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.


Anonymous said...

Lundqvist hasn't done enough yet, should be Kolzig

Stefan said...

A good list, can't argue with the top three goalies, all of whom are unquestionably Hall of Famers. I think that, for the middle of the list, you've put too much weight on team accomplishments and playoff success when ranking otherwise forgettable goalies. Let's break down Giguere and Osgood, the two goalies that stand out to me as serviceable goalies on exceptional teams.

Giguere played extremely well in his first Stanley Cup run, but for the rest of his career, he regressed back to his regular level of play. The first thing anyone would notice about his 2006-2007 season, in which the Ducks won the Stanley Cup, was the level of talent he was surrounded by. Pronger and Niedermayer as the first pairing is a dream for any coach to have - future Hall of Famers, they were truly one of the best pairings in the last twenty years. Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf, and Cory Perry provided electric offense. Giguere had it easy that season, facing the fifth-least SA/G of the league, while also benefitting from a fifth-ranked PK%. Furthermore, in the Pacific division, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix were all in the bottom third of the league for goals/game. Other division winners that season, New Jersey and Vancouver, were both outscored by three of their four division rivals. Giguere had to just be good to win on a great team. As the Ducks became less competitive, Giguere fell out of consideration for best goalie in the league.

Osgood, like Giguere, played for a great team, with the perennial contenders in Detroit. The Red Wings over the last twenty years have been a textbook example of success through roster depth. Was Osgood a key factor in any of their last three Cup-winning seasons? Looking at the 98 season first, he faced the 11th fewest SA of any goalie in the league. If he had faced the average of the ten most-tested goalies that year, he would have theoretically allowed 18 more goals - at 158 GA, he would have had the 6th most in the league. For Detroit's championship in 2002, Osgood wasn't even on the team, so clearly he didn't help them at all during that Cup run. His 2008 Cup, against the dynamic Penguins, was the culmination of a season split right down the middle with superior Czech goalie Hasek. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Lidstrom helmed a victory of experience over talent that year, and Detroit lost in 2009 to a Pittsburgh team that now had both. Osgood's career SV% of .905 is nothing to rave about, especially when you find that his career SV% with Detroit only is still .905, factoring out the not-so-great years elsewhere.

The same arguments - good goalie peaking while surrounded by talent - can be made for the likes of Khabibulin, Thomas, and Kipprusoff. Many of the lower-ranked goalies on this list are clearly in a far lower second tier compared to Brodeur, Hasek, and Roy, and would not be anywhere near a list that went back thirty years.

Doc Hock said...

Thank you Stefan, for your reply.

First thing I want to say is that the top 3 are unquestionable, I hope you mean top 4, Ed Belfour was everything you can ask for in a franchise goalie for about 2 decades, with no real holes in his game. He's money.

Now, for your other comments -
You're right, that I definitely tend to favour goalies with playoff success. I like those who perform well under pressure, hence Giguere and Osgood are in, Luongo is out. I think the goalie who can make the big save is more impressive than the goalie who gets shelled with shots and has an impressive save % the way Lu did in Florida. This is also why I have Dwayne Roloson as an honourable mention and he was considered for the list. He's a great playoff goalie, but I just couldn't put him on the list because he has been fairly inconsistent throughout his career and has had more than his share of mediocre seasons.

There can be some debate about Giguere because his greatness was short lived, but his display in the 2003 playoffs cannot be denied. Sweeping the Red Wings in the first round, he was an absolute wall. In the Western Conference final he allowed an NHL record 1 (ONE!) goal in the entire series against the Wild, en route to another sweep, and he he single handily pushed the series against the far superior Devils to 7 games.

However, I get that I'm giving him a ton of credit for what he did in just that one season, so your criticism is warranted. At the same time, great team or not, he did deliver in the 2007 playoffs, and if you think the Western Conference final win against the power house Red Wings was easy for him, you're wrong, despite the greatness of Pronger and Niedermayer. That series was a war and he proved why he is one of the greats with his play, in my opinion.

As for Chris Osgood, I've had this debate many times and I expected some people would disagree with his ranking. The way I look at Osgood, you have to throw out the modest save %. Osgood may have only faced 20 shots per game during his time in Detroit, but he made quality saves when they needed him most.

