Few jobs among athletes, if any, are more demanding than that of a hockey goalie, let alone an NHL starter.
To satisfy, let alone excel, you need the physical flexibility, awareness and persistence to recover on a loose rebound and salvage any available chance of keeping the opponent off the board.
You need the endurance to play the full 60 minutes in a majority of your team’s games. That is, the 60 minutes of actual game activity, not counting the additional standing during stoppages of play, interrupted by nothing but two intermissions.
In the postseason, those single-night minutes can expand to an indefinite amount of overtime that will only end when you or your counterpart in the other crease lets a puck get through.
With all of this being said, outstanding netminders can speak for themselves with the way they habitually log minutes and earn more minutes by transforming them into saves, wins and team or individual trophies.
Some of the best goaltenders in NHL history have compiled a transcript and/or highlight reel that effortlessly explains their heavy influence on a successful squad. Others have had a career that makes one wonder how many more rings they would have earned if only their teams were better as a whole.
From perennial goals-against kings to positional innovators to the winners of multiple MVP prizes, here are the 10 all-time greatest padded pucksters who constitute the mere heart of their rigorous position’s vast pantheon.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics, award information and past playoff results for this slideshow were found via hockey-reference.com