Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is Chris Osgood a Hall of Fame goalie?

The Wings certainly have their hands full with Anaheim. This series could be the toughest test they face in the playoffs especially if they lose it. Having lost home-ice advantage, the Wings are definitely fighting for their Stanley Cup lives. Obviously, the team, the team, the team, is the most important thing. However, an interesting side story is the fact that Chris Osgood might be fighting for his Hall of Fame life.

The notion that Ozzie is a Hall of Fame goaltender is laughable for some. Different players develop different reputations throughout their careers depending on their specific playing circumstances. “Reputation” sometimes can be the difference between election into the Hall of Fame and coming up short (see; Albert Belle). Osgood has the reputation of a decent goalie who had the fantastic fortune of playing for a franchise going through one of the most dominating 15-year runs in NHL history. I have no idea if that “reputation” is stronger in Detroit or outside of Detroit. Personally, I don’t think his reputation is too far off base. If I could pick a goalie for the Wings, there are ten in the NHL right now I’d take over Osgood in his prime. If that reputation is more of a Detroit-thing, then maybe it’s not as damaging. If it’s a national-thing, then he is going to have a tough time getting support for the “Hall.” While “reputation” can be the deciding factor in a player’s candidacy, “statistics” should be—and usually are—the determining factor. By most accounts, Albert Belle was a jerk. However, he belongs in the MLB Hall of Fame. Voters are, unfortunately, extremely susceptible to bias and “reputation” when handing in their HOF ballots. If Ozzie is a HOFer, then it should show up on his resume. So, let’s take a look.

There is no question that most professional athletes and coaches need a requisite amount of “good luck” to garner election into the Hall of Fame. If Phil Jackson were not hired to coach the Chicago Bulls, he would not have won six championships with the Bulls. Those six championships are likely what got him hired to coach the Lakers which resulted in three more championships. Jackson might be a great coach but if his first job was with the Clippers instead of the Bulls, he would likely have zero championships instead of nine. A slew of HOFers in every sport have been helped immensely by their playing situations. The point is that Osgood’s resume should not be dismissed simply because he played for a dynasty. If we do that, then we have to dismiss the resumes of Grant Fuhr and Billy Smith—both of whom are HOF goaltenders whose resumes were built as a result of dynasties. I’m not arguing that Osgood hasn’t benefited considerably by playing with the Red Wings. That is undeniable. I’m merely saying that the “good fortune” argument has rarely been used as vehemently as it has been against Osgood.

Osgood’s resume is very impressive. I’m not sure an argument could be made that it’s not. He is 10th all-time in regular season wins. His next playoff win will put him 10th all-time in playoff wins. He is 4th all-time in playoff shutouts. He is 4th all-time in points percentage (goalie version of winning %). Osgood’s success has often been attributed to playing behind Detroit’s outstanding defense but even his save percentage—the statistic that has the least to do with the rest of the team—is good enough for 24th all-time. In terms of individual statistics, there isn’t a measure on Osgood’s resume that is not well above average.

If there is a place where Osgood’s resume comes up short, it’s in the “accolades” department. He has never been selected to the NHL First Team. He’s only garnered one NHL Second Team selection. He has also not won a Vezina or a Conn Smythe Trophy. While that isn’t ideal, it’s certainly not a dealbreaker. It’s also important to note that Osgood has won three Stanley Cups (two as the starting goaltender) and could be headed for a fourth. That combined with his statistical prowess should be enough to cushion the lack of individual hardware.

