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 goalies eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame who have not yet been voted in.
With the Hockey Hall of Fame inductions a few weeks ago, it got me thinking. Which goalies should be in the Hall of Fame who are eligible? Dominik Hasek was enshrined in 2014, and Ed Belfour in 2011. They are the only two goalies elected in the past nine years, since Patrick Roy in 2006.
I know there can only be a maximum of four players voted in each year, so it's tough, but there are goalies deserving of the honor, and I'm hoping they get in soon.
Here's my list of the four goalies I think should be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto:
Curtis Joseph-- Watching him as a kid and then playing against him, I saw how he made every team he played on better. From the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (I talked about that in a previous Game Savers piece), when he had miraculous performances, and then him obviously with the Edmonton Oilers, he did the exact same thing stretching those playoff series against the Dallas Stars. And, of course, what he meant to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were outshot nightly and it didn't matter. He was good enough to win games on his own on those teams.
Obviously, things were different with the Detroit Red Wings (2002-04). They had such a great team, and it didn't go so well for him there, but all things being equal, every team he played on, he made better pretty much, especially those three teams during the bulk of his career. He was a big-time playoff performer who raised his game in the postseason.
He wasn't a situational guy, but he thrived with more shots against him, and not a lot of guys are like that. In fact, very few guys are able to do that when they get peppered all the time, and he was one of those few guys. In speaking to a lot of his teammates over the years, they have said he is very deserving of being in the Hall of Fame.
Not to mention, Joseph was undrafted out of Wisconsin and had 454 wins, which rank fourth in NHL history.
Mike Vernon -- You can make the case for Vernon based on longevity; he played in the NHL for 20 seasons. He helped the Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup in 1989 and then the Red Wings in 1997. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1997 (16-4, 1.76 goals-against average, .927 save percentage). That Red Wings team was loaded; the top five scorers are in the Hockey Hall of Fame (Brendan Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom and Igor Larionov). So it must tell you something that he was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner on that team; it shows how much they leaned on him.
Vernon was a smaller goalie (5-foot-9) but that never bothered him and he always raised his game in the playoffs. He made the playoffs 14 of 15 seasons between 1985-2000. And lastly, his 385 wins are 13th all-time.
Chris Osgood -- Osgood is in the exclusive club of 400 wins (401). I know he spent time in different places, but he is a Detroit Red Wing through and through. After he got some consistency and got acclimated playing in the League, he gave them a lot of stability for a long time, even in the latter stages of his career when he worked on his game and added a butterfly base, which he needed to do to survive. He was able to do that, and it served him well.
Osgood won the Stanley Cup three times (1997-98, 2008) and was the starting goalie during the 1998 and 2008 playoff runs. In 1997, he was Vernon's backup. Osgood is a three-time all-star and two-time winner of the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the League, and his .539 winning percentage ranks in the top five.
In 2008, he had a 1.55 GAA and .930 save percentage to help the Red Wings win the Cup. The following year, they lost in Game 7 of the Final, but it wasn't his fault; Osgood had a 2.01 GAA and .926 save percentage. He was excellent in the playoffs, going 74-49. He also led the New York Islanders to the playoffs in each of his two seasons with them (2001-03).
I feel like people always had one reason or another to argue against voting him into the Hall of Fame, but based on his credentials, longevity and numbers, I think he presents a strong case.
Tom Barrasso -- Barrasso is the only goalie to make the NHL directly out of high school without having played professional hockey prior. Eighteen years old out of Catholic Memorial High School in Massachusetts, and then he wins the Calder Trophy and Vezina Trophy in his rookie season with the Buffalo Sabres in 1983-84. His 369 wins are second most among U.S.-born goalies (John Vanbiesbrouck, 374).
Then Barrasso wins the Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991-92). He was also probably the best puck-handler, next to Martin Brodeur and Ron Hextall, and had 48 assists. He was one of the best skating goalies I've seen and was a big part of the transition game with the Penguins with Mario Lemieux and all those guys.
And he's done a lot for USA Hockey; he and Mike Richter do a lot for the position. A big body goalie (6-foot-3) took up a lot of net and was so mobile. People don't often talk about the impact he had as a big goalie, especially now with all the big goalies in the League.