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Ranking Ed Belfour and All of the Hockey Hall of Fame Goaltenders

Tab BamfordSenior Writer INovember 14, 2011

Ranking Ed Belfour and All of the Hockey Hall of Fame Goaltenders

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    As Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour joins the all-time greats in the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, it's a great time to look back at the netminders that came before him.

    What follows is my rankings of the 36 goalies (including Belfour) in the HHOF. The stats we used are NHL only.

    There is one important reality to consider when factoring in personal awards.

    The Vezina Trophy has been presented annually since 1927. The first year it was awarded, it was given to the most valuable goalie. In 1946, though, the criteria changed and, until 1981, the Vezina was awarded to the goaltender(s) of the team with the fewest allowed goals for the season.

    Since 1981, however, it has again been given to the individual judged to be the best netminder in the league and is voted on by the general managers of each NHL team. The William Jennings Trophy is now given to the team with the fewest goals allowed.

    Here are the Hall of Fame goalies.

36. Riley Hern

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    Hern played for a number of teams in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. Before retiring in 1911, he played on four Stanley Cup teams with the Montreal Wanderers.

35. Percy LeSeuer

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    LeSeuer was also a stand-out in the first decade of the 1900s. He played 11 seasons before the formal, as-we-now-know-it NHL existed, and was a dominant goalie on some teams in Ottawa, Montreal and, ultimately, Toronto before retiring in 1916.

34. Bouse Hutton

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    Non-NHL playerHutton is another pre-NHL goaltender to enter the Hall. He played six seasons (1898-1904) for Ottawa, and was shockingly on a championship team in the same year in hockey, football and lacrosse!

33. Oliver Seibert

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    Seibert actually began a tradition continued this year by Gordie and Mark Howe; his son, Earl, is also a Hall of Famer after a great career with the Blackhawks. Oliver played at the turn of the 20th century as well, and dominated the pre-NHL landscape with the previous individuals we've ranked.

32. Rat Westick

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    Yet another pre-NHL netminder who played exceptional hockey from 1894-1908. He was a stand-out with the Ottawa Silver Seven before retiring in 1909.

31. Hughie Lehman

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    Games Played: 48 (1926-28)
    Record: 20-24-4
    GAA: 2.68
    SO: 6

    Lehman played only two NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks (1926-28), but played nearly 20 years of professional hockey in the first couple decades of the 20th century on the west coast of the continent.

30. Alex Connell

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    Connell played 12 NHL seasons from 1924-37 with the Ottawa Senators, winning 193 of his 417 games. He finished with 81 shutouts and a 1.91 goals against average between the world wars.

29. Hap Holmes

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    Games Played: 103 (1917-18, 18-19, 26-27, 27-28)
    Record: 39-54-10
    GAA: 2.43
    SO: 11

    1918 Champion Toronto Arenas

    Holmes skated two years with the Arenas in Toronto before moving to the west side of the continent for almost a full decade. After eight seasons in Seattle and Victoria, he returned to the NHL with the Detroit Cougars.

28. Apple Cheeks Lumley

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    Games Played: 803 (1943-60)
    Record: 330-329-142
    GAA: 2.75
    SO: 71

    3 All-Star Games

    1 Vezina Trophy

    1950 Stanley Cup Champion

    Lumley was one of the game's great netminders after the league was forced to contract after World War II. He starred with Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and Boston in the NHL between 1943 and 1960.

27. Fast Eddie Giacomin

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    Games Played: 609 (1965-78)
    Record: 289-209-96
    GAA: 2.82
    SO: 54

    6 All-Star Games

    1 Vezina Trophy

    Remembered as one of the great all-time players in this history of the Rangers, Giacomin finished his career with three seasons with the Red Wings. He won at least 30 games in five different NHL seasons.

26. Frank Brimsek

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    Games Played: 514 (1938-50)
    Record: 252-182-80
    GAA: 2.70
    SO: 40

    1939 Calder Trophy

    2 Vezina Trophies

    1939 and 1940 Stanley Cup Champion

    Brimsek was a fantastic netminder for the Bruins from 1938-49, despite a two-year break during WWII. As so many Hall of Famers did, he finished his career with Chicago in 1949-50. He won at least 22 games in nine of his 11 NHL seasons.

25. Tiny Thompson

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    Games Played: 551 (1928-40)
    Record: 284-194-75
    GAA: 2.08
    SO: 81

    4 Vezina Trophies

    1929 Stanley Cup Champion

    Another great Boston goaltender, Thompson played for the B's for 11 years before a couple in Detroit finished his distinguished career.

24. George Hainsworth

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    Games Played: 465 (1926-37)
    Record: 246-245-74
    GAA: 1.93
    SO: 94

    3 Vezina Trophies

    2 Stanley Cup championships

    Hainsworth played 16 years of professional hockey before the Canadiens brought him into the NHL. Once he was in the league, he was excellent; he won at least 20 games in nine of his first 10 seasons in the NHL.

