by PuckStopsHere on 10/22/08 at 03:26 PM ET
Yesterday, I wrote about my pick for the early season MVP in Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals. Today, I want to share my pick for the best goalie so far this season.
My pick is Mike Smith of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has played extraordinarily well in tough circumstances. Smith leads the NHL with a .943 saves percentage. He also leads the NHL’s starting goalies in shots faced per game. He has faced more than 35 shots per game. That is succeeding under trying circumstances.
Tampa Bay has not provided Smith with good goaltending. They will struggle this season as long as they keep allowing as many shots as they have, but if Smith provides the top level goaltending he has, they will be able to stay out of the cellar.
So far, Smith has been worth the price of Brad Richards that brought him to Tampa last year. If he can keep it up. Tampa will be an improved team from last year. The improvement won’t come from offence as most people expected, but from better goaltending.
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