In the game of Hockey, a goalie, also known as a goaltender, is instrumental to a team’s success. When the defense gives way, they come to the rescue. They are the very last line of defense. But what makes a great goalie.
Is it just a good read of the game and knowing when to swing the catch? Is it just having fewer goals conceded in your net? It is a combination of both, and much more other factor comes into play, to sum up, a great goalie.
Based on individual performance and achievement, SportsDiet365.com puts together a list of the top 20 goaltenders ever in the NHL.
The Best NHL Goalies Of All Time
20. Henrik Lundqvist
His impressive stint in Swedish Hockey team Frölunda HC saw him playing in the NHL in the colors of the New York Rangers. Lundqvist was the first goaltender to record 11 30-wins seasons in his first 12 seasons in the NHL before clinching the prestigious Vezina Trophy. He is the most winning European goaltender in the NHL.
19. Roberto Luongo
Luongo was one of his era’s best goaltenders, but his shortcoming was not winning the Stanley Cup or any significant awards. However, he won the William M. Jennings Trophy once. He featured in NHL second All-star team twice and is among the top 10 goalies in wins and shuts out.
Luongo was one of the most exceptional goalies in the NHL to unfortunately not win a major championship.
18. John Worsley
Nicknamed Gump for his resemblance to a comic character, he played for three different franchises in the NHL but experienced team success only with the Montreal Canadiens. He won four Stanley Cups titles. His time with the New York Rangers saw him input worthy individual performance.
17. Grant Fuhr
The eighth overall 1981 draft goaltender is best remembered for his years with the Edmonton Oilers. He was the Major goalie for one of the dominant dynasties in his time. A total of five Stanley Cups to his name are among a few of his achievements.
Still, his career’s primary and reckoning peak was the boundaries he broke in the sport, including being the first black hockey player to win the highly prestigious Stanley Cup.
16. Carey Price
Presently playing for the Montreal Canadiens, his impressive performance since his 2007 debut in the NHL has earned him a place on the list. He is widely regarded as one of the best goaltending in the league. Although he may seem limited in his play due to his positions, Price has defied the odd and, on numerous occasions, proved to be a game-changer effectively from his role.
Price was the first goaltender in NHL history to have won the Jennings, Vezina, Pearson, and Hart trophies in a single season.
15. Ed Belfour
The fact that his career span across two different eras in the league makes Belfour’s career a fascinating one. After not being picked in the draft, he signed as a free agent for the Chicago Blackhawks, and that was the start of a glorious career for Belfour as he became instrumental as a goalie for the hawks and won two Vezina’s trophy.
Belfour had a total of 484 wins at his point of retirement, which ranks fourth among goaltenders in the NHL. He is one of the best of all time.
14. Frank Brimsek
Brimsek was dominant in his time as he won more league games than any other goalie in his era. His ten seasons in the NHL saw him play for two franchises, the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Hawks. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy and two Vezina Trophies and was named to eight NHL All-Star teams.
Brimsek was the first American goalie in the history of the NHL to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
13. Georges Vezina
Montreal Canadiens goalie Vezina was undoubtedly the best in the early 90s era. He allowed a few goals during his time making the goal. Vezina was instrumental in the Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup title twice in his time.
He was the first goaltender in the history of the NHL to have recorded a shut out and assist on a goal. The fact the famous Vezina award was named after him tells how great a goalie he was during his playing time. He was phenomenal on the ice rink.
12. Billy Smith
The former New York Islanders goaltender, who helped the franchise to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles, may not look great a goalie compared to a modern-day goaltender in the NHL. But considering the 1970s when he played where modernity and technology were yet to reshape the game structure, Smith was as good a goalie as the game required.
November 28, 1979, saw him become the first NHL goalie to score a goal.
11. Turk Broda
Broda spent his entire NHL career playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and was one of the league’s big names among goaltenders. He was feared and respected by opponents. Broda aided the franchise to a memorable comeback victory to claim the Stanley Cup title in the 1941-42 season.
He went on winning four more Stanley Cup titles before retiring in 1952.
10. Tony Esposito
The Chicago Black Hawks goalie deserves more than he got as he never won any major title. But his excellent performance earned him three Vezina Trophies as well as the Calder Memorial Trophy in his rookie year.
He was a remarkable goalie who recorded some of the best single save percentages in the history of the NHL. Esposito featured in three All-Star teams. Of interest to note, he is one of the pioneers of the famous butterfly style.
9. Martin Brodeur
Brodeur is one major record holder among goaltenders in the NHL. He tops the league all-time in regular-season leader wins with 691 wins in 1,266 games played, scoring a total of three goals. Brodeur is also the only goalie with eight-40 win seasons in NHL history.
He’s won five William M. Jennings Trophies throughout his career, four Vezina Trophies, the Calder Memorial Trophy, and featured in ten All-Star teams. Pundits agree that he ranks among the best NHL goalies of all time.
8. Terry Sawchuk
The four-time Stanley Cup winner was a remarkable goalie throughout his time on the rink. With 447 wins and 107 shoutouts, he was once the all-time leader contender among NHL goaltenders, a record he held until his death. On four different occasions, he won the Vezina Trophy and as well won Calder Trophy. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and was named among the 100 Greatest NHL players.
7. Johnny Bower
Bower established a strong dominating presence for a goalie in the 1960s. He once toped the league in save percentage a record six times and helped the Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cup titles. Bower won the Vezina Trophy twice and recorded a 922 overall save percentage. In 1970 he retired from the game fulfilled. He was a member of the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.
6. Bernie Parent
Although he was prolific for only a short period, one still can’t ignore his achievement in his stint of success. He was NHL’s top goalie in the mid-1970s. Parent helped the Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup twice, won the prized Vezina Trophy consecutively, and the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Those dominating two years of parents arguably sum up most goalie’s performance who spent years in the NHL. Parent was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and placed 63 among the 100 Greatest NHL players in history.
5. Glenn Hall
The first goalie in the NHL to popularize the butterfly system of goalkeeping was phenomenal in the net.
His consistent performance in the net earned him three Vezina Trophies. Hall featured in seven All-Star teams and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in his rookie season.
4. Patrick Roy
Often called Saint Patrick, Roy spent his entire NHL season playing for two franchises, the Montreal Canadien the Colorado Avalanche.
He won a total of four Stanley Cup with both franchises, two each. After winning his third Conn Smythe Trophy, he became the only NHL player to win the award thrice, most notably with different teams and different decades. Sports pundits recognize Patrick Roy as one of the best NHL goalies.
3. Jacques Plante
Plante would be remembered for popularizing the goalie mask. Still, aside from that, he was one of the versatile goalies the game has come to witness with a record win of six Vezina Trophies as well as winning six Stanley Cup titles with the Montreal Canadiens.
2. Ken Dryden
His spell in the NHL was short but very impactful. He maintains dominance within his eight years stint.
Dryden topped the league in save percentage thrice, won the Conn Smythe Trophy once, the Calder Trophy, five Vezina Trophies, and the Stanley Cup six times. How phenomenal! Dryden is indeed one of the greatest among NHL goaltenders.
1. Dominik Hasek
His great strong field play on the rink earned him the name “The Dominator,” and he lived up to the name. Between 1993 to 2001, he won six Vezina Trophies, was the first goaltender to win the Hart Trophy more than once, having won it twice.
Topped the league in save percentage in six straight seasons, won two Stanley Cup. He possesses every trait a coach would seek in a goaltender. Individual performance, as well as team success, didn’t elude him. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky deemed him the best player in the game.
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