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The Best Goalie Mask in the History of Each NHL Team

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2013

The Best Goalie Mask in the History of Each NHL Team

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    Goaltenders have the unique opportunity to display their creativity each game with the design of their masks.

    The shape and designs of these masks have changed quite a bit over the last few decades, but the level of creativity and originality has always been impressive.

    Let's look at the best goalie mask in the history of each NHL team.

Anaheim Ducks: Ilya Bryzgalov

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    Ilya Bryzgalov probably wishes he was still a member of the Anaheim Ducks after a disastrous first season with the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The mask pictured to the left is certainly the best in Ducks history. It includes a cool design of a Southern California beach, the Ducks logo and a picture of an actual duck.

Boston Bruins: Gerry Cheevers

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    Even though this mask is worn by former Boston Bruins goaltender Steve Shields, it is very similar to the one worn by Gerry Cheevers, who was one of the team's most important players in the 1970s.

    Along with legends like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, Cheevers helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cup championships in 1970 and 1972.

    This mask featured one of the best designs of his generation.

Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Miller

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    This mask was worn during the 2010 season by Buffalo Sabres star Ryan Miller, and since the 2010 season was the finest of his career (he won the Vezina Trophy and shined for Team USA at the Winter Olympics), maybe he should find this mask and wear it again during the 2012-13 season.

Calgary Flames: Dan Bouchard

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    Dan Bouchard wore this mask as a member of the Atlanta Flames. He played in the Flames' first season in Calgary in 1980, then played five seasons for the Quebec Nordiques before finishing his career with the Winnipeg Jets in 1986.

Carolina Hurricanes: John Grahame

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    John Grahame played in just 45 games for the Carolina Hurricanes over two seasons; he wasn't able to earn much playing time because of Cam Ward's rise to stardom.

    He did, however, wear the coolest mask in the history of the franchise.

Chicago Blackhawks: Nikolai Khabibulin

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    This is Nikolai Khabibulin's "Bulin Wall" mask that he wore as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. This mask is very creative and the design is just fantastic.

    After leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup title, Khabibulin joined the Blackhawks after the lockout and left the team after the 2008-09 season.

Colorado Avalanche: Jose Theodore

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    This is a really cool mask from former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore, which includes an interesting design of a red dragon.

    Theodore is currently playing for the Florida Panthers, and he helped the team end its long playoff drought last season.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Pascal Leclaire

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    Pascal Leclaire spent five seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets and finished with a winning record in just one of those seasons (2007-08).

    The highlight of his tenure in Columbus was this awesome mask, which is definitely the best in Blue Jackets history.

Dallas Stars: Mike Smith

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    This mask from former Dallas Stars goaltender Mike Smith in 2007 might have the best design of any mask in this entire article.

    The Wild West theme is beautifully done and the color scheme fits perfectly with the Dallas Stars logos. Smith currently plays for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Detroit Red Wings: Dominik Hasek

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    Dominik Hasek's mask, pictured to the left, has a different shape than many of the masks currently used by NHL goaltenders, but this Red Wings design is spectacular.

    The mask features a Red Wings logo that has an engine on top of it and the "Hockeytown" logo across the front. 

Edmonton Oilers: Curtis Joseph

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    Curtis Joseph wore some of the best goalie masks of all time during his impressive NHL career, and this mask from the 1996-97 season with the Edmonton Oilers is amazing, and a little scary, too.

Florida Panthers: John Vanbiesbrouck

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    This is by far one of the best goalie masks of all time, and it is without question the greatest mask in Florida Panthers history.

    John Vanbiesbrouck wore this mask quite a few times during his career with the Panthers. It's not often that we see an entire mask design include a team's logo, but this mask's design was perfectly done.

Los Angeles Kings: Kelly Hrudey

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    Current Los Angeles Kings goaltender and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick has worn some cool masks during his career, but this mask from former Kings star Kelly Hrudey is the best in team history.

    The "Hollywood" design as well as the picture of film on the sides makes it one of the most iconic masks in the history of California NHL teams.

Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding

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    Josh Harding wore this mask in 2007 for the Minnesota Wild, and even though he's not the starter when Niklas Backstrom is healthy, he is still an important member of the team.

Montreal Canadiens: Ken Dryden

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    There were many impressive parts of Ken Dryden's career with the Montreal Canadiens, and one of them was this mask that he wore throughout the 1970s.

    Dryden, who is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, led the Canadiens to multiple Stanley Cup championships. He is considered by many as one of the greatest goalies in NHL history.

Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne

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    Pekka Rinne is one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL and also one of the best players in the history of the Nashville Predators franchise.

    After losing star defenseman Ryan Suter in the summer via free agency, the Predators will need another fantastic season from Rinne to contend in the Western Conference. 

New Jersey Devils: Johan Hedberg

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    Johan Hederg has spent the last two seasons playing for the New Jersey Devils as the team's backup goaltender, and he has an impressive 32-19-4 record.

    Martin Brodeur has been fortunate to have a quality backup who can allow him to take a night off and rest.

New York Islanders: Wade Dubielewicz

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    Former New York Islanders goaltender Wade Dubielewicz wore this awesome mask several times during his tenure with the club.

    The coolest part of this mask is the picture of Islanders legend and former captain Denis Potvin lifting the Stanley Cup.

    Dubielewicz last played in the NHL during the 2009-10 season with the Minnesota Wild.

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist

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    The New York Rangers have had many awesome goalie masks throughout the team's history, but this mask from Henrik Lundqvist from last season is the best of the bunch. The Statue of Liberty design was brilliantly done, and the color scheme is fantastic. 

    Lundqvist will enter this season as the defending Vezina Trophy winner, and he will be under a lot of pressure to lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final.

Ottawa Senators: Robin Lehner

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    Former Ottawa Senators goaltenders Ray Emery and Patrick Lalime wore some cool masks, but the best mask in team history was worn by Robin Lehner.

    Lehner is one of three quality goaltenders that the Senators could play this season, along with Ben Bishop and Craig Anderson.

Philadelphia Flyers: Wayne Stephenson

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    The Philadelphia Flyers' history of goalie masks is very impressive, and it was quite a challenge to choose one as the best in team history.

    Wayne Stephenson's mask from the 1970s is the best based on its design and the awesome use of the Flyers' iconic orange and black color scheme. 

    Stephenson played five seasons for the Flyers before ending his NHL career with the Washington Capitals in 1981.

Phoenix Coyotes: Mikael Tellqvist

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    This mask of former Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist includes an awesome picture of NHL legend Bobby Hull, who was one of the best players to ever play for the franchise when it was still in Winnipeg.

    Hull played in Winnipeg for over seven seasons, including the team's first season as an NHL franchise in 1980.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury

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    This mask from Pittsburgh Penguins star Marc-Andre Fleury is very well done. Fleury was drafted by the Penguins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft, and he helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup during the 2008-09 season.

    He is also the most recent goaltender to be taken with the first overall pick in an NHL entry draft.

San Jose Sharks: Evgeni Nabokov

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    Evgeni Nabokov was never able to lead the San Jose Sharks to a Stanley Cup championship, but he did wear this really creative mask featuring a scary skeleton and a shark.

    Nabokov is currently playing for the New York Islanders.

St. Louis Blues: Jason Bacashihua

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    It was hard to find a close-up picture of this mask from former St. Louis Blues goaltender Jason Bacashihua, but there's no question that this mask has a really creative design. 

    Bacashihua last played in the NHL during the 2006-07 season, when he appeared in 19 games for the Blues.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Marc Denis

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    This mask from former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Marc Denis has one of the coolest designs in recent memory.

    The top of his mask features a picture of what looks like a Greek god holding a lightning bolt with his hands.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Curtis Joseph

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs are another team with a great history of goalie masks, but the best one in team history belongs to Curtis Joseph. The design of this mask is one of the most creative ones we will ever see.

    Joseph played in Toronto from 1998-99 through 2001-02, then he returned to the Leafs for the 2008-08 season, which would be the final year of his NHL career.

Vancouver Canucks: Gary Bromley

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    One of the scariest masks in NHL history belongs to former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Gary Bromley. 

    Bromley played for many different teams in many different leagues throughout his lengthy career, which included six NHL seasons between the Buffalo Sabres and the Canucks. 

Washington Capitals: Jose Theodore

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    This mask from former Washington Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore has a little bit of everything. It includes a picture of the Lincoln Memorial, the bald eagle (the official bird of the United States), the Capitals logo and the Capitol Building.

    Theodore played for the Capitals during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

Winnipeg Jets: Johan Hedberg

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    Back when the Winnipeg Jets franchise was in Atlanta, Johan Hedberg wore some really creative masks as the goaltender of the Thrashers.

    Hedberg joined the Thrashers in 2006 and spent four seasons with the team.

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