The 2013-14 Montoya Line Rankings

al montoya

Last year, I ranked all 67 goalies in the NHL according to a stat that I made up called the Montoya Line because I couldn’t think of anything better to do that day. I argued that Al Montoya was the exact definition of an “average” goalie in the NHL and, more importantly, his name kind of sounds like Mendoza so I could put it before the word “line” and make it sound official. Basically, I ranked each goalie, on a three-point system going either way, in relation to Al Montoya and also based on their names and my personal biases because I found it amusing. Well, here we are in another NHL season and I thought it might be a good idea to break out the rankings for this season.

To qualify, goalies must have played at least one game this season and that’s pretty much the beginning and the end of the necessary criteria. I am nothing if not stringent. As they were last year, these rankings are arbitrary, biased, and utterly, utterly meaningless.

Also, keep in mind that this isn’t an advanced stat (or even a real one) so it shouldn’t cause too much controversy on the Twitter. However, if you feel the need to disagree with me, please make sure you ironically retweet me before you state your opinion so all of your followers can see how wrong I am. Additionally, you could also put a “.” before my Twitter handle to ensure that your disagreement is seen by everyone because that’s how Hockey Twitter works. Remember, public shame is the best kind of shame.

Anaheim Ducks

Jonas Hiller - Love me some Jonas Hiller but, man, is he ever suffering from Marc-Andre Fleury syndrome (good record, bad save percentage). Yes, I just made up another stat in a post about a made up stat because I am Inception. Let me know if you can’t keep track (well, you can’t, because this is an article and not a conversation, but still. And yes, I know Fleury has been playing better and his save percentages have never been that bad but this is my thing so shut up). I am still terrified of Hiller come Olympics time, however. That Swiss team could surprise some people. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Frederick Andersen - Long lost cousin of Craig Anderson? Going to go with that even though they were born in different countries and spell their last names differently. More likely, he’s the sequel to Viktor Fasth, what with his record and .943 save percentage (“UNSUSTAINABLE” the crowds will say as I ignore them). 2 Fasth 2 Furious. I like this guy just because he let me make that wicked “2 Fasth” joke. Did you guys think you’d be going to comedy school when you started reading this? Well, you are. 2 points above the Montoya Line

Viktor Fasth - Currently going through his Fasth & Furious phase (okay, I’ll stop), Viktor has not lived up to that awesomely silly contract he was given after just 8 games last season. I have faith he can rebound. I predict a Fasth 5 like bounceback from ol’ Vik (not sorry at all). 0.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask - Never heard of this guy. He any good? 3 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2.5 points above)

Chad Johnson - Bonus points for sharing a name with Ochocinco. Points taken away for tricking me into thinking this was some fantastic new stunt that Ocho was pulling to become a two-sport athlete. When I learned they were, in fact, two entirely different people, that was a very disappointing day. 1 point above the Montoya Line

Buffalo Sabres

Ryan Miller - Probably the best case of a person that needs to get the hell out of Buffalo since every person who has ever decided to live in Buffalo. He’s overdue to move to a new team by about a season and a half. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

Jhonas Enroth - The first goalie I coined as being “Hedberg’d” last year, named after Johan Hedberg for a goalie who never plays because he’s stuck behind an outstanding goalie (at the time, Martin Brodeur) so it’s hard to judge his real value. Man…what a difference a year makes. That entire sentence just made me really sad. But we’ll get to Marty later. Anyway, Enroth is fine, I guess, but I still don’t like how he spells his first name. “My Name Is Jhonas” would be a terrible song. 1 point below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point below)

Calgary Flames

Joey MacDonald - Pretty happy that Joey Mac is finally getting starting minutes. Kind of. I kind of just want to rank the entire Flames team as below the Line and just move on because I’m lazy, don’t really care, and, well, Flams, but that’s just not how this game works. Directly on the Montoya Line 

Karri Ramo - Yeah, Karri Ramo. I totally have opinions on Karri Ramo. He sure is a hockey player that definitely exists. Boy howdy. 1 point below the Montoya Line

Reto Berra - Seriously, how is this team not 1-20-0? Did you know that all three of the Flames goalies have a save percentage under .890? Well, they do. I’m a fan of Berra because his name sounds like a character Michael Shannon could play in a mafia movie, so he’s got that going for him. 0.5 points above the Montoya Line just because

Carolina Hurricanes

Justin Peters - Never trust a man with two first names. Okay “Peters” isn’t really a first name but it’s one letter away so I’m counting it. That being said, I feel like this whole thing could easily be called the Justin Peters Line and we could do the exact same rankings and it would all work out fine. Directly on the Montoya Line 

