Best Goalies of All-Time
1. PATRICK ROY *
Three Conn Smythe Trophies2. TERRY SAWCHUK
3. JACQUES PLANTE
Six Stanley Cups
4. DOMINIK HASEK
Six Vezina Trophies
5. MARTIN BRODEUR
538 wins…and counting
6. GLENN HALL
503 consecutive starts
7. KEN DRYDEN
Career .758 winning percentage
8. BILL DURNAN
Six-time first-team all-star
9. GEORGE HAINSWORTH
Career 1.91 goals-against average
10. BERNIE PARENT
Back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies
The debate over the NHL’s best goalie of all-time has been a two-horse race in recent years: Patrick Roy or Terry Sawchuk? An upstart, however, is starting to make his move down the home stretch. And by the time he reaches the finish line of his career, Martin Brodeur might usurp all competitors.
For now, though, the nod goes to St. Patrick, by a couple of crooked noses.
When Roy retired from the NHL in 2003, he ranked first all-time in regular season wins (551), enough by some standards to put him atop our list. But what really cements it for Roy is his post-season heroics. He stands alone among netminders in playoff seasons (17), wins (151) and shutouts (23) and is the only player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as post-season MVP three times.
The first Cup run for Roy, a master of the butterfly style, was a jaw-dropper. At the age of 21, he carried the Montreal Canadiens to a storybook championship in 1986.
“When I’m in the net,” he told reporters at the time. “I feel I can stop all the shots.
Some nights, I make some saves that I don’t even see. It’s great.”
MVP award No. 2 came seven years later, again with Montreal. This time, all Roy
did was post 10 consecutive overtime victories en route to the Cup.
After a celebrated falling out with Montreal coach Mario Tremblay and team president
Ronald Corey during a 11-1 loss on home ice to Detroit on Dec. 2, 1995 —
Tremblay didn’t pull Roy until after the ninth goal — Roy was traded to Colorado
and proceeded to snare his third Cup. He completed his Conn Smythe hat trick five
years later, backstopping the Avs to the 2001 championship.
Sawchuk was a supreme reflex goalie whose legend centers around his all-time
best 103 shutouts — not to mention his sometimes surly disposition. He played 20
NHL seasons and would have posted an even more impressive win total (441) if
he had the benefit of a more protracted schedule. Today’s NHL schedule is 82
games; in Sawchuk’s day it never surpassed 70.
Of the other greats on the list, Jacques Plante was a unique character. Every goal
allowed was like a kick to the gut; he didn’t make friends or socialize with his
teammates; he knitted on road trips; he pioneered the art of the wandering goalie;
and, of course, he broke the goalie mask barrier. Six Stanley Cup wins and an unprecedented seven Vezinas make him a no-brainer near the top of our list.
Singularity of style and character runs through the top 10 goalie greats. Dominik
Hasek played a brand of goal all his own, sometimes deliberately stopping pucks
with his head, other times doing the backstroke in the crease. Glenn Hall was famous
for vomiting before each start. Ken Dryden was an intellectual who was in
the NHL for a great time, not a long time, before resurfacing as a best-selling author
and federal politician. Durnan, a late bloomer, is the only ambidextrous goalie
in NHL history, while Hainsworth looked more like a door-to-door salesman than
a star netminder — until the games started. He holds the league record for shutouts
in a season with 22 (in a 44-game season, no less).
As for Brodeur, his quirks are less apparent, but his stats are blinding. By the time
he finishes his career, he will almost certainly have surpassed Roy for all-time
wins and Sawchuk for all-time shutouts.Best Pure Goal-Scorers
1. MAURICE RICHARD
544 goals, .556 goals per game2. MIKE BOSSY
573 goals, .762 goals per game
3. BOBBY HULL
610 goals, .574 goals per game
4. BRETT HULL
741 goals, .583 goals per game
5. PHIL ESPOSITO
717 goals, .559 goals per game
6. MARIO LEMIEUX
690 goals, .754 goals per game
7. WAYNE GRETZKY
894 goals, .601 goals per game
8. PAVEL BURE
437 goals, .623 goals per game
9. JOE MALONE *
146 goals, 1.17 goals per game
10. TEEMU SELANNE
552 goals, .517 goals per game
Maurice Richard was the first, best and purest of all NHL goal-scorers. He was the first to score 50 goals in a season (in a 50-game campaign, no less) and the first to reach 500 goals for his career, and he did it while capturing the hearts and minds of all of Quebec. Images of Richard rocketing end-to-end down the rink, hair blowing in the wind, are some of the most powerful and certainly some of the most lasting in NHL history. For setting the standard by which all great goal-scorers will forever be measured, Richard comes in at No. 1.
