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10-28-2004, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Kodiak
The AHL is very different from the NHL. Labarbera is decently sized and okay positionally, but his weak glove hand, huge rebounds, and slow as molasses lateral movement get picked apart by NHL shooters.

Here's a list of the players voted to be the best AHL goalie from 1984-2000:
Not exactly a who's who of top flight NHL goaltenders. In fact, only one has gone on to anything more than moderate success at the NHL level, and that's Jim Carey. Outside of him, you have a couple of backups, a few guys that could be borderline #1 goalies, and a bunch of minor leaguers.
Marty Biron and Félix Potvin have had more than just moderate success at the NHL level. Potvin had a few very good seasons back in his Toronto days, and say what you will about Biron, he's one of the better young goalies in the league and has proved himself as a starter. I'd argue that both have had better careers than Carey, Vezina or not.

What's more telling about these two and Carey: they all won the award very young, around 21-22. Most of the others (except that other Rangers prospect, Corey Hirsch), were older when they won.

Labarbera is still young, but I don't think he's young enough to turn his game around to become an NHL-goalie. I see a very J-F Labbé-like future for him: which is not the NHL, but it is a good career.

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