Detroit Red Wings: Ranking Detroit Goalies over the Past Decade

Matthew ShepardContributor IIIJune 1, 2012

Detroit Red Wings: Ranking Detroit Goalies over the Past Decade

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    For the past 10 years, the Detroit Red Wings have been a powerhouse in the Western Conference. They not only had great players, they had good goalies.

    No matter how good your offence is, a good goalie can stop you. Detroit has fallen victim to this. In the 2002-03 playoffs, Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Detroit's hope of a repeat Stanley Cup.  

    A good goaltender is what can make or break a team.

    Detroit had some great ones over the years.

Curtis Joseph

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    Curtis Joseph was not very popular in Detroit. After the first retirement of Dominik Hasek, the Wings scrambled to find a replacement.

    Detroit then signed Joseph for $8 million in 2002.

    He was by far the most disappointing goalie in the past decade. Detroit signed him expecting a great goalie, but what it got was a big contract for two years.

    He had some regular-season success, but it is the playoffs that matter. In the 2002-03 season, Detroit finished at the top in the Western Conference. The Wings were favored to beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Round 1 of the playoffs. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Detroit in its tracks.

    Joseph stayed for another season, but had to deal with Hasek deciding to come out of retirement. Detroit did not want two $8 million goalies, so they considered trading Joseph (according to the Inquirer). When Hasek became injured, Joseph secured his job as starting goaltender.

    Detroit finished first in the league in the 2003-04 season. The Wings made it past the first round in the playoffs, but they failed to get past the second round.

    Joseph was then let go, and his days as a Red Wing were over.

Ty Conklin

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    Ty Conklin came to Detroit in the 2008-09 season. He played for the Pittsburgh Penguins the year before. He played 33 games with them, but not many people thought much of him.

    He proved to Detroit fans that he was a great addition to the team. Starting Wings goaltender Chris Osgood was struggling and needed help.

    Conklin not only played well for Detroit, he gave Osgood a run for his money. Osgood eventually found his game and took Detroit to the finals.

    The Wings lost, but they have Conklin to thank for the run. He pushed the team in the standings. Without him, who knows what seed Detroit would have been?

    When Chris Osgood retired in 2011, Detroit had to find another goaltender. Conklin helped Detroit before, and he found himself playing for Detroit again in the 2011-12 season.

    Many Detroit fans had good memories of him, but that was short-lived. There was a reason why St. Louis did not re-sign him. His GAA this season was 3.22. He hit a record low, and found himself playing in the minors. Detroit had to call up Joey MacDonald to help Jimmy Howard.

    Conklin only played for Detroit for two seasons. He had one good season and one bad season. The fact that he was sent down to the minors says something about his level of play.

Joey MacDonald

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    Joey MacDonald was not expected to be Detroit's backup goaltender. He's 32 years old. Most NHL hopefuls would have given up by now.

    Not MacDonald.

    MacDonald started his career with Detroit back in the 2002-03 season, but there was little chance that he was going to see much action. Detroit had Curtis Joseph and Manny Legace. MacDonald did what he could and played for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

    It took over four seasons, but MacDonald got his start. He played eight games in the 2006-07 season. He only won one game, but he got experience.

    His talents did not go unnoticed; the Boston Bruins picked up MacDonald in 2007. From there, he drifted from team to team.

    He returned to Detroit in the 2010-11 season. With Chris Osgood injured, MacDonald became the backup goalie. 

    In the 2011-12 season, he was able to secure the backup roster spot. He has not done much for the Wings, but time will tell.

Manny Legace

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    Manny Legace started off in Detroit in the 1999-00 season, but he did not become a familiar name until the 2000-01 season. 

    During that season, Legace outperformed Chris Osgood. Legace played 39 games and had a GAA of 2.05. Osgood played 52 games and had a GAA of 2.69. 

    Detroit then acquired Dominik Hasek the following season, and the rest was history.

    Legace was one of the best backup goalies in the past decade. He could play at least 20 games and win most of them.

    During the 2003-04 season, Detroit had two main goalies and one backup. Legace was technically a backup goalie, but he played the most games out of any Wings goaltender.

    He played 41 games, and won 23 games. He even had three shutouts. Legace proved that you do not need a $8 million goaltender. After the NHL lockout, Detroit took a chance and let Legace be the starting goaltender.