Now that we’ve looked at Ozzie’s resume and found that there is a lot to be impressed by, let’s compare his career to a few goalies who are in the HOF and some who just missed. Statistical measures are important but equally important is how Osgood stacks up to his goalie brethren. This is by no means my official stance on the matter but three of the top goalies who are not in the Hall of Fame are Mike Vernon, Tom Barrasso, and Rogie Vachon. Any or all could still get elected but, for now, they are on the outside looking in. In order for Osgood to even be in consideration for the Hall of Fame, he’ll need to first distance himself from the three aforementioned goaltenders. Here is how Ozzie compares:



Osgood vs. HOF Candidates

























PlayerWinsPlf. WinsShutoutsPlf. ShutoutsAdj. GAAPoint%CupsJenningsAll-NHLVezinaConn Smythe
Osgood3896448142.77.636321-2nd00
Vernon385772762.83.575211-2nd 01
Barrasso369613862.95.563211-1st, 2-2nd 10
Vachon355235122.74.5412NA2-2nd 10


I think it’s pretty obvious that Osgood stacks-up pretty well with this group. He has the most wins and Cups. He has, by far, the best point percentage. He has the most Jennings Trophies (fewest goals allowed). If the Wings win the Cup this year, he’ll only trail Vernon by two playoff wins. He has the most shutouts and second most playoff shutouts of the group. His Adjusted Goals Against Average barely trails Rogie Vachon’s. Osgood doesn’t win every category but he has the best resume of the bunch and it’s not close.

Simply having a better resume than a group of goalies who are not in the Hall of Fame doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It just means that Osgood could end up being the best goalie not in the Hall of Fame. What it does do, though, is prove that Osgood’s candidacy is legitimate and certainly worth talking about. In order to take the next step and actually proclaim that Osgood deserves to make the Hall of Fame, he’ll need to fit in with goalies who are actually in the Hall of Fame. Osgood obviously is not one of the top 10 goaltenders of all-time. So, it won’t do us any good to compare him to Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, or Dominik Hasek. Likewise, hockey has changed considerably since the first half of the 20th century. So, it won’t do us any good to compare him to Tiny Thompson, Turk Broda, or Georges Vezina. We need to compare Ozzie to a group of Hall of Fame goaltenders who played under similar circumstances. We need pretty good goaltenders who played for great teams in the last half century. The goalies who best fit that description are Billy Smith and Grant Fuhr. I’ll also throw in Ed Giacomin since he is a Hall of Fame goaltender of the last half century who is clearly not one of the top 10 goaltenders of all-time. If Osgood compares pretty well to these three goaltenders, then I think he has to be considered a Hall of Fame goaltender.



Osgood vs. HOF Goalies

























PlayerWinsPlf. WinsShutoutsPlf. ShutoutsAdj. GAAPoint%CupsJenningsAll-NHLVezinaConn Smythe
Osgood3896448142.77.636321-2nd00
Smith305882252.69.556411-1st11
Giacomin289295412.75.5670NA2-1st, 3-2nd 20
Fuhr403922563.04.567411-1st, 1-2nd 10


I don’t think the argument could be made that Osgood is overmatched by any of these resumes. He doesn’t dominate the comparison like he did against Vernon, Barrasso, and Vachon but he certainly holds his own. He is well ahead of Smith, Giacomin, and Fuhr in points percentage. He is tied with Giacomin for the most Jennings Trophies (the Vezina before 1982 was given out to the goalie on the team with the fewest goals against as the Jennings Trophy is today). Ozzie is second in all-time wins, second in all-time shutouts. He’s first in playoff shutouts and barely trails Giacomin for second in Adj. GAA. He’s really only outmatched in one category and that’s “All-NHL honors.” He trails Smith and Fuhr by a decent margin in playoff wins but if the Wings win the Cup this year, Osgood could pull pretty close. In fact, if he’s still around next year, there’s a good shot he’ll pass Smith. I don’t know who has the worst resume of this group but I’m pretty sure it’s not Osgood. I also don’t know who has the best resume of this group but I’m pretty sure that if it’s not Osgood, then he’s pretty close.

