Martin Brodeur vs Patrick Roy: Who Is the Greatest Goaltender in NHL History

Joseph Kuchie@@jkuchieCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2012

17 Jan 1998:  Patrick Roy #33 of the Colorado Avalanche and Martin Brodeur of the Chicago Blackhawks during the skills competition during NHL All-Star Weekend at General Motors Palace in Vancouver, Canada. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge  /Allsport
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Over the past 10-15 years, hockey fans have discussed and debated the same question: who is the best goaltender of all time?

Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur are considered the best of the best, but the population can't seem to agree on who is number one. Whether it's based on Stanley Cup wins or personal records, fans can't seem to make up their mind.

The argument can go both ways. Roy has the upper-hand in Stanley Cup victories four to three and also has more Conn Smythe trophies by a landslide (three to zero). However, Brodeur is the all time leader in wins, shutouts, and playoff shutouts.

Many Roy supporters will argue that Brodeur got a majority of his wins in "the new era of hockey." Not only did the size of a goaltender's pads get bigger, but the NHL introduced the shoot-out to replace ties in the regular season.

The addition of the shootout certainly padded Brodeur's advantage in wins, especially because Roy played his entire career in the tie era. However, if you take Brodeur's 47 shootout wins away from his record, he still has Roy beat 609 to 551.

Fans must also remember that Brodeur missed the entire 2004-2005 season due to a lockout. The lifetime Devils star has averaged 36 wins per season in his career, meaning his lifetime total would be near what it is now regardless of the addition of shootouts.

On the other side, Roy has the upper-hand on Brodeur when it matters most. Roy has the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe lead, but he also has the NHL record for most playoff wins with 151. His win percentage of 61 percent is also better then Brodeur's 55 percent.

Roy also took the only Stanley Cup in which the two goaltenders faced each other. Roy's Avalanche defeated Brodeur's Devils four games to three in the 2001 Final.

However, despite these facts, it can be argued that Brodeur is the better goaltender. Brodeur currently holds 13 NHL records for goaltenders, and was also the youngest goalie to reach 300, 400, 500, and 600 wins. He also has the advantage in terms of Vezina trophies with four.

It must also be noted that in the three years Brodeur did not win the Conn Smythe, the future Hall of Fame goaltender posted a GAA of 1.67, 1.61, and 1.65. Even in 2012, when Brodeur wasn't necessarily the team's best player, the 40 year old lead all playoff goaltenders in saves.

Roy may have played in a different era, but that should not take away from Brodeur's historic career. Rule changes didn't take place until 2004, meaning Brodeur still had 10 years and three Stanley Cups before the lockout took place. Plus, the change in pad sizes doesn't necessarily make a player better or worse, especially because the size of the crease and net also changed.

This will forever be a matter of discussion. Brodeur will return in 2012-2013 to try and revenge the Devils Stanley Cup loss, so there is still time to match Roy's record of four championships.



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