Anton Khudobin - Why does he not play more? Remember last year when we were talking about how he was a pretty decent backup to Tuukka Rask? Yeah, that was like five months ago. Play him more. It’s been brought to my attention that he’s injured. This would explain a lot. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Cam Ward - One day, there will come a time in which I don’t draft Cam Ward for my fantasy hockey team. This is not that day. Idiot. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line but probably got injured during the measurement (last year’s ranking: 2.5 points above)

Chicago Blackhawks

Corey Crawford - Just won a Cup, one of two frontrunners to start in goal for Canada at the Olympics (probably), fantastic alliteration name, what more could you want? Corey Crawford rules. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line

Nikolai Khabibulin - Scroll up and see the argument I made for Anton Khudobin to start more games and then make the exact opposite argument about Khabibulin. 2 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points below)

Colorado Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov - Afraid to say anything. 3 points below the Montoya Line, allegedly

Jean-Sebastien Giguere - Did you know that Giguere is 5-0-0 with a .947 save percentage? Neither did I. That’s nuts. Giggy back? 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Sergei Bobrovsky - Last year, I joked that Bobrovsky should be the barometer for goaltending and all goalies should be measured against him (I just have the one idea, really) and nicknamed the Bobrometer. Then I picked him to win the Vezina this year. I am a stupid, stupid person. But, hey, Lumbus started cold last year and then picked it up and Bobby’s still fantastic so maybe vindication is in my future. Probably not but a boy can dream. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point below (collectively with Steve Mason. What?))

Curtis McElhinney - Plays for ‘Lumbus, isn’t Bobrovsky, and isn’t related to Rob McElhenney. I’m out. 1.5 points below the Montoya Line

Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen - Now we’re talking. Lehtonen will forever be above the Montoya Line for this and also because he’s a legitimately good goaltender and with a decent team in front of him he’s really looking like it. This year’s Corey Crawford? Crazier things, right? 2 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points above)

Dan Ellis - Hahahahaha, oh, Dan Ellis. 0.5 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 0.5 points above)

Jack Campbell - I have no idea who this is and he lost his only start this season but, DAMN, that is a fantastic name. He should be a soldier or, like, a character in Metal Gear Solid. Colonel Jack Campbell. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line?

Detroit Red Wings

Jimmy Howard - I’ve made my thoughts on Jimmy Howard very clear. I think he’s pretty great and doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves. Yeah, he hasn’t had the greatest start to the year but, whatever, I like him. What better way to finally give him recognition than in an utterly silly and meaningless blog post? 2 points above the Monotya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

Jonas Gustavsson - Sigh. Hey, Monster. How’s it going? I know we haven’t talked in a while. Sorry about that. I’ve just been really busy. No, no, it’s not you. Well, maybe it’s you. Oh, you’re 3-0-1 this year? Yeah…yeah, that’s cool. Okay, well, see ya. 1.5 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 3 points below)

Petr Mrazek - Bonus points for starting the trend of naming goalies the same way we name indie bands. Don’t be oppressed by the tyranny of vowels, man. Wouldn’t you rather root for Jmmy Hwrd and Kr Lhtnn? I’d totally do this for the rest of the post but nobody would know what I was saying. Maybe next year. 1.5  pnts blw th Mnty Ln (last year’s ranking: 2 points below the Montoya Line)

Edmonton Oilers

Devan Dubnyk - Stop drafting forwards and go out and get a real goaltender. 1 point below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 0.5 points below)

Jason LaBarbera - Stop drafting forwards and go out and get a real goaltender. 2 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: even)

Richard Bachman - Stop drafting forwards and go out and get a real goaltender. 1.5 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point below)

Ilya Bryzgalov - N/A. I don’t care if this works at all, I’m just happy he’s back in our lives.

