Saturday, October 13, 2012

Top 10 Goalies of the last 20 years

Top 10 NHL Goalies of the past 20 years (1992-present)

1. Martin Brodeur ('93-present)

- 3 Stanley Cups ('95, '00, '03)
- 2 Olympic Gold Medals ('02, '10)
- 4 Vezina Trophies: '03, '04, '07, '08
- Calder Trophy 93/94
- 5 Jennings Trophies: '97, '98, '03, '04, '10
*Scored a couple of goals, including one in the playoffs vs. Montreal
*Ranks 1st in all-time career Wins and Shutouts

Marty's march to the Cup final this past season just shows how great this guy is. Still able to rise up and play at an elite level in his 40's. I don't think there is any denying he is the best of the last 20 years, if not all-time.

2. Dominic Hasek ('92-'08)

- 2 Stanley Cups ('02, '08)
- 1 Olympic Gold Medal ('98)
- 2 Hart Trophies ('97, '98) *Six goalies have ever won the Hart, only Hasek has 2
- 6 Vezina Trophies ('94, '95, '97, '98, '99, '01)
- 3 Jennings Trophies ('94, '01, '08)

Six Vezina's in 8 years is outstanding. Between the years 1997-1999 I believe Hasek displayed the best goaltending of all time, capturing back to back Hart's in the process. I can't put him at number one because Brodeur has a bit more long lasting appeal, and Hasek's 2nd Cup was won by Chris Osgood, with Dom on the bench. Still, Hasek in his prime was an unparalleled machine, and if you could take one goalie in his prime for one game, it should be Hasek. The 1998 Olympics, and 1999 run to the Cup (leading to Brett Hull's famous/infamous goal) were absolute works of art on the part of the Dominator.

3. Patrick Roy ('84-'03) *Only counting his achievements from 1992-present

- 3 Stanley Cups
- 1 Vezina Trophy (1992)
- 2 Conn Smythe's ('93, '01)
- 1 Jennings Trophy ('02)

First of all, I don't like Roy, and I tried to make him lower, but this is where he fits. His 2 Conn Smythe Trophies in the last 20 years can't be denied. He rose up in the playoffs. Now to take a jab at him: I'll never forget the famous "statue of liberty" celebration that cost the Avs game 6 in the 2002 Western conference final, and forced a game 7 against the hated Red Wings. Detroit came out in game 7 firing from everywhere and the great Patrick Roy, looking very old, was lit up for 6 goals by the 5 minute mark of the 2nd period, and Roy did not finish the game and the Avs lost 7-0. Still I guess he's pretty great.

4. Ed Belfour ('89-07) *Again only '92 onward will be looked at

- 1 Stanley Cup (1999)
- 1 Olympic Gold (2002)
- 1 Vezina Trophy (1993)
- 3 Jennings Trophies ('93, '95, '99)
- 1 Roger Crozier Award (2000, for outstanding Save %)
*3rd on NHL's all-time Wins list behind Brodeur and Roy

Eddie the Eagle was a beast. When he won the Cup in '99 he was unreal, and his save percentage was an outstanding 1.99 that year, following a 1.88 save % from the year before. This was clearly a golden age for goaltending when all 4 of the guys on the list so far were all on top of their games. If Eddie had played in another era and not had to compete with the 3 guys above, he would have even more hardware on his shelf.

5. Chris Osgood ('94-'11)

- 3 Stanley Cups ('97, '98, '08)
- 2 Jennings Trophies ('96, '08)

Osgood is flat out the most underrated and under appreciated goalie of the last 20 years. Ozzy doesn't always have the sparkling save % and definitely played on some great teams, which is why his critics are quick to dismiss his achievements. But the fact is, he never finished below 5th in his conference in his entire career. Including when he went to the Islanders, where he took a team that hadn't made the playoffs in years and turned them around, winning 32 games. Then on to St.Louis where he won 30+ games again, and finally back to the Red Wings. Osgood on his game could go toe to toe with any other goalie in the NHL, and he had that "it" factor, to rise up and make the big save with the game on the line. That's why he's one of the winningest goalies of all time (10th with 401 career wins). That's why he is a great champion. *Before I digress, I also want to mention that Osgood was getting a lot of Conn Smythe buzz in 2009 as he went back to the Cup finals in back to back years for the 2nd time in his career, but as the Penguins prevailed the award went to Malkin* Okay... I'm ready to move on

6. Tim Thomas ('03-present)

- 1 Stanley Cup (2011)
- 1 Conn Smythe (2011)
- 2 Vezina Trophies ('09, '11)
- Jennings Trophy (2009)

If not for mismanagement on the part of the Bruins, Thomas might have won 3 Vezina's in a row. However in 2010 the Bruins put the reigning top goalie on the bench in favour of Rask, and only played him sporadically. But anyway's, Timmy is an unorthodox goalie, to say the least, but when he's on his game, and that's most of the time (career save % of .921) he keeps the puck out as good as anyone on this list. His MVP performance in the 2011 playoffs was really something to behold.

