HbD Masks: 2017-18 Western Conference Preview

By Ally Koss
In Ally Koss
Aug 10th, 2017
1 Comment

With the new season less than two months away and a number of goaltenders on the move to different teams, masks for the 2017-18 season are starting to be unveiled.

• More: HbD Masks: 2016-17 Western Conference Preview

We’ll be rounding up the newest NHL buckets and breaking down their designs, so keep checking back as new masks roll out before opening night.

 

Pekka Rinne • Nashville Predators

Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart

Coming off the franchise’s most successful season to date, Rinne and artist Dave Gunnarsson took a different direction when crafting the goaltender’s latest bucket. After a long string of monster and movie-inspired masks, this design is centered all around the Predators’ logos. “We have worked together for more than a decade,” Gunnnarson shared of the tandem, confirming that “this new design is built on the foundation of the awesome logos of Nashville Predators.” Cropped renderings of the Preds’ primary logo sit on each side of the mask, jam packed with Gunnarsson’s signature textures and special effects, with the alternate “NP” centered on the top.

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This mask is a vast improvement from Rinne’s past buckets, but the only thing keeping this from receiving a perfect score is the omission of the team’s 20th anniversary logo, which would’ve really given the design an extra something special. Overall though, nicely done by Rinne and Gunnarsson.

Grade: A-

 

Marc-Andre Fleury • Vegas Golden Knights

Stephane Bergeron, Griffe Originale

Here we have it folks, the long-awaited and first ever Las Vegas Golden Knights mask. Unveiled by CCM Goalie last week along with new masks for Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo, Flower’s G-Knights bucket crams just about everything you could imagine about the franchise into one design.

Computationally divided into half Vegas and half knight-related elements, the right side features a gold-laden knight on a black horse wielding a golden sword and Vegas shield. The left side of the mask is centered around the city itself with landmarks like the “Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign, the Stratosphere tower and the New York New York hotel’s Statue of Liberty all behind another larger golden knight in the foreground.

• More: HbD Breakdown: Vegas Golden Knights Jerseys
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On the plus side, this design (likely painted by MAF’s regular artist, Stephane Bergeron) has a good amount of red which helps make sense of the odd red striping on the Knights’ jerseys. The downside here is that it’s just way too much gold (yes, even for Vegas). The whole right side of the mask gets lost due to the lack of contrast, and while the foil filigree is a nice touch (on mask, not on a jersey sleeve…), it’s almost impossible to see due to the abundance of gold paint surrounding it.

Based on the high quality of Fleury’s prior masks, the expectations were high coming out of the gate, and unfortunately this one just falls short.

Grade: C

 

Corey Crawford • Chicago Blackhawks

Stephane Bergeron, Griffe Originale

The third mask unveiled in the CCM photo shoot was Corey Crawford’s latest Blackhawks creation. Crow’s masks are most often centered around the Blackhawks brand, and this year’s design is no different. With the team’s iconic logo placed prominently on the top, the sides of the black bucket are filled in with airbrushed tomahawk feathers and the team’s alternate “C” logo cropped along the bottom.

• More: HbD Masks #2: Corey Crawford
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The composition of this mask is really straightforward with not much to complain about. Like every Hawks outdoor game jersey as of late, does it blow me away? Not really, but there’s nothing to rip apart either, so have at it.

Grade: B

 

Antti Raanta • Arizona Coyotes

Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart

In his first season with the ‘Yotes, former Ranger Antti Raanta will be channeling the western desert, sporting this locomotive-themed bucket by Dave Gunnarsson. “Raanta’s alter ego is driving a real wild west locomotive on his new Arizona Coyotes bucket,” Gunnarsson shared of the hyper-detailed mask.

The dog character that we’ve seen grace Raanta’s masks year after year is depicted as the conductor of a red and silver steam engine with cacti and desert wind silhouetted in the background. While there is certainly a lot going on in this design, the symmetry and simplicity of the concept really help ground the piece and allow us to see what’s what amidst all the detail.

From a distance, this might be hard to read due to the lack of contrast between the gray and red tones, but bonus points for creativity in this fun and playful concept.

Grade: B

 

Steve Mason • Winnipeg Jets

Fran Drummond, Paintzoo

For his first season with the Jets, Steve Mason got a sharp new bucket from Philadelphia-based artist Franny Drummond. The past few seasons, Mason has garnered attention for his beautifully executed zombie masks, also painted by Drummond, but this year the artist and goaltender took a different direction, opting instead for a hyper-detailed and dynamic fighter jet scene.

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The Jets’ logo sits on the top of the mask as the centerpiece with a variation of the team’s alternate wings logo across the chin, including “Mase” over the maple leaf in the center. The negative space is filled with a well composed scene of fighter jets and explosions over the ocean, executed in a similar blue tone to the cloudy sky which creates a lovely, soft backdrop for the dynamic planes in the foreground.

Overall, this mask is really well done and will look excellent with both the Jets’ home and road unis.

Grade: A-

 

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