NHL starting goalies: Latest news on all 32 teams

·8 min read

NHL starting goalies: Latest news on all 32 teams originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The days are counting down to the start of the 2021-22 NHL season. 

The fun all begins on Oct. 12, with two games kicking off the new campaign. As preseason starts to wrap up, teams are beginning to finalize their rosters. 

One of the positions that is set for almost every team is the goaltending spot. Most squads know who their opening night goaltender will be, along with their backup pairing. 

Here’s a look at the projected starting goaltenders for all 32 NHL teams. 

Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins -- Linus Ullmark

It’s shaping up to be Linus Ullmark, who signed a four-year deal this offseason, as the opening night starter for the Boston Bruins. But don't be shocked to see rookie Jeremy Swayman overtake Ullmark as the No. 1 goalie. At the very least, the two should split time in the net.

Buffalo Sabres -- Craig Anderson

With top goaltending prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukonen not yet NHL ready, the Buffalo Sabres will roll with a veteran combination of Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski to start the season. Another veteran in Aaron Dell is also in play for the Sabres. 

Detroit Red Wings -- Alex Nedeljkovic

After finishing third in Calder Trophy voting, Alex Nedeljkovic was traded to the Detroit Red Wings from the Carolina Hurricanes in one of the more shocking moves of the offseason. He’ll be the Red Wings' starter as Thomas Greiss will be the No. 2 goalie. 

Florida Panthers -- Spencer Knight

It’s likely going to be a coin flip between Spencer Knight and Sergei Bobrovsky for the starting role. The rookie Knight has impressed and his play should have earned him a starting role, but it’s hard to have a $70 million goalie sitting on your bench in Bobrovsky. Expect the Panthers to use a two-goalie system with Knight and Bobrovsky. 

Montreal Canadiens -- Jake Allen

Up until this week, Carey Price was the sure-fire starter for the Montreal Canadiens. However, news came out Thursday that Price had enterred into the NHL's player assistance program. While Price is away from the team, Jake Allen will be the starter and Sam Montembeault will be the backup. 

Ottawa Senators -- Matt Murray

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for Matt Murray last season, but he’ll enter this year as the starter again for the Ottawa Senators. It’ll be a duel for the backup spot between Anton Forsberg and Filip Gustavsson. 

Tampa Bay Lightning -- Andrei Vasilevskiy

Simple as it gets -- Andrei Vasilevskiy is the best goalie in the NHL. He’ll lead the defending, back-to-back champions this season with veteran Brian Elliott as the backup. 

Toronto Maple Leafs -- Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell earned the starting role last season with Toronto and he’ll get the chance this season to start the year in that same role. Petr Mrazek, signed in the summer, will play behind him.  

Metropolitan Division

Carolina Hurricanes -- Frederik Anderson

The Carolina Hurricanes had a complete overhaul at goaltender this summer. They signed Frederik Anderson and Antti Raanta to two-year deals in the offseason. Anderson will get starting minutes with Raanta as the backup. 

Columbus Blue Jackets -- Elvis Merzlikins

Fresh off a five-year extension, Elvis Merlikins looks to be 1A in the goaltending duo with Joonas Korpisalo as the 1B for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Expect the Blue Jackets to rotate between the two goalies for most of the season. 

New Jersey Devils -- Mackenzie Blackwood

This will be Mackenzie Blackwood’s third season as a starting goalie for the New Jersey Devils. However, Blackwood announced he was the only member of the Devils that did not have the COVID-19 vaccine. This will complicate things, as Blackwood will not be able to travel to games in Canada. The veteran Jonathan Bernier will serve in the backup role. 

New York Islanders -- Semyon Varlamov

It’s unclear if Semyon Varlamov will be ready for the season opener, but if he’s healthy, he’s the No. 1 goalie. Coach Barry Trotz has kept him out of all preseason games in order to heal from the undisclosed injury. If he’s not a go to start the opener, Ilya Sorokin will get top duties while Cory Schneider will take the backup role. 

New York Rangers -- Igor Shesterkin

The New York Rangers will roll out their young duo to tend the twine this year. Igor Shesterkin enters his second season as the starting goalie, with Alexandar Georgiev playing behind him. 

Philadelphia Flyers -- Carter Hart

Carter Hart and the Flyers look to bounce back after an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign. The young goalie signed a three-year extension this summer to stay in Philadelphia. The Flyers have Martin Jones this season as their backup, who they signed this summer. 