Statistically speaking, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Osgood should be elected to the Hall of Fame based on the above comparisons. However, “statistics” aren’t always the deciding factor. Sometimes, all that matters is “reputation.” That’s why I think that while the Wings are fighting for their Cup-lives against Anaheim, Osgood is fighting for his Hall of Fame-life. He doesn’t just need to fit in with Hall of Famers, he needs to distance himself from them. A fourth Stanley Cup and 11 more playoff wins will go a long, long way in doing that. Osgood is only 36 years old. If he plays until he’s 40 or even just two more seasons with the Wings, he’ll move so far up the all-time statistical lists that he’d be getting very close to “lock” status. It’s rare that at the end of a career a player could go from “borderline” to “lock” status in just one season or even just one postseason but that pretty much defines Ozzie’s career.

If his career ended today without a fourth Cup or additional individual statistics, there’s a good chance that “reputation” would win out and keep him out of the Hall of Fame. If his career ends sometime after next season and the Wings win the Cup this year or next, then “statistics” will prevail. Here’s something to ponder…If Osgood plays for the Wings next season—which is likely considering Detroit’s salary cap situation and Osgood’s reasonable salary—he’ll likely climb to 8th in all-time wins. If he plays the season after that, he’ll likely climb to 5th. If the Wings win the Cup this year, he’ll climb to 8th in all-time playoff wins. If they win the cup this year and next, he’ll climb to 5th all-time in playoff wins. If he plays until he’s 40, then all of this will be moot. He’ll be a guaranteed Hall of Fame goalie. Last year, I wrote that Mike Mussina needed to play two more seasons with the Yankees to make the MLB Hall of Fame. That seemed like a reasonable task. Instead, he promptly retired and will very likely not reach the Hall of Fame. Let’s see how Ozzie handles the same scenario.

14 comments:

Pete said...

The problem with your analysis is that election to the HOF is not a mathematical equation or an exercise in finding very good players who played on great teams. The difference between Osgood and HOF goalies is that he has never won individual awards or earned the reputation as a goalie who "won" a playoff series or carried a team to a playoff berth.

The Stanley Cup goes to the best TEAM, the Jennings Trophy goes to the goaltending TEAM with the best goals against. Osgood has never built the reputation of a HOF goalie or earned a first team all-star selection because he has never shown the consistent stand out, stand on your head performance that make goalies legendary or even memorable. Citing hardware that reflects team performance is not an argument for the ultimate individual distinction – election to the HOF.

Reputation matters. Recognition by your peers and by those who covered your era matters. The Vezina goes to the best goalie, the Conn Smythe goes to the Playoff MVP, the Calder goes to the Rookie of the Year and the Hart goes to the League MVP. That’s why goalies like Giacomin and Esposito are in the Hall without winning a Stanley Cup. Legends of goalies who kept their team going when they were clearly outmatched earns you a spot in the HOF. One of the reasons I believe Osgood will never see the inside of the Hall without buying a ticket is that he lacks this hardware or this kind of reputation among his peers, his championship rings notwithstanding.

Now Gerry Cheevers is one HOF goalie who, like Osgood, has never won a Vezina, a Conn Smythe, a Calder or a Hart. But those Bruin teams won 2 cups without the lock-down defense of Osgood’s Red Wing teams because of Cheevers’ acrobatic brilliance. Moreover, he almost single-handedly won some of those playoff games. Those stories are the stuff of legend. The only thing legendary about Osgood are some of the embarrassing goals he let in.

Individual numbers matter more than the number of wins and cups that great teams pile up. Osgood’s career save percentage of 90.6 is very average compared to today’s elite goalies (although tough to compare historically since it is a recently added statistical category)

Because of individual hardware and legendary playoff performances, I think goalies like Mike Vernon (Conn Smythe winner) and John Vanbiesbrouk (Vezina winner) have a better shot than Osgood because they played for teams like the Flames, Rangers and Panthers that were not nearly as talent-laden laden as the Wing teams Osgood played for. Those Wing teams could have as many as 6 or 7 Hall of Famers when it’s all said and done. I would also note that while Vernon and Beezer moved from team to team and kept their stats and their reputations at the top of the game, Osgood won no trophies and had only mediocre stats when playing for teams like St. Louis and New York.

