Watching NHL goalies over the last few years, it’s hard not to notice that the RVH has become the norm for sealing up the post in close positions. It’s not surprising, as this position does have a ton of advantages over the way goalies played these shots in the past.
Every post position has a trade off. I’ve written in the past about the overlap and it’s advantages and disadvantages, and I want to talk about a bit of that today with the RVH.
I particularly want to talk about younger goalies, since this is where things can get a bit murky.
The first picture below is an average sized 9 year old goalie. The photo is from about a foot off the ice, slightly above the goal line.
I have him looking at a puck in the corner, below the goal line, so it’s not exactly puck perspective, but it is a good illustration of what’s covered and what’s exposed. This is actually a great post setup and there really isn’t much to pick apart here.
As pucks get closer to his feet however, he won’t have access to them from a standing position.
My guy here does an awesome job of sealing up the post. Any spots exposed previously are gone, and there’s virtually no spot for someone to score from this angle. Not every goalie is going to have the flexibility to get into this exact position and that’s okay. We’re all built differently, and some hips don’t allow for this range of motion. Those goalies can achieve roughly the same position by putting their shin on the post and be far more comfortable.
From this angle the position works great. Plays tight to or below the goal line, and within about 6 to 8 feet of the net are scenarios where the RVH gives goalies a great opportunity to cover a lot of net.
Where problems start is when a goalie stays or goes into this position beyond those parameters. A quick YouTube search of bad goals is likely to produce at least a couple that stem from using this tool incorrectly. It doesn’t mean the tool is bad, just that it wasn’t the right tool for the job.
I know this was a perfect shot, but if a shooter sees a goalie just sitting passively in a position, they’re going to have a much easier time hitting whatever holes we give them.
I think the RVH is totally an appropriate position for young goalies, as long as their goalie coach works with them to learn when they’re comfortable using it and when it’s an appropriate save selection for them. Mistakes are bound to happen, even at the highest level, but becoming comfortable with this option can prevent some bad goals throughout the season.