The NHL’s greatest scorers will be on the ice for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game at FLA LIVE Arena in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The stars like Connor McDavid and Leon Draistle of the Edmonton Oilers, To David Pastr of the Boston Bruins, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nathan McKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals will look to fill the nets.
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But they will be up against some of the best goalies in the NHL Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers and Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders representing the Metropolitan Division, Linus Ullmark from the Bruins and Andrey Vasilevsky of the Tampa Bay Lightning playing for the Atlantic Division, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Hair in Saros of the Nashville Predators in goal for the Central Division and Logan Thompson of the Vegas Golden Knights and Stuart Skinner of the Oilers defending for the Pacific Division.
Which goaltending tandem is the best and will shine in Florida? That’s the question for NHL.com staff writer David Satriano and managing editor Bill Price in this installment of State Your Case.
Satriano: As Frank Sinatra sang, to me it’s “New York, New York.” As here, I’m taking the two goaltenders from the Metropolitan Division who both play in New York. We’ll start with Shesterkin, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner voted the best goaltender in the NHL. He’s not slowing down this season with 21 wins, a 2.45 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. Sorokin has a 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage, and his four shutouts are tied for Jake Oettinger to the Dallas Stars for second place in the NHL. I know there are other great goalkeepers in other teams, but this tandem is the pinnacle for me.
Video: [email protected]: Sorokin stands Burns, Stastny in tight
Price: Being the gentleman that I am, I let David pick first and I’m not shocked by his choice. Well, my choice may be shocking. I’m going with the Central Division tandem of Hellbuk and Saros. That’s right, I’m taking those two over Wasilewski and Ullmark in the Atlantic Division. Here’s why: Hellebuyck and Saros might be the two most underrated goaltenders in the NHL, and if given a chance to shine on the big stage, they’ll be ready. They are better off facing the Pacific Division in the first game and I think a win there will give them confidence going into the finals. Shesterkin and Sorokin are the headline picks, and Vasilevskiy and Ullmark could be the best two goaltenders in the NHL, but I’ll take Hellbuyck and Saros.
Video: [email protected]: Saros sets franchise record with 64 saves
Satriano: Central definitely has two veterans who have had a lot of success with Hellebuyck a 2020 Vezina winner and Saros a finalist last season. Since the start of 2021-22, they are first and second in the NHL in starts, saves and shots against, and there is no argument from me that Vasilevskiy is the best goaltender in the NHL. But what we’ve seen from Shesterkin and Sorokin, each 27 years old, over the past two seasons is something to behold. Sorokin leads all goaltenders in save percentage (.928, minimum 50 games), and Shersterkin is third (.924). Sorokin also leads the NHL in that span with 11 shutouts and I can’t wait to see what dazzling saves they make against the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Pastrnak and the rest of the Atlantic Division in their first game. If they reach the final, it will just be a bonus.
Video: [email protected]: Shesterkin makes impressive glove save
Price: There’s no doubt that Shesterkin and Sorokin have been incredible the last two seasons, but this All-Star is a different animal, and as you pointed out, Hellbuyck (third All-Star) and Saros (second) have been here before, and this is new for Shesterkin and Sorokin. In fact, Vasilevskiy is the only goaltender other than Hellbuyck and Saros to have NHL All-Star experience. And if you want to look at the stats, Hellebuyck is tied for second with Sorokin and Oettinger in save percentage (.923) among goaltenders who play at least 20 games. Ullmark (.936) is first and Saros (.920) is tied Alexander Georgiev to the Avalanche for sixth place. Here again I will rely on experience. While it would be great to have this debate settled on the ice in the All-Star Game finale, whatever matchup we get will be great for the fans.
Video: [email protected]: Hellebuyck stops Stamkos in 1st period