If you want to make an argument for a Detroit goalie who does deserve to be in the HOF, Roger Crozier is more deserving in my mind than Osgood. He was one of only four players to win the Conn Smythe Trophy on a losing team (Detroit, 1966), won the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year (1965) and carried a young Buffalo Sabres team that was only in the league 5 years to a sixth game Stanley Cup final, losing to a 1974-1975 Philadelphia Flyers team that has 3 players in the HOF. The NHL now awards the Roger Crozier Award annually to the netminder who posts the best save percentage in each season. That’s the stuff of a HOF goalie.

Bill Morran said...

Jake, I love your blog, but get real.

Save percentage has more to do with his teammates than you'd think. Most of his shots are weak floaters from the perimeter, because you can't crack Detroit's defense. Chris Osgood's winning percentage is 63.1%, but his teammates' is 63.9%.

Furthermore, they've only been calculating save percentage for about 30 years. If he's behind the normal HOF suspects, Curtis Joseph, Martin Brodeur, Billy Smith, Grant Fuhr, Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, and Patrick Roy, that's still 17 goalies ahead of him in just 30 years. The names ahead of him include Martin Biron, Manny Fernandez, Roman Turek, and Mike Dunham. A virtual "who's who" of nothing goaltenders. 17 goalies ahead of him play today.

Also, Smith and Fuhr don't belong in the Hall of Fame. They got in because goalies are judged by wins and losses, and they were average goalies on great teams. Grant Fuhr consistantly put up worse numbers than his backup, who played just as many games as him usually, and Osgood's the same case.

Now, look at Osgood's numbers on the Islanders and Blues. They're not even ARGUABLY HoF numbers. They're barely starters numbers.

Jake said...

Pete,

While I agree with a lot of what you said, you’ve got me wondering if you read my post or just skimmed it. I made no such mention of a mathematical equation that gets a player into the Hall of Fame. I also made no such claim that very good players on very good teams should make the Hall of Fame. I also spent a large portion of my post arguing that “reputation” is a huge factor in getting into the Hall of Fame. So, I’m not sure how you could say that any of those things are the “problem” of my analysis.

What I did in this post is compare Osgood to Hall of Fame goalies that fit the “good goalie on good team” profile and he stacks up pretty well with them. Comparing Osgood to other goalies is the very minimum of what voters will do when deciding his fate. Simply saying, “what is this guy’s reputation?” or “does this guy sound like a Hall of Famer?” as you seem to suggest is not a sound way to conclude whether a player is going to make the Hall of Fame or not and it probably won’t be the way voters decide Osgood’s fate.

I mentioned in my post that there are 10 goalies in the NHL right now who I’d take over Osgood in his prime. This isn’t about whether I think his skills are good enough to make the Hall of Fame. This is about figuring out the likelihood of him making the Hall of Fame. You seem to think that my post was about the former.

If Detroit wins the Stanley Cup this year, Osgood will have four Cups. I don’t think there’s a goalie with three cups who is not in the Hall of Fame. If you don’t think that four Cups would go a long way in sending Osgood to the HOF, then I don’t think you understand how writers cast their votes. The same goes with finishing in the top five all-time in wins and regular season wins. Whether Osgood is actually a good enough goaltender would be irrelevant if he reached those marks. I’m not arguing whether or not that should be the case. I’m arguing that it is the case.

You can argue that Osgood shouldn’t make the HOF based on his ability and I might agree with you. That’s not what this post is about. If he wins another Cup and plays a couple more seasons, he will make the HOF regardless of his lack of individual hardware or reputation. The inspiration for this post is the fact that the Cup the Wings are going after right now is obviously important to the Wings but it is also extremely important to Osgood. It is perhaps the one chance Osgood has of guaranteeing election to the HOF. A goalie with four Cups isn’t getting shut out. This postseason—and next if he’s still with the team next year—is going to decide his fate. Rarely does one or two postseasons mean so much to a single player. Osgood is the exception.

