NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, in conjunction with the new Canada Post goaltender stamp series, provides his insight into the position he played for 11 seasons in the League.
This week, Weekes discusses the best goaltenders to have never won the Stanley Cup.
All of these guys have changed the game in their own way.
Every one of them was great in their own way and have left and continue to leave legacies on the game. Every one of them wants to win the Cup. Two of the three are still active as players and are hoping to one day be removed from this list.
Here are the three best goalies in my opinion to never have won the Stanley Cup:
Curtis Joseph: What I like about him is his story. Joseph was undrafted, went to the University of Wisconsin and was awesome there. He was signed by the St. Louis Blues and was amazingly fun to watch, especially those years where they had those playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. I remember seeing signs "Only God makes more saves than Joseph." Joseph was fun, dynamic, acrobatic, athletic, entertaining and a great competitor.
Then he came to Toronto and carried it on his back. Gave those guys a chance to win every night. Played with so much heart and so much pride. He was fun to watch and very inspiring. He was always nice to me once I started skating with those guys in Toronto in the summer and was always nice to me after I got to the League. Joseph exerted everything he had in every game.
Just an amazing goalie who played a long time and tried to refine his game as he got older. He started to incorporate some of the butterfly elements into his game. I remember that playoff series when he helped the Edmonton Oilers upset the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche in back-to-back seasons. He was just a big-time playoff performer. The bigger the stakes, the better he played, although he never won the Cup. Joseph played 19 seasons in the NHL and had 454 wins, which ranks fourth all-time. He had 51 shutouts and I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Roberto Luongo: Grant Fuhr was his idol and Luongo passed him last week for career wins (404). He's had an amazing career. He went to Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final in 2011. He is still trying to win his Cup and I'm not sure if he will get the opportunity, but I hope that he does. He could go down as winning 500 games or more when his career is over. It's an incredible story. We played together early in my career and I thought he was amazing then.
To see what he's continued to accomplish … he had some adversity too. For all that he did in Vancouver, he was unceremoniously traded. People have turned on him after the best season in Canucks history. They won the Presidents' Trophy, Luongo was a Vezina Trophy finalist, they had the best power play, the best penalty kill, they won the Jennings Trophy. That's a historic year.
After people turned on him in Vancouver, he became more mature and more graceful. I give him a ton of credit for the career he had and continues to have. I love the way he handled Eddie Lack. I was there to see how well he handled Cory Schneider in Vancouver as well. The simple fact that Lack has a picture of Luongo on his mask should tell you all you need to know. I look to see how players respond when things aren't ideal. That to me is the true measure of the true who Luongo is. He played on some good teams, and I'm hoping the 36-year-old now with the Florida Panthers will get at least another chance to raise the Cup.
Henrik Lundqvist: Lundqvist took the Garden over and all the fans gravitated towards him once he came into the League. He was basically a new version of Mike Richter. He is the winningest goalie in Rangers history. You look at hard he plays, how hard he competes, how hard he works, which is something people still don't know. You look at the adjustments he and goalie coach Benoit Allaire have worked on.
His work ethic is off the charts as is his commitment to winning. But no matter all he has accomplished, he is still hungry to win. The Vezina Trophy, team MVPs, All Star games, you name it. He would trade all the individual accolades to bring a Cup to New York. Especially after coming close in each of the last two seasons, getting to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, and within one game of getting back there last season.
Lundqvist has more than 340 wins and 50 shutouts and will go down as one of the all-time greats when his career is over. And he's in his prime, so he should be able to get a few more cracks at the Cup.
It's one thing to be playing singles in the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe (Stadium), but at the end of the day, this is not only one of the ultimate team sports, but perhaps the ultimate team sport. It's not as simple as being Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal being able to beat everyone on center court. Not that that is an easy thing to do either, since they have no help. But goalies play an individual position in what's considered to be an ultimate team sport.
It's hard sometimes to hear people say, "Oh, that guy has never won before." It's hard enough to win at street hockey, let alone the Stanley Cup. It just doesn't happen. You can't argue that every one of these guys hasn't been doing everything they can to win. These guys have given everything, and I played with two of the three of them and I skated with all three of them. There's a reason that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all of sports, and that's because one player can't win it alone.