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The Top Hockey Goaltenders of All Time

Updated November 5, 2019 77.5k votes 9.7k voters 339.8k views99 items

List RulesOnly goaltenders.

Going down as one of the best NHL goalies of all time isn't easy. Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean once said, "It's pretty tough for a goalie when you look at it. You're always the last line of defense. If you let a goal in, you can't go to the bench and hide between the guys or anything." While goaltending alone does not win games or championships, it can be the difference between a win and an embarrassing loss. Certainly there has been some stellar goaltenders in the history of the NHL, but a select few stand above and beyond the rest.

Who are the greatest hockey goalies of all time? Which goalkeepers have the most impressive records? There are plenty of amazing goalkeepers on this list and without them, their teams would be in trouble. The old NHL adage is that you're only as good as your goalie. Without some of the guys on this list, their teams would be at the bottom of the league, or at minimum, just an average squad. Vote for the top NHL goalies ever. While you're at it, cast your votes for the best goalies in the NHL right now.

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  • Still active as a major-junior hockey coach, Patrick Roy's legacy rests on his stellar play with both the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche between 1985 and 2003. Like other top goaltenders, Roy holds a handful of NHL records including for playoff games played, playoff wins, playoff shutouts and Conn Smythe Trophy wins, earning the nod as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times.

    Though he's also remembered for perfecting the butterfly style of goaltending, Roy is also known for his physicality on and off the ice, fighting no less than two Detroit Red Wings netminders in the 1990s.

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  • Jacques Plante
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    Playing for six NHL teams between 1952 and 1973, Jacques Plante earned a record six Vezina Trophies, numerous NHL All-Star Game selections and even the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1962 as the best player in the league. His six Stanley Cup, five of which were consecutive with the Montreal Canadiens, are impressive, but his impact on the game itself is what stands out.

    Plante changed how goaltenders played the game, being the first to leave the net to control the puck, the first to raise a hand on an icing call and the first to wear a mask in net. Long story short, Plante is and always will be the best goaltender to ever appear between the pipes.

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  • Not only is Ken Dryden easily one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, but off the ice, Dryden is immensely successful having served as a member of the Canadian Parliament from 2004 to 2011. On the ice, Dryden took the Montreal Canadiens to six Stanley Cup championships in the 1970s during his NHL career, which interestingly lasted just over seven seasons.

    He packed each of those years with outstanding play, winning the Vezina five times, the Conn Smythe in 1971 and the Calder Trophy in 1972. Make no mistake, that was not a typo, Dryden was so awesome that he won the playoff MVP award a full year before he was named rookie of the year and was the only to ever do so.

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  • Georges Vézina
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    Joseph Georges Gonzague Vézina (; French: [ʒɔʁʒ vezina]; January 21, 1887 – March 27, 1926) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played seven seasons in the National Hockey Association (NHA) and nine in the National Hockey League (NHL), all with the Montreal Canadiens. After being signed by the Canadiens in 1910, Vézina played in 327 consecutive regular season games and a further 39 playoff games, before leaving early during a game in 1925 due to illness. Vézina was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and died on March 27, 1926. The only goaltender to play for the Canadiens between 1910 and 1925, Vézina helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 1916 and 1924, while reaching the... more on Wikipedia
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