Skip to main content

The Top 100 Goalies Of All Time

The Hockey News has a new collector's edition magazine out featuring the top 100 goalies of all time.

It is a beautifully produced periodical, full of great photography and excellent writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the project, and for the most part agree with their expert panel's rankings.

It is interesting that top six goalies are almost universally accepted. This includes three Original Six greats, and three modern stars. Any one of these six could be chosen as the greatest, and it would not be wrong.

THN's results have Terry Sawchuk on top, with Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek and Glenn Hall.

My personal bias give Plante the edge of the Original Six era. Legacy should be an important part of any equation of the greatest anything. Plante literally changed the face of hockey by championing the mask, but was also instrumental in changing the way a goalie plays in many ways.

A note about Glenn Hall. Back in this era the Vezina trophy did not necessarily go to the best goaltender, just the goaltender on the team who allowed the fewest goals. Hence, it makes sense that the goalie named to the First Team All Star Team is essentially voted as the best goalie that season. Hall was named seven times, while Plante and Sawchuk were named just three times each. All three were named to the second team four times. In an era where the three superstar goalies all played at the same time, that's a pretty impressive accomplishment for the man they dubbed "Mr. Goalie."

Sawchuk is honestly a goalie I probably don't appreciate enough. I do not disagree he was the best of these three goalies in terms of ability. His numbers, accolades and longevity are impressive in every way.

When it comes to the contemporary trio of Roy, Hasek and Brodeur, there can be no denying three truths:

1. Martin Brodeur's longevity saw him post career totals that dwarf everybody. He was so good for so long.

2. Patrick Roy is hockey's ultimate playoff warrior, winning four Stanley Cups and three Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP. If you have a one-game-winner-takes-all showdown, you want Roy in net.

3. Dominik Hasek had the highest peak of any goalie in history, winning six Vezina trophies in eight years. All three of these goalies played at the same time, but during that span there was no doubt Hasek was the best goalie, if not the best player in all of hockey. And Hasek played on the weakest team.

Hasek seems to get dinged because he did not become a NHL starting goalie until the old age of 28. A lot of that had to do with international politics that prevented Eastern Bloc stars from leaving their countries to come to the NHL.

In my mind, the rankings of each era should rank as such: Plante, Sawchuk and Hall; Hasek, Roy, and Brodeur.

Comparing eras is a tough thing to do, especially since, generally speaking, modern goalies are significantly better athletes, better coached and better equipped.

In my top 100 players of all time ranking a couple years back I ranked them in this order: Roy, Hasek, Plante, Sawchuk, Brodeur and Hall. But something is really gnawing at me to move Hasek up.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M