitus

  22. Seeing how the average is around +0.5, looks like you need a new name.
    The Ellis Average
    Varlamov Threshold
    Bishop Brink
    Mason-Johnson Line
    The Scrivens Standard

  23. Chad Jonhson would be 3 above the Montoya Line if he changed is name to Chad Trintayuno.

  24. As a resident of Winnipeg and a critical fan of the Jets, I have no idea why our city is so madly in love with Pavelec. He actually sucks! I can’t remember the last time he strung two solid games back to back. He’ll follow up a shutout by letting in six goals… three games in a row. I agree with your assessment that he is the worst starter in the league.

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