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The Best of the Best, by the numbers.
It takes a very special talent to be able to achieve the goal of becoming an NHL goaltender. The amount of poise it takes to actually make it into the show, is incredible. Most goalies drafted at the age of 18 don’t make it into the league. Some of them it takes many years of development before they are actually given a shot. The Elite goalies jump right into action and don’t miss a beat.
I have taken the statistics of 6 high class goaltenders, some retired and some currently still in the league to have a look and compare regular season and playoff success. Out of the 6 goalies that I chose for this comparison five of them entered the league at the young age of 20 and instantly became a starter. The other goalie entered at 26 and was just as dominant.
The Chosen Goalies:
- Martin Brodeur
- Roberto Luongo
- Patrick Roy
- Marc-Andre Fleury
- Dominik Hasek
- Carey Price
I have them listed in order based upon most games played in the NHL.
Regular Season Playoffs
- 1266 GP - 205 GP
- 691 W - 113 W
- .546 W% - .511 W%
- 2.24 GAA - 2.02 GAA
- .912 SV% - .919 SV%
- 125 SO - 24 SO
- 22 Year Career - 5 Finals, 3 Cups, 17 Playoffs Made
Regular Season: Brodeur leads these 6 goalies in games played, Wins and Shutouts. He was one of the most dominate goaltenders throughout the season but his SV% ranks 5th out of the 6 goalies.
Playoffs: He is one of three goalies with 3 Stanley Cup rings. His 24 SO lead the way and is second in most playoff wins. He is tied for first in SV% and second in winning percentage in the playoffs.
Martin Brodeur was one of the most consistent goaltenders to ever play the game. No matter if it was regular season or playoffs his numbers stayed consistent throughout his whole career. He managed to back stop the New Jersey Devils to 3 Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000, and 2003. He also helped the Devils to 13 consecutive playoff appearances from 1996-2010. He achieved another great playoff run near the end of his tenure in New Jersey, going to the Cup final in 2012. They ended up losing to the Los Angeles Kings in 6 games. He ended up with 5 Stanley Cup Final appearances. Out of his 22-year career he managed to make the playoffs 17 times.
Regular Season Playoffs
- 1044 GP - 70 GP
- 483 W - 34 W
- .463 W% - .486 W%
- 2.52 GAA - 2.49 GAA
- .919 SV% - .918 SV%
- 76 SO - 5 SO
- 19 Year Career - 1 Final, 0 Cups, 7 Playoffs Made
Regular Season: Luongo ranks second in games played, SV% & 3rd in wins. He had the worst winning percentage at .463. Considering he played 15 more games than Patrick Roy, he came up 68 wins behind him and currently sitting in 3rd place. Luongo never had a season in which his SV% dropped below .900 until his final season in the league.
Playoffs: Luongo did have a very reasonable GAA and SV% but because he only made the playoffs in 7 of his 19 year’s, he never got the chance to build any statistics. His playoff win percentage was second last and his only deep playoff run earned him 15 wins and 4 SO in 2011. Losing in the final to the Boston Bruins.
Luongo will go down as one of the best regular season goaltenders, who never ended up winning a Stanley Cup. His numbers never really show true playoff success with only one Stanley Cup appearance in 2011, he failed to collect any hardware in his 19-year career. Most goalies are rated for how well they did in the playoffs and this will affect Luongo as a guy who couldn’t get it done. Regular season statistics don’t help make a case for Luo to be one of the greatest of all time.
Regular Season Playoffs
- 1029 GP - 247 GP
- 551 W - 151 W
- .535 W% - .611 W%
- 2.54 GAA - 2.30 GAA
- .910 SV% - .918 SV%
- 66 SO - 23 SO
- 18 Year Career - 5 Finals, 3 Cups, 17 Playoffs Made
Regular Season: Roy has always been considered the second-best goaltender behind Brodeur, but his regular season stats don’t show that. Yes, he ranks 2nd in Wins, and 3rd in winning percentage, but he has the lowest SV%, and second highest GAA of the 6 goalies.
Playoffs: This is what made Patrick Roy one of the best goaltenders on the planet. He ranks first in playoff wins, winning percentage and games played. His GAA was 3rd on the list and ranked 2nd in SO.
