The Man Behind the Mask: Johan Hedberg

NHL Hot Stove March 23, 2010

The 1994 entry draft was a solid one for goaltenders. Jose Theodore was chosen in the 2nd round by Montreal. In the 5th round, the Dallas Stars chose Marty Turco, and four goaltenders were chosen in the 9th round, three of those eventual starters: Tim Thomas by the Nordiques, Evgeny Nabokov by the Sharks, and Tomas Vokoun by the Habs.

None of them are having a season like Johan Hedberg.

Johan “Moose” Hedberg was drafted in the 9th round, 218th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers. While his compatriots are suffering through either average seasons (Thomas, Theodore), off play (Turco, some can argue Nabokov), or suffering behind sub-par teams (Vokoun), Hedberg is literally having the best year of his career. In this, his 9th year in the NHL, Hedberg has only once had a goals against average lower as this season’s 2.67, and he has never had a save percentage as high as his .914. He’s putting up solid numbers behind an Atlanta Thrashers defense who allows 33.4 shots a game, which is 29th in the league. While wrangling with all of this pressure, the 36 year old goaltender has grabbed the reigns as Atlanta’s current #1 goaltender in the midst of a playoff run.

Familiar territory indeed for the consummate professional.

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