Is Jacques Plante the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

Jacques Plante is one of the best regular season goalies in NHL history. However, unlike someone like Tony Esposito, he is also one of the greatest playoff goalies in NHL history.

This is a far rarer combination than we might think.

So, we ask, is Jacques Plante one of the greatest goalies of all time? Is he, perhaps, the GOAT?

Listen here:

Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1978: Jacques Plante, Marcel Pronovost, Andy Bathgate

Jacques Plante’s Career:

  • NHL: 1952-65, 1968-72, 18 seasons, 13 as a starter, 3 as a 1A
  • Totals:
    • 437W (9th All Time, 2nd at his second retirement – Sawchuk)
    • 246L (5th All Time at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Worsley, Lumley, Hall)
    • 145T (6th All Time, 3rd at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Hall)
    • 82 SO (5th All Time – Brodeur, Sawchuk, Hainsworth, Hall – 4th at his retirement);
    • 173.7 PS (16th All Time, 7th Goalie, 3rd Goalie at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Hall);
    • 294.8* Goals Saved Above Average (6th All Time, 1st at his second retirement);
    • 49,513 Minutes (13th All Time, 3rd at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Hall) over
    • 837 Games (14th All Time, 3rd at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Hall)
  • Per Game:
    • 2.38 GAA (18th All Time, 11th at his second retirement)
    • .920 SV% (7th All Time, 2nd at his second retirement – Bower)
  • Era: Of the 22 goalies to play in at least 205 games between 1952 and 1973, Plante is
    • 1st in Wins
    • 4th in Losses
    • 3rd in Ties
    • 4th/19th in Goals Against
    • 3rd in Save Percentage
    • 2nd in GAA
    • 3rd in Saves
    • 3rd in Shots Against
    • 1st in Goals Saved Above Average (by 55)
    • 2nd in Shutouts
    • 2nd in Minutes
    • 2nd in Games
  • Season average: 24-14-8, 5 SO; 9.65 PS
  • 82-game average: 43-24-14, 8 SO; 17 PS
  • 3-year peak (1968-71): 76-game average of 42-22-13; 13 SO; 1.93 GAA; .936 SV%; 66.3 GSAA; 18.8 GPS
  • Playoffs:
    • 71W (10th All Time, 1st at his second retirement, by 10)
    • 36L (t-5th All Time at his recond retirement)
    • 14SO (t-6th All Time, 1st as his second retirement)
    • 2.12 GAA (10th All Time at his second retirement)
    • .922 SV% (16th All Time, 2nd – Bower – at his second retirement)
    • 84.9 GSAA (2nd All Time – Roy – 1st at his second retirement by nearly double)
  • Adjusted:
    • 2.48 Adjusted GAA (6th All Time)
    • .916 Adjusted SV%age (t-8th All Time)
    • 272 Goals Versus Average (6th All Time)
    • 834.5 Goals Versus Threshold (7th All Time)
  • Trades:
  • WHA: 1 season comeback
    • Totals:
      • 15W
      • 14L
      • 1T
    • Averages:
      • 3.32 GAA

Jacques Plante’s Achievements:

