To my beloved readers,

Recently I have been on hiatus. After working through the Christmas and New Year holidays I felt I deserved a break, and management at Thoughts From The Bench agreed. However now with the recent influx of bloggers I feel that the site has become over run with “Power Rankings” and Click Bait articles about Top Ten Bullshit of all time.

So in an effort to deter Austin Moorhead from making another power ranking about junk food I will do my own power ranking to prove once again my superiority as a blogger.

So button up your Hawaiian Shirt, and get ready this is the Johnny Violence’s Power Rankings. Top 10 Goalies of All Time!

#10 – John Vanbiesbrouck

10_beezer

Beezer was the quintessential 90’s goalie, short, fast, agile, and could play the puck. He was the winningest American Born goaltender for a long time till Jonathan Quick snagged that title a few years ago. A former Vesina winner and a magical run in 1996 to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Beezer captured my heart at an early age. I was 4 when he was traded to Florida and the image of that iconic mask has been painted in my head forever. He was just like me undersized, could play the puck, and would make some of the most athletic saves you have ever seen. I’m aware his numbers may not stand up to some of the other goalies on this list, but I don’t care everytime I talk about goalies he is the first guy I bring up.

#9 – Ed Belfour

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Eddie the Eagle is a stats juggernaut. On the All TIme Stats list he finishes with these, 3rd in Regular Season Wins, 3rd in Playoff Games Played, 4th in playoff wins, 6th in playoff shutouts, 9th in regular season shutouts. The guy was a constant winner, a goalie who could get your team into the playoffs and then take over. He appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals winning one of them. He stole two Vieznas during the Roy, Hasek, Brodeur era, and was an NCAA Champion. Underrated might be the best word to describe his career. Plugged with off ice issue Belfour was bounced around through his career. Had he spent most of his career with one team he could be held in higher regard.

#8 – Tim Thomas

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Now hear me out. Do you have to have a prolonged career to be great? Pavel Bure and Paul Kariya are held in high regard, why not Tim Thomas. From 2009 to 2011 he was the best goalie on the planet. Two Vezinas, a Conn Smythe, and a Cup Ring. In 2011 He basically was the Boston Bruins. His performance through that playoff run was something to remember. Also let’s keep in mind Thomas was dominant in Save Percentage before it meant something. He is 7th All TIme in a category that is overwhelmed with active players. Amongst retired players he is 4th All Time. Honestly for me that’s enough. The guy should be a Hall of Famer, and was a goalie that captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

#7 – Marc-Andre Fleury

07_flower

If hockey players are measured in Playoff Performances alone The Flower is easily top 10 of all time. On the All Time list he is 6th in most playoff games played, 8th in wins, and 6th in shutouts. He was been in five cups won three of them. Despite him not being a huge part of the 2016 Penguins Playoff Run he certainly dragged that lifeless team through most of the Regular Season. Go back and watch ever CBC Playoff Montage from a year Flower made a run to the cup, and I guarantee there is a highlight of him stealing a game for his team. In 09 he robbed Alex Ovechkin on a break away early in the deciding game. Then in game seven of the Cup Final he shut the door on Nick Lidstrom with literal seconds left on the clock. In 2017 had any other coach been on that bench Flower would have kept the net through the post season and honestly could have won the Conn Smythe. Plus his 2018 magical run to the Cup Final with Vegas he was hands down the second candidate for the Conn Smythe. He has never had the regular season numbers to earn a Vezina, but that was a Penguins problem not a Fleury problem. Need proof he was a finalist last year and will be again this year with Vegas. When it’s all said and done Flower will be in the Hall of Fame and his number should be hung with pride in PPG Paints Arena.

#6 – Ken Dryden

06_dryden

The man redefined the word clutch. After being called up from the minors at the end of the 1970-71 Season. He only got six regular season games before being tossed into a Stanley Cup Finals run for the Canadiens. He won the Conn Smythe that year and didn’t look back, racking up five more cups with the Habs. Five Vezinas and a Calder cup to round out his resume. He wasn’t the first “All Star Goalie” but he maybe was the most prevalent. He could take over games and allow the already dominant Canadiens the rain down offensively on their opponents.

#5 – Terry Sawchuk

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The stigma is that goalies are a little different. Well that stigma exists because of Terry Sawchuk. This dude loved punishment and in a time where goalies basically had a baseball glove and pillows to protect them he redefined the position. A Calder Trophy, four Vezinas, and Four Stanley Cup Rings. He held the record for most shutouts till Marty Brodeur surpassed him. He is in every Hall of Fame ever, and his number hangs among the greats in the rafters of Little Ceaser Arena. Legend really isn’t a fair description of what he is. There is a famous story of Sawchuk getting busted open in the first period only to come back in the second stitched up and one eye swollen shut to finish the game. He was above all us a hockey player.

