This article is part of our Crashing the Crease series.
With the new year upon us, it's time to take a look at a pair of goaltenders for whom 2016 was a year to remember, as well as two who can't wait for 2017. Matt Murray and Martin Jones are both much better off than they were a year ago, while Jonathan Quick and Brian Elliott would probably do it all over again if they could.
Murray was just an AHL prospect a year ago, then got called up for Pittsburgh's playoff push with Marc-Andre Fleury injured, and never relinquished the top job due to his outstanding play. Now he's a Stanley Cup champion, and his strong form has carried over to the 2016-17 campaign to the tune of a 13-3-1 record, 2.14 GAA and .928 save percentage. While winning another championship in 2017 will be tough, Murray should continue to rank among the game's top netminders.
Jones lost to Murray in the Stanley Cup Finals, but taking a Sharks team that finished third in a weak Pacific Division that far was quite an accomplishment for a man in his first season as an NHL starter. He has backed up that campaign by propelling San Jose to first place in the division with 18 wins, a 2.08 GAA and a .919 save percentage this season. A year ago, Jones was still making a name for himself in the NHL. Now, the 26-year-old looks like he's going to be among the top performers at his position for years to come.