7. Jean-Sebastien Giguere ('97-present)

- 1 Stanley Cup (2007)
- 1 Conn Smythe (2003) *1 of 4 players to ever win the MVP on the losing team

Giguere might not have the pedigree of these other guys, but his display in the 2003 playoffs warrants some serious props. He carried a terrible team really far, and then proved it wasn't a flash in the pan by playing great in the following few seasons and then finally winning his Cup in '07. Giggy on his game was a wall.

8. Miika Kiprusoff ('01-present)

- 1 Vezina (2006)
- 1 Jennings (2006)

My first non-Stanley Cup winner on the list. Kipper technically did win in 2004 against the Lightning in game 6 (review the tape the puck crossed the line and hit Khabibulin's pad inside the net!) but that's not important right now. Anyone who plays fantasy hockey knows the value of kipper, all this guy does is post outstanding numbers on a mediocre team, year in, year out. Did you know he's the only goalie in the NHL to have at least 35 wins or more in every season since the 2005 lockout? Its true. And his performance in the 2004 playoffs ranks up there as one of the best I've ever seen.

9. Nikolai Khabibulin ('94-present)

- 1 Stanley Cup (2004)

Number 20 on the NHL's All-Time wins list. The 'Bulin Wall has been one of the best most consistent goalies for the better part of the last two decades. 

10. Henrik Lundqvist ('06-present)

-Vezina Trophy (2012)

So he doesn't have a ton of hardware at this stage, he's definitely been one of the most valuable players in the NHL for the last few seasons and could be on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats.

*Honourable Mentions

- Olaf Kolzig - I know a lot of you will probably say that he should be there since Kipper is. They have the same hardware (Vezina, trip to the Cup final) and both were great. Kolzig, for the record is my #11 and it was a tough cut.

- Dwayne Roloson - a few lengthy playoff runs in his career, including trips to the final 4 with Minnesota and Tampa Bay, stepping in in the Conference Finals in game 1, 1999 when Hasek was hurt and getting the win for Buffalo, and of course his run to the Cup final with the Oilers, which he may have won over Carolina if he hadn't gotten hurt in that series. Rolly was often a guy who would step up in the playoffs and take his teams further than expected.

- Curtis Joseph - How can I leave off the 4th winningest goalie of all time? Well he also happens to have the most all time career losses. Joseph was great, don't get me wrong, and in his prime he was an amazing reactionary goalie, definitely one of the best of his kind. But there are meltdowns in his career as well, including the Olympics in 2002, where he was lit up badly and lost his starting job, and his inability to deliver in an Osgood-esque way in Detroit, where he was expected to win. He just never fully came through, although he was a very good goalie in his day.

- Marty Turco - Almost had to put him, based solely his performance in the playoff series against Vancouver in 2007. Did you know he had THREE shutouts, a 1.30 GAA, and a .952 Save % and he lost the series!? Easily the best performance in a losing effort. He did everything except score goals.

- Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon, and Grant Fuhr - They all played during some of the last 20 years, but were all in the twilight of their careers. Still they all took home Stanley Cups in the last 20 (okay, not quite for Grant Fuhr, he just missed the cut.) But anyway's, if it were the last 25 years, I think I would have to include all three.

- Jose Theodore - Definitely had an amazing year in '02 when he took home the Vezina and the Hart. But his greatness was too short lived. Outside of that season he has been a very good starting goalie, but not great enough.

- Roberto Luongo - Olympic Gold is huge, no question, and he deserved it. But he did let in a shaky goal in the final minute to force OT in the gold medal game. He fights the puck a lot, and he's prone to bad goals. This is a hot topic right now because of all the trade rumours surrounding Lu, and I don't want to get into a whole thing, but I'll leave you with this: If you want to argue that his trip to the Cup final warrants any kind of accolades, then I think we should just open the list right up to all the Michael Leighton's of the world. We should also put Anti Niemi on the list because he won a cup. The thing is, Luongo played on a great team, and his trip to the Cup final (which included losing his starting job temporarily in the 1st round against Chicago, giving up bad goals late to force OT/Lose games vs. Nashville in the 2nd round, and being pulled 3 times in a 7 game Cup Final against Boston) does not stack up with Kipper, Kolzig, and Giguere's (2003) underdog teams, who made it against all odds on the strength of strong goaltending.

Criticism welcomed.