After taking a look at which skaters had the best seasons in FHL history, today the goaltenders get their chance in the spot.
And the FHL has certainly had some good goalies come through the doors and man the crease over its eight seasons. But which goalie had THE BEST season in FHL history? We try to answer that question.
It was simple, we looked season-by-season, and tried to decide who had the best year that season, then compared that season against the other seven best years, so yes, there are guys who may have had better seasons than some players on our list, but if they didn’t have the best season in that particular year, then they didn’t have the best season of all-time and there’s no sense putting them on the list. Make sense?
Some seasons were very close, and not everyone on the list simply led the league in goals against, save percentage, shutouts or wins, but it certainly didn’t hurt their case if they did win one of those categories, or in some cases, all four.
That said, I think this list was a little easier to compile than yesterday’s offensive list, because while there have been good goalies, the depth isn’t there like at forward. Here we go, and get ready to see a couple of players a few times, which makes you wonder how they haven’t played more at higher levels.
All stats are from the FHL site.
8. Matt Anthony, 1000 Islands, 2012-13
Season stats: 3.38 GAA, .917 Sv%, 19-12-0-1, 2 SO
Really, 2012-13 was the only dud year for goalies with even the best numbers that year looking pretty pedestrian. Anthony was second in goals against behind Mike Brown (SPOILER: more on him later) was tops in save percentage, third and wins, and tying for the league lead in shutouts with two, along withe Dayton’s Jeff Rose. Really, you could have picked any of Anthony, Brown, or Rose for this season and have a good argument, but this was easily the worst season for goalies in the FHL.
7. Matt Anthony, Danville, 2015-16
Season stats: 2.91 GAA, .916 Sv%, 25-6-0-2, 3 Shutouts
Anthony claims his second spot on the list with his best season in the FHL, posting a solid goals against and save percentage, but a glistening 25-6-2 record to go with a league-best three shutouts. Really, despite these number not being overly impressive, Anthony only had competition for this spot from Port Huron goalie Andy DiCristofaro, who was .47 worse in GAA despite winning the save percentage and wins crown by the slimmest possible margin in each category, .01 in save percentage and one win. This actually turned out to be Anthony’s last season in pro hockey.
6. Danila Alistratov, Watertown, 2016-17
Season stats: 2.78 GAA, .918 Sv%, 2 shutouts, 18-9-0-3
Another season where there was one cut-and-dry winner. Alistratov actually played four seasons in the KHL where he posted solid numbers before coming to the FHL for his only season. He was the only goalie with a sub-3.00 goals against, while also leading the league in save percentage and shutouts, and finishing second in wins, again, none of the numbers here are super impressive, but he was very steady over 30+ games for the Wolves that season. Really, the only other goalie who could maybe have a case was Berlin’s Matt Kaludis, who was third in goals against and led the league in wins.
5. Mike Brown, Danbury, 2014-15
Season stats: 2.75 GAA, .931 Sv%, 2 SO, 21-10-2
The biggest thing that jumps out about Brown’s numbers this season is that save percentage, the first we’ve seen over .920, let alone .930, so he was peppered with shots that season in Danbury. The next closest guy in save percentage that season was at .917. He was also second goals against, while leading the league in wins and tying for the shutout crown. A pretty strong season and probably that last on our list that I wouldn’t consider an elite year.
4. Kevin Druce, New York, 2010-11
Season stats: 2.38 GAA, .917 Sv%, 25-8-0-1, 1 shutout
In the FHL’s first season Druce proved to be the league’s top netminder by winning the goals against title and the wins title by hefty margins. The next closest guy was at 2.76 GAA and 21 wins. He was also tied for second in save percentage. His 25 wins are tied for the second most in a FHL season. This was actually Druce’s last season in pro hockey, and currently helps run a goalie school in Kingston, Ontario.
3. Adam Dekker, New Jersey, 2011-12
Season stats: 2.72 GAA, .922 Sv%, 4 shutouts, 18-2-0-0
This was a really strange pick, because technically Dekker was the backup that season for the Outlaws behind teammate Dan McWhinney, who himself had a great season, going 25-5-0-0 with a 2.67 GAA and .916 save percentage. But we gave the nod to Dekker for the higher save percentage, and league-record four shutouts in just 20 decisions. You can see why the New Jersey Outlaws were considered the best team in league history when they had the two goalies fighting for the best season that year. Dekker actually hails from my hometown of Muskegon, Michigan, and this season turned out to be his last in pro hockey after stints in the CHL, SPHL, IHL, and AAHL before the FHL. He spent the last three seasons at the goalie coach at Utica College.
2. Michael Santaguida, Port Hurton, 2017-18
Season stats: 2.24 GAA, .938 Sv%, 23-1-0-1, 0 shutouts
Santaguida was a fairly over-qualified player for the FHL, playing four years at Vermont, where he had two really strong seasons. He was an integral part of the Prowlers record winning streak during the past season, and his league-record .938 goals against average, and second-best in FHL history goals against were both remarkable, only topped by his stunning 23-1-0-1 record last season. He was the triple crown winner, leading the league in goals against, save percentage and wins. Amazingly, he didn’t post one shutout in the regular season. He could have posted even bigger numbers had he not been called up to the SPHL where he appeared in eight games, going 1-5-1 between Peoria and Fayetteville.
1. Mike Brown, Danbury, 2013-14
Season stats: 2.18 GAA, .936 Sv%, 2 shutouts, 28-2-0-6
This season is Brown and the FHL’s Mona Lisa when it comes to goaltending play. Brown’s 2.18 is still the lowest mark in FHL history by a qualifying goalie (those who appear in 45% of a team’s games), his .936 mark was the record for save percentage until Santaguida’s season this past year, and his 28 wins are the most in a single FHL season. Oh and he led the league with two shutouts that year, becoming the only FHL goalie to win the quadruple crown of wins, goals against, save percentage and shutouts. Really, it was that and the shutouts that made the difference for him over Santaguida, whose numbers were very comparable. Brown had a well-traveled career before playing in the FHL for his last three seasons. Playing a few games in the AHL, long stints in the ECHL, as well as seasons in the CHL and SPHL, with one overseas for good measure. Despite just three seasons in the FHL, Brown would probably be considered by many to be the best goalie in FHL history.
So that’s our list. Agree? Disagree? Is there someone whose season should be higher on the list? Lower?