With former New Jersey Devils’ masked man Martin Brodeur due to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, now is as good a time as any to think about who the next netminder should be to get inducted into the HHOF.
Before getting into potential candidates, however, it should be noted that selecting goaltenders to be inducted has been a very tricky task for the selection committee. In hockey, the netminder is one of, if not the most, important position as it used to be that teams won and lost games and championships with their guy between the pipes.
That outlook has changed over the last decade or so. There have been more defensive schemes and shot blocking has become more and more prevalent in the league.
This and other factors have prevented these candidates from getting into hockey’s hallowed hall:
To me at least, it is kind of astounding that former Detroit Red Wings’ (also the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues) goaltender Chris Osgood is not in yet. Even though I knew Marty would get in this year, I figured that maybe they’d pair him with Marty.
There is no doubt that Osgood has an impressive resume. He won three Stanley Cups (two as the starting goaltender of the Red Wings in 1998 and 2008), racked up 401 career regular-season wins, sealed 74 postseason victories, had a very respectable 2.49 career goals-against average, and notched 50 career shutouts.
On paper, Osgood’s numbers indicate that he really should be HHOF. However, many argue that Osgood’s success was the product of the great play of his team in front of him. The Wings played sound defensively and had a high-octane offense.
He seems to get closer and closer to getting in every year. Maybe when the selection committee meets next June, he will be one of guys they select to get in.
Like Osgood, former St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes’ netminder Curtis Joseph has over 400 career victories (454).
On the all-time list, that puts Joseph fourth behind the likes of Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, and Ed Belfour, who was inducted a few years ago. More than likely, what the selection committee will look at is the fact that not only has Joseph never won hockey‘s Holy Grail, is a dubious second in terms of the most career losses (352) and played for a plethora of teams.
Joseph’s statistics should put him in the HHOF, but not having a Cup certainly hurts his chances.
Netminder Tom Barrasso may have played with an unbelievably offensive hockey club in the Pittsburgh Penguins back in the 90’s, but he still helped them to back-to-back Cups in 1991 and 1992.
It can be said that if not for Mario Lemieux’s dominant performances in those postseasons, Barrasso would have captured at least one Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the playoffs. In 91, he won 12 games and had a 2.60 GAA and a .919 save percentage and in 92, he won 16 games and finished with a 2.82 save percentage and a .907 save percentage. For a team that was focused on offense, these numbers that Barrasso posted are impressive.
This is a goaltender that accomplished a lot in his two decades in the NHL. He finished with 369 career wins (17th all-time), won two Cups (1991 and 1992), won both a Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie (1984) and a Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender (1984) , is 13th all-time in playoff wins (61) and was named to either the first or second NHL All-Star team three times (1984, 1985, and 1993) and is 9th all-time in saves in the regular season (22,090).
With these accomplishments and numbers, I’m really surprised he’s not in already.
Selecting goaltenders to be inducted into the HHOF is not as easy as one might think. It’s really not just about the numbers because if it was, the above-mentioned candidates would already be in.
Maybe the selection committee will figure out a better system for inducting netminders because right now at least, something is wrong with it.
Photo: Detroit Free Press