Thanks for the comments!

Jake said...

Bill,

I’ll echo the sentiments that I wrote to Pete. There’s no need to convince me that Osgood isn’t a Hall of Fame caliber goal. That’s not the point. The point is—and you pretty much proved it by saying that Smith and Fuhr only got in because they were good goalies on great teams—is that Osgood can make the HOF and very likely with make the HOF with another Cup and one or two more seasons accumulating statistics. I’m not sure what I need to get real about. I don’t understand why you guys don’t realize that a goalie who finishes in the top five all-time in both wins and playoff wins with four Stanley Cups will make the HOF. It doesn’t matter how good he actually is/was. If he doesn’t reach those marks, however, then he’ll have no chance. Osgood is either going to be a “lock” HOFer or he’s going to have “no chance”. What he does in the next two years will determine which one it is. I know you guys don’t like the idea of Osgood make the HOF but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

Anonymous said...

amazing your knowledge and analysis of all sporting games.

Bill Morran said...

You're an American, so I don't blame you for not having much of an understanding about how the Hockey Hall of Fame works, but they don't just vote based on wins. This isn't baseball. The number of wins by a goaltender only matters when talking about Martin Brodeur, who is also vastly overrated. Especially since Osgood played in the overtime/shootout era, and the 16 team playoff era, and most of those behind him didn't.

Osgood will NEVER have ANY chance of getting in.

Jake said...

Bill,

I don’t need to be Canadian to understand trends. There isn’t a single statistic in any sport that gets a player into the Hall of Fame which is why I didn’t say that he would get in because of “wins” as you seem to think I said. If he gets in, it’ll be because of his body of work. I’m not sure how you can admit that Fuhr and Smith got in because of the same reasons I’m saying Osgood would get in and then say that Osgood has no chance. Those two arguments do not mesh. Sans one Vezina Trophy, Osgood’s resume could be every bit as good as Fuhr and Smith’s. Tom Barrasso has a lot of support for the HOF and his resume cannot touch Osgood’s. I have stated that if Osgood wins another Cup, gets to 5th all-time in career wins, 5th all-time in playoff wins, and maintains his point percentage and Adj. GAA, then he will get in. You say he won’t which means the following….

As far as I can tell, all goalies with more than two Cups are in the HOF, yet Osgood—with four—would not make it.

Assuming Dominik Hasek and Ed Beflour make the HOF—which is not much of an assumption—every goaltender in the top ten in all-time wins will be in the HOF except Curtis Joseph. Yet, you don’t think Osgood gets in with four Cups and being in the top five all-time in wins?

Assuming Martin Brodeur and Belfour make the HOF—which is not much of an assumption—every goaltender in the top eight all-time playoff wins will be in the HOF except for Mike Vernon. Yet, you don’t think Osgood gets in with four Cups, top five all-time in regular season wins, and top-five all-time in playoff wins?

You may end up being right. Nobody knows for sure. I’d love to see Osgood reach all of these milestones so we can actually see how this would all turn out. However, one thing I do know is that your opinion is not based on a “Canadian” frame of mind. Everything that the hockey HOF has ever done points to Osgood being a HOFer if he reaches those milestones.

Also, if voters don’t put players in the hockey HOF for wins or Stanley Cups, then what on Earth is Fuhr doing in the Hall of Fame?

One last thing, and there’s no way I can let this slide…Brodeur is overrated? You’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t care what country you’re from, that is ludicrous. Dude has three Cups with the New Jersey Devils! The Devils! I hope that is just a personal opinion and not indicative of what the average Canadian thinks. I challenge you to make an argument—using any statistical measure we have available—that Brodeur is overrated. If what you’re saying is true, it shouldn’t be hard to make a compelling argument using statistics.

Bill Morran said...

Smith and Fuhr didn't get in because they won Cups. They got in because they were associated with great dynasties. Clarke Gillies is in the Hall of Fame too, and it wouldn't shock me to see Kevin Lowe get in. But Red Wings haven't had a dynasty. They've been really good for a long time, and have won a few Cups along the way. The Red Wings have also won the Cup without Osgood.

