Walter “Turk” Broda was a workhorse with some decent regular season goalie stats. But, when it came to the post-season, especially after Broda returned from World War 2, there was no better goalie in the NHL. Broda’s post-war run is among the greatest playoff performances of any NHL goalie, winning four Stanley Cups in five years, and leading the playoffs in shutouts every year, including the year the Leafs didn’t win the Cup. Broda’s playoff record from when he returned from WWII to his retirement is 32-12. He led the playoffs in GAA four years in a row. There aren’t many other goalies to have dominated in the playoffs like he did.
Listen to us talk about Broda’s GOAT case and Hall of Fame case here:
Roy Worters had the unfortunate luck of playing for the Pirates and the Americans for the vast majority of his career. He never advanced out the semi finals in the NHL playoffs.
But he won a Hart and a Vezina (when it was the Jennings) and was nominated for the Hart three more times. He was also a star goalie in Junior and in an amateur league before his amateur went pro. It’s possible he was a great goalie on bad teams.
Listen to us discuss Roy Worters’ Hall of Fame case here:
From 1962 until 2000, nearly 40 years, Terry Sawchuk was the All Time leader in Wins. From 1964 until 2007, Sawchuk was the All Time leader in Shutouts, a record many thought was unbreakable. From 1961 until 2001, a half century, no other goalie had more Point Shares.
These metrics make it seem like Terry Sawchuk was one of the greatest goalies of all time. But the bloom is off the rose and now a lot of people think that’s not true; that, aside from a stretch at the beginning of his career when he was truly great, he was more of a compiler.
Listen to us talk about Sawchuk’s case for goalie GOAT status here:
Hap Holmes appears to have some pretty mediocre regular season numbers – pedestrian GAAs and losing records in two of the four professional leagues he played in.
However, Holmes won a Stanley Cup in four professional leagues he played in. He is the only player in Stanley Cup history to win a Cup with four different teams. (Which makes him the only one to do it in four different leagues.) He was the starter on all four of those teams. Between 1917 and 1920 he was in the Stanley Cup final every single year, regardless of what team he was on.
Was he just lucky? Listen to us talk about Hap Holmes’ Hall of Fame case here.
Chuck Rayner was one of the better goalies of his era.
But…he wasn’t the best. And given lack of accomplishments, and the relative brevity of his career compared to some other, bigger names, as well as how high the Hall of Fame’s standards on goalies have grown stricter, it’s really hard to understand why Rayner is in the Hall of Fame when some other goalies aren’t.
Listen to us talk about Chuck Rayner’s Hall of Fame case here:
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?
For two straight years, Bernie Parent was the best goalie in the NHL. He won two straight Vezinas (when it was the Jennings) and two straight Conn Smythes. Additionally, by Hockey Reference’s Goals Saved Above Average metric, Parent’s 1973-74 season is the greatest ever by an NHL goaltender.
Does this brief stretch of dominance put him among the ranks of the very best goalies ever? He’s certainly one of the couple best goalies of the 1970s.
Listen to us discuss Parent’s Hall of Fame case here:
Gerry Cheevers was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame only five years after he retired. And yet he has one of the weakest resumes of any Hall of Fame goalie, and that resume is significantly weaker than some goalies who are not in the Hall of Fame.
Cheevers was never an end-of-season All Star (1st or 2nd Team) in the NHL, he never won an award and he never led the NHL in any regular season statistical category. His regular achievements all happened in the WHA.
However, he went to four Stanley Cup finals and won two Cups. And while he was in the WHA, he was one of the very best goalies in the league.
So, does Gerry Cheevers belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss his case here: