Examining the Playoff Goalies

First a look at the playoff and possibly playoff bound goalies.

The Goalies – The backups included where some form of goal controversy may arise.

The West



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.39 GAA, .909 SPct, 16-10-3

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 122. Record: 58-62. GAA: 2.51.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.11GAA, .924 SPct, 30-18-9

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 1. Record: 0-0. GAA: 1.79.


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.53GAA, .898 SPct, 18-18-7

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 21. Record: 5-16. GAA: 2.60.

    San Jose


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.26 GAA, .920 SPct, 27-19-8

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 17. Record: 8-8. GAA: 2.59.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.35 GAA, .911 Spct, 28-21-6

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 22. Record: 9-12. GAA: 3.43.


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.51 GAA, .900 SPct, 8-6-2

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 18. Record: 9-9. GAA: 2.30.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 1.98 GAA, .912 SPct, 36-21-13

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 12. Record: 6-6. GAA: 1.88.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 1.69GAA, .933 SPct, 21-9-4

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 4. Record: 1-1. GAA: 1.91.

    Los Angeles


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.49 GAA, .904 SPct, 18-17-6

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 23. Record: 9-14. GAA: 2.33.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.57 GAA, .907 SPct, 31-27-10

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 0 Record: 0-0 GAA: N/A

    St. Louis


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.30 GAA, .909 SPct, 26-24-8

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 82 Record: 44-33. GAA: 2.23.



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.43 GAA, .913 SPct, 15-13-4

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 0 Record: 0-0 GAA: N/A.


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.44 GAA, .916 SPct, 9-13-3

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 1 Record: 0-0 GAA: 4.30


    Tampa Bay


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.34 GAA, .910 SPct, 26-17-7

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 34 Record: 15-18 GAA: 2.65


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.03 GAA, .913 SPct, 17-9-1

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 1 Record: 0-1 GAA: 1.08 (111 minutes in that one game!)



  • Current 03-04 stats: 1.87 GAA, .923 SPct, 21-8-6

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 1 Record: 0-0 GAA: 2.00


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.83 GAA, .906 SPct, 15-20-7

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 34 Record: 12-22 GAA: 3.33



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.01 GAA, .929 SPct, 27-16-8

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 0 Record: 0-0 GAA: N/A



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.34 GAA, .903 SPct, 24-23-7

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 34 Record: 18-16 GAA: 1.73



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.25 GAA, .913 SPct, 30-19-5

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 148 Record: 82-61 GAA: 2.17

    New Jersey


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.04 GAA, .916 SPct, 35-24-11

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 139 Record: 83-56 GAA: 1.84



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.17 GAA, .923 SPct, 32-24-5

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 17 Record: 7-8 GAA: 2.65

    NY Islanders


  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.33 GAA, .913 SPct, 21-16-5

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 1 Record: 0-0 GAA: 0.00



  • Current 03-04 stats: 2.65 GAA, .908 SPct, 23-17-4

  • Post Season Stats: GP: 0 Record: 0-0 GAA: N/A

    The Playoff Goaltending Situation

    There are currently 3 goalies in the NHL who have won a Stanley Cup, Dominik Hasek notwithstanding. Those keepers, for the uneducated, are Ed Belfour, Martin Brodeur, and Chris Osgood. The only active net-minder who has won the cup more once is Brodeur.

    The “Proven” Goalie Debate

    I coin this a debate because analysts insist that a team cannot win with an “unproven” goaltender and fans of the game point to Patrick Roy as an example of an “unproven” goalie who won the cup. As with so much in this life, both of these points of view turn out to be over simplifications of the reality. Patrick Roy is an anomaly; “proven” is a subjective point of view or perhaps even an opinion.