23. Paddy Moran

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    Moran played 16 seasons in the pre-NHL era (1901-1917). Most of his career was spent with the Quebec Bulldogs, where he won at least 10 games on five occasions.

22. Turk Broda

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    Games Played: 629 (1936-52)
    Record: 302-224-101
    GAA: 2.53
    SO: 62

    4 NHL All-Star Games

    2 Vezina Trophies

    5 Stanley Cup champions

    Broda played seven seasons for the Leafs before taking three full seasons off because of WWII. he came back to the Leafs in the 1945-46 season, and won at least 30 games in three of the next four seasons.

21. Shrimp Worters

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    Games Played: 484 (1925-37)
    Record: 171-229-83
    GAA: 2.27
    SO: 67

    1929 Hart Trophy

    1 Vezina Trophy

    Worters had a fantastic NHL career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Americans before World War II.

20. Billy Smith

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    Games Played: 680 (1972-89)
    Record: 305-223-105
    GAA: 3.17
    SO: 22

    4 consecutive Stanley Cup champions (1980-83)

    1 All-Star game

    1 Vezina Trophy

    1 William Jennings Trophy

    1983 Conn Smythe Trophy

    Smith was at his best under the brightest lights, playing arguably his best hockey during the four Cup runs with the Islanders in the early 1980s. While he certainly benefited from being on some high-scoring teams, the Vezina and Jennings Trophies on his resume indicate that he didn't wait for his offense to out-score his opponent.

19. Lester Patrick

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    1 NHL game played.

    Patrick and his family were among some of the most influential people in the history of the game. They were responsible for the first artificial ice rink in Canada, and also served as a coach and administrator.

    The trophy that bears his name certainly reflects his impact on the game beyond the one NHL game he played between the pipes.

18. Vladislav Tretiak

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    Another non-NHL player, Tretiak was considered an inspiration and mentor to many North American goalies - including Belfour - despite playing his professional career in Europe. He played in four Olympics for Soviet Union, but is best remembered for his incredible performance as a 20-year-old at the 1972 Summit Series.

17. Chuck Rayner

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    Games Played: 424 (1940-53)
    Record: 138-208-77
    GAA: 3.05
    SO: 25

    1950 Hart Trophy

    4 All-Star games

    After NHL seasons with the New York (and later Brooklyn) Americans before WWII, Rayner joined the Rangers after the war and was fantastic until he finished his career in the WHL after the 1952-53 season.

16. Clint Benedict

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    Games Played: 362 (1917-30)
    Record: 190-143-28
    GAA: 2.32
    SO: 57

    3 Stanley Cup champions

    Benedict's career began in Ottawa before the formal NHL began, but he matriculated with those Senators into the new league and, after 11 years with the Sens, finished his career with six seasons with the Montreal Maroons.

15. Bill Durnan

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    Games Played: 383 (1943-50)
    Record: 208-112-62
    GAA: 2.36
    SO: 34

    6 Vezina Trophies

    3 All-Star Games

    2 Stanley Cup champions

    Durnan joined the NHL during WWII and was outstanding with the Habs from 1943 to 1950. In hist first NHL season, he won 38 of his 50 games and repeated the feat the next year.

14. Gerry Cheevers

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    Games Played: 418 (1961-80)
    Record: 213-102-74
    GAA: 2.89
    SO: 26

    2 Stanley Cup champions

    1 All-Star game

    Cheevers was a unique player because he, like other stars (including Bobby Hull) left the NHL for the new WHA in 1972. But unlike Hull and many others, Cheevers eventually wound up back in Boston where his NHL career began.

13. Bernie Parent

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    Games Played: 608 (1965-79)
    Record: 271-198-121
    GAA: 2.55
    SO: 54

    2 Stanley Cup champions

    2 Vezina Trophies

    2 Conn Smythe Trophies

    5 All-Star games

    Parent is one of the first names that comes to mind when you ask a fan of the 1970s what they remember of those Flyers teams. Between 1973-75, Parent appeared in 141 regular season games and won a remarkable 91 of them.

12. Grant Fuhr

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    Games Played: 868 (1981-2000)
    Record: 403-295-114
    GAA: 3.38
    SO: 25

    4 Stanley Cup champions

    6 All-Star games

    1 Vezina Trophy

    1 William Jennings Trophy

    Not many goalies in history have been taken for granted as much as Fuhr, who enjoyed watching some of the most incredibly talented offenses the league has ever seen play in front of him in Edmonton. However, Fuhr wasn't only an Oiler; he would win more than 30 games for the Blues twice in the mid-1990s as well.

11. Charlie Gardiner

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    Games Played: 316 (1927-34)
    Record: 112-152-52
    GAA: 2.02
    SO: 42

    1934 Stanley Cup champion

    2 Vezina Trophies

    One of the game's first superstar goalies, Gardiner is the last netminder to be his team's captain on a Cup champion. Unfortunately, he died from an infection weeks after 1934 Cup victory.

10. Georges Vezina

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    Games Played: 190 (1917-26)
    Record: 103-81-5
    GAA: 3.28
    SO: 13

    3 Stanley Cup champions

    There's a reason the Vezina Trophy bears his name. He played for one franchise - the Montreal Canadiens - from 1910 until he retired during the 1925-26 season. From the pre-NHL era until he called it a career, he was the gold standard between the pipes in the first quarter of the 20th century.

9. Ed Belfour

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    Games Played: 963 (1988-2007)
    Record: 484-320-125
    GAA: 2.50
    SO: 76

    1991 Calder Trophy

    1 Stanley Cup championship

    2 Vezina Trophies

    3 William Jennings Trophies

    5 All-Star games

    Nobody drafted Belfour, but he didn't care. He kept working and kept winning everywhere he went during his NHL career. It's still amazing to think about Chicago's depth when future Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek was Belfour's back-up in the early 1990s.

8. Gump Worsley

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    Games Played: 861 (1952-74)
    Record: 335-352-150
    GAA: 2.88
    SO: 43

    1953 Calder Trophy

    4 Stanley Cup champions

    2 Vezina Trophies

    4 All-Star games

    Worsley first broke into the NHL with the Rangers in the 1952-53 season, but really achieved stardom with the great Habs teams of the mid-1960s. He finished his career with four seasons with the Minnesota North Stars after he was moved out of Montreal during the 1969-70 season.

7. Johnny Bower

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    Games Played: 552 (1953-70)
    Record: 250-195-90
    GAA: 2.51
    SO: 37

    4 Stanley Cup championships

    2 Vezina Trophies

    4 All-Star games

    Best remembered for his incredible run with the Leafs between 1959 and 1970, Bower actually started his career with the Rangers in 1953-54 and played three seasons with the Leafs' rival before arriving in Toronto.

6. Tony Esposito

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    Games Played: 886 (1968-84)
    Record: 423-306-151
    GAA: 2.92
    SO: 76

    1970 Calder Trophy

    3 Vezina Trophies

    6 All-Star games

    After he was part of a Cup-winning Habs team in Montreal, the Blackhawks tried to fix their karma with the Esposito family by bringing Tony into the mix; they had traded his brother Phil to Boston in one of the most one-sided deals in NHL history. Tony was the best netminder to not win a Cup in the 1970s.

5. Jacques Plante

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    Games Played: 837 (1952-75)
    Record: 437-246-145
    GAA: 2.38
    SO: 82

    6 Stanley Cup championships

    7 Vezina Trophies

    8 All-Star games

    1 Hart Trophy

    He's best remembered for being the first goaltender to wear a mask in a game, but Plante was an incredible goalie. The best goalie tandem in NHL history may have been when Plante and Glenn Hall were together in St. Louis after the league expanded.

4. Ken Dryden

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    Games Played: 397 (1970-79)
    Record: 258-57-74
    GAA: 2.24
    SO: 46

    6 Stanley Cup championships

    1971 Conn Smythe Trophy

    1972 Calder Trophy

    5 Vezina Trophies

    5 All-Star games

    Not many goaltenders in NHL history have enjoyed a run like Dryden had between 1971-1979, a stretch in which he won at least 30 games in seven consecutive seasons. His 83 wins, and 18 shutouts, between the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons are still one of the best two-season benchmarks in the game's history.

3. Patrick Roy

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    Games Played: 1,029 (1984-2003)
    Record: 551-315-131
    GAA: 2.54
    SO: 66

    4 Stanley Cup champions

    3 Conn Smythe Trophies

    3 Vezina Trophies

    5 William Jennings Trophies

    11 All-Star games

    He has owned the record books since retiring, but is slowly beginning to lose his hold on the league's great numbers to Martin Brodeur. In all, Roy was a fabulous champion who played big and talked bigger. He didn't lack for skill or ego.

2. Glenn Hall

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    Games Played: 906 (1952-71)
    Record: 407-326-163
    GAA: 2.49
    SO: 84

    1956 Calder Trophy

    1 Stanley Cup championship

    1 Conn Smythe Trophy

    3 Vezina Trophies

    13 All-Star games

    Considered the original user of the butterfly style, Hall was incredible for years in Chicago before moving on to St. Louis when the league expanded. Many fans don't realize he was actually traded to the Blackhawks by the Red Wings with Ted Lindsay.

    Hall owns the most impressive non-Gretzky record in NHL history, playing 502 consecutive games... without a mask.

1. Terry Sawchuk

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    Games Played: 971 (1949-70)
    Record: 447-330-172
    GAA: 2.51
    SO: 103

    1951 Calder Trophy

    4 Stanley Cup championships

    4 Vezina Trophies

    11 All-Star games

    He was, and still is, the measure by which goalies are rated historically. Sawchuk was a rock for Detroit for years, with a brief couple seasons in Boston between 1955-57, and finished his NHL career with three years in Toronto, one in LA and, after 13 games in Detroit during the 1968-69 season, a brief time with the Rangers.

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