by PuckStopsHere on 10/29/09 at 12:36 PM ET
Earlier this season I picked Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes as the best goalie in the early season. Bryzgalov is continuing to play well, although his numbers are regressing a bit from his incredible start. There is another goalie who is continuing his incredible start further into the season. Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche has been the top goalie in the season so far. Anderson is a big reason the Colorado Avalanche are in first place in the NHL. Anderson sports a .940 saves percentage and a 1.97 GAA. These are very strong numbers. These numbers have been posted when Anderson is facing over 35 shots per 60 minutes of play (which is a very high number).
Anderson had posted some good numbers as the Florida Panthers backup goalie (but always in limited starts). It is on the strength of those numbers that Anderson has been given a chance to start with the Colorado Avalanche. It is unclear how well he will handle the increased workload and the increased attention scouts give to his game.
At this point in the season Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche has been the best goalie in the NHL. He is a late bloomer who is becoming a top NHL goalie at age 28. There is precedent for this late blooming. Last year’s Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas was playing in Finland at age 28 and was still a few years from establishing himself as a number one goalie. Despite that precedent, it is reasonable to be skeptical about Craig Anderson’s play. It is rare that a player climbs to his current level and stays there for a lengthy period. Those that do are clear Hall of Famers and we have yet to see much evidence that Craig Anderson is likely to be on a Hall of Fame trajectory in his career.
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