Pittsburgh Penguins -- Tristan Jarry

The Pittsburgh Penguins will feature the same goaltending duo in 2021-22 as they did last season. Tristan Jarry returns for his second year of work as the starting goaltender, while Casey DeSmith will be the backup. 

Washington Capitals -- Ilya Samsonov

The same young pairing from last season for the Washington Capitals returns for 2021-22. Ilya Samsonov will start the year as the No. 1 goalie, with Vitek Vanecek playing as the backup. 

Central Division

Arizona Coyotes -- Carter Hutton

It’s two new goalies for the Coyotes this season as they go into full rebuild mode. Carter Hutton looks to be the starting goaltender come opening night, with Josef Korenar as the No. 2 option.  

Chicago Blackhawks -- Marc-Andre Fleury

The Chicago Blackhawks went out and got their starting goaltender this offseason, trading for Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights. There was some hesitation, but Fleury decided on playing for Chicago. Kevin Lankinen will serve as the backup after starting last season. 

Colorado Avalanche -- Darcy Kuemper

With the Avalanche losing Philip Grubauer in free agency, they went and traded for Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes. Pavel Francouz will have another season in the backup role for Colorado. 

Dallas Stars -- Braden Holtby

The Dallas Stars' goaltending situation is by far the most complex. Braden Holtby, who signed a one-year deal this offseason, looks like he’ll be the opening night goaltender, but he’s not without competition. Ben Bishop, when healthy, is a top goaltender in the league, but he hasn’t played in the preseason and might not be healthy to start the season. There’s also veteran Anton Khudobin and youngster Jake Oettinger in play for Dallas as the backup, or even to take a starting role. 

Minnesota Wild -- Cam Talbot

Coming off a strong end to his first season in Minnesota, Cam Talbot is back as the starter for the Wild. Second-year goalie Kaapo Kahkonen will play backup to Talbot. 

Nashville Predators -- Juuse Saros

Juuse Saros enters his second season as the starting goaltender for Nashville with a new contract, signing a four-year extension in August. With long-time Predator Pekka Rinne retiring, new Predator David Rittich will serve as the backup. 

St. Louis Blues -- Jordan Binnington

After a heavy workload last season, Binnington is set for another season where he is expected to play in most of the games for the St. Louis Blues. It appears Ville Husso will get the backup role, as prospect Colten Ellis is likely headed to be the starter in the AHL. 

Winnipeg Jets -- Connor Hellebuyck

The top American goaltender is back for another season with the Winnipeg Jets. Connor Hellebuyck will be heavily relied on with Eric Comrie set as the backup, who has just nine NHL games under his belt in five seasons. 

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks -- John Gibson

John Gibson is one of the best goaltenders in the league, yet he’s stuck on a rebuilding Anaheim team. He’ll be the starter again for the sixth consecutive season in Anaheim, with Anthony Stolarz likely to be tabbed as the backup over prospect Lukas Dostal, who can benefit from starting minutes in the AHL. 

Calgary Flames -- Jacob Markstrom

Jacob Markstrom enters his second full season as the Calgary Flames' goaltender. Dan Vladar will be the backup this season after the Boston Bruins traded him this summer. 

Edmonton Oilers -- Mike Smith

It will be the same duo in net this season for the Edmonton Oilers. After signing a two-year deal in the summer, Mike Smith is back as the starter, with Mikko Koskinen serving as the backup. 

Los Angeles Kings -- Cal Petersen

The Cal Petersen era in L.A. is here. After getting more starts than Jonathan Quick last season, Petersen is set for his first full season of work as the starter. Quick will have the backup duties. 

San Jose Sharks -- Adin Hill

It’s a completely new goaltending pair for the Sharks this season. Adin Hill is in line to be the opening night starter, beating out veteran James Reimer. It will be Hill’s first time as a starter in the NHL after coming over in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes and signing a two-year extension

Seattle Kraken -- Philipp Grubauer

The Seattle Kraken signed the best free agent goalie available this offseason in Philipp Grubauer. He’ll be the starter for the Kraken’s inaugural season in the NHL, with Chris Driedger as the backup. 

Vancouver Canucks -- Thatcher Demko

Thatcher Demko beat out Braden Holtby last season for the starting job and will get his first full season in the role for Vancouver. Veteran Jaroslav Halak, who signed this offseason, will back up Demko. 

Vegas Golden Knights -- Robin Lehner

With Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury traded to the Chicago Blackhawks this offseason, the net is now Robin Lehner’s to tend after splitting time last season with Fleury. Laurent Brossoit will be the backup this season for Vegas after signing this offseason.