Is Ken Dryden the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

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Ken Dryden played for only 8 seasons.

But in those 8 seasons, he won six Stanley Cups as a starter (playing in nearly every game when they won those cups), five Vezina trophies, the Conn Smythe and the Calder. He was a 1st Team All Star six times and only missed the end-of-season All Star teams his first season, when he played in six games.

To play devil’s advocate, he played for the Greatest Hockey Team of All Time. And he might not have deserved his Conn Smythe.

So, is Ken Dryden the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

Listen here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1983: Ken Dryden, Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull

Ken Dryden’s Career:

  • NHL: 1970-73, 1974-79; 8 seasons, 7 as a starter
  • Totals:
    • 258W (12th All Time at his retirement)
    • 57L
    • 74T (20th All Time at his retirement);
    • 46 Shutouts (17th All Time at his retirement);
    • 98.6 PS (13th All Time at his retirement) in
    • 23,330 Minutes over
    • 397 Games;
    • 317.2 Goals Saved Above Average (5th All Time – Esposito, Roy, Hasek, Parent – 3rd at his retirement)
  • Averages:
    • t-.922 SV% (3rd All Time – Hasek, Bower)
    • 2.24 GAA (8th All Time, 7th at his retirement)
  • Draft: Dryden was the only goalie in his draft (1964) therefore he is the best goalie in his draft
  • Era: Of the 27 goalies who played in at least 205 games between 1970 and 1979, Dryden, is
    • 2nd in Wins
    • 25th (3rd last, which is good) in Losses
    • 3rd in Ties
    • 12th in Goals Against
    • 5th in Shots Against
    • 4th in Saves
    • 1st in Save Percentage (by 0.06)
    • 1st in GAA (by 0.11)
    • 2nd in Goals Saved Above Average
    • 2nd in Shutouts (4 behind Esposito)
    • 4th in Minutes
    • 2nd in Goalie Point Shares
    • 4th in Games Played (169 games behind Esposito)
  • 82-game average: 53-12-15, 10 SO
  • Season average: 32-7-9, 6 SO, 12.3 GPS
  • Playoffs: 
    • 80W (7th All Time, 1st at his retirement)
    • 32L (11th All Time at his retirement)
    • 10 SO (11th All Time, 4th at his retirement – Plante, Broda, Sawchuk)
    • .915 SV%; (t-5th All Time at his retirement – Bower, Plante, Resche, Parent)
    • 2.41 GAA (12th All Time at his retirement);
    • 71.7 GSAA (7th All Time, 2nd at his retirement – Plante) in 
    • 6,826 Minutes (15th All Time, 2nd at his retirement) over
    • 112 Games (t-15th All Time, 2nd at his retirement)
    • Era: Of the 13 goalies to play in at least 21 playoff games between 1970 and 1979, Dryden is
      • 1st in Wins (by over double second place)
      • 2nd in Losses
      • Last in Goals Against
      • 1st in Shots Against (by over 1,000)
      • 1st in Saves (by nearly 1,000)
      • 3rd in Save Percentage (but he played 3 times as many minutes as 1st place, 4 times as many as 2nd, and faced nearly 4 times as many shots as 1st place and over 5 times as many shots as 2nd)
      • 2nd in GAA (played over 3 times as many games as 1st place goalie)
      • 1st in GSAA (by over double second place)
      • 1st in Shutouts (by nearly double second place)
      • 1st in Minutes (by over 2300)
      • 1st in Games (by over 40)
  • Adjusted for Era:
    • .934 Adjusted SV% (1st All Time)
    • 331.2 Goals Vs Average (4th All Time – Esposito, Roy, Hasek)
    • 586.9 Goals Vs Threshold (23rd All Time)
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 16 (2 weeks after the draft) with Alex Campbell to the Canadiens for Guy Allen and Paul Reid – will one day make our lists of Greatest Canadiens Trades of All Time (perhaps it will be 1st)

Ken Dryden’s Accomplishments:

