Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Goalie of the 80's

The 1980's. Not a great decade for goalies, probably the worst ever. Any other decade you can pretty much pick one or two goalies who dominated, 70's Dryden and Parent, 60's Bower and Hall, 50's Sawchuk and Plante...you get the picture. The 80's however provide at least five guys who can make an argument for goale of the decade. Here are the leaders in Wins, Goals Against Average and Win Percentage for the decade. As I did not have half season stats, I used full seasons from 1979/80 through 1989/90.

Perhaps not suprisingly, Mike Liut leads in wins as he was one of the few who was a regular for the entire decade. His 3.50 GAA was a respectable twelfth overall, he was however only 18 games over .500 for the decade and under .500 for the playoffs. Pete Peeters is a similar case to Liut, as his raw numbers look terrific. Second in wins and average as well as fifth in win percentage. In fact, on these numbers alone he rates as one of the top five goalies of the decade....but, his playoff record of 35-35 is pedestrian.
Bob Froese may be a bit of a suprise in the GAA and Win Pct rankings, yet he just barely qualifies with 13,400 minutes played for the decade. Greg Millen on the other hand played over 33,000 minutes, most by a good margin. Millen also led with 270 losses which takes the glow off his finishing fifth in victories. In his defense, he was only two games under .500 in the post-season for the decade at 21-23 with a 3.31 average. Still, not goalie of the decade numbers.
Which brings us to Patrick Roy who also just barely qualifies, yet his 2.82 Avg is far and away the best, plus he won a Cup and was post season All-Star twice. His 2.34 playoff average is stellar and goes nicely with a 35-17 record. I just don't think Roy played enough to be called goalie of the 80's. We'll leave the 90's for his taking. Andy Moog has some very nice numbers for the decade, but his three Cups were mainly as backup to Fuhr and he was never an end of year All-Star.
In my mind the question comes down to Billy Smith or Grant Fuhr with each back-boning four Cups. Even though Smith's GAA is superior, I put more stock in Fuhr's 38 additional regular season wins. Here in order are my picks for top five goalies of the 1980's

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