As for Brodeur, he's been very controversial among real hockey fans. A large number of hockey fans do love Brodeur, but the New Jersey Devils allow fewer shots than almost any team in the NHL. The Devils had Rafalski, Daneyko, Stevens, and Niedermayer in front of him, and played in the trap NHL. Martin Brodeur has never, in his career, led the NHL in save percentage.

There's actually a quite popular hockey blog that I just love, called "Brodeur is a Fraud". It's not just about Brodeur, it exposes all of the overrated goaltenders who have been made to look great by the teams they play in front of. It provides compelling statistical evidence that Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Chris Osgood, Evgeni Nabokov, Grant Fuhr, Billy Smith, and Mike Vernon are all overrated. It also has an underrated list, including Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph, Roberto Luongo, Arturs Irbe, Kari Lehtonen, Cristobal Huet, Dan Bouchard, Al Rollins, Bob Frose and Allan Bester.

The best statistic to use is save percentage compared to their backup. Most backups are about the same in terms of talent, and they're the only goalie in the NHL facing the same number of shots as the goalie in question. Martin Brodeur, this year, had a worse save percentage than both Scott Clemenson (who was abysmal in Toronto last year, and is mostly an AHL goaltender) and Kevin Weekes. All made to look better than they are because of a phenomenal New Jersey Devils defence.

The only major flaw with this argument is goalies who suffer from Ed Belfour syndrome. He has had backups that include Dominik Hasek, Jeff Hackett, Evgeni Nabokov, Manny Fernandez, and Marty Turco. All very solid NHL starters after they parted.

This post in particular is a pretty solid debunking of the claim that Brodeur is particularly "clutch".

http://brodeurisafraud.blogspot.com/2007/03/playoff-clutch-performance.html

Here's an interesting comparison between Brodeur and Luongo.

http://brodeurisafraud.blogspot.com/2007/06/martin-brodeur-wins-his-most-deserving.html

You can look around the blog. It's one of my favorites.

Jake said...

Bill, in your second comment you said, “You're an American, so I don't blame you for not having much of an understanding about how the Hockey Hall of Fame works, but they don't just vote based on wins.”

In your first comment you said, “Also, Smith and Fuhr don't belong in the Hall of Fame. They got in because goalies are judged by wins and losses, and they were average goalies on great teams. Grant Fuhr consistantly put up worse numbers than his backup, who played just as many games as him usually, and Osgood's the same case.”

So which is it? I understand how the hockey HOF works. There are 60+ years of precedent to draw from. Nobody ever gets in because of one category. You said Fuhr got in because “goalies are judged by wins and losses.” I don’t think that’s true. He got in because of the wins and Cups. I can understand not wanting Osgood to get into the HOF. I can understand you saying that Fuhr shouldn’t be in the HOF. I just can’t understand how you could say something like, “They (Smith and Fuhr) don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. They got in because goalies are judged by wins and losses, and they were average goalies on great teams,” and then say that Osgood has absolutely no chance of getting in.

You noted that the difference between Osgood and Fuhr was that Fuhr was part of a dynasty. We have very different definitions of a dynasty. The Oilers were relevant for eight years and won five Cups. The Islanders were relevant for 8/9 years and won four Cups. The Wings have been relevant for 14 years and could be headed for a 5th Cup (which is the scenario that I said must happen for Osgood to have any chance at the HOF). Five players still remain from the 97-team including the best player (Lidstrom) and the goaltender (Osgood). That’s a dynasty and I think most hockey followers would consider the Wings of the late 90’s to 2000’s a dynasty. A Cup-win this year would just make that more so. Fuhr has nothing on Osgood statistically speaking.

