With both Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, the New York Islanders have the best goalie tandem in the entire league.
Heading into the season, the New York Islanders goalie situation looked okay at best. Robin Lehner was added on a one-year deal after Buffalo decided not to offer him a contract. He was very underwhelming in his final year in Buffalo.
In 50 starts, he had a .908 save percentage and a 3.01 goals against average. At 26-years-old he had the worst year of his career in a contract season. The Isles signed him, hoping he would return to form like 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
As for Thomas Greiss, he was also coming off the worst year of his career. Last season, he was almost unusable. He had a .892 save percentage and a 3.82 goals against average. With a -17.85 GSAA he was arguably the league’s worst goalie.
Barry Trotz and company had a lot of work to get these goalies in action. That’s why Mitch Korn and Piero Greco were added to the staff, to help out both goalies. This year, both Lehner and Greiss have been fantastic.
Robin Lehner, in 25 starts has a .931 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average. Both of those numbers are first in the league. His save percentage is .06 better than Andrei Vasilevskiy while his goals against average is a whopping .23 better than Ben Bishop’s.
Thomas Greiss this year, in 25 starts, has a .924 save percentage and a 2.39 goals against average. His save percentage is good enough for fourth in the league and goals against average is good enough for third.
First and fourth in save percentage and first and third in goals against average is pretty impressive for this tandem. There is no big name here, but each has shown signs of being capable NHL goalies and their talents have been taken to a higher level.
Eventually, their numbers might come back down to earth a little bit but for now, I don’t think you can say there’s a better tandem in the league. Yes, Dallas’ Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin is a solid pair and Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are also a nice duo but they have worse numbers than the Lehner/Greiss pairing.
While it looks like Lehner has surpassed Greiss as the main starter, Thomas is still a more than capable NHL goalie. After last year, nobody would’ve thought they’d be anywhere close to this good. That’s just the Barry Trotz effect working it’s magic again.