    Patrick Roy is the only goalie in the past 15 years to have won without having playoff experience. Roy’s official stats list him as having played in 20 playoff games in 1986, the first year he won the cup… the first year he played in the playoffs. As of this writing, we have 7 possible goalies entering the playoffs with 1 playoff game of experience or less (Raycroft, Esche, Kiprusoff, Aebischer, Vokoun, Biron, and Dipietro). Of the 7 keepers, 6 will make the playoffs. If we base if off history, don’t expect the teams using these keepers as their starters to win the cup.

    A Brief Finals Keeper History

    (Year) WinnerLoser: (2003) Brodeur – Giguere (2002) Hasek – Irbe (2001) Roy – Brodeur (2000) Brodeur – Belfour (1999) Belfour – Hasek (1998) Osgood – Kolzig (1997) Vernon – Hextall/Snow (1996)Roy – Vanbiesbrouck (1995) Brodeur – Vernon (1994) Richter – McLean (1993) Roy – Hrudey (1992) Barrasso – Belfour (1991) Barrasso – Casey (1990) Ranford – Moog (1989) Vernon – Roy (1988) Fuhr – Moog/Lemelin (1987) Fuhr – Hextall (1986) Roy – Vernon (1985) Fuhr – Lindbergh (1984) Fuhr – Smith (1983) Smith – Fuhr/Moog (1982) Smith – Brodeur, Richard (1981) Smith – Meloche/Beaupre (1980) Smith – Peeters/Myre

    The “proven” goalie idea comes from the fact that only 11 goalies (Barrasso, Belfour, Brodeur, Fuhr, Smith, Ranford, Osgood, Hasek, Richter, Roy, and Vernon) have won the Stanley Cup going back to 1980. That’s only 11 goalies in 24 years. Smith, Fuhr, Brodeur, Roy, Vernon, and Barrasso are the goalies in that time frame to win it more than once and they account for 19 out of 24 cups, a testament to the ability of these keepers and the teams they played on. The only goalie of that caliber that is still playing is Brodeur (with Belfour having a chance to join them this year). Below is a breakdown of the number of different goalies to win in the last 2.4 decades of the NHL.

  • 1980s – 4 different goalies win

  • 1990s – 8 different goalies win

  • 2000s – 4 different goalies have won already

    These winning goalies fall into three categories: “virgins”, “been round a coupla times”, and “frustrated for years”.

    • “Virgins” (less than 10 playoff games experience)

      • Roy (0 Games)

    • “Been Round” (approximately 20 playoff games experience)

      • Fuhr (22 Games for 13-7)

      • Osgood (20 full playoff games 11-9),

      • Richter (20 playoff games 9-9)

      • Brodeur (3rd year pro, 18 games for 8 – 10)

    • “Frustrated” (30+ playoff games experience)

      • Vernon (4th year pro, 35 games for 18-16) Note: Vernon lost to Roy in ’86 as a rookie going 12-9 in the playoffs that year.

      • Smith (5th year pro, 30 games for 16 – 11)

      • Hasek (12th year pro, 74 games for 37 – 32)

      • Belfour (11th year pro, 85 games for 45 – 35)

      • Barrasso (10th year pro, 43 games for 22 – 19)

    The “Proven” Label

    In order to understand if a keeper deserves the label “proven”, the term itself needs clarification. Depending upon which definition you subscribe to, the “proven” label includes different goaltenders. Lets play with the definition to see what shakes out…

    If proven means “has won the cup before” (Brodeur, Belfour, Osgood) – Toronto, St. Louis, or New Jersey will win the cup this year. While Toronto and Jersey fans would love to have us believe this is what the analysts mean by proven, the fact of the matter is that no one can support this statement due to the inherent catch-22.

    Let’s assume that “proven” means “30+ playoff games experience” (e.g. Smith, Barrasso, Hasek, Belfour, Vernon) – Toronto, St. Louis, New Jersey, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia with Burke, or Ottawa win the cup this year. Aside from St. Louis, all these teams have a very good shot at winning this year. The fact remains that clearly goalies with less experience have won the cup in the last 25 years.