Florida Panthers

Tim Thomas - Oh, Christ, I don’t know. I mean, he’s ninety but he’s still Tim Thomas. On the other hand, I despise everything about his politics (though I still don’t care that he didn’t go to the White House) but I also kind of love the fact he went insane and went to live in a cabin in the woods. I’m relatively sure that Tim Thomas is the closest thing we’re ever going to get to a real life Ron Swanson. 2 points above the Montoya Line

Jacob Markstrom - It’s not his fault he plays for the Panthers. It is his fault that he hasn’t been able to stop many pucks this year. 1 point below the Montoya Line

Scott Clemmenssen - See Jacob Markstrom. Directly on the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: even)

Los Angeles Kings

Jonathan Quick - Everyone should know better than to ever doubt Quick. Not much needs to be said about this guy. 3 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 3 points above)

Ben Scrivens - No, I’m not crying, you’re crying. It’s dusty in here. Shut up, leave me alone. I miss you so much, Scribbles. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 0.5 points above)

Minnesota Wild

Josh Harding - There is no way to properly evaluate Josh Harding. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. He is fantastic, his story should get more attention than it does, and I’m a big fan. Full marks for Josh Harding. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Niklas Backstrom - Was a big fan until he got in Nazem Kadri’s way last week (I’m kidding, I’m kidding). I don’t know what to make of him. Historically, he’s been a pretty fantastic goalie but, this year, man. I don’t know. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points above)

Darcy Kuemper - Kuemper’s save percentage currently sits at .571. To be fair, he’s only appeared in one game. Yes, he lost. .571! Snap judgments and small sample sizes are kind of my jam, so… 2 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points below)

Montreal Canadians

Carey Price - Legitimately really excited to root for him in Sochi. His stock has definitely fallen a little bit since this time last year (or whatever this time equates to due to the lockout) but he’s still Carey Price and I have faith in him. Please move to a new city. Thanks. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 3 points above)

Peter Budaj - Hedberg’d but still kicking around. At least he got a new contract so that’s cool. Money is fun. I’d like some. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point below)

Nashville Predators (you have too many goalies)

Pekka Rinne - As Rinne goes, so do the Predators. His hip infection sounds absolutely terrifying (you can get E.Coli in your hip!? Since when? This is not a thing I needed to know) but he’s still a great goalie when he’s healthy. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2.5 points above)

Carter Hutton - This is your reality now, Predators fans. Be careful not to insult this guy on Twitter. Directly on the Montoya Line

Marek Mazanec - That one period where Predators fans on Twitter were really excited about this guy was really fun. Then the second period happened and the hype died down pretty quickly. However, he does have a fantastic name going for him. Alliteration AND it makes him sound like he could be a magician? I highly approve. Just can’t decide what his magician name would be. Marek The Great? The Mighty Mazanec? So many options. Directly on the Montoya Line

Magnus Hellberg - The Metal-est name in the NHL, bar none. This guy should be playing guitar for Dragon Force. I don’t know who he is. 0.5 points below the Montoya Line, I guess? 

New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur - I don’t know. I’m sad. I don’t want to talk about Marty. I don’t want him to ever retire. Stay forever. I just can’t quit you, Martin. I said last year that he was basically grandfathered in at 3 points above the line and then I ranked him at 2.5 above for some reason.  I stand by my nonsensical reasoning. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2.5 points above)

Cory Schneider - Further proof that a goalie’s win-loss record is kind of meaningless. We all know he’s good. Points deducted for making Luongo mad once even though it totally wasn’t his fault. 2 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

New York Islanders

Evegeni Nabokov - I’m amazed he still has a starting job in the NHL but he did legitimately earn it in the playoffs last season. I don’t think you’re going to set the world on fire with Nabby in net but he’s proven that he can still kinda sorta get it done. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Kevin Poulin - Remember how I said small sample sizes and snap judgments were my jam? As I was writing this, Trevor Smith scored on him. Snap judgment, consider yourself made. 1 point below the Montoya Line

New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist - Do I really need to say anything other than “Henrik Lundqvist?” 3 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 3 points above)

Cam Talbot - I have no idea who you are. Directly on the Montoya Line

Martin Biron - Retired. Retired

Ottawa Senators

Craig Anderson - My whole “Senators will make the Cup Final” pick isn’t looking super awesome, is it? I still have faith in Craig and am very much looking forward to the battle between him and Jonathan Quick for the States’ starting spot in the Olympics. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points above)

Robin Lehner - I think he must have learned something under Anderson because he’s currently rocking a .945. Bonus points for pissing off Keshia Chante on Twitter. Points deducted for reminding me that Keshia Chante was once a thing. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line

Philadelphia Flyers

Steve Mason - You can’t see it but I’m currently making a wanking motion with my hand. 2 points below the Montoya Line 

Ray Emery – “I’m afraid to rank him low because he might punch me in the face.” That is what I wrote about Emery last year. It’s comforting to know that some things never change. Excellent punch Corsi. What a mess this team is. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Smith - Has apparently reverted to 2011-2012 Mike Smith. Somebody is probably excited about this but, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you who. 2 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

Thomas Greiss - Hedberg’d by Mike Smith. Yeah. That’s a thing that has happened to Thomas Greiss. Hedberg’d

