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A breath of fresh air for NHL goalies

Of the eight goaltenders selected to participate in the next National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star Game, four will be making their first appearance at this annual classic. A breath of fresh air seems to blow over the masked men.

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Juuse Saros – Nashville Predators

Long confined to a substitute role behind his compatriot Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators, Finland’s Juuse Saros has stood among the best goalies in the NHL for two years. Having finished sixth in the voting for the Vézina Trophy last season, an honor then won by Quebecer Marc-André Fleury, Saros picked up where he left off. In 31 games this season, he is 20-10-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .927 save percentage. A worthy representative of the Predators in the next All-Star game, Saros is the most used goaltender in the NHL since the start of the campaign with 1,828 minutes on the clock. The 26-year-old also comes on top with a total of 887 saves.

Cam Talbot – Minnesota Wild

At 34, veteran Cam Talbot will take part in the event for the first time. Nursing a lower-body injury, the goaltender has done the Minnesota Wild great service since the start of the season. In 24 games, the Ontarian has a record of 15-8-1. In his most recent appearance in net, in an outdoor game at Target Field, he allowed six goals on 28 shots for the St. Louis Blues before having to leave the game. His goals-against-average (3.00) and save percentage (.909) unfortunately suffered for him. Earlier in his career, Talbot played for four other teams, primarily the Edmonton Oilers. It must be admitted that the selection of Talbot is explained, in part, by the lack of quality goalkeepers in the Central section this season.

Jack Campbell – Toronto Maple Leafs

Chosen 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2010 draft, American Jack Campbell took some time to make his mark in the NHL. Number 1 goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is still among the best in the NHL at his position this season. His statistics are impressive with an average of 2.02 and a rate of .935. The Leafs are 18-5-3 in their 26 starts this season. At 30, Campbell now has 113 games of NHL experience, including 57 with the Los Angeles Kings, and soon… an all-star game. He also participated, it should be remembered, in seven playoff games against the Montreal Canadiens, last May.

Thatcher Demko – Vancouver Canucks

Having celebrated his 26th birthday last December, Thatcher Demko seems to be quietly establishing himself as the number 1 goaltender in the NHL. Sent in goal for the Canucks in 29 games this season, the native of San Diego, Calif., is posting a positive record of 15-13-1. His average is 2.65 and his rate of .915 remains even more satisfactory. Demko was a second-round pick (36th overall) by the Canucks in the 2014 draft. Like Talbot, Campbell and Saros, he will be making his first All-Star Game appearance February 4-5 in Las Vegas.

– The other four goaltenders selected for the upcoming All-Star Weekend are: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning), John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks), Frederik Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes) and Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh Penguins) .

– The two most recent recipients of the Vézina Trophy, awarded to the best goaltender in the NHL, will not be part of the stars, namely: Connor Hellebuyck (2020) and Marc-André Fleury (2021).