- Part 1 – The Defensemen
- Part 2 – The Forwards
- Part 3 – The Goaltenders
When it came to choosing the best goaltender of all-time there was really only one choice— Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur is to goaltending as Gretzky is to forwards— Brodeur owns just about every goaltending record there is.
A snapshot of Brodeur’s records reveal that he leads the NHL in most regular season wins (656), most regular season shutouts (119), most playoff shutouts (24), most overtime wins (45), most 40-win seasons (8), most 30-win seasons (14), most consecutive 40-win seasons (3), most consecutive 35-win seasons (11), most consecutive 30-win seasons (12), he is the only goalie to reach 600 wins, he has the most saves in NHL history (27,312), owns the record for most games played by an NHL goalie (1,191), most total minutes played by an NHL goalie (70,028) and he is the only NHL goalie to score a winning goal.
Brodeur also owns one of the most impressive list of awards in NHL history with a Calder Memorial Trophy, ten All-Star appearances (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008), three Stanley Cup Championships (1995, 2000, 2003), four Vezina Trophies (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008), five William M. Jennings Trophies (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2010), two Olympic gold medals (2002, 2010), two World Championship silver medals, one World Cup silver medal and one gold World Cup medal.
Brodeur has spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils, spanning an incredible 21-years. The Devils were famous for using a trap-style of hockey, but this should not diminish Brodeur’s incredible record or his brilliant career statistics.
Known for his hybrid style of goaltending, Brodeur is arguably the best puck-handling goaltender of all-time. It is widely believed that Brodeur’s ability to move the puck inspired the NHL to tweak it’s rules, limiting where a goalie could play the puck.
Brodeur may have lost his fair share of games, but despite a few poor showings, there is little doubt that he is the best “money” goaltender of all-time and the greatest goalie in NHL history.
Ask yourself this, if you had to win one game, which goaltender would you choose? If you didn’t answer Martin Brodeur, you haven’t been paying attention!
When it came down to picking the second best goaltender of all-time two names stuck out— Patrick Roy and Terry Sawchuk.
While Sawchuk is widely considered one of the best goalies ever, Roy was far superior technically. When you consider the two goaltenders’ careers, they actually mirror each other quite well, and in many instances the statistics and awards were essentially the same. In the end it came down to a number of factors, but there were a few statistics that stood out that gave Roy the nod.
First, Roy earned over 100 more wins than Sawchuk and he did it having played just 48 games more than Sawchuk (1,029-971). Roy also registered 15 less losses (315-330) but did not come close to matching Sawchuk’s 103 career shutouts— Roy had 66 career shutouts.
Roy holds the NHL records for most playoff games by a goaltender (247), most playoff wins by an NHL goaltender (151), was the first goalie to play 1,000 games and owns the record for most Conn Smythe Trophies by a goalie with three (1986, 1993, 2001).
Roy won four Stanley Cup Championships (1986, 1993, 1996, 2001), won five William M. Jennings Trophies (1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2002), won three Vezina Trophies (1989, 1990, 1992), made 11 All-Star appearances (1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003), and might just be the most competitive (to the point that some confused his competitiveness with arrogance) goaltender ever.
Sawchuk could easily be in Roy’s place, but when you consider Roy’s body of work and the fact that he played at such a dominant level for so many years, I just had to give Roy the nod, which will make Detroit Red Wing fans angry, but bring a smile to the face of every fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
Here is a quick look at the final roster:
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Bobby Hull Wayne Gretzky Gordie Howe
Brendan Shanahan Mario Lemieux Jaromir Jagr
Luc Robitaille Mark Messier Rocket Richard
Bob Gainey Bobby Clarke Jari Kurri
Bobby Orr Doug Harvey
Eddie Shore Nicklas Lidstrom
Larry Robinson Raymond Bourque
Martin Brodeur Patrick Roy
Honorable Mentions go out to:
Forwards: Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur, Frank Mahovlich, Jean Beliveau, Phil Esposito, John Bucyk, Steve Yzerman, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull, Ted Lindsay.
Defense: Dennis Potvin, Brad Park, Scott Niedermayer, Al MacInnis, Red Kelly, Chris Chelios, Borje Salming.
