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11-12-2012, 04:23 PM
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Pre Forward Pass

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
My current thinking this round

1. Georges Vezina. I already had him pretty high this round, but bumped him up higher because of a combination of finding out the gravitas behind the 1925 All-Time, All-Star, and being reminded of the fact that his generation probably was a little stronger than Brimsek's. He seems to have been the consensus best goalie in the east in the 1910s and was still very good into the 1920s, winning Cups in 1924 and 1925.

I realize that ranking Vezina this high is a departure from the top 100 lists on this site, but when those were put together, even the most knowledgable posters (and I definitely was not one of them at the time) admitted to knowing very little about pre-consolidation hockey. I know poster Dark Shadows (who I respect a lot) said he was biased against pre-1926 players because it was too hard to rank them when they played in more than one league. Since then, a lot of research has been done into the early years of hockey, largely as a result of the easy access google archives gives us into the reports of the times. Let's use what we've learned since then - Georges Vezina was considered the best goalie in the world for a long time during hockey's first great generation, a generation that largely made the sport what it is in Canada today. He has a very good case as a top 10 all-time goalie.

2. Frank Brimsek. I think he's been talked about to death - my opinion is that he was the standout goalie of his generation. I bumped him down a tiny bit because of questions about the strength of his generation.

3/4. Clint Benedict and Charlie Gardiner (not sure what order). Basically elite longevity (Benedict) and peak (Charlie Gardiner). Benedict was the other standout goalie in the NHA/NHL during hockey's first great generation. I think the argument that he was basically a slightly better version of Turk Broda is a good one. As for Gardiner, I think he's the only NHL-era goalie left who was the consensus best goalie in the world for a time. Sure, his career was short, but it wasn't short because he was no longer good enough, it was short because he died at the height of his peak.

My 5-10 is a mess right now and I'm open to moving another player into my top 4 based on strong arguments.
Vezina/Benedict or Benedict/Vezina, interesting debate but call it what it is pre FORWARD PASS era goaltenders. The game was very different, very defensive for the most part:

Clint Benedict only played 14 games in the forward pass era. Look at the bump in his GAA compared to his pre forward pass era GAA. Flat Walsh, a 32 year old journeyman, outperformed Benedict:

Also you can see how Charlie Gardiner transitioned between eras:

Too early for either of the pre forward pass era goalies.

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