He was known for deep playoff runs and consistently shutting teams down, winning 3 cups in his 5 Finals appearances. He won one Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993, then he followed that up with two more cups in Colorado in 1996 and 2001, while only missing the playoffs once in his entire 18-year career.
What made Roy rise above most of the other goalies is what he did near the end of his career, posting his best playoff statistics in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. At the age of 31 he was Traded to Colorado and posted a 2.18 GAA and .922 SV% while collecting 81 wins in 8 seasons with the Avalanche. After losing his final playoff series in 2003, being bounced in the first round he called it a career at 38 years old.
Marc-Andre Fleury *
Regular Season Playoffs
- 813 GP - 142 GP
- 448 W - 78 W
- .551 W% - .549 W%
- 2.56 GAA - 2.59 GAA
- .913 SV% - .911 SV%
- 57 SO - 15 SO
- 15 Year Career ** - 5 Finals, 3 Cups, 13 Playoffs Made**
Regular Season: Fleury’s regular season statistics are all over the place. Ranking last in GAA, near the bottom of SV% but his winning percentage tops the list, better than both Roy and Brodeur. He is on pace to finish his career with 697 wins. That is using the amount of games Brodeur played, requiring Fleury to play another 453 games. At 60 games per season, that is a total of 8 more seasons of healthy play. That would put him at the age of 43, the same age that Brodeur retired. The all time wins record is achievable, but it will take a steady amount of luck and consistency to get it done.
Playoffs: His playoff statistics don’t show a dominate goaltender, but playing 142 games has him 3rd on the list. Considering he is only 35 we may see some of his best action yet. Currently sitting at 3 Stanley Cups in 5 Finals appearances has him tied with both Brodeur and Roy.
In Fleury’s most recent two cups with Pittsburgh, he was forced to sit and watch Matt Murray take over the crease as he was used as a mentor. After the Expansion Draft to Las Vegas, Fleury carried the new franchise to the Cup Final in their inaugural season. He posted 4 shutouts and a .927 SV% to go along with 13 wins as they just fell short. But with Fleury turning 35 this year, there is still a chance he can challenge to break Cup records and even the regular season wins record. In Fleury’s 15-year career, so far, he has made 13 playoffs with two different teams. Both times he did miss the playoffs came in his first two seasons in the league. He will look to continue to build on his playoff success.
Regular Season Playoffs
- 735 GP - 119 GP
- 389 W - 65 W
- .529 W% - .546 W%
- 2.20 GAA - 2.02 GAA
- .922 SV% - .925 SV%
- 81 SO - 14 SO
- 16 Year Career - 1 Final, 1 Cup, 13 Playoffs Made
Regular Season: The Dominator always was on the highlight reels in his career and there is a reason why. His 81 Shut outs sit seconds of all goalies. He leads the way with SO/GP with 11% of his games being shutout wins. He leads all goalies in regular season GAA and SV%. Considering he played such fewer games may have helped his statistics. But what if he did play over 1200 games, would we see a lot more records broken?
Playoffs: It would be hard to beat those regular season stats, but that’s exactly what he did. He posted a better GAA and SV% in the playoffs and seemed to take his game to a new level. Sitting first in both those categories, he won his first and only Stanley Cup at the age of 37.
Being drafted 199th overall in 1983, Dominik Hasek played in the Czech league at the beginning of his career and never entered the NHL until 1991. He was known for his floppy play, but it always seemed to keep the puck out of the net. Entering the League at 26 and retiring at 43, it makes you wonder what would have happened if he had a career longer than 16 years.
Most of his career was spent in Buffalo, but his only finals appearance came with Detroit in 2002, winning over the Carolina Hurricanes. Hasek had some of the best numbers out of most of these goaltenders but because he only played a combined 854 games, he never broke any of these records and may never sit on top of the goaltender conversation. Throughout his career he managed to reach the playoffs in 13 of his 16 years.
