(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
When it comes to goaltending is it better to be lucky or good? We don’t care too much as long as it look cool.
We’ve cast our net wide to find the best of the best in goaltending from 2016. And we’re still asking ourselves: how the heck did they do that?!
10. Craig Smith versus Craig Smith
OK, this technically isn’t a goaltender making a save, but it’s a save nonetheless. Craig Smith had the game winning overtime goal on his stick. He made the shot and then batted it out of the net all in one motion. Mike Condon thanks Smith for his contribution.
9. Ohio State’s Christian Frey catches puck from above
Michigan State nearly wins the game in the final seconds if the goaltender doesn’t track the puck like a wide receiver directly into the breadbasket.
8. Peewee goalie knob save
There are few things more adorable than peewee goaltenders. In their gigantic pads, they look like little J.S. Gigueres as they dash around their creases. This future professional hockey player uses the knob of her stick to bat away the puck while down in a modified butterfly.
7. John Gibson does the splits in the All-Star Game
Who says no one plays hard in the All-Star Game? Bob Murray held his breath as the Anaheim Ducks goaltender dropped into the splits to deny Tyler Seguin of a surefire goal.
6. Ben Bishop’s ‘oh s***’ moment turned spectacular save
Bishop probably won’t want this save on his highlight reel when it comes to Vezina voting. He turns the puck over to Kyle Okposo while in the trapezoid and has to make a diving Superman-esque save to protect the open net.
5. KHL’er Ilya Andryukhov leaping glove save
The puck was practically in the net when Adryukhov dives across his crease and snags it out of the air. Not bad for only his fourth professional hockey game.
4. Marc-Andre Fleury’s paddle swat
Fleury is completely and totally out of his net when Adam Henrique’s shot is deflected. He knows he can’t get his body back in time so he uses his stick to volley the puck to the back glass. Roger Federer would be proud.
3. Jonathan Quick splits for paddle save
Quick is a perennial nominee for save of the year thanks to his unconventional goaltending style. In the waning seconds of the period, Quick stretches out into the splits and bats away Logan Couture’s shot. With luck on Quick’s side, the puck hits the crossbar and deflects away.
2. Utica Comets netminder Richard Bachman robs Bud Holloway of the St. John’s IceCaps.
Just the way Bachman planned it: no-look, behind the back glove save on the opposite side of his body.
1. YOU JUST GOT LERG’ED!
Congrats to Jeff Lerg of the Toledo Walleye for taking the home the title of ‘save of the year.’ May you always be included in the ‘lucky or good’ conversation.