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January 09, 2009

HHOF Worthy - Curtis Joseph?


Here's a new feature I thought I'd toy around with here in 2009. It's called HHOF Worthy?

We will take a look at NHL stars, some active, some not, and look at whether their careers have been proficient enough to warrant inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Let's start with Curtis Joseph, who just registered his 450th career win, the 4th most wins in NHL history:

Patrick Roy - 551
Martin Brodeur - 544*
Ed Belfour - 484
Curtis Joseph - 450*
Terry Sawchuk - 447
Jacques Plante - 437
Tony Esposito - 423
Glenn Hall - 407
Grant Fuhr - 403
Dominik Hasek - 389
* Active player

That is some pretty impressive company CuJo finds himself in. He would have even gaudier numbers had he played on stronger teams. Be it in St. Louis, Edmonton, or Toronto, Joseph was an at-times spectacular goaltender but his teams never could get over the hump and truly challenge for the Stanley Cup.

Some would argue Joseph was the weak link, but I don't think that is completely fair. It takes a team to win or to lose. Interestingly, CuJo could end his career as the NHL's all time leader in losses by a goalie. He's only 4 losses behind Gump Worsley and 3 behind Gilles Meloche - two pretty good goalies, who played on some pretty bad teams.

Besides, Joseph's playoff numbers are strong. Let's take a look at Joseph compared to his peers.

In the past 20 years, seven goalies have played in 100 career playoff games: Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood, Tom Barrasso, plus Joseph. Again, some pretty nice company.

In those 100 games CuJo had 63 wins, 5th among his 7 peers, with Osgood likely to surpass him in 2009. His save percentage, a solid .917, also ranked 5th. Joseph is also the only goalie on the list to have a sub-.500 playoff career.

But the most glaring stat is number of Stanley Cups won. Joseph has zero. You can also add zero Vezina Trophies, zero post-season all star teams and zero major awards (he did win the King Clancy Trophy for his leadership on and off the ice in 2000). His peers all won Cups and major awards.

No player should be in the Hall of Fame if he was not amongst the best of his era.

Even three time Stanley Cup winner Osgood and two time Stanley Cup winner Barrasso are questionable Hall of Fame entries. I would argue that goalies like Bill Ranford, Mike Richter, and Ron Hextall deserve enshrinement before CuJo.

Curtis Joseph was a spectacular goalie who had a really good career. I have no problem putting him on par with peers like Osgood, Olaf Kolzig, Sean Burke, John Vanbiesbrouck, and Andy Moog. All good goalies, but none are likely to end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But he was never able to match the truly elite goalies of his era - Roy, Brodeur, Belfour, and Hasak. Any Hall of Famer must be the best of his own era. Joseph was not. That, combined with his lack of playoff success and lack of individual awards, makes that answer to my question fairly obvious.

Is Curtis Joseph HHOF worthy? No.

Tell me what you think. Use the comments section below.

13 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Say what you will about Osgood -- and people do -- when he finally retires his career numbers will warrant a long look at inclusion into the HHOF. MY guess is he makes it.

jamestobrien said...

I'd rather see Cujo in the HOF than Osgood, but neither are quite good enough.

There's certainly a strong what if scenario, though, since Joseph often kept some bad teams competitive far beyond anyone could have imagined.

It'd be nice if the HOF was a little more selective, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Cujo deserves it, there's a reason he's #4 even though he played with bad defensive teams. And in hindsight, did Jim Carey or Olaf Kolzig play better on the strong defensive Caps than Cujo the years they won the vezina? No. The best goalie to not win the vezina post 81-82 and better than a number who did, Cujo deserves in!

Unknown said...

isn't he on pace to have the most career losses before he retires?

So...no. And osgood was on some very good detroit teams. But I'd put mccarty in before him.

Anonymous said...

Well, the current all-time leader in losses - Gump Worsley - is in the HHOF. Of course, he also won a couple of awards and a couple of Cups. But then again, he won those while playing for the Canadiens.

I remember, when Joseph was with the Blues, boldly stating to my friends that he was the most underrated goalie in the league, and that if he was on another team (and not necessarily a better one) he could win the Vezina.

And that, if he had been on a better team, a Cup wouldn't have been out of the question either.

It's a shame that an award like the Vezina has gone to so many "flash in the pan" goaltenders over the past 20 years. I know; it only seems like there's been more of those than there actually have been.

It doesn't seem to happen with the other major NHL awards; but then those usually always go to players that have played at least a few years in the league, usually more.

IMO, if a first- or second-year goalie plays so good that people bring up the Vezina, unless he really has no other decent competition, he should be relegated to consideration for the Calder instead of the Vezina.

It's disappointing when a here-today/gone-tomorrow player wins the Calder (especially when another candidate ends up being a real star in the league), but at least when it comes to the Calder there's no history to look back upon which can truly tell us how a rookie's career will turn out.

Anyhoo...

(Sorry for the long post. :-)

Christopher J. Carlson
Canada's #1 Predators Fan

Matt714 said...

He shouldn't. I'm a Red Wings fan, but Curtis Joseph and Chris Osgood are not HHOF worthy. Wins are mostly determined by what's in front of the goalie.

Unknown said...

I like the comment about rookie goalies being considered for the Calder, but consider Ed Belfour. In his rookie season he won the Calder, Jennings, and Vezina trophies, plus the Trico Award for best save percentage. The ONLY goalie to get the "grand slam". Period. Cujo will get into the hall on his career wins total alone, but does he deserve it? Maybe AFTER all the other truly great goalies of the early nineties. Brodeur, Belfour, Richter, and even Barasso should go first. Brodeur could be around awhile, so it will be a long wait for Cujo.

Anonymous said...

Jan 30 we were in Phoenix to se the sharks. Back up goalie CUJO starts. It was a 43 save 8-0 win for Coyotes. my daughter fav has always been Cujo. She wants his autograph. Where doi go? We would goto canada to me3et him. Help me

Anonymous said...

CuJo is definitly deserving of a HHOF place but i'd wait to see what Osgood does.

Anonymous said...

Cu-Jo is worthy of the hall of fame, you say he never won a veznia which is true but joseph never played for the defensive minded teams that Roy or Broduer did, both of them played on Dynasty caliber teams for most if not all thier careers, as for joseph he was the reason for his teams success during his career be it with St louis, Edm, Toronto, PHX
He is 100 games above 500 in wins/loses
He's third all time in play off shutouts
Only Broduer and Roy faced more shots during their careers but both played more then 70 games then Cujo, His Sv % is tied with Belfour
And if it wasnt for him going to PhX at the end of his career he would not be in first for all time loses
And side note
Brett Farve has thrown more interceptions then any other NFl Qb will that hurt his chances at the football hall of fame??

hippomancy@hotmail.com said...

I genuinely like Cujo, even in a Maple Leaf's jersey, but I don't see him in the HHOF. Mind you, I don't want to see Hasek get in either, and he's got trophies. But Cujo was never a whiner, and played on some ugly teams. If they needed a game-face, he brought it. Hasek would get the "Roy-flu" and suddenly be unavailable if he might have an off-game, especially later in career when it might adversey affect his stats. None of this give-it-a-go for the team's sake. I'd like to see Cujo in, but I really doubt it'll happen.

Matthew Rooney said...

he had as good a save% as eddie the eagle almost as many wins. golds at the olympic, world championships and spengler cup. as a kid growing up in toronto in the late 90s and early 2000s who played net, he was mine and every other goalies hero. he should get in but not in his first year.