Does Lorne “Gump” Worsley Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Gump Worsley spent half his career playing for bad teams.

But then he got traded to the Habs, won some Vezinas, and could have won at least one Conn Smythe if the votes had gone differently.

The big question about Worsley is which part of his career should we take seriously: the regular season goalie without a winning record or the goalie who was among the best in the world for a time?

Listen to us talk about Gump Worsley’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Does Harry Lumley Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Harry Lumley belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame because he was the All Time Wins Leader at his retirement. But, was he really that good?

Most of his career, the league didn’t track shots. Once, they did, Lumley’s numbers started not looking so good (though he was getting old).

We discuss his career here:

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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:

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Is Bernie Parent one of the Greatest Goalies 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:

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Does Gerry Cheevers Belong in the Hockey hall of Fame?

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.

Boston Bruins, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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:

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Why is Ed Giacomin in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

We don’t know exactly what happened between 1987 and now, but the standards for goalie admission got a lot stricter. (Well, we do know that goalie stats got better.) It’s so hard to get admitted into the Hall of Fame as a goalie now, but when Ed Giacomin was inducted, it seems like it was less hard.

Why?

Giacomin has good traditional stats, such as wins. And it’s arguable he was the Most Valuable Goalie in the league for four seasons.

But he was never the best goalie in the league by Save Percentage, Goals Saved Above Average or even GAA – that Vezina is for total Goals Against – and his peak only lasted about four years. The rest of his regular season career is not outstanding (especially as he got older).

Additionally, his playoff numbers aren’t great.

So does Ed Giacomin actually belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss it here:

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Is Tony Esposito one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time?

Chicago Blackhawks / NHL, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

We recorded this just after he died, so RIP.

Tony Esposito has one of the best regular season careers of any NHL goalie ever, not just in germs of his peak but in terms of how long he was among the best goalies in the league (at least by Goals Saved Above Average). Also, he helped change goalie masks for the better.

Yet his playoff numbers are significantly worse. He underperformed in one of his two good playoff runs and he was only ever on one truly great international team, as a backup.

So, it’s obvious Tony Esposito belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame but where does he rank all time?

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Is Vladislav Tretiak the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

The induction of Vladislav Tretiak into the Hockey Hall of Fame officially made the Hockey Hall of Fame an international hall of fame, not just an NHL-focused North American hockey hall of fame.

So that’s an area of controversy for some, but if the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto wants to be the Hockey Hall of Fame of the World, it’s a step that needed to be taken.

So where does Tretiak rank? How do we compare him to NHL goalies when Soviet League goalie stats are even worse than Soviet League skater stats?

What do we do with the very notable fact that Tretiak’s GAA (not save percentage) increased drastically every time he played against NHL competition in international tournaments?

Listen to us attempt to talk about Vladislav Tretiak’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Billy Smith one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time?

Billy Smith’s playoff accomplishments are legendary.

But are his stats good enough for him to be discussed among the greatest NHL goalies ever?

Listen to us discuss Billy Smith’s Hockey Hall of Fame case and where he ranks all time:

Hall of Fame class of 1993: Edgar Laprade, Guy Lapointe, Steve Shutt and Billy Smith
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Does Grant Fuhr Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Does Grant Fuhr belong in the Hall of Fame?

Sure, he has Cups and a Vezina. And he has the record for most goalie games played in a single season.

But he also has extremely mediocre stats compared to his contemporaries, most of whom are not in the Hall of Fame like he is.

Then, there’s this other thing: he’s arguably the first ever African Canadian (or African American) hockey star in history. A true trail-blazer.

So does he belong?

Listen to us debate his case here:

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