You raise an interesting point about Brodeur but the big flaw in the reasoning is that there is no way of knowing how Brodeur would play on another team. We can’t just assume that he’s overrated simply because his backups—in very limited action over his career—did pretty well. A goalie cannot accomplish much more than Brodeur has. If he’s overrated, then I’d love to see what his career numbers would be if he was actually as good as people think he was. I don’t think it’s sound reasoning to make a conclusion such as the one you’re making with the absence of the most important information to the argument; how would Brodeur play in another setting? Goalies are notoriously inconsistent. Ty Conklin was brutal his entire career and then somehow turned in a .923 save % and a 2.55 GAA for a team (Pittsburgh) that gave up the 7th most shots in the NHL last season. Stuff like that happens all the time over full seasons. The fact that it could happen over the 10 games that Brodeur doesn’t play each year (it was more this season) is not surprising at all. You absolutely have to know how Brodeur would perform on another team before making the statement that he’s overrated. You mentioned that he’s never led the league in save % but using that statistic to suggest that his save % is not up to par is incredibly misleading. Brodeur is 6th all-time in save %. There’s a huge difference between having a good save % for one year or every other year or for five years in a career and having a good save % over 16 years. That’s what makes Brodeur what he is. At a position that sees players come and go like a merry go round, Brodeur has always been there. Also, you mention that Brodeur has never led the league in save % but that is misleading. Brodeur plays almost every game. You’re comparing him to goalies who play half their team’s games or fewer. Of goalies who played more than half their team’s games in 2006, Brodeur had the highest save % in the league. If you lead the league in save % among goaltenders who started more than half the team’s games, then you’ve led the league in save % for all intents and purposes. You can’t just look to see how Brodeur fares yearly in save % because those yearly leaders are littered with backup goalies or goalies who only started half the season. Compare him to goalies who started the whole year. I think you’ll see a very different result. It’s much harder to sustain excellence over an entire season or for 16 years. Incidentally, that is what makes Brodeur’s career so astonishing. With all the Blaine Lacher’s, Jim Carrey’s, of the NHL, Brodeur has been consistently excellent for going on two decades.

Maybe I’m just not understanding the definition of overrated. If people think he is the greatest hockey player of all-time or the greatest goaltender of all-time then, yeah, he’s overrated. I think people think he is very, very good and is easily among the ten best goaltenders in NHL history based on his resume. I think Hasek was better. I think Roy was better. Maybe others have overrated him, but I haven’t seen it.

I checked around on the blog you linked to. There’s definitely so good back and forth in the comments section. I appreciate the notion that some goalies are overrated and others underrated because people don’t necessarily know how to judge goalies. In fact, I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion that Luongo deserved a Vezina or two. I am a big fan of Roberto Luongo. However, let’s use him for a second to show just how good Brodeur has been. Luongo has been a very good goalie for eight years. In goalie terms, that is a long, long time. There might be a lot of goalies who last eight years but very few are good for eight years. Brodeur has been very good for 16 years. Luongo—as good as he’s been—has a .920 save % over 564 career games. Brodeur has a .915 save % over 1175 games. Luongo could eventually overtake Brodeur in terms of career resume but right now, it’s not even close. Take care!

Bill Morran said...

Jake, we must have different definitions. I believe a dynasty is a large number of championships in a short amount of time. The Red Wings, while good for the last 20 years, topped out at three cups in six years. Personally, I see the Oilers as borderline anyways. You really need three consecutive championships to be a dynasty, in my eyes, except in football, where 3 in 4 will do, because the lifespan of a team or a player's career is much shorter.

The Ty Conklin comparison isn't great. Pittsburgh pay have allowed a lot of shots, but they weren't high quality shots. There are shot charts at ESPN.com that will show this.

In terms of career success... well, let's compare Luongo and Brodeur.

Luongo most certainly deserved two Vezina trophies by now, but let's ignore that. Brodeur didn't win his first Vezina trophy until his 10th season as a starter. Luongo is finishing up his eighth season.

