This article is part of our Crashing the Crease series.
Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of watching in person as Linus Ullmark helped the AHL's Rochester Americans pull out a 3-1 victory in a road game they had no business winning against the Binghamton Senators. Ullmark is just 23 years of age but is currently settling for AHL duties despite showing flashes of excellence en route to a .913 save percentage in 20 appearances for the Sabres last season. It's likely only a matter of time until the young Swede is up in the big leagues for good, though, especially given Robin Lehner's injury history.
The AHL is filled with raw youngsters in need of professional experience, and many of them end up making a serious impact in the NHL. Notable recent AHL call-ups include Stanley Cup champion Matt Murray and Ottawa's Andrew Hammond, who carried the Senators to an improbable 2014-15 playoff berth and earned free McDonald's for life thanks to a 20-1-2 record. Knowing who the most promising youngsters are could give you a leg up as soon as this season, and will almost certainly pay off eventually.
Thirty-one AHL netminders have posted a GAA of 2.50 or better over the last two seasons. Some have since become established NHLers such as John Gibson, while others are veterans who couldn't quite make the transition to the top like Mike McKenna. Still, a substantial portion of that group falls into neither category. Ten players on that list are born in 1992