  • Top 5 in Hart voting three times
  • Conn Smythe (‘71)
  • Vezina (‘73, ‘76, ‘77, ‘78, ‘79 – 4th most ever behind Plante, Durnan, Hasek)
  • Calder (‘72)
  • All Star:
    • 1st Team All Star five times – probably 2nd most ever (behind Hall)
    • 2nd Team All Star once
    • 5 All Star Game appearances
  • Top Player:
    • Best Player (by PS) once (‘76)
    • Top 5 Player five times (‘72, ‘73, ‘77, ‘78)
    • Top 10 Player (‘75, ‘79) – every season he was a starter
    • Best Goalie (by GPS) five times (‘72, ‘73, ‘76, ‘77, ‘79) – t-4th most ever (behind Durnan, Benedict, Hall)
    • Top 5 seven times (‘75, ‘78) – every season he was a starter
  • Wins:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Wins four times (t-6th most ever)
      • Top 5 in Wins every season he was a starter
    • Single-season totals:
      • 40 Wins twice (1 of 13 goalies ever, 4 at his retirement – Plante, Sawchuk, Parent)
      • 35 Wins four times (1 of only 14 goalies ever, 3 at his retirement – Plante, Sawchuk)
  • Shutouts:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Shutouts four times (t-4th most ever – Benedict, Hall, Brodeur)
      • Top 5 six times
      • Top 10 every season he was a starter
    • Single-season totals:
      • 10 Shutouts once (1 of only 21 goalies ever at his retirement)
      • 5 Shutouts six times (1 of only 24 goalies ever, 13 at his retirement)
  • Shots Against:
    • Top 4 in Shots twice
    • Top 10 five times
  • Saves:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Saves twice
      • Top 10 six times
    • Percentage:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in Save Percentage three times (5th most ever – Bower, Hasek, Plante, Roy)
        • Top 5 six times (10th most ever)
        • Top 10 every season he was in the league
      • Average:
        • Over .930 once (1 of only 10 goalies at his retirement)
        • Over .925 three times (1 of only 12 goalies ever, 6 at his retirement)
        • Over .920 five times (1 of only 14 goalies ever, 5 at his retirement – Hall, Plante, Bower, Worsley)
  • Goals Against:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Goals Against once
    • GAA:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in GAA four times (t-4th most ever – Plante, Durnan, Benedict)
        • Top 5 every season he was a starter
      • Single-season totals:
        • Under 2.05 twice (1 of only 20 goalies ever at his retirement)
        • Under 2.15 three times (1 of only 24 goalies ever, 14 at his retirement)
        • Under 2.25 four times (1 of only 23 goalies ever, 13 at his retirement)
        • Under 2.5 six times (1 of only 16 goalies ever at his retirement)
    • GSAA:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in GSAA four times (t-3rd most ever – Plante, Hasek)
        • Top 5 every season he was a starter (t-7th most ever)
      • Single-season totals:
        • +60 once (1 of only 4 goalies ever – Esposito, Parent, Vachon)
        • +55 twice (only goalie ever)
        • +45 three times (1 of only 2 goalies ever – Hasek)
        • +40 five times (tied most ever – Hasek)
        • +30 six times (1 of only 3 goalies ever – Esposito, Hasek)
        • +25 every season he was a starter (1 of only 4 goalies ever – Esposito, Hasek, Roy)
  • Minutes:
    • Led the league in Minutes once 
    • Top 5 four times
    • Top 10 every season he was a starter
  • Adjusted Peak:
    • .934% Save Percentage (1st All Time)
    • 319.9 Goals Vs. Average (3rd All Time – Hasek, Esposito)
    • 570.9 Goals Vs. Threshold (3rd All Time – Hasek, Esposito)
  • NCAA:
    • All-ECAC 1st Team All Star all three seasons
    • AHAC All American all three seasons

Ken Dryden’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • MVP (led payoffs in games – played every gamewins, losses, goals against, shots against, saves, minutes) on one Champion (‘71 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in games – played every gamewins, saves, save percentage, GAA, shutouts) on one Champion (‘77 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in games – played every gamewins, save percentage, shutouts, minutes) on one Champion (‘78 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in games – played every gamewins, save percentage, minutes) on one Champion (‘76 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in games – played every gamewins, goals against, shots against, saves, minutes) on one Champion (‘73 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in wins) on one Champion (‘79 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in losses, played every game) on one Final Four (‘75 Canadiens)
  • Summit Series:
    • 1A on one Champion (‘72 Canada)
  • NCAA:
    • Starter (NCAA All Tournament 1st Team All Star, ECAC Hockey All Tournament First Team All Star) on one Champion (‘67 Big Red)
    • Starter (NCAA All Tournament 2nd Team All Star, ECAC Hockey All Tournament First Team All Star) on two ECAC Champions (‘68, ‘69 Big Red)

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