Brodeur, at 29 years old, had been on the NHL end of season all-star team twice, both second team all-stars. Luongo has been on the NHL end of season all-star team twice, both second team all-stars.

The big difference between their resumes, at this point in their careers, is team success. At this age, Brodeur has 94 more wins, two more Stanley Cups, and an Olympic gold medal. Luongo has only even played in the playoffs twice. But Luongo is number six among active goalies in career shots against. He's seven years younger than anyone ahead of him on the list, including Curtis Joseph, Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood, Olaf Kolzig, and Nikolai Khabibulin.

We've seen shot charts before that say Luongo faces a high difficulty of shots, and Brodeur faces a low difficulty, but lets just look at the pure shots against right now, because it's easier, and it actually makes my point a little worse.

Luongo, in his career, has faced 5 more shots per game, than Brodeur has. That means, if they're both your average NHL goalie, he should be allowing a half goal per game more than Brodeur, or 41 goals in a season. That's the difference between the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens.

Brodeur's teams, in years he's played, has averaged 3.14 goals per game. Luongo's teams have averaged 2.54 goals per game. That's a huge difference, and that is why Brodeur has won so many more games.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Osgood in the hall of fame. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. A lot about Osgood can't be seen through his stats. He makes big saves in key times to get the wins. He is always calm and responds well to pressure. Osgood knows what it takes and gets the job done. I'm tired of hearing any goalie can win a cup playing with the wings. If that's the case, then how come Cujo or Legace couldn't. When Hasek couldn't get it done last year against the Predators, who came in and took over? Osgood was in contention of for Conn Smythe last year with his playoff performance where they could have very easily lost in the first round. Winning a Veznia Trophy for Osgood is near impossible because Broduer and Hasek. I don't think his lack of individual hardware should keep him from the HOF. His wins both in the regular season and playoffs along with his cups should speak for itself. Hell he even has a goal of his own. I hope when it's all said and done, Osgood gets the recognition he deserves and makes it to the HOF.

Unicycle Max said...

One factor that belongs on Ozzie's reputation is that he's as good now at 36 as he was at 26. When Mike Vernon faltered, Ozzie stepped up and put in an all-star performance. When The Dominator failed last year, Ozzie brought the team through to another Stanley Cup. The man is the picture of consistency. How many goalies have two cup wins a decade apart?

A goalie cannot win unless the team scores some goals. The team can't win if they're backstop is lousy. What I mean is *gasp!* the goalie.... is a PART of the team! Osgood and his pretty steady 2.5 GAA is a major factor in why the Red Wings have been able to be the Red Wings.

Yes, we have the best defensemen ever, and you could put Zetterberg in at defense for a season, and he'd win a Norris trophy, but your goalie is... your goalie.

I think Osgood is and always has been an underrated goaltender. If we can go all the way this year, I think it would be hard to keep Ozzie out of the HHOF with 4 cups

Jake said...

Thanks, Max! Good luck with your unicycling endeavors.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amused by the "reputation" Osgood has. A couple bad goals very early in his career have tarred him for life, and very unfairly. I think he is putting the finishing touches on his resume right now. Thus far in this year's playoffs, he has had one average game, against the Ducks. Period. In every other game he has been excellent, making several big saves, and has put together a highlight reel as the playoffs have progressed. I think the defining HOF moment, when Osgood turned the HOF corner, was in the last game, game 5 against the Blackhawks. Huet is at the other end standing on his head...but so is Osgood! In a pressure cooker situation, with a very talented offensive team in the Hawks, Osgood allowed 1 goal on a sick backhand, and made a handful of brilliant saves to win the series for the Wings. This season the Wings defense has been a shadow of last year's, even in the playoffs. Unless Franzen goes on a goal tear in the Finals against the Pens, I think if the Wings hoist the cup again Osgood may very well win the Conn Smythe. He's been that good in these playoffs. For the first time you can't argue at all he's along for the ride. He's winning games, and series for the Wings. Doing that at the end of his career leaves HOF voters with the right reputation.

 

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