Goaltenders: Terry Sawchuk, Jaques Plante, Dominik Hasek, Glenn Hall, Ken Dryden (who only lost 57 of 397 career games played), Bernie Parent.
Dislike the team? Make your best argument for the player or players you feel we missed in the comment section…
9 thoughts on “The Best NHL Lineup Ever: The Goalies”
Jagr and Kurri over Bossy? Put down the bowl!
As a live long Kings fan, I’m glad you gave your due to The Triple Crown Line as the most dominant line of all-time from a single team. Most people don’t remember, that in their two most dominant seasons, 79-80 and 80-81, Charlie Simmer went down with leg injuries in March and in both seasons, he had 50 goals at the time of those two injuries. Obviously, it cost those Kings teams big time as Simmer was not available for the playoffs in either of those two seasons. Watching them play night after night, they seems virtually as unstoppable as the great Gretzky led Oiler teams of the 80’s. One more note………I think a player like Peter Forsberg should have got some honorable mention. Watching hockey as long as I have, he seemed to have it all even though his stats don’t measure up. Ken Dryden for me would have replaced Marty Brodeur……….
I generally agree with this list. The one glaring omission from mention is Joe Sakic. Probably should be honorable mention. He played in the same era as Brett Hull, and scored 300 more regular season points in one less season. Plus, Hull was notorious for lacking defensive skills, while Sakic was an all around player. Sakic had 6 100+ point seasons, while Hull had only 4. So why include Brett Hull and not Joe Sakic?
Brett Hull did not make the team, but he did receive and honorable mention. You have to take the positions they played into consideration. Hull was a RW, Sakic a C. Sakic was a great player, and sure, could have got an honorable mention. The reality is I could have had 30 HM per position, but that would have taken away from those that were mentioned.
Also, Sakic was a career plus-30, Hull was a career plus-27— not much to chose from either one in that department. Hull scored 741 career goals, Sakic scored 625 and it took him over 100 more games to achieve his 625 goals. Hull was dominant for about a decade, and had five straight 50+ goal seasons, including 70-86-70 goal seasons back-to-back-to-back— that’s impressive! Sakic’s career best in the scoring department was 54 and he never scored over 50 again (48 twice though). Hull had 110 career game winners, Sakic 86. Hull had 265 career PP goals, Sakic 205. Hull had 12 OT goals, Sakic seven. Hull had 24 career game winning goals in the playoffs, Sakic 19. Hull had 103 career playoff goals, Sakic 84. Hull earned 190 career playoff points, Sakic 188, Hull registered 38 career playoff power play goals, Sakic 27. Hull registered a career plus-13 in the playoffs, Sakic was a minus-2. When you break it all down Hull had the better career, at least statistically.
Are you really saying that adding Joe Sakic devalues this list? If you only look at the statistics that Brett Hull dominates, sure, he wins statistcally. Joe Sakic was not only a sniper, though. He was a playmaker and two-way forward. He’s one of only 11 players in history with 1000+ assists. He had almost 400 more assists than Brett Hull. He had 2 more seasons of 100+ points that Brett Hull. Your point about playoff points is somewhat devalued by the fact that Hull played in 30 more playoff games than Sakic. When considering that, People seem to forget he played his first six seasons at the abysmal Nordiques. Like I said, not saying Brett Hull shouldn’t be there. Just that Joe Sakic deserves to be an honorable mention if Brett Hull is.
Also, there’s only 7 players in history who have scored 600 goals and 1000 assists. 4 are on your list starting (Gretzky, Messier, Howe, and Lemieux). 2 are honorable mention (Dionne and Yzerman). 1 is Joe Sakic.
Bobby hull/Mario lemieux/Jaromir jagr
Jari kurri/Wayne gretzky/Gordie howe
Luc robitaile/Mark messier/Maurice richards.
Mike bossy/Steve yzerman/Teemu selanne
Nice lineup. But a lineup of Bossy, Yzerman and Selanne would not be a very good shutdown line. I wanted to have three scoring lines and one shutdown line. Otherwise you are just putting together the top 12 forwards, which has been overdone IMO. What would your D look like?
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