    Making the criteria for “proven” goalies “about 20 playoff games experience” (see 30 list and add Osgood, Fuhr, Richter, and Brodeur) – add to the list for 30 these teams: Colorado with Salo, San Jose, Vancouver (either keeper), Los Angeles, and Montreal.

    So is the “proven” goalie debate really a debate? No. No goalie has won the cup in the last 24 years with less than 18 playoff games experience except Roy. The exception losers (i.e. the losers that went played for the cup but lost with less that 18 games experience)?

  • Vernon ’86 when Roy and he were rookies.

  • Giguere ‘03

  • Casey ’91

  • Hextall ‘87

  • Lindberg ‘85

  • Moog ‘83

  • Beaupre ‘81

  • Peeters ‘80

    With the most generous definition of the term “proven” and ruling out a “Roy” anomaly, we end up with a list of 11 teams that actually have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

  • Toronto

  • Ottawa

  • Tampa Bay

  • New Jersey

  • Philadelphia with Burke

  • Montreal

  • Detroit

  • Colorado with Salo

  • Los Angeles

  • San Jose

  • Vancouver

    The Skinny on Previous Cup Winners

    Belfour – The only previous cup winner that has a shot to win the it this year. The Leafs of course have to actually make it through rounds 1, 2, and 3. With the strength of the East this year, the Leafs’ best shot to get Belfour to the cup finals is by taking first and getting the Isles or the Sabres in the first round. Coming in anywhere else could be disastrous. Meeting the Devils could easily give the Leafs a first round exit.

    Brodeur – The Devils have never defended the title (i.e. won 2 years in a row) and they are not showing signs of doing it this year either. Perhaps Stevens is their savior, Stevens is the Devils’ emotional leader after all. Don’t think that there is no way Brodeur plays for the cup though… they reached game 7 and lost against Colorado in 2001. Stevens will reportedly be back for the playoffs in addition to Rafalski. Both players immediately make New Jersey a better team.

    Osgood – He may not even make the playoffs. At this point in his career, we can label him as average. Average goalies win the cup on remarkable teams. St. Louis is a good team with an average keeper. Expect a maximum of a first round exit out of Osgood and the Blues.

    Predictions based on the stats…

    At the time of this writing the standings were…

    Eastern Conf.

    1. Tampa Bay 99

    2. Philadelphia 98

    3. Boston 97

    4. Toronto 94

    5. Ottawa 93

    6. New Jersey 92

    7. Montreal 90

    8. NY Islanders 84

    Western Conf.

    1. Detroit 99

    2. Colorado 94

    3. San Jose 94

    4. Dallas 93

    5. Vancouver 91

    6. Calgary 88

    7. Edmonton 83

    8. Nashville 82

    The “Giggy” (rookie) keeper of ’04

    1. Kiprusoff – The safe bet to get “Giggy” with it.

    2. Raycroft – Only right behind Kiprs as the one to watch.

    3. Aebischer – Has had a good year, but nothing eye popping yet.

    4. Esche – Is he even going to be the starter for Philly?

    5. Vokoun – After the preds make the playoffs, they will be having fun. That always makes a team dangerous.

    6. Dipietro – Last place in the East… playing on an inconsistent team.

    If we assume that Philadelphia will start Esche and Colorado will start Aebischer, we are down to 9 possible teams that have a realistis shot at winning the cup. There is an X factor team in each conference that might be able to produce a Roy anomaly…

    In the East…

    Based upon the stats, 5 teams have a legit chance to win the cup here.

  • Toronto looks like the team to beat. They have everything in place. Solid from the pipes through the fourth line.

  • Ottawa’s goaltending and grit continue to be the big questions. Toronto beats them in the first.

  • Tampa Bay – everyone is expecting them to just go away which is their biggest asset heading into the playoffs… not to mention that they are currently matched-up against the Isles (course they are 1 – 4 against the Isles this year).

