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11-06-2012, 08:55 AM
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Brimsek, Broda, Durnan

Finally have the three dominant goalies from the late 1930s to 1950 together. Broda played a minor back-up role in 1951 and 1952 while Brimsek and Durnan retired after the 1949-50 season.

Turk Broda was the first to enter the NHL - 1936-37, followed by Brimsek - 1938-39, finally Durnan in 1943-44, the season that the Red Line was introduced in the NHL.

Between the 1936-37 and 1951-52 seasons the TG/G in the NHL ranged from 4.93 to 8.17. Effectively if a goalie allowed 5 or more goals per game his team's chances of winning were very slim.

Pre Red Line Turk Broda played seven seasons. Regular season saw him give up 5 or more goals app. 6 times per season. Brimsek played five seasons, giving up 5 goals or more app 5.2 times a season. During the playoffs, Broda allowed 5 goals or more only 2 times in 55 games, while Brimsek, playing on a slightly better teams supported by the great Kraut Line and Dit Clapper allowed 5 goals or more 4 times in 43 games.

On a slightly better team during the regular season, pre Red Line, Frank Brimsek was a slightly better regular season goalie but Broda was the more steady playoff goalie - playoff GAA ranged from 1.73 to 2.73 while Brimsek saw his playoff GAA range from 1.25 to 3.51

Post Red Line era, all three goalies under consideration played but Broda had the longer absence from the NHL and played three partial or insignificant seasons. So the regular season data comparables are focused on complete or near complete seasons. Also the regular seasons were longer going to 50 then 60, finally 70 games

Bill Durnan 1943-44 to 1949-50. During the regular season, Bill Durnan allowed 5 or more goals app. 5.5 times per season. During the playoffs Bill Durnan NEVER allowed more than four goals in a game, yet he played 45 playoff games. His playoff GAA ranged from 1.53 to 3.33.

Turk Broda, During the regular season(excluding partial seasons) allowed 5 or more goals app. 9.8 times a season. During the playoffs Turk Broda allowed 4 or more goal 5 times in 46 games. Playoff GAA ranged from 1.10-2.38(3.50 if a last hurrah two game stint in 1952 is considered)

Frank Brimsek. During the regular season allowed 5 or more goals app 11 times a season. During the playoffs, Brimsek allowed 5 or more goals 5 times in 25 games.GAA ranged from 2.67 - 3.79


The Kraut Line/Clapper factor used to excuse Brimsek's poor 1942 playoff performance is basically a non-factor. Brimsek was just a prone to weak games, evidenced by two consecutive 5+ goal games in the 1941 playoffs against the Rangers. The difference between Broda and Brimsek during the regular season is marginal. Given that Brimsek enjoyed the benefits of the Kraut Line and Clapper a greater difference was expected. So either Brimsek or the Kraut Line/Clapper were not as good as perceived or we have to pull back a bit on the superlatives tossed at all five.

Post Red Line era. Durnan was clearly the best regular season goalie, evidenced by his honours and awards - ASTs and Vezinas.
Brimsek and Broda are a toss-up given that the Leafs overall were a slightly better team. Yet neither was as steady as Durnan.

Playoffs are interesting. Would love to see another goalie play a string of 45 consecutive playoff games without a weak game where he allowed 5 or more games. Broda on the other hand while having a few weak games 5 in 46 games vs Durnan 0 in 45 games, had more superlative games translating into greater team success. Brimsek in the playoffs from this era is a poor third.

Overall it's a Broda/Durnan or Durnan/Broda discussion with Brimsek demonstratably third by a fair margin.

Last edited by Canadiens1958: 11-06-2012 at 08:56 AM. Reason: presentation
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