This article is part of our Crashing the Crease series.
We're about one month into the 2016-17 NHL season, and six goaltenders in particular stand out as pleasant surprises: Devan Dubnyk, Sergei Bobrovsky, Cam Talbot, Jimmy Howard, Craig Anderson and Peter Budaj. Below, I'll examine the sustainability of their surprising success.
Dubnyk hasn't been all that special outside a streak of three consecutive shutouts. That hot stretch bears a lot of weight given his small sample size of action thus far, but he should trend back toward more middling status as the season progresses. While his 2014-15 campaign proved that Dubnyk is capable of sustaining elite production for extended stretches, he likely won't wind up better than a borderline top-10 option when it's all said and done.
Bobrovsky is seldom mentioned among the game's best netminders, but the 2012-13 Vezina Trophy winner is forcing his way back into that discussion with a hot start. He has a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage through nine appearances, and looks to be fully healthy after struggling with injuries over the past couple seasons. At just 28 years of age, it's very possible Bobrovsky's peak form could be here to stay en route to another Vezina-worthy campaign.
Talbot's sustainability is directly tied to that of Edmonton's strong start. An improved blue line and the continued rise of captain Connor McDavid look to have bumped the Oilers into the NHL's upper echelon, meaning their 8-4-1 netminder should continue to win games. His save percentage hasn't slipped below .917 in