Queen of Ice, First of Her Name, Protector of Nets and Stopper of Volcanized Rubber Shannon Szabados is the best goalie in women’s hockey. Best goalie of all-time would be a great debate but we’re not going to go there in these particular rankings. Now with the discrepancies there are in women’s hockey at the international level it can be difficult to differentiate individual accomplishments versus team accomplishments. Someone who isn’t a hardcore fan might look at the team Szabados plays for and conclude she’s benefiting from playing on Team Canada.
For Shannon Szabados that isn’t the case. Szabados has earned everything she has and has never been given anything. Szabados first came onto the scene in the 2010 Olympics. Szabados left quite the mark by not only winning the Gold Medal but shutting the American’s out as well to win Gold. Ask any goalie how easy it is to shut out Team USA and they’ll tell you what a feat it was. The 2010 Olympics were surprisingly Szabados’ first time playing for Team Canada in an international event. Before the Olympics Szabados participated at the 2009 World Championships but didn’t play a game. So at the age of 23 Szabados is stepping onto the ice for the first time against maybe the best team in the World in a Gold Medal game. The cherry on top was Szabados only playing three games and still being named the Best Goaltender of the tournament.
Szabados didn’t stop her with her success after the 2010 Olympics as she won the Women’s World Championship in 2012 and then the CCAA Championship in 2012/13. Finally we get to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. It’s easy to remember the heroic comeback fueled by Marie-Philip Poulin. However if you go back and watch the game you’ll notice Szabados allows the comeback to happen with save after save followed by a great Overtime performance to allow her team to seal the deal.
Since then Szabados has been on a level of her own. She participated in an Edmonton Oilers practice. Following that she joined the Columbus Cottonmouths and has played +20 games for the team in the past two seasons. To go along with those starts she was named player of the week on December 6th, 2014.
When it comes down to stopping pucks there is a lot to love about Shannon Szabados. Her play style doesn’t require a lot of quick side to side movement even against those high powered American teams though she does have tremendous speed when going into the butterfly and back up again. Szabados’ biggest strength is that she’s the goalie with the highest hockey IQ in the game today. An understanding of angles and positioning allow Szabados to continually step up her game. What everyone will enjoy from watching Szabados play is her ability to nearly flawlessly read the play. She anticipates passes and shots on a tier no other goalie can touch right now.
Finding a goalie better then Szabados right now is nearly impossible. You’d find it very difficult to find a goalie who can make her talent, hockey IQ or her consistency. With no signs of slowing down soon Shannon Szabados will remain on top of this list for a long time. The only question Szabados is involved in who is better All-Time between her and Manon Rheaume.