  • New Jersey has never successfully defended the cup… not saying that it is easy, just stating the facts

  • Montreal’s chances ride on teams underestimating them. Make no mistake this is a good team. If all the teams do underestimate them, look for them to beat Philadelphia in the quarters, Tampa in the semis, and Toronto in the finals.

  • X factor – Boston and Raycroft

    In the West

  • Detroit is the clear odds on favorite to come out of the west.

  • Vancouver has lost its way and it’s Bertuzzi. They lose to Dallas to open the playoffs.

  • Los Angeles may not even make the playoffs – will be a sacrificial lamb to Detroit, Colorado, or San Jose.

  • San Jose should go down to Detroit in the conf finals.

  • X factor – Calgary and Kiprusoff

    Oh the pain of not being able to back up Colorado with the stats… sorry boys. :@

    I hate to say it, but I’m looking for a Detroit – Toronto final. Won’t that be fun? Belfour vs. Cujo?

    TheDuk out.

    87 Responses to Examining the Playoff Goalies

    1. devfanman4 says:

      Detroit/Toronto would be a great final, but I really think you’re overestimating the Maple Leafs. Their defense is a little questionable still and Belfour’s back may become a huge factor. If they meet the Flyers at some point along the way, that could be a problem for them.

    2. CechmanekForVezina says:


    3. tommyP says:

      Nothing makes me more angry when people say the sens need more grit….Chara may be one of the most physical defensemen in the game , Volchenkov one of the best open ice hitters,,,,Alfie altho small always finishes his checks. Fisher and schaeffer can only be found in the corners and usually win 1 on 1 fights for the puck….Havlat is a sleek player who defends himself altho sometimes he gets dirty..Hossa definetly doesnt back down from the rough stuff…Neil is a great fighter , Vaclav Varada is a chech claude lemieux.Philips is a gritty player as is leschyn …..redden and devries dont back dowon from the rough stuff either…..Only 2 players on ottawa who r really soft is Todd White and Pothier….both will not start in round one of the playoffs anyways….If you are going to say Ottawa isnt gritty atleast give a reason uinstead of just saying they have euros or havent won a cup yet

    4. nocuphere says:

      Everyone is suspect somewhere bro. It’s going to an interesting playoff year. Regular season means jack shit. As a devils fan i’d be happy everyone is counting them out because as we all should be aware that is when the devils are most dangerous, but as a leafs fan I hope they bow out early. Good luck man.

    5. LF2004 says:

      quinn trading Modin doesn’t seem that smart does it.

    6. nocuphere says:

      He definately dove last night. Haha. The league lets it happen is what bothers me. And you know what else pisses me off is when the refs call the dive but then call the infraction on the other guy anyway. Like make up your mind, was it a dive or a trip..haha. Anyway bruins vs leafs was 3-3 all year. Two tough teams to beat. What is up with the Bruins this year and being shut out at home. They’re kind of a jeckyll and hyde team sometimes, although that goal Francis scored kind of broke their backs last night.

    7. TheDuk says:

      We can use the same 3/8 logic if you like…

      Out of those 8 years, they have lost in the playoffs 5 times. That argument supports my suppostion that the Devils are more likely to lose than win. Of course at 1 in 16 everyone is more likely to lose than win. Also by that logic, a goalie that has never won before could never win…

      The Devils have a precedent established of losing the year following winning the cup. My statement is very simply based on Devils history. Brodeur and the Devils have proven that they don’t win in back to back years. I rule Brodeur as a realistic possibility out based on Devils repeat attempt history. They have lost eveytime they have tried… (100%)

      You ask why… Devils history in back to back years.

      No realistic chance? Devils history in back to back years.

      It’s very simple. The Devils have proven they cannot win back to back cups.

      If Brodeur is out of the picture… then there is only one other previous cup winner in the playoffs… Belfour.

      If you don’t like it… well consider youself the winner. Maybe they will write a new chapter in their history this year.