    Out of 57 games, he won 37 of them. He had a GAA of 2.19. Legacy looked like a starting goaltender, but the playoffs were a different story.

    The Wings were defeated in the first round in six games. Lagace's GAA was 2.65. His save percentage was .884. Legace's playoff performance did not sit well with upper management, and he was not offered a contract the following season.

    Legace was only given one chance as a starting goaltender. He may have not been a great playoff goalie, but at least he will be remembered as a great backup.  

Jimmy Howard

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    Jimmy Howard was not expected to become a starting goaltender for Detroit. It was the decline of Chris Osgood that made him the player he is today.

    After the 2008-09 season, Ty Conklin was let go because of Howard's performance. He deserved to be the backup goaltender. Little did the Wings know that he was going to be much more then a backup that year.

    Howard played 63 games during the 2009-10 season. He won 37 games and had a GAA of 2.26. He was even in the running for rookie of the year.

    In the playoffs, he was able help carry Detroit to the second round.

    In his second NHL full season, his GAA was 2.79. Although his GAA went up, his win record was identical to the season before, but his playoff record was even more impressing.

    The Wings lost three straight. No one expected Detroit to make a comeback. The Wings won three straight games. It went down to Game 7, but Detroit still lost. Howard was one of the main reasons Detroit almost went on the the Western Conference finals.

    In the 2011-12 season, Howard helped Detroit get 23 straight home ice wins. The Wings now hold the record for most consecutive home ice wins.

    Detroit had many injuries this year, and even Howard became injured.

    Without Howard, the Wings fell to fifth seed in the West.

    Howard was a risk that paid off. Detroit realized what his potential was early on, and they gave him a chance. The young and talented Howard saved Hockeytown's reputation as a powerhouse in the West.

Dominik Hasek

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    Dominik Hasek was a big part of the Wings' Stanley Cup win in the 2001-02 season. Hasek only had one job: win the cup. He not only won the cup, he recorded eight shutouts doing it.

    Hasek decided to retire after winning the cup, but not for long. Detroit found themselves with two starting goalies. He played for 14 games, but he became injured and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.

    The Wings were done with Hasek, and he soon found himself as a starting goaltender for the Ottawa Senators in the 2005-06 season. He did well in Ottawa, but he suffered from another injury.

    Ottawa took a chance, but failed with Hasek. He just seemed too old and injury-prone. Most would think that would be the end for Hasek, but Detroit thought he had a few more years left.

    He played two more seasons in Detroit and was the starting goaltender in both of those years.

    In the 2007-08 season, he helped Detroit win Lord Stanley's Cup again. In the playoffs, he was pulled, and Chris Osgood stepped in.

    His nickname is "the dominator" because of his unique style of play. He had some of his best years in Detroit, playing an important role in winning two Stanley Cups.

Chris Osgood

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    Chris Osgood is one of those goalies whose name is linked to a team. He started with Detroit and ended with them. He currently ranks 10th in wins with 401.

    Chris Osgood has had his ups and downs, but he was still a good goalie. He may not be going to the Hockey Hall of Fame anytime soon, but he is a blue-collar goalie. Osgood started with Detroit in the early 1990's.

    This is when the NHL had some of its best goalies ever—superstars like Patrick Roy, Eddie Belfour and Ron Hextall. Osgood was not only able to surpass most of their win records, he was able to win three Stanley Cups while doing it.

    When he left Detroit, he went to the New York Islanders. After the Islanders, he went to the St. Louis Blues. He helped both teams make the playoffs, which has to say something about his skill level.

    He did not return to the Wings until the 2005-06 season. He had something to prove to Detroit fans; he had to regain Detroit's trust, but he was signed as a backup goalie. 

    Detroit took a gamble and it paid off. In the 2007-08 playoffs, Hasek was struggling and the Wings needed help. Osgood was put in as a starting goaltender, and he helped them win it all.

    It is not often that a backup goalie leads a team to a cup. In addition to winning a cup, he helped Detroit reach the Stanley Cup Finals again the following season.

    Osgood is what makes Hockeytown great. He is not the best goaltender ever, but he was one of Detroit's finest.