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Detroit Red Wings: Ranking the Top 12 Netminders in Franchise History

PJ SapienzaContributor IIIAugust 16, 2011

Detroit Red Wings: Ranking the Top 12 Netminders in Franchise History

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    The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied franchises in NHL history.  They are third in all time Stanley Cup wins and first among teams from the United States.  The all time greats who have played for them rank among a who’s who of NHL history. Howe, Yzerman, Lidstrom and Lindsey are just a few of the hockey greats who have worn the winged wheel.

    As we focus on the goalie position, the Red Wings' history is not as deep as it is at other positions.  The top two are no surprise, but from there is where the debate begins.  Now, that is not to say that the Wings have not had good goalies; however, they went through many years, especially the 36 years under Jack Adams, where trades happened often.  Many players simply did not spent that many years with the team.  The top two players on the list played a combined 28 seasons with the team, far outpacing others on the list.

    While some players on the list may have good or even great careers in total, to make this list, one had to perform well while in Detroit.

     

    *All Stats are as a Red Wing

#1 Terry Sawchuk

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    Sawchuk was the gold standard for goalies for decades.  It has only been recently that players have caught up to his all time wins and shutout records.

    Known as one of the best and toughest goalies ever, it is odd to find out that he was an accidental goalie.  As a kid he took over at goal when his older brother suddenly died of a heart attack.  He broke his arm as a kid but did not want to tell his parents.  The secret meant that the arm was never treated correctly, so when it healed it was several inches shorter than the other. Despite that, he put together one of the best goalie careers in the history of game.

    He won three Stanley Cups and three Vezina Trophies.  He held the all time wins record for 30 years, and his all time shutouts record lasted for 39 years.

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    734

    351

    243

    132

    2.44

    85

    Playoffs

    85

    46

    37

     

    2.41

    11

     

     

               

#2 Chris Osgood

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    The recently retired Chris Osgood ranks second on the all time Red Wing goalie list.  He his second in team wins and shutouts for the regular season, and he leads the team in playoffs wins and shutouts.

    Osgood won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and was minutes away from a fourth.  He was a two time Jennings trophy winner.  He is only the tenth goalie to ever reach 400 wins.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    565

    317

    149

    46

    36

    2.49

    39

    Playoffs

    110

    67

    37

       

    2.02

    14

                   

#3 Harry Lumley

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    Lumley played from 1943-1950 with the Red Wings.  He was traded away to make room for the rapidly developing Terry Sawchuk.  He left as the team leader in most goalie categories.

    He won the Stanley Cup with the team in his last season.  In fact, he posted three shutouts with a 1.85 GAA during the playoffs, which made people even more surprised when he was traded away after the season.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    324

    163

    105

    56

     

    2.75

    26

    Playoffs

    54

    24

    30

       

    2.3

    6

#4 Dominik Hasek

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    Initially, some may be surprised at Hasek showing up so high on the list.  After all, he ended up in Detroit at the end of his career, drove fans nuts with his on and off retirements, and may be best remembered for his bad 2008 playoffs where Chris Osgood was called in to save the season.

    He arrived in Detroit for the 2001-02 season, led the team to a cup win in 2002, and is seventh on the teams all time win list.  Of the players who have at least 100 games with the Wings, his 2.13 goals against is second only to Glen Hall's 2.12.

    His playoff goals against is 1.91. That is the best of any goalie to have suited up more than 15 games in the playoffs with the Wings.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

    OTL

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    176

    114

    39

    10

    12

    2.13

    20

    Playoffs

    45

    28

    17

       

    1.91

    8

#5 Tim Cheveldae

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    Cheveldae just missed playing with the Red Wings of the current generation, in which they have made the playoffs twenty-one straight seasons, made it to the finals six times, and won it four.   Despite solid regular season stats, he was usually blamed for the team not advancing far enough in the playoffs.

    He only played five seasons in Detroit, which included 1989-90 through 1993-94. At this point, Chris Osgood was about to replace him, and he was traded to Winnipeg.  He played three straight years in which he appeared in over 65 games, topping out with 72 during the 1991-92 season.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    264

    128

    93

    30

     

    3.4

    9

    Playoffs

    25

    9

    15

       

    3

    2

#6 Roger Crozier

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    Crozier played for the team from the 1963-64 season through the 1969-70 season.

    He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.  In the 1965-66 season he won the Conn Smythe Trophy despite playing for the losing team; he was the first player to do so.

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    313

    131

    121

    47

     

    2.93

    20

    Playoffs

    23

    9

    12

       

    2.74

    1

#7 Manny Legace

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    What?  Legace is number seven all time?  I realize people will remember the playoff effort that made his time as a full-time goalie very short lived in Detroit.  But his numbers stack up very well.  In fact, there was a three way battle for this spot on the list but his winning percentage surpassed the two that will follow him on the list.

    His win total places him eighth of the Wings list, and his 2.18 gaa ranks him near the top.  Despite not playing well in the playoffs, he did perform well during the regular season.  Considering that this was during the Joseph- Hasek goaltending drama, that was no easy task.

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    180

    112

    34

    16

    6

    2.18

    13

    Playoffs

    11

    4

    6

       

    2.54

    0

#8 Jimmy Howard

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    Howard being on the list shows how well he has done in such a short time and how thin the Red Wing goalie history really is.  Howard has played very well in his two full time seasons, but no player should rank this high after that short of a career…or should they?

    He is already 12th in wins, and he reached 75 wins in only 135 games.  He has been among the league leaders in wins during his first two seasons.   He will need to improve on his playoff record if he wants to move up this list.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

     

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    135

    75

    37

     

    15

    2.53

    5

    Playoffs

    23

    12

    11

       

    2.63

    1

#9 Glenn Hall

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    To know how good he was, one just has to know that he is the goalie that replaced Terry Sawchuk.  He won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1956.  He backed up Sawchuk for a couple of seasons but only played for 2 full seasons as the starter.   His seventy-four wins puts him 13th on the teams all time win list.

     His 2.12 gaa tops the list among goalies with at least 100 games played.

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    148

    74

    45

    29

    2.12

    17

    Playoffs

    15

    6

    9

     

    2.85

    0

#10 Normie Smith

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    Smith won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings.  He also won the Vezina Trophy after the 1936-39 season.  He was the winning goalie in the longest playoff game in NHL history when the Wings took a 1-0 win over the Montreal Maroons in the first round of the playoffs.  He saved 92 shots in the shutout, which covered over six periods of play.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    178

    76

    71

    31

    2.26

    17

    Playoffs

    12

    9

    2

     

    1.32

    3

11 Mike Vernon

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    Despite not playing that long for the team, Vernon makes the list for helping to end the 42 year Stanley Cup draught.   He played for three seasons with the team, but most of that time he was splitting the goalie duties.  He was called upon in the playoffs and twice led the Wings to the finals.  He won the Conn Smythe Trophy after the Cup win in 1997.

     

     

    Games Played

    W

    L

    T

    GAA

    SO

    Regular Season

    95

    53

    24

    14

    2.4

    4

    Playoffs

    42

    30

    12

     

    2.08

    2

12 Roy Edwards

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    Edwards is tenth on the team's all time win list.  He joined the Wings as a 30 year old rookie.  He played well his first four seasons before a fractured skull slowed him down and led to a shortened career. 

     

      Games Played W L T GAA SO
    Regular Season 221 95 80 34 2.94 12
           Playoffs             3 0 3   3.2  

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