    8. nocuphere says:

      Nothing man, just me and the dude here talking some hockey without constant shit ons. Thats become an oddity round here. Like your post suggests.

    9. TheDuk says:

      Win or lose, debate is funny…

      The reason we watch the games is to see who wins. If we knew who was going to win the cup… well what fun would that be?

      – “It’s a beautiful thing.”


    10. TC_4 says:

      It’s funny you said that Vrada is a czech Claude Lemieux because when he went down earlier in the year I suggested the Sens sign him for the remainder of the season because he would have been perfect for this team! The Sens do have grit, I say they could have used a little more, defintley wouldn’t have hurt them(ie Barnaby, Simon would have been ideal), but they’re ok. Unbelieveable how Patty Lalime has collapsed! Are you from Ottawa?

    11. cgolding says:

      your logic is astoundingly illogical and has zero basis in any realistic way of viewing any situation.

      3/8 supports your argument that they are more likely to lose than win, but it also supports that they are more likely to win than any other team.

      you neatly avoid the probabalistic problem with your original argument, because they met probability in both previous attempts to win back-to-back, but that doesn’t change this years individual probability, as others have pointed out.

      and if two attempts is proof that you cannot accomplish something… god it sux to be that dude that starts the baseball season off 0-2… gonna be a long season.

      you’ve avoided the basic attack to your original article by not providing any REAL evidential support for why Belfour is the ONLY goalie with a realistic shot. other than your probability attempt, which was inherintly flawed as was shown. and by bringing precedent into the argument you’ve circled back to my previous argument that really the only teams with a shot at winning are detroit, colorado, dallas, and jersey…. thus eliminating belfour of any realistic opportunity. it really comes down to this, regardless of any past(cuz we’ve proven that in terms of probability that has zero affect on this year), to make a statement that a team with a now 4 pt. lead with an extra game has more of a shot than the other team is pretty stupid…

      so really, based on this whole idiotic use of probability, and precedent, we’ve come to the conclusion that no one can win the cup.


    12. nocuphere says:

      Everyone has a weakness somewhere. The sens don’t lack grit and I didn’t think they lacked before. Once they get over that hump they seem to hit they’ll be fine. As a leaf fan who had to play them like 3 times so far in the playoffs I never thought it was grit they lacked, but just experience, which they have now in spades. Your only question mark is the same as everyone else except New Jersey which is goaltending.

    13. cgolding says:

      they are excellent at face carving as well.

    14. original6dan says:

      “B rating”?!? You’re too kind.

      Selanne and Kariya COMBINED have 24 goals. What’s up with that? Kris Draper has 24 goals all by himself — think about that!


    15. EmptyNetter says:

      You’ve done Prof. Crazy Eye proud. Nicely argued.

    16. hockeyhead says:

      “sir, we can’t maintain this speed any longer. we’ll break up”

      “spock, probability of breaking up?”

    17. hockeyhead says:

      oh i was talking about the whole team. those two get D’s

    18. nocuphere says:

      LOL. True.

    19. hockeyhead says:

      what killed the bears last night was the first period and not being able to get the second line any ice. too many penaties. i thought that they were pretty soft penalties especially the “crosscheck” on odonnell. give me a break. i have no idea what is wrong with the b’s. they can’t play trap teams (that is not leafs, great series this year, they each played close and blew each other out and won on the road.) they play so good on the road i kind of want them to fall down to fifth. not really. they start out too slow. they are all a bunch of laid back guys. they need a kick in the ass.

      i have to tell you it drives me nuts when eddie comes out to play the puck every play.

      and how do you feel about losing travis green. i thought he was a great pick up from day one even tho he has 13 points. just a good bruin. i’m out.

    20. chanman says:

      They have to beat the BEST TEAM in the East 4 out of 7 times. The Isles!?!?!?!? Bad teams beat good teams alot, but they dont often do it consistantly.

      Dipietro does not have what it takes this year to win a series, but he will be scary in the future.

      The islanders are roadkill. Easy round, 5 games.

