USA Hockey: Top 10 American-Born Goaltenders in History

Ryan ZedmoreContributor IIIApril 27, 2011

USA Hockey: Top 10 American-Born Goaltenders in History

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    SALT LAKE CITY - FEBRUARY 22:  Goaltender Mike Richter #35 of the USA takes a rest during a break in the game against Russia in the men's ice hockey semifinal during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the E Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. USA defe
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The sport of hockey has exploded in the United States and the talent has been getting better and better. From the “Miracle on Ice” days to the silver medal in Vancouver, there is no doubt that the United States has become a hockey superpower. This emergence of American talent has also led to an increase in the number of goalies born in the USA.

    This is my list of the top 10 American-born goalies in history.  

10 & 9 – Jimmy Craig and Jack McCarten

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    LAKE PLACID, NY - FEBRUARY 24:  Goalie Jim Craig #30 of the United States makes a save during the Olympic hockey game against Finland on February 24, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York.  The United States won 4-2.  (Photo by: Getty Images)
    Steve Powell/Getty Images

    Almost everyone in hockey has heard of Jimmy Craig, but you will be hard pressed to find someone who knows Jack McCarten. Jimmy Craig was the goalie on the 1980 USA Olympic Team and McCarten was the goalie for the 1960 team. Each goalie backstopped their team to the gold medal, but Jimmy Craig is the one who got to be played by Eddie Cahill in a feature length film.

    Neither goalie ever amounted to anything in the NHL, but it would be a crime to not honor them on this list. 

8 – Mike Dunham

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    UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 5: Mike Dunham #1 of the New York Islanders blocks the net during the game against the Ottawa Senators on December 5, 2006 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Dunham started his NHL career in the 1996-1997 season with the Devils backing up Martin Brodeur. Dunham was one of the few American goalies to win the Jennings Trophy (with only minor help by the future Hall of Famer Brodeur sarcasm oozing) and won 141 games during his career.

7 – Guy Hebert

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    4 Dec 1996:  Goaltender Guy Hebert of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California.  The Lightning won the game, 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Cratty  /Allsport
    Glenn Cratty/Getty Images

    Guy Hebert was part of 90s’ emergence of the United States as a hockey superpower. He is best known for his time as a Mighty Duck but has also spent time with the Rangers and Blues. Guy Hebert won over 190 games during his career and represented the Ducks in the 1997 NHL All-Star game. Guy Hebert was a solid goalie that always seemed to play for struggling teams. 

6 – Tim Thomas

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    SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 27: Goaltender Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins stops a shot by Michael Santorelli #13 of the Florida Panthers  on December 27, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Bruins defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shoot-
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Tim Thomas seemed to come out of nowhere during the Bruins’ 2005-2006 season and since then has won over 160 games. Tim Thomas was the backup to Ryan Miller during the Vancouver Olympics (which earned him a Silver Medal) and holds the NHL Record for save percentage in a single season (.938). Thomas is one of only six American goalies to ever win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie.

5 – John Vanbiesbrouck

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    1993-1994:  Goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck of the Florida Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge  /Allsport
    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    John Vanbiesbrouck has more wins than any other American goalie with 374. Though he started his career with the Rangers, many remember his run to the Stanley Cup Finals with the 1995-1996 Florida Panthers. Vanbiesbrouck’s stellar play as a Panther earned him the spot on the cover of NHL 97. John Vanbiesbrouck also shares the record for most shutouts by an American goalie with 40. “The Beezer” played in multiple All-Star Games and is one of only six American goalies to ever win the Vezina Trophy.

4 – Ryan Miller

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    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 05:  Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on March 5, 2011 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Ryan Miller will likely finish his career as the top American-born goalie ever, even if he never wins the Cup. Miller has won over 220 games in his career and will likely play another nine seasons. He backstopped Team USA to the Silver Medal in his MVP performance at the Vancouver Olympics and has been voted as an All-Star in the NHL, AHL and NCAA. Ryan Miller is also one of only six American goalies to ever win the Vezina Trophy.

    Miller has also been seen commercials with Shaq…that’s got to count for something.

3 – Mike Richter

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    22 Feb 2002:   Mike Richter #35 of the USA after making a save during the men's semifinals at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the E Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit:   Brian Bahr/Getty Images
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Mike Richer is a tough goalie to discuss, because he could have been better. A career littered with injuries prevented him from being legendary, but there is no doubting his talent. Richter has a Stanley Cup ring, an Olympic Silver Medal and a World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal. He participated in the NHL All-Star Game on several occasions and was even the MVP in 1994. Mike Richter was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame and has had his number retired by the Rangers. Even though his career was limited by injuries, Richter was still able to earn over 300 wins. 

2 – Frank Brimsek

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    Frank “Mr. Zero” Brimsek was an American legend in goaltending. He played most of his career with the Bruins but spent one season with the Blackhawks. Brimsek amassed 252 wins in his career and shares the American Goalie shutout record (40) with John Vanbiesbrouck. He was also an All-Star on eight separate occasions.

    “Mr. Zero” is the only American goalie to win the Vezina on two separate occasions (1939 and 1942) and was the first American goalie to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

1 – Tom Barrasso

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    25 Sep 1996:  Goaltender Tom Barrasso of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on during a game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California.  The Ducks won the game, 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Cratty  /Allsport
    Glenn Cratty/Getty Images

    The number one choice on this list is an easy one: Tom Barrasso. He began his career with a Calder Cup and ended it with 369 wins and an induction into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. Though many associate him with the Penguins, he actually began his career with the Buffalo Sabres in a tenure that would also see him win the Jennings trophy with Bob Sauve. Tom Barrasso won two Stanley Cups and is also one of only six American goalies to ever win the Vezina Trophy.