#4 – Martin Brodeur

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Is Tom Brady the greatest Quarterback of all time? Or is Bill Belichick the greatest coach of all time? That argument could be made for Brodeur. He played in a system that Lou Lamoriello devised to protected him. He played with some of the greatest defenceman of all time. Yet, number are numbers. So let’s look at the books. All Time he is 1st in wins, 1st in shutouts, 2nd in playoff games, 2nd in playoff wins, 1st in playoff shutouts. Four Venizas, three Cups, and two gold medals. So yeah he is probably the best goalie of all time, BUT I think the three guys I ranked above him did more then just be the best. They changed the position and in some instances the whole game.

#3 – Dominique Hasek

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What can you say that hasn’t already been said about The Dominator? He was the first goalie to prove that Save Percentage meant something (1st All Time). He only played in 119 playoff games, but he won more than half of them with 65 wins. In those wins he was dominant (pun intended) with 14 shutouts. He appeared in 4 Cup Finals winning two of them. He won two Hart Trophies, Six Venizas and honest to god deserved the Conn Smythe in 1999.

Yet it’s not the resume that makes him the third greatest goalie of all time. It is the way he played the game. In the 1999 Cup Run, Hasek would constantly come to the bench during TV Timeouts urging his team to press forward that he would handle that back end by himself. He was a one man defence. Literally single handedly winning a gold medal in 1998 for the Czech’s. He only allowed 6 goals the entire tournament and only gave up two in the medal round. While posting a shutout in the Gold Medal Game. He was creative, outlandish, and effective. His sprawling style had never been seen before or since. He proved that it doesn’t matter how you stop the puck as long as you do. Every kid who ever put on the pads has recreated one of Dominique’s signature moves. The double pad stack, rushing a guy on the break away, or the infamous sweeping arm across the goalline. He had the swagger of Dryden, the attitude of Sawchuck, and the pure starpower of Gretzky. He was my favorite as a kid, and despite being heart broken by defeating my Penguins in 08 I was happy for The Dominator getting to touch Lord Stanley’s Cup one last time.

#2 – Vladislav Tretiak

02_tretiak

In the same breathe as Hasek and Brodeur has to be this man. Vladizlav Tretiak was the netminder for the dominant Soviet Union “Red Army” Teams. Three Olympic Gold Medals, he played over 400 games for the Soviet National team, and we can assume he won most of them. He never played a game in the NHL however he bested the NHL’s top tier in 1979 winning the second game of the NHL Challenge series. Had he played in the NHL he would have set every record imaginable. His top competition at the time would have been Ken Dryden and needless to say Ken Dryden would tell you he was the best goalie he had ever seen.

More importantly he created a style of goaltending that would be the beginning of everything guys like Roy, Hasek, Brodeur, would build upon. Every goalie has been tortured with the dreaded “up downs” drill. You have Tretiak to thank for that. All of the hand eye coordination drills with tennis balls, Tretiak again. He was lean and flexy as a gymnast. He was the first goalie to take away the bottom of the ice in a butterfly esc system. He was truly a specimen of the position.

#1 – Patrick Roy

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So I want to skip the accolades for Patty, because honestly we know them by heart. He has all the big ones, Vezina? Check. Stanley Cups? Check. Conn Smythe? Check in fact the only guy to win three of them. Most Playoff Wins? Yep He’s number one. Number in the rafters? Not once but twice. Hall of Famer? You betcha.

So obviously he is number one on a lot of people’s lists for those reasons. Yet his impact on goaltending changed the entire game of hockey. The first moment everyone thinks of is Roy flashing the leather for the Canadians than shooting a wink at Tomas Sandstrom. The man invented the Butterfly style that is the foundation of current day goaltending. He proved that your best player can be a goalie. He forced shooters to rethink the way and location from which they shoot the puck. He went toe to toe with every hockey legend and left them wanting. With out Patrick Roy there is not Lundqvist, Price, Holtby, Bobrovsky, Fleury, or Rinne. He re-invented the position, and with it reinvented hockey. He was the king during an era where goaltending was at its best. He truly is the greatest goalie of all time.

I will never forget the day Patrick Roy retired, it way May 28th, 2003. I had just been sent upstairs to brush my teeth before bed when my Father called up the steps to me and said, “Son i got some bad news, Patrick Roy just retired.” I sat down on the top step and cried, I cried for a long time. I think even then I understood what he meant to the sport and the position I so dearly loved.

So take that for click bait. The only thing you want to argue about is John Vanbiesbrouck fine, but you have to admit he belongs on this list for that pad set up and helmet combo alone.

So until next time remember, always keep your stick on the ice.

  • Johnny V. –
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Written by Johnny Violence

The lead NHL/Hockey writer for Thoughts From The Bench.

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