Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chris Osgood, Hall of Famer?


Yesterday, a good friend of Nitzy’s Hockey Den, Joe Pelletier brought up an interesting point on his terrific blog, greatesthockeylegends.com . In his mind, Chris Osgood will be very difficult to keep out of the Hockey Hall of Fame. I’ll take it one step further and say that Osgood is a guaranteed lock for the Hall. At first thought, one might think that’s going a bit far, the argument has always been that his team, The Red Wings were a championship squad with or without him. However, if his numbers are looked at closely the Hall of Fame is an easy call.

As of the end of 2008/09 his career record is 389-204-89 a .636 winning percentage, good for fourth all-time. His 389 wins place him tenth on the all-time list. All men above him are in the Hall of Fame save for Brodeur, Belfour and Joseph who will be eventually. Even his 49 career shutouts place him 23rd overall. He is currently working on his fourth Stanley Cup, (third as the number one goalie) and his playoff record stands at 73 wins and 45 losses. This .618 playoff winning percentage is now fifth all-time for goalies with at least 100 games. Only Ken Dryden, Billy Smith, Jacques Plante and Grant Fuhr are ahead of him in this respect and like Osgood, all of these it may be said played on stacked teams that perhaps could have still won without them.

Sure, Osgood has never won a major award (he has been the part of two Jennings Awards for lowest team goals against), and he has been an end of season All-Star only once (Second Team in 1996). Hall of Famer Billy Smith, won only 305 regular season games with a .556 winning pct. He was similar to Osgood in the fact he played on a talent loaded team that won multiple Cups, and only once was an All-Star. Of course, Smith did win one Conn Smythe Trophy and his playoff record is slightly better than Osgood.

Chuck Rayner, of the 1940’s Rangers is in the Hall with a .422 career winning pct. and a 3.05 GAA. Eddie Giacomin is in the Hall with exactly 100 less wins than Osgood and zero Cups to his name. Harry Lumley is in with a 330-329-142 record and only one Cup.
Gump Worsley made the Hall on the strength of his four Cups with the Habs in the late 1960’s not his career record 18 games under .500. Over those five seasons with the four Cup wins, The Gumper played 158 games or an average of only 30 games per year. His playoff record with the Rangers before joining the powerhouse Canadiens was 5 wins, 15 losses.

Even when not playing behind the Red Wings, Chris Osgood has fared well. Over his three seasons playing for the Islanders and Blues he played 179 games with a 2.51 GAA, just a tick higher than his career 2.47. His 84-67-20 record over that span is also more than adequate.
One could assume that the 36 year old Osgood will stay healthy and should easily push his win total to the top five in history. In my view however, he could retire tomorrow and be a lock for the Hallowed Halls in Toronto.

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