I've heard people (foolishly) say that "any average goalie could have won the Cup with the Red Wings that year." But let's take a look at the 2008 Stanley Cup run for a second. Legendary Dominic Hasek is given the nod as Wings starter for the playoffs and the Red Wings are in a war with Nashville in the first round. The series is tied at 2-2 after a red hot Jason Arnott leads the way with some big goals in games 3 and 4. The Preds scored 8 goals over those 2 games and the momentum of the series really shifted. At this point Mike Babcock decided to go with Osgood. The result? Ozzy allows just 1 goal in game 5, and a shutout in game 6 and completely takes control of the situation. Then he cruises to four more consecutive wins in the 2nd round vs. the Avs, and extends his winning streak in those playoffs to 9 by getting off to a 3-0 series lead against Dallas.

If "any average goalie could have done this", then why we're the Wings on their heels when Osgood wasn't in goal? It's because Hasek was playing average. Never underestimate what great goaltending can do. As good as the Red Wings were, they still needed great 'tending. And of course, Ozzy had those back to back shutouts to kick start the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh, and the clutch save on Hossa at the end of game 6 (*clutch saves are Osgood's forte) to preserve the victory for the Cup.

Doc Hock said...

Don't let save percentages fool you. Don't get me wrong, they can be a very telling stat, but they can also be very misleading, because all saves look the same on paper, whether its a long shot from the blueline in the first period, or a sliding post to post save late in the 3rd with your team up by a goal.

Now, I did touch on Osgood's success on Long Island as well. Think about this - The New York Islanders did not qualify for the playoffs since 1994 when Ozzy arrived on the scene for the 2001-02 season. In fact they finished last in their division the 3 seasons leading up to that year. Osgood came in and did what he does - get wins (regardless of what team is in front of him apparently). The Isles finished 5th in the East that year (technically 4th, but weak SE division placed in 3rd).

Also, if winning in Detroit is so easy, why did the Red Wings struggle to win without Osgood (excluding their Cup win with the remarkable 2002 line up, which I still feel is among the best teams ever assembled. That year they had this team -

Shanahan - Fedorov - Yzerman
Holmstrom - Larionov - Robitaille
Brett Hull - Datsyuk - Devereaux/Avery
Maltby - Draper - McCarty

Won't go into the rest, but outside of Boyd Devereaux this was just a star studded team, and they did have Hasek in goal. But every other Red Wings team without Osgood, as heavily favoured as they may have been, did not get the job done. He did it multiple times. He deserves all the credit that I give him. I mean, if its so easy to win in Detroit, what happened to Wregget and Legace? Why did Cujo lose in 2003? What happened with the supposed lethal tandem of Joseph and Hasek in '04? They played well enough, but weren't there to make the big save.

Anyway's I think I've expressed my point of view. Osgood is not there based solely on a couple of Cup wins, he's there because he doesn't lose. He's a winner and a champion, and one of the NHL greats. Unfortunately for him Crosby and Malkin rose to another level and overpowered the Wings in 2009, but Osgood was very close to winning the Conn Smythe that year, which would have solidified his place in the HHOF. Which is still where I think he'll end up.

Anonymous said...

Osgood is a top 10 of the last 20 years, but not as high as you put him. Kiprusoff better. And you forgot Richter, Miller, other than Thomas this is kind of anti-American list. But good list.

Doc Hock said...

Also Stefan, you said this:

"The same arguments - good goalie peaking while surrounded by talent - can be made for the likes of Khabibulin, Thomas, and Kipprusoff."

I'll give you Khabibulin, although he's been a very good goalie in the league for the last two decades, he could slide off the list.

Kipper on the other hand has been the best goalie other than Lundqvist and Thomas, post lockout. Only guy in the league with at least 35+ wins in each year since the lockout. And his trip to the Cup final was before the lockout. And he's never had a good team in front of him.

Tim Thomas' 2 Vezina trophies were awarded for his regular season play, his Cup and Conn Smythe for his playoff success. This guy has it all, so he does not fall into that same argument as Giguere.

dumbassdoorman said...