Pittsburgh Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury - So far this year, the good Marc-Andre Fleury has shown up (mostly). Who knows when Bizarro Fleury will show up but it could really be at any time. For now, though, he’s been pretty solid. It helps that he plays behind the Penguins but that’s always been the case for Fleury so I’m not going to knock him for it. 1.5 points above the Montoya line that could go either way by .5 by year’s end (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Jeff Zatkoff - Hedberg’d/who? He sounds like an accountant. Can you help me with my stock options, Jeff? All I know is that I have some sort of vest that has a bunch of options. Maybe I need a tailor. Money is hard. Hedberg’d

San Jose Sharks

Antti Niemi - To me, Antti Niemi is like the way people react to winter in Toronto. Every February everyone is all “hey, was it this cold last year? Where did this come from?” and every year it’s exactly as cold as it was the year before but we’re kind of stupid. Every year, I feel like I wonder “hey, was Antti Niemi this good last year?” and every year the answer is yes and I’m definitely stupid. Point is, Antti Niemi is a very good goaltender and I hate winter. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above the Montoya Line (again, I’m stupid))

Alex Slatock - Hedberg’d and has a name that makes me think I should be getting an invitation to his bar mitzvah any day now. I have no idea why. My brain doesn’t make sense sometimes. Hedberg’d

St. Louis Blues

Jaroslav Halak - Halak back and not just because I enjoy that rhyme. The argument could be made that his success is almost entirely due to the fact he plays for the Blues but he has proven he can be very good before so I’m choosing to believe he’s back. Up that sv% though, bud. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2.5 points above)

Brian Elliott - I miss Jake Allen. I actually think Elliott is better than Halak but don’t tell anyone. 2 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 0.5 points above)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ben Bishop - Man, that Cory Conacher trade isn’t looking so stupid now, is it? Way to call that one, Goldsbie, you dumb idiot. So, yeah, the Lightning are better than anyone had any right to believe they would be. I’d make an argument about regression or unsustainability but then I’d be total hypocrite so…good for Ben Bishop. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line. Maybe? (last year’s ranking: 0.5 points above)

Anders Lindback - You were going to be good once, weren’t you? Halcyon days, those were. 2 points below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1 point above)

Toronto Maple Leafs

Jonathan Bernier  - Clearly the best goalie in the league that will end up starting every game for Canada and leading them to a gold medal. But, in all seriousness (well, kinda), Bernier is a legitimately good goaltender. Yeah, his stats probably aren’t sustainable (he’s NOT going to finish with a .960? You don’t say!) but he’s clearly proven that he can steal a game pretty much any time he wants. 2 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points above)

James Reimer - 12 points above the Montoya Line. Kidding. I can’t approach Reimer with anything resembling objectivity but I think his (brief) run in the playoffs last year said everything for me. Yes, I believe he has the potential to be that good. Please keep the tandem. 1.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points above)

Vancouver Canucks

Roberto Luongo - Twitter account notwithstanding, I have never understood why people continue to doubt Luongo. What more does he have to do to prove himself (other than win a Cup)? The window for the Canucks is closing quickly but Luongo is capable of keeping it open for as long as possible. This ends Jake’s Metaphor Corner. 2.5 points above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 3 points above)

Eddie Lack - My favorite name in the entire league because it makes him sound like a bruiser from the 1970s. Doesn’t a line of Eddie Lack and Tiger Williams sound right? Yeah, I think it does too. 1 point above the Montoya Line

Washington Capitals

Braden Holtby - Still trying to make this a thing, huh? He’s actually been pretty good thus far and his parents will always be awesome but, I don’t know, something about him just doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s named Braden. I just don’t trust that name. Sounds like an Abercrombie model. 1 point above the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: even)

Michal Neuvirth - Didn’t like him last year, don’t like him any more this year. There is no good reason for this. You cannot hope to understand me. 1.5 points below the Montoya Line for spite (last year’s ranking: 1.5 points below)

Winnipeg Jets

Ondrej Pavelec - I’ve said many times that I think he’s the worst starting goalie in the league. I stand by that. Maybe Winnipeg can come up with a cool chant to inspire him. 1 point below the Montoya Line (last year’s ranking: 2 points below)

Al Montoya - The man, the myth, the Line. Come at the King, you best not miss. With Montoya in net, you probably won’t. He’s kind of ungood. 1 point below the Montoya Line, somehow. Al Montoya contains multitudes. (last year’s ranking: even)

Well, that was pointless.