Round 2, Vote 8 (HOH Top Goaltenders)
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12-30-2012, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
The top two candidates from this round on my original list were Curtis Joseph and Roberto Luongo, and those are the same top two I still have going into this discussion. I am also strongly considering John Vanbiesbrouck and Tom Barrasso for spots in my top 4.
After the last voting round where we put three more original six goalies on the list, the official save percentage era (1983-84 to present) has become even more horribly underrepresented, in my opinion. The only goalies from that period already voted in are Roy, Hasek, Brodeur, Belfour and Fuhr, plus the tail end of Billy Smith's career where he didn't do all that much to add to his resume. There are seven goalies already ranked between 1910 to 1938, an equivalent length of time, and the next one of Giacomin or Vachon to get on the list makes it 10 goalies that played in the 1970s. Yet still we have basically five from the last 25 years, a period that included widespread technical innovation, the rise of the full-time goalie coach and better goalie coaching through all levels of hockey, and a wider talent pool from more athletes choosing to play goal and more top goaltenders entering the league from Europe?
It seems quite likely to me that we're either penalizing guys too much for playing in the shadow of Roy, Hasek and Brodeur, or we're focusing too much on team results (particularly Cups, which are much harder to come by in an expanded league) or else we're not properly accounting for how difficult it is to win awards when competing against 29 other top goalies, rather than just five other guys (and often realistically fewer than that once you consider that the GAA-biased writers rarely threw anything the way of the guys on the worst teams in the league). It's also obvious that a much greater emphasis is placed on playoff performances for recent goalies relative to how older goalies were judged, which seems to be a glaring double standard.
I actually agree with MadArcand that comparing Roberto Luongo to Ed Giacomin could be considered an insult, I just think that the guy who should be insulted is not Giacomin but Luongo. And not just Luongo but pretty much every other goalie who played in the NHL in the last decade. Roberto Luongo has a very strong case to be the #2 goalie of the 2000-2009 decade(*). Unless you're going pretty much solely based on peak value and/or playoff performance, I think Brodeur and Luongo separate pretty clearly from the rest of the pack over that span, especially in terms of overall achievement. And yet we're going to say that the #2 goalie of the 2000-2009 decade is worse than the, what, #5 or #6 goalie of the 1970s who had better teammates, a shorter prime and fewer career games played than Luongo? How does that make sense?
Luongo represented Canada as a top-2 goalie option in three straight best-on-best tournaments. He's in the top 10 all-time in career regular season GVT, and has a career save percentage of .919 at a time when league average was .908. As a point of comparison, Tim Thomas, whose career is mostly peak and whose save percentage peak is outstanding, has a .921 compared to .909 league average, almost exactly the same level of outperformance as Luongo, even though Luongo has faced almost twice as many career shots against. And while I think some of the arguments about Thomas' team situation are exaggerated, it should still be noted that unlike Thomas Luongo has been elite in multiple team contexts, including being the only post-expansion goalie to be voted to a season-end All-Star Team while playing on a non-playoff team.
Now is the time of the list to award elite consistency rather than whoever happened to time their hot streaks or team situations well enough to win a seasonal award here or there. The cases for Joseph and Vanbiesbrouck are pretty similar, it's that their long careers of very good play while on several different teams should be rated as a better indicator of talent than other guys who may have had a couple of seasons with better awards recognition but were for the most part considered to be not as good, or who were competing against much shallower talent pools for awards and Cups.
(*)-If you want to argue that Luongo wasn't the second-best goalie from 2000 to 2009 then go ahead and make the argument, but I'd still like to know whether you would be planning to vote that guy this round (if available), or if you'd still end up ranking him behind the 10th best guy from the original six or 1970s.
Last edited by ContrarianGoaltender: 12-30-2012 at
. Reason: typo
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