Rogie Vachon recently became the 38th goalie inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. These five netminders have a shot at being the next to join him.
After waiting 31 years, Rogie Vachon finally got the call from the Hockey Hall of Fame to be enshrined among hockey’s greats. Vachon’s three Stanley Cups (1968, 1969, 1971) and Vezina Trophy (1968) with the Montreal Canadiens early in his career and strong play with the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins later on was enough to finally put him over the top.
Vachon became the 38th goaltender to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the first since Dominik Hasek in 2014. The question now is, who is the next goalie to be inducted?
Ranked in order of least to most likely, here are five netminders who have a shot at being the next to take their place among hockey’s legends.
5. Chris Osgood- First eligible in 2014
First glance at Osgood is nothing really special. He won the Jennings Trophy twice (1996, 2008) on two super Detroit Red Wings teams, and was a second-team all-star once (1996).
However, despite the fact that he was never considered the best goalie in the league, all Osgood did was win in Detroit. He helped backstop them to three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2008) and almost a fourth, had the Wings been able to hold on against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. If that happened, there’s a strong chance that Osgood would have added a Conn Smythe Trophy to his resume, given his 2.01 goals-against average and .926 save percentage that playoff.
Unlike his contemporaries, Osgood has no real international experience to speak of to add into the conversation. Alas, Osgood will have to settle for what he has, but it just might not be enough.
4. Curtis Joseph- First eligible in 2012
‘CuJo’ was one of the best goalies of his generation. The problem was his generation included some of the best of all-time such as Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, and Eddie Belfour. It was a golden age of goaltending, which makes it hard to recognize him as one of the best then or now.
Due to the quality of his competition he never won a Vezina Trophy. The closest he came was in 1999 when he was narrowly beaten by Hasek, despite having more first place votes. Unlike Osgood, the teams he played on early in his career, St. Louis, Edmonton, and Toronto, could never get over the hump in the playoffs. When Joseph moved on to Detroit for a chance to win a Stanley Cup, Hasek decided to come out of retirement, which relegated him to a backup role at the end of his prime.
The only major award that Joseph was able to win was a King Clancy Trophy in 2000. With that said, his all-time stats are among the greats. He is fourth in wins (454), fifth in games played (943), and 23rd in shutouts (51).
The selection committee will have a hard time selecting him because he doesn’t meet the usual requirements of a Vezina Trophy or a Stanley Cup. Only one team can win a Cup and only one goalie can win a Vezina every year. It’s what makes it a hard thing to do.
3. Tim Thomas- First eligible in 2017
Better late than never is the best way to describe Thomas’ career. After being drafted in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL draft, Thomas didn’t play his first NHL game until almost 10 years later. He didn’t become a regular starting goaltender in the NHL until he was 32, making him a bit long in the tooth in NHL years.
However, in those prime years, Thomas didn’t waste any time. He was named a first-team all-star in 2009 and 2011, won a Jennings Trophy in 2009, two Vezina trophies in 2009 and 2011, a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011, and a Stanley Cup in 2011. On his way to winning the Jennings Trophy, he also set a then-NHL record for the best save percentage in a season.
On the international stage, Thomas also was part of the silver medal winning American team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver to go along with his accolades in the NHL.
The biggest problem for Thomas is his longevity as he only played eight full seasons, and in only five did he win 28 games or more. That may not be enough for the selection committee to induct him.
2. Tom Barrasso- First eligible in 2006
Barrasso was a pioneer of sorts for American hockey. He was drafted fifth overall in the 1983 NHL draft straight out of high school by the Buffalo Sabres and immediately entered the NHL. In fact, his first start was just six months after his high school graduation. So one might think he would go through a learning curve in his rookie year. Those people would be wrong.
As a rookie in 1983-84 season, Barrasso went on to win the Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy, and was a first-team all-star. The following season Barrasso continued his strong play by winning the Jennings Trophy and becoming a second-team all-star. Later in his career he reached hockey’s pinnacle when his Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
He is in the top-20 all-time in games played (777) and wins (369). To go along with that, he is second all-time in wins by an American-born player behind John Vanbiesbrouck, who has 374 wins.
So why is he not already in the Hall of Fame? As our own Mike Brophy explained, he’s not the easiest person to get along with. Unfortunately for Barrasso, things like that do matter. It’s a common saying that it’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.
1. Martin Brodeur- First eligible in 2018
Let’s face it, if the other four netminders on the list want to be the next goalie to be enshrined as a Hall of Famer, it’s a race to get in before Brodeur is eligible. The all-time leader in games played (1266), wins (691), shutouts (125), and playoff shutouts (24) is the closest thing to a shoe-in as possible. He’s also second behind Patrick Roy in playoff games played, playoff wins, and playoff losses.
Then there’s the hardware, and there’s a lot of it:
-Calder Trophy: 1994
-Jennings Trophy: 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2010
-Vezina Trophy: 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
-First-team all-star: 2003, 2004, 2007
-IIHF World Championship silver: 1996, 2005
-World Cup of Hockey silver: 1996
-World Cup of Hockey gold: 2004
-Olympic gold medal: 2002, 2010
-Stanley Cup: 1995, 2000, 2003
The man has done it all in the professional game, and there is even an argument that the Hall of Fame should waive the three-year waiting period for Brodeur. However, that option was written out of the bylaws after Wayne Gretzky was inducted in 1999.