  • NHL:
    • Hart (‘62)
    • Top 5 in Hart voting one other time
    • Vezina (‘56, ‘57, ‘58, ‘59, ‘60, ‘62, ‘69) – most all time (when it was the Jennings)
    • Top 5 in Calder voting
    • Back Check MVP (‘62)
    • All Star:
      • 1st Team All Star three times
      • 2nd Team All Star four times
    • Top Player:
      • Best Player (by Point Shares) four times (‘56, ‘58, ‘59, ‘62) – tied 5th most all time (Gretzky, Durnan, Hall, Orr)
      • Top 5 eight times (‘55, ‘57, ‘60, ‘63) – tied 6th all time
      • Top 10 nine times (‘71)
      • Best Goalie (by GPS) four times (‘56, ‘58, ‘59, ‘62) – tied 6th most all time
      • Top 5 ten times (‘55, ‘57, ‘60, ‘61, ‘63, ‘71) – tied 8th most all time
      • Top 10 sixteen times (‘53, ‘54, ‘64, ‘65, ‘69, ‘70) – 2nd most all time (Sawchuk)
    • Wins:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in Wins five times – tied 3rd most all time (Brodeur, Benedict)
        • Top 5 eleven times – tied 4th most all time (Sawchuk, Brodeur, Hall)
        • Top 10 seventeen times – tied 2nd most all time (Sawchuk)
      • Single-season totals:
        • 40 wins three times (1 of only 7 goalies ever, 1 of 2 – Sawchuk – at his record retirement)
        • 35 wins four times (1 of only 17 goalies ever, 1 of 2 – Sawchuk at his second retirement)
    • Shutouts:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in Shutouts four times – tied 4th most ever (Benedict, Hall, Brodeur)
        • Top 5 thirteen times – tied most all time (Esposito, Hall)
        •  Top 10 seventeen times 2nd most all time (Sawchuk)
      • Single-season totals:
        • 5 shutouts nine times (1 of only 6 goalies ever, 1 of 3 at his second retirement – Sawchuk, Hall)
    • Shots Against:
      • Led the league in Shots Against once
      • Top 5 eight times – tied 3rd most all time (Esposito, Hall)
      • Top 10 eleven times – tied 4th most all time (Hall, Sawchuk, Esposito)
    • Saves:
      • Total Saves:
        • Led the league in Saves once
        • Top 5 nine times – 3rd most all time (Esposito, Hall)
        • Top 10 twelve times – tied 3rd most all time (Hall, Esposito)
      • Percentages:
        • Leader-boards:
          • Led the league in Save Percentage five times – 3rd most all time (Bower, Hasek)
          • Top 5 eleven times – tied 2nd most all time (Hall)
          • Top 10 fifteen times – tied most all time (Hall, Roy)
        • Single-season:
          • .940 twice (only goalie ever)
          • .930 three times (1 of only 3 goalies ever – Hasek, Bower – 2 at his second retirement)
          • .925 four times (1 of only 6 goalies ever, 1 of 3 at his second retirement – Bower, Hall)
          • .920 seven times (1 of only 5 goalies ever – Lundqvist, Luongo, Hasek, Hall – 1 of 2 at his second retirement)
    • Goals Against:
      • GAA:
        • Leader-boards:
          • Led the league in GAA eight times – most all time
          • Top 5 twelve times – 2nd most all time (Hall)
          • Top 10 sixteen times – 2nd most all time (Sawchuk)
        • Totals:
          • 1.9 and under twice (1 of only 9 goalies ever, only goalie since beginning of Original 6 era)
          • 2 and under four times (1 of only 5 goalies ever – Sawchuk, Thompson, Connell, Benedict)
          • 2.1 and under five times (1 of only 11 goalies ever)
          • 2.25 and under nine times (1 of only 3 goalies ever – Hasek, Brodeur – only goalie ever at his second retirement)
          • 2.5 and under eleven times (1 of only 5 goalies ever – Brodeur, Hasek, Lundqvist, Luongo – only goalie ever at his second retirement)
      • GSAA:
        • Leader-boards:
          • Led the league in GSAA six times (most all time)
          • Top 5 nine times (6th most all time)
          • Top 10 twelve times (4th most all time – Roy, Hall, Esposito)
        • Single-season totals:
          • +50 once (1 of only 8 goalies ever, 1 of 2 at his second retirement – Dryden)
          • +35 four times (1 of only 5 goalies ever – Hasek, Esposito, Dryden, Roy – only goalie ever at his second retirement)
          • +20 five times (1 of only 13 goalies ever, 1 of 3 at his second retirement – Hall, Bower)
          • +15 eight times (1 of only 8 goalies ever, 1 of 3 at his retirement – Hall, Bower)
    • Minutes:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the league in Minutes once
        • Top 5 nine times (tied 8th most ever)
        • Top 10 thirteen times (tied 7th most ever)
      • Single-season totals:
        • +4000 three times (1 of only 18 goalies ever, 1 of 6 at his retirement)
    • Adjusted Peak:
      • .921 Save Percenage (8th All Time)
      • 241.2 Goals Vs. Average (6th All Time)
      • 536.9 Goals vs Threshold (7th All Time)
  • WHA: no accomplishments

Jacques Plante’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best Player (tied his single-playoff record in wins, didn’t lose a game, set the single-playoff record in save percentage, led the playoffs in GAA and shutouts, played every game) on one Champion (‘60 Canadiens)
    • Best Player? (tied his single-playoff record in wins, led playoffs in games played, saves, save percentage, GAA and minutes, played every game) on one Champion (‘57 Canadiens)
    • Best Player? (led playoffs in save percentage, GAA and shutouts but was injured band barely played in the finals) on one Runner Up (‘70 Blues)
    • Best Player? (led playoffs in games played, wins, shutouts and minutes) on one Runner Up (‘69 Blues)
    • Starter (tied his single-playoff record in wins, led playoffs in save percentage and GAA, played every game) on one Champion (‘59 Canadiens)
    • Starter (tied his single-season record in wins, led playoffs in save percentage, GAA and shutouts, played every game) on one Champion (‘58 Canadiens)
    • Starter (tied single-playoff record in wins, led playoffs in games played, GAA and shutouts, played every game) on one Champion (‘56 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in games, goals against, shots against, saves and save percentage) on one Runner Up (‘55 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led playoffs in shutouts) on one Runner Up (‘54 Canadiens)
    • Starter (led the playoffs in losses, played every game) on one Final Four (‘61 Canadiens)
    • Starter (played every game) on two Final Fours (‘62, ‘63 Canadiens)
    • Backup (led playoffs in GAA) on one Champion (‘53 Canadiens)

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