The World Cup of Hockey is less than two weeks away and one looming question remains for Team USA. Who will get the nod in net and take the starting reigns?
Team USA is filled with elite players from many different teams throughout the league, but their best position may be between the pipes. With the likes of Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider fighting for the starting role, they all have the skill to be the number one. Let’s break down each goalie and make a case for each.
Jonathan Quick has been one of the better goalies in the past decade and by the end of his career may be one of the best American goaltenders of all time. Since becoming the starting goalie for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009-10 season he has led the Kings to two Stanley Cup championships winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP in 2012 and the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2014. In Quick’s 475 NHL games he has accumulated a record of 252-162-51 with a save percentage of .916% and goals against average of 2.27. His career playoff numbers are slightly better with a save percentage of .921% and goals against average of 2.27 while gathering a record of 46-35. Quick has seen the most playoff success in recent years, works well under pressure and would be a solid choice to be the team’s number one.
Ben Bishop has struggled with injuries in the playoffs the past two seasons, but has also cemented himself as one of the league’s best goalies. With the Lightning, Bishop has been to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015 and Eastern Conference Finals in 2016. Despite injuries he has amassed at least 35 wins in each of his three seasons as the Tampa Bay’s starting goalie. Last season he gathered a record of 35-21-1 with a goals against average of 2.06 and save percentage of .926% while also being nominated for the Vezina Trophy. Despite losing to Braden Holtby, Bishop has risen to stardom since arriving in Tampa Bay and regardless of whether he gets traded or not he has the skills to win. Bishop is also the biggest goalie of the three at 6’7″ and could be used as an advantage for team USA.
Cory Schneider is one of the more underrated goalies in the league, but has posted impressive numbers since being traded to the New Jersey Devils. Although his records over the past three seasons won’t jump out at anybody, his individual stats show just how excellent of a goalie Schneider is. Since joinging the Devils Schneider has not had a save percentage below .920% and his highest goals against average has been 2.26. This indicates that he is used to handling a lot of shots and can make quite a number of saves in a game. He may not have as much playoff experience as Bishop and Quick, but he still can give Team USA a chance to win any game.
There will exhibition games before the World Cup begins so Team USA’s coaching staff will get a chance to preview all three goalies before ultimately making a decision. However, with the style of play Team USA will be playing along with the skill of all of the other teams involved I think that Schneider will end up getting the starting goalie job.
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