Despite his low career goal total, Joe Malone cracks this list at No. 9 for his sheer brilliance and dominance in what was an entirely different game in an entirely different era. Malone played only 125 NHL games over seven seasons (1917-24). But as part of the rules of the early NHL, Malone scored all his goals in an era that included a rover and where forward passing was prohibited for players on offense. His 2.20 goals per game in 1917-18 (44 goals in 20 games) remains a single-season record to this day, as does his seven goals in one game in 1920. Frank Selke, the GM of the Leafs and Canadiens from the early 1930s through to the mid-’60s, once said, “Joe might have been the most prolific scorer of all-time if they would have played more games in those days.”Best Small NHLers of the Modern Era
1. MARCEL DIONNE
5-foot-9, 190 pounds2. STAN MIKITA *
5-foot-9, 169 pounds
3. TED LINDSAY
5-foot-8, 163 pounds
4. THEOREN FLEURY
5-foot-6, 180 pounds
5. MARTIN ST-LOUIS
5-foot-9, 185 pounds
6. DAVE KEON
5-foot-9, 165 pounds
7. HENRI RICHARD
5-foot-7, 160 pounds
8. YVAN COURNOYER
5-foot-7, 178 pounds
9. JOE MULLEN
5-foot-9, 180 pounds
10. PAT VERBEEK
5-foot-9, 192 pounds
Stan Mikita always had to battle.
When he was eight years old, Stanislaus Guoth moved from the former Czechoslovakia to St. Catharines, Ont., to live with his aunt and uncle. His name became Stan Mikita, but that was probably about all he could communicate with those around him because the boy didn’t speak a lick of English.
But that didn’t stop him from picking up the game of hockey and making it all the way to the NHL. When he joined the Chicago Black Hawks as a teenager, a veteran on the team schooled Mikita in the ways of hockey’s universal language.
“My first left winger was Ted Lindsay — a tremendous hockey player,” Mikita once told the Hall of Fame. “The one thing about Teddy is he hates to lose. I looked at him one day and said, ‘Teddy, you’re 35 years old. You’ve been in this league for 16 years and you’re about the same size I am. I’m a young punk kid.’ I said, ‘How the hell did you ever last that long?’
“He looked at me and said, ‘Kid, hit ’em first.’ I said, ‘Whaddya mean, hit ’em first?’ He said, ‘Just don’t let them run you out of the league.’ ”
Mikita took the message to heart. He went out of his way to prove a lack of size wouldn’t prevent him from playing a mean game, averaging 106 penalty minutes during his first seven NHL seasons. Mikita won the Art Ross Trophy in 1963-64 and again in ’64-65; he also racked up 146 and 154 penalty minutes in those years.
Then, something changed. The next season, Mikita pared his PIMs down to 58. The year after that, he spent just 12 minutes in the box while winning the Hart, Art Ross and, yes, Lady Byng Trophies in the final season of Original Six play. He completed the impressive hat trick again the next season, making it four Art Ross Trophies in five years for the shifty center.
What makes Mikita’s transformation so impressive is the fact he was able to trim so many penalties out of his game without sacrificing his trademark intensity.
“I looked at my statistics and I jotted down the two-minute penalties and what they were for,” Mikita said. “The majority were what I call lazy penalties — hooking, holding, tripping. With an extra stride or two, I could have caught the guy and done it cleanly. Then I looked at the misconducts. One year, I must have had five or more. That’s 50 minutes right there! So, I said, ‘Keep your mouth shut. Don’t change your style of play, but don’t take those lazy penalties and let’s see what happens.’ ”
That philosophy served Mikita well throughout the rest of his 22-year career, spent entirely with the Hawks. With 1,467 points, he ranks 13th all-time among NHL scorers and behind only Marcel Dionne on this list.
With many small players, the number most frequently debated is the discrepancy between how big they say they are versus how big they really are. For instance, Mikita was listed at a very believable 169 pounds. Henri Richard must have been honest when he said he was 5-foot-7. But if Martin St-Louis is, as the NHL Official Guide & Record Book
insists, 5-foot-9, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara must be 10 feet tall.