All Time Goalie Greats!

Heritage Hockey™ Insider

Where would we be without great goalies? Well, the game would certainly be different! The NHL has been fortunate to have a number of incredibly amazing goalies, but honestly, only a few can truly be considered great!

What makes a great goalie? That is a good question! Is it size, flexibility, agility, dominance, longevity, equipment? The answer is yes...and no! A truly great goalie gets you the win, no matter what, using whatever they have at their disposal! They are the backbone of the game! They will place themselves directly in the line of fire, in front of a 3 inch vulcanized black rubber disk, travelling 100 miles per hour, in order to win the game!

Here's the truth! We are going to differ in our opinions of who the greatest goalies of all time actually are, because, there are literally a hundred or more who qualify. And the qualifications differ with each selection! Our focus is to pick our top five, and from there start a discussion that gets you involved! Who do you think the greatest goalies are? And of course...why?

Our top five goalies are:



Number one in our books is Patrick Roy. He was an incredible goalie, both winning and dominating in every way possible. Patrick Roy played with a mindset that said - I will win at all costs. A strong competitor in every way, Roy ensured that two Montreal Canadiens teams were victorious in two Stanley Cups. In 1993, Roy secured a record ten consecutive sudden-death overtime game wins in the playoffs for the Canadiens. To his credit, Roy has four Stanley Cups, three Conn Smythe trophies, and three Vezina trophies. That makes him the only goaltender on this list to have any Conn Smythe trophies (awarded to the MVP of the playoffs), let alone three. As to his technique, he was the first goaltender to popularize the butterfly style. He even changed the equipment that goaltenders wore. There is no other goaltender that has the combination of sheer dominance, team success, and influence on the sport that Patrick Roy had, which undoubtedly makes him our number one goaltender of all time.


Where would the game be without a goalie like Dominek Hasek? Hasek possessed above-average flexibility, and it was that flexibility that defined a great deal of his career. Hasek became known for his incredible saves that stretched and strained his body in an unbelievable manner. Dominek Hasek absolutely refused to give up on any given play. Interestingly enough, Dominek Hasek is the only goaltender who, not once...but twice, faced the most shots per sixty minutes while also leading the league in save percentage. When it comes to being rewarded for his skills, Hasek has six Vezina trophies, two consecutive Hart trophies, two Stanley Cups, and a gold medal from the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. Dominek Hasek is our strong number two in our top five selection.


Not to be outdone, and certainly not to be disregarded is Martin Brodeur. When you consider the trophies he accumulated in his career, Martin Brodeur shines! He has a Calder Trophy, four Vezina’s, two Olympic gold medals, and three Stanley Cups. Then look at his career stats with 691 career wins, 125 career shutouts, 24 playoff shutouts, 28,508 career saves, and three career goals. Yes, three career GOALS! It is probably safe to say that some of those stats will stand for quite some time. Martin Brodeur was an integral member of the New Jersey Devils through the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Brodeur was always seen as being cool and calm in his role. Brodeur's play regularly stopped opposing teams from getting into any sort of rhythm, all thanks to his dominant puck-handling ability. Martin Brodeur is secure in our number three spot as very likely one of the most successful athletes of all time.


And certainly we would be remiss if we didn't include Terry Sawchuk. The list of injuries that Sawchuk endured and played through during his career is incredible. Terry Sawchuk suffered from a permanently damaged elbow that left his left arm shorter than his right, countless cuts and bruises that resulted in over 400 stitches to his face, a collapsed lung, a broken instep, and severed hand tendons. Those alone, would encourage most players to retire! The wear and tear that Sawchuk's goaltending role inflicted on his back left him with a condition known a lordosis, which prevented him from sleeping for more than two hours at a time. In addition to living life with numerous injuries, Terry Sawchuk also suffered from alcoholism and depression that was never treated. Despite all of this, Terry Sawchuk was a shining star, and one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game. Sawchuk collected four Vezina trophies, four Stanley Cups, and an inspirational record of 103 career shutouts that stood strong for nearly forty years. Sawchuk's hockey career was nothing but legendary! That is why we regard Terry Sawchuk among the best goaltenders to ever play the game.


Rounding out our top five and definitely an innovator in the game, is Jacques Plante. Everyone knows the story of Plante famous/ infamous November night in 1959. It is very likely that most hockey fans know the story. Plante was struck in the face during the game by a slapshot from Andy Bathgate. Jaques told then Canadiens head coach (Toe Blake) that he would not go back out onto the ice without his mask on. As there was no backup goaltender on hand, Blake finally allowed it, and the rest is hockey history. Jaques Plante not only introduced the goalie mask into play, but was also among the first goaltenders to come out and support his defensemen by playing the puck. Plante studied his competition and would take notes on the opponents he faced. Subsequently, he would shout out directions to his players based on his knowledge, during the game. Jaques Plante literally owned the Vezina Trophy during the 1950’s. He won five Vezina's in a row and two more later on. Plante also had five straight Stanley Cups in the 50's. Plante was the heart and soul of one of the most dominant teams in NHL history. Today, goalies at all levels, should be thankful to Jaques Plante every time a puck bounces off of their head, as he was the first to bring a protective mask into the game.

Now, we've rounded out our top five list. Tell us who you think should be added to the list....



The month of November celebrates some of the greats in hockey history! A big Heritage Hockey Insider’s “HAPPY BIRTHDAY: goes out to:

JOHNNY BOWER, November 8, 1924 - He was nicknamed "The China Wall". Johnny Bower was a Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender who won four Stanley Cups during his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and in 2017 he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

GILBERT PERREAULT, November 12, 1950 - He played for 17 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. Perrault was known for his ability to stickhandle in close quarters, and is regarded as one of the most skillful playmaking centres of all time. He was the first draft pick of the Sabres in their inaugural season in the NHL, and is well known as the centre man for the prolific trio of Sabres forwards known as The French Connection. In 2017 Perreault was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

YVAN COURNOYER, November 22, 1943 - He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1963 to 1979. Cournoyer was born in Drummondville, Quebec. He was nicknamed "The Roadrunner" due to his small size and blazing speed, which he credited to longer blades on his skates. Cornoyer was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 2017 Cournoyer was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.




Follow the Heritage Hockey Insider as we take a look at "Bobby Orr", legend of the game and one of the NHL's all time super stars!



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