In recent years we have started to see goaltenders pull in major salaries in the National Hockey League and, at least for the time being, it seems that most teams that have made big dollar investments between the pipes have not been duly rewarded for doing so. In a recent article for The Athletic NHL insider Jesse Granger ranked every goaltending tandem in the NHL from best to worst relative to their current salaries and it came as no surprise to me to see one of these high paid goalies make it to the very bottom of that list.
Granger awarded his worst of the worst, that is to say the 31st ranked team out of a possible 31 teams, to the Florida Panthers goaltending tandem of Sergei Bobrovsky and Chris Dreidger. Now first and foremost I will say that it is extremely unfortunate for Dreidger to find himself on this list, especially given what a truly solid season he had between the pipes for the Florida Panthers, but there's no question that relative to the money being paid here the Panthers simply have not received the bang they were expecting for their buck.
Dreidger is obviously not the problem. The 26 year old backup goaltender made 12 appearances this season for the Florida Panthers and recorded a 2.05 goals against average and a .938 save percentage over that stretch of play. Add to that the fact that he counted for just $850,000 against the salary cap this season and you could argue that Dreidger was among the most valuable backups in the league in terms of performance relative to one's salary. The problem of course comes when you add the Panthers starter to the equation.
In spite of his impressive pedigree during his time in Columbus as a member of the Blue Jackets, a pedigree that includes two very impressive Vezina Trophies, it appears that the Florida Panthers ignored two straight seasons of declining performance from Bobrovsky when they signed him to an absurd contract that counts against the salary cap for a whopping $10,000,000 per season. Unsurprisingly at 31 years old Bobrovsky's decline continued in Florida with the veteran netminder recording a .900 save percentage and a 3.23 goals against average over 50 games played this season.
In spite of the strong backup performance from Dreidger, Bobrovsky's performance leads to the two men being ranked 26th in the league as a tandem and Bobrovsky's salary pushes them to the 2nd highest payroll for a goalie tandem in the NHL. They are certainly deserving of the bottom spot on this list, but one is clearly more to blame here than the other.