The only problem with lists like these is that they are always a matter of opinion. This is also the best part of them, as they allow us fans great and usually passionate debates. There are probably only four goalies on this list that would make everyones and some will even debate Belfour. I have zero problems with the top 3 though for my money all things being equal and all in their primes, Roy is the best money goalie of his era. I hate Hasek, lol and Marty while a rock definately benefitted from the system Jersey played.

Doc Hock said...

Doorman, I like what you have to say. I think Roy is definitely not the best goalie of this era. Keep in mind this goes back to 1992 only, so unfortunately Belfour's 1991 Vezina season was not included, and fortunately Roy's outstanding Rookie run in '86 should not be considered either.

Roy was outstanding, no question but I couldn't put him ahead of Dom and Marty. I'm bias, I know it. I hate les habs.

Thanks for the feedback

Corduroy said...

I like Giggy. I'm just not sure if this list is who was the best, even for a short period, or who was the best over the course of the last 20 years. Because depending on criteria Rinne could be on there.

Some guys I like who are not on the list:

John VanBiesbrouck
Andy Moog
Sean Burke
Marc-Andre Fleury
Olaf Kolzig
Tomas Vokoun
Felix Potvin
Cam Ward

Corduroy said...

Here's my top 10:

1. Brodeur
2. Hasek
3. Roy
4. Belfour
5. Joseph
6. Moog
7. Rinne
8. Kiprusoff
9. Lunqvist
10. Luongo

Then Osgood and Beezer

Doc Hock said...

I'll admit, I don't remember a lot of John VanBiesbrouck. I know he was good, but as Stefan pointed out, I like clutch goalies, and Beezer allowed that late Steve Thomas goal that inevitably cost the Flyers the series against the Leafs in '99. That much I do remember.

I also remember Bobby Clark saying that his biggest regret as a GM was that he could have signed Cujo the summer of '98 but he opted for Beezer, and ended up being beat by Cujo in the 1st round. Joseph was great that series and Beezer was pretty average.

Again, I hear you, I'm basing a lot on individual performances, but that's what makes up sports. Those big moments. Everyone remembers Plaxico Burress making the big catch, but not many remember who was making quality, routine blocks all game.

M-A Fleury's cup winning save on Lidstrom is '09 was huge, but Andy Moog's quality 'tending for the habs in '98 is pretty forgettable. If you get my drift.

Anonymous said...

this is a very good read i enjoyed it thoroughly however roy is the best of all time period he's the best money goaltender in the history of the game .......yes evern better than brodeur he's the only player to everr win 3 con symthe trophies as playoff mvp something brodeur has or ever will do and his play in the 93 playoffs was lights out the best goaltending you'll ever see i mean 11 consecutive wins 10 in a row in overtime is just simply amazing nobody could score on roy that year in playoffs in o.t. he robbed gretzky time and again

Doc Hock said...

To the last anonymous poster -

Thank you for your comment, but keep in mind, this is only for the last 20 years, so I think we can agree that Brodeur gets the slight edge. If you take out Roy's '86 Cup and Conn Smythe, and all his seasons up to 1992, he's not quite at Marty Brodeur's level.

Brodeur statistically has way more wins, shutouts, equal Cups in that time, and was a more dominant goalie for a number of reasons. Brodeur's ability to play the puck really sets him apart from all the goalies on this list (except for Belfour), and allows him to have an even bigger impact on games.

As far as keeping the puck out of the net, you can debate it, or flip a coin. I mean, all four of the top guys were complete walls. I respect your opinion, but I feel Marty is the more dominant one.

Doc Hock said...

Roman Turek had some really amazing seasons and was a great goalie at times.

In 2000 with the Blues he posted particularly outrageous numbers, 42-15-9 record, .912 % and an amazing 1.95 GAA. But he choked in the playoffs.

Another example of why I put a lot of emphasis on playoff success as part of my criteria. Check out Turek's numbers, they're pretty damn impressive, however would anyone want him as your guy on any kind of all time fantasy team? Hell no. Because Owen Nolan beat him from centre. Because the Avalanche lit him up in the Western final another year, scoring from all kinds of bad angles.

Basically he wasn't a clutch goalie, and couldn't be counted on to make the big save.

A lot of people look at Grant Fuhr's numbers and wonder how he's considered one of the greats. Well, he made the big saves when the game was on the line. That has to count for something.