This week Juuse Saros and Alex Nedeljkovic recorded shutouts. Goalies go full games without allowing a goal all the time but why are they two special. These two are the among the shortest in the NHL right now.
This was Saros’ 12th shutout in 135 career games and Nedeljkovic got his 2nd in 17 career games. Both of these guys are 25 years old with a lot of potential.
Saros might now be the Predators’s future for at least the next few years. He has been with the Predators organization since 2015. Only two years after being drafted. He played with the Milwaukee Admirals for only three years before becoming Rinne’s Full time backup. Now Saros is playing more NHL games this season than he ever has.
Nedeljkovic was Drafted in 2014 and was with the Charlotte Checkers from 2016-2020. In that time he won a Calder Cup and AHL goalie of the year. Due to a thumb injury to Petr MRazek, Nedeljkovic has played 11 NHL games this season putting up impressive numbers. He is beginning to blossom into possibly a full time NHL goalie.
The average height of an NHL goaltender is about 6’3”. Nedeljkovic is 6’ and Saros stands at 5’11”. The average sports fan would figure that a bigger goalie is a better option because they take up more net. That is only partially true since the net is just big enough where a little bit of movement is required.
Hockey is a fast game, and the angle of a potential shot can change in a fraction of a second. This requires more mobility that we might think. So a 6’7″ goalie might not automatically be the best goalie in the world.
Among starters in the league, the most common height is 6’2” but there are far more that are taller than there are that are shorter than the average. On average, a taller goalie is more likely to succeed than a shorter but these shorter goalies in the NHL are a perfect example why shorter goalies still deserve a shot.