Best Goalie Ever: The Top 5 Reasons Martin Brodeur Is Better Than Patrick Roy
Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy have both enjoyed two of the best careers in NHL history between the pipes. The general consensus is that when Roy retired he was the best goalie of all time. It was also generally agreed upon that by the end of Brodeur's career, he would most likely overtake most, if not all of Roy's and the NHL's career records and cement himself as the top netminder of all time.
The arguments for Roy are that he has one more Stanley Cup (4-3) and actually beat Brodeur head to head in a final in 2001, he has three more Conn Smythe awards (3-0) and that he didn't have Stevens, Neidermeyer or the trap defense in front of him to pad his win stats. I would dismiss that argument by saying that the list of scorers in front of Roy, which included the likes of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, were far superior to the mediocre offenses Brodeur had as support.
I also don't think you can fault Brodeur for not winning the Conn Smythe. In his last Stanley Cup winning performance, Brodeur put up seven playoff shutouts including THREE in the finals which also included a shutout in game 7, only to see the award go unjustly to Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
That being said, the arguments for Brodeur are numerous and significant. I've narrowed them down to the top 5...
5. Puck Handling
As stated earlier, a knock against Brodeur is that he played in a system that produced some of the premier defensemen of modern times. What never gets mentioned is how much Brodeur contributed to that distinction. He is without a doubt the best puck-handling goalie in the NHL. He has a playoff goal and a game winning goal to his credit to add to that pile. He was so good with the stick that he was often referred to as the third defender and was so good that defensemen like Scott Stevens were allowed to take risks knowing that Brodeur was there to back them up. His dominance with the puck inspired the invention of the trapezoid behind the net, a rule almost specifically designed to hurt Brodeur. Any goalie who is skillful enough to inspire rule changes deserves an extra tip of the hat.
Brodeur has not only played the most games by a goaltender of all time, he's played the most minutes of all time of any NHLer. He's been a little injury prone over the last two seasons, but his play coming off of injury was still elite and almost carried the Devils into being one of the most unlikely playoff teams ever. The Devils came up a few games short, but Brodeur's play is inspiring going into the new season with the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk in front of him for a full season.
Being Brodeur's backup, at least for most of his career, was akin to being Brett Favre's backup. He was going to play and you were going to sit, but you still got paid for it. The NHL's iron man has numerous records that won't be touched, but for the sake of this argument...
Seasons with 70+ games played
Brodeur - 12
Roy - 0
3. The Gold Medal
In 1998 Brodeur was selected to back up Patrick Roy for Team Canada in the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Brodeur never got the chance to play due to Roy's insistence he be the only goalie for Canada. This was a sore subject for Brodeur as he stated in his autobiography, Brodeur: Beyond the Crease, especially since Roy was his boyhood idol.
In 2002, Brodeur would get his chance to start at the next Olympics in Salt Lake City, winning the gold medal for Canada the first time in 50 years in a memorable final game against the United States. He would also be a part of the 2010 gold-medal-winning team, even registering a shootout win against Switzerland.
2. The Accolades
Brodeur will need to buy another house just to hold his trophies when his career is over. A brief glimpse of some of the accolades over his career...
Calder Memorial Trophy — 1994
NHL 1st All-Star Team — 2003, 2004, 2007
NHL 2nd All-Star Team — 1997, 1998, 2006, 2008
NHL All-Rookie Team — 1994
NHL All-Star Game — 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
Olympic Gold Medal — 2002, 2010
Primus World'Stars Challenge Bowl — 2004
QMJHL 2nd All-Star Team — 1992
QMJHL All-Rookie Team — 1990
Stanley Cup — 1995, 2000, 2003
Vezina Trophy — 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
William M. Jennings Trophy — 1997 (with Mike Dunham), 1998, 2003, 2004, 2010
World Cup of Hockey Championship — 2004
1. The Records
With 625 wins under his belt, Brodeur has a chance to make the win record the most untouchable record in sports. Considering that Roy has 551 and is in second place, an average Brodeur could eclipse 700 wins within three years. He could reach it in two if he maintains his elite play, which, barring injury, there's no reason to doubt he can.
Brodeur's list of broken records, many of them Roy's, puts him in a category all his own. As far as records are concerned, Brodeur is the Wayne Gretzky of goaltending.
One of the most significant is Brodeur's all-time goals against average in the playoffs, which is 1.98 to Roy's pedestrian 2.30. I believe this is indicative of Brodeur's consistency over his entire career.
Roy may have won one more Cup, but I believe if you traded Roy for Brodeur and gave him some of Roy's offenses, there's no telling how many cups he could have won.
Most regular season wins: 625
Most shutouts: 116
Most Career Saves: 28443
Most shutouts, regular season & playoffs combined: 137
Most overtime wins: 52
Most shootout wins: 26
Most consecutive 30-win seasons: 12
Most consecutive 35-win seasons: 11
Most 40-win seasons: 8
Youngest goalie to reach 300, 400, and 500 career wins
Most games played by an NHL goaltender: 1132
Most total minutes played by an NHL goaltender 66,636
Only NHL goalie to score a game-winning goal
Most career goals by a goaltender, including playoffs - 2 (tied with Ron Hextall)
Most wins in a single season (48, in 2006–07)
Most minutes played in a single season (4697, in 2006–07)
Best playoff goal against average, all-time: 1.96
Most shutouts in a playoff (8, in 2002–03)
Most shutouts in a Stanley Cup final (3, in 2002–03)