Carey Price *
Regular Season Playoffs
- 638 GP - 60 GP
- 329 W - 25 W
- .516 W% - .417 W%
- 2.47 GAA - 2.53 GAA
- .918 SV% - .914 SV%
- 45 SO - 5 SO
- 12 Year Career** - 0 Finals, 0 Cups, 6 Playoffs Made
Regular Season: Since Price entered the league in 07-08, he has posted solid numbers. Current career ranking of 3rd in both GAA and SV% on this list.. He does have the second worst W% which is concerning for a goaltender who should have a lot of miles left in the tank.
Playoffs: Well… No cups, no finals, not many wins. Price ranks last in W%, second last in both GAA and SV%. The next few years will determine the legacy of Carey Price.
His lack of playoff success doesn’t necessarily rest on his shoulders, but if he wants to be considered one of the best, he will need to get the job done very soon. Price is the youngest goalie on this list and is still currently playing. He will need to have a very strong second half of his career if he wants to be in the talk of the greats. Carey has made the playoffs in half of his years in the league, only reaching six times.
Regular Season Statistics:
Goalie GP W% Wins GAA Sv% SO Minutes
Brodeur 1,266 0.546 691 2.24 0.912 125 74,439
Luongo 1,044 0.463 483 2.52 0.919 76 59,074
Roy 1,029 0.535 551 2.54 0.910 66 60,234
Fleury* 813 0.551 448 2.56 0.913 57 46,936
Hasek 735 0.529 389 2.20 0.922 81 42,837
Price* 638 0.516 329 2.47 0.918 45 37,659
Goalie GP W% Wins GAA Sv% SO Finals Cups
Roy 247 0.611 151 2.30 0.918 23 5 3
Brodeur 205 0.551 113 2.02 0.919 24 5 3
Fleury* 142 0.549 78 2.59 0.911 15 5 3
Hasek 119 0.546 65 2.02 0.925 14 1 1
Luongo 70 0.486 34 2.49 0.918 5 1 0
Price* 60 0.417 25 2.53 0.914 5 0 0
All of these goalies I consider to be in the conversation of being great. But finding out who is or who will be the greatest of all time is very difficult to figure out. There are a lot of variables to consider and it takes a long career of success and hard work to be at the top. Having a great NHL career as a goalie can consist of putting together good statistics throughout the regular season and or the playoffs.
With the talented goaltenders of Fleury and Price still in the league it is unfair to consider them great right now. But once their careers are over it will be very interesting to see where they stand on this list. With Fluery showing more success at the moment, he could potentially go down in history as the greatest of all time. Carey Price has some work to do. With no playoff success and underwhelming statistics, he could fall into the category of a great goaltender who couldn’t get the job done.
It is hard to consider a goalie to be one of the greats, by just looking at his regular season statistics. In this case Luongo, who may have played the 2nd most NHL games in history likely will never receive any credit for being one of the best, because he never accomplished anything in the playoffs.
The same may be said for Dominik Hasek. Although he does have a Stanley Cup, he posted some numbers that no one has ever seen before, and may never see again. But because of his smaller work load and years of service in the NHL I believe he will not receive much attention for being in the top tier of goaltenders.
Probably the best playoff goaltender this era has had would be Patrick Roy. His numbers are incomparable to any other goalie on this list and his 151 playoff wins record may never be broken. Now, he may have the same amount of Stanley Cups as Fleury and Brodeur, but his winning percentage in the playoffs stands alone. Roy did show good numbers in the regular season, but he was unable to be as consistent as his playoff numbers.
The most consistent career would go to Martin Brodeur. He was able to put it together year after year in both the regular season and playoffs and because of that he stands on top of my list of greats. The stats speak for themselves as he was able to take his game to another level in the playoffs, posting the numbers he needed to get 3 Stanley Cups.
- Consistent throughout both the regular season and playoffs, puts him on top.
- Placing him 2nd on the list. His regular season statistics couldn’t compare to Brodeur
- Best GAA, SV% we have seen. But lack of games puts him 3rd on my list.
- Regular season success only counts for so much, no playoff success puts him 4th on my list.
- Fleury has a chance to become one of the greatest to ever play the game. By the end of his career he could be in the talks of being on top of this list.
- Always been a great goaltender, but with no playoff success he could rank with Luongo as one of the best who couldn’t get the job done.
Who makes your list?
GP- Games Played
W%- Winning Percentage
GAA- Goals Against Average
SV%- Save Percentage
**- Current Player