    21. hockeyhead says:

      went down thanks to the clean hit by 18 year old patrice bergeron and then the whole country of canada wants this kids head on a plate. he took someone else out with a clean hit. i forget. someone on the leafs. one of you hockey nuts know. if the bruins and sens face, that kid is going to have them taking penalties left and right. ask deno chara.

    22. EmptyNetter says:

      Duk, you are a dirty Sophist and I fart in your general direction!

    23. knobygobbler says:

      To the tommy p and all the other Sens fans,

      If you are asking what reasons there are for everyone saying “the sens have no grit”, I can answer that by telling you that the Sens suffer from a condition found only in the Ottawa region known as “Pusssyitis” It is where all of the Sens and Sensfans have developed vaginas during their tenure in Ottawa and explains their so-called “finesse”.

      The condition is an explaination for why the Sens fold like a cheap suit, especially when the going gets tough, the Sens try to hide in each other assholes like the poor unfortunate gerbils at the hands of the deprived and sexually dysfunctional homos that make up the nulk of the Sens fanbase!

    24. matteo says:

      The Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More GritThe Sens Need More Grit

      Are you mad yet????

    25. CechmanekForVezina says:

      I was saying huh to hockeyhead’s “that is what i said an hour before re: oh yeah” cause I had no clue what it meant.

    26. DarkPhoenix says:

      I hope Philly doesn’t win, because I think Bobby Clarke is an idiot. I’d cringe thinking that his flawed logic finally brought a Stanley Cup to Philly…

    27. DarkPhoenix says:

      If you check history, trading Modin was a brilliant move that backfired. But the Leafs organization as a whole new what the result of trading Modin would be. They knew that he would be a 30 goal scorer before anyone in Tampa knew.

      How do I know this? In 1998, the reports out of Toronto had Modin pinned as “the next John Leclair” – when they trade him, his goal production will skyrocket.

      Why do you think Toronto held onto Modin so long despite his mediocre stats playing with Mats Sundin?

    28. TheCoach says:

      Bergeron took Volchenkov out with a clean hit, the Varada one was wafully low. He went for the guys knees and he got them. Luckily Varada has been fortunate in terms of rehab and hasn’t suffered any setbacks. He should be back for the first round.

    29. TheCoach says:

      Bergeron took Volchenkov out with a clean hit, the Varada one was low. He went for the guys knees and he got them. Luckily Varada has been fortunate in terms of rehab and hasn’t suffered any setbacks. He should be back for the first round.

    30. Beckfan5 says:

      Dude did you SEE the size of that guys catching glove? It was *****ing huge!!! That was so illegal.

    31. Flyers_01 says:

      Man that was a poor goal. The whole team looked like they relaxed last night though. It was the “Jr is back, we don’t need to work hard tonight!” show for the whole team.

    32. chanman says:

      I sure as heck hope not also-I hate when things work out for people like clarke- he is luckey not to be in the same boat as sather in NYR. I dislike the flyers, but see them as a real powerhouse this year.

    33. NemiNA says:

      damn straight buddy, GO FLYERS

    34. NemiNA says:

      i second that.

    35. tommyP says:

      See thats not even a reason .Just because you dont like a team doesnt mean they are bad….and there not a bad playoff team…it s very hard to win a cup…last yr they beat the islanders the flyers and were 3 mins away from beating the newjersey devils…..I would say going to a game 7 in the eastern finals is pretty impressive….they had alot of upsets before in the playoff as a young inexperienced team….Now they are still young , but now there experienced, and having experience and 25 yr old legs in the playoffs should help them

    36. cementhead says:

      Hey, why not give my money those odds. I’ll put $100 on each of my 6 favorites. I should still come out making a grand. Up for it?

    37. Rizzle says:

      Boy that was long! I can’t say that I read all of it, mostly because I feel that from browsing through most of it that you used every cliche regarding goalies in the book, but really didn’t say all that much…

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