Toronto Maple leafs James Reimer is currently experiencing a resurgence, with his name going in the record books of having the best 10 game save percentage in Leafs history. According to The Score, James Reimer’s save percentage of .953 puts him at the top, sitting above Leaf legends Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph. Even if the rest of the team can’t find the back of the net, Reimer is standing tall in the crease, much like many other goalies that have taken their team on their shoulders. A great goalie can make even the worst team look better and elevate a great team in to a cup winning dynasty.
Below are some of those guys.
15. James Reimer, 2012-13
Reimer starts the list, with his play during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. By the end of the season, the Leafs found themselves in fifth place, going into the playoffs for the first time in 9 years, due to the stellar play of James Reimer, who had a 19-8-5 record and a save percentage of .924. Regretfully this was the infamous playoff collapse, where in game 7 of the series against Boston, with the Leafs up with a 4-1 lead, and the series tied, it all fell apart. Can’t say this was entirely Reimer’s fault, as he helped bring the team there, and they let him down in the end.
14. Semyon Varlamov, 2013-14
Varlamov finished the regular season with a 41-14-6 record, and along with his .927 percentage, was a runner up for the Vezina Trophy. He helped Colorado finish the regular season with 112 points-third highest in the NHL, and break their 4 year playoff drought. They did exit in the first round and based on their stats in the following seasons, and their lack of offence and scoring, the first place finish in this season was due to Varlamov.
13. Jose Theodore, 2001-2002
Going into the 2001-02 season, Habs fans knew it was going to be a tough year. The Canadiens had missed the playoffs three years in a row, and it had just been announced that their captain Saku Koivu had non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Without leadership in the locker room, offensive output was down. Due to the hard work of Jose Theodore, however, the Habs were able to sneak into the playoffs, riding his .931 percentage which earned him the Hart and Vezina trophies and sped the Canadiens past the Bruins in 6, before losing to Carolina in 6.
12. Steve Mason, 2008-09
It was due to the majestic play of rookie goaltender Steve Mason that the Columbus Blue Jackets made their very first playoffs appearance in 2009. After a season that saw him with a .916 percentage and 10 shutouts, he won the Calder Trophy, and finished second for the Vezina. The team got swept by the Red Wings in the first round and had to wait 5 years to see the playoffs again. By that point, Mason had been unable to capture the magic of his rookie year and he’d been traded.
11. Sean Burke, 1987-88
Another rookie, Sean Burke was the reason the Devils made their first post season, and was their first taste of New Jersey’s NHL domination due to goaltending. Having a record of 10-1-0 in a rookie year is no easy feat, and Burke took the team to an overtime victory over Chicago on the very last night of the regular season and led them through 2 rounds of playoffs until their loss to Boston, one game away from the Stanley Cup finals.
10. Andrew Hammond, 2014-15
Hammond is another story of a rookie goaltender carrying his team on his shoulders. This season was a rough start for Ottawa, and it cost head coach Paul MacLean his job 27 games in. When both starting goalies fell with injuries, Ottawa had to rely on their rookie who, in 23 games remaining in the season, and 14 points out of playoff contention, took them to a 20-1-2 record and a .941 percentage, with 3 shutouts. Needless to say, Ottawa made the playoffs that season.
9. Carey Price, 2014-15
The stats for the Canadiens in this season looked grim. Granted they finished on top of the Atlantic division with 110 points, but defensively they were weak, as advanced stats showed they were the worst in the league for spending more time in their zone, then in the offensive zone. Their finish was due to Carey Price. Posting a 44-16-6 record, with a save percentage of .933, it got the Canadiens to the post season and netted him the Vezina, Jennings and Hart Trophies, along with the Ted Lindsay Award for outstanding player.
8. Glenn Hall & Jacques Plante, 1967-70
Six teams entered the league as expansion teams in 1967, only the St. Louis Blues made it to the Stanley Cup final in their first 3 years. In 1967, it was Hall that took the Blues all the way to an eventual loss to the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final. In ’68, the duo split the duties, accumulating 13 shutouts, splitting the Vezina and meeting the Canadiens again in the final. Finally, in ’69, the team again received stellar goaltending from the duo, taking them to meet Boston in the Stanley Cup final. St. Louis was fortunate in their first years to have Hall, who pioneered the butterfly style and had playoff experience, and Plante, who made his own mark on hockey with the Canadiens.
7. Cam Ward, 2005-06
The first season after the lockout was an odd one, and created a culture where the Carolina Hurricanes would end up as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, and when the entered the playoffs, pundits thought it’d be a short one. After losing the first two games of their opening round to Montreal, the coaching staff replaced veteran Martin Gerber, with rookie Cam Ward, who took the team to the holy grail and won them their only Stanley Cup. This makes Ward the only rookie goaltender since Patrick Roy in 1986 to not only win a Stanley Cup, but record a shutout in the playoffs as well.
6. Miikka Kiprusoff, 2003-2004
After missing the playoffs for 7 straight years, the Flames were desperate. When their starter Roman Turek went out with an injury, the Flames brass traded a draft pick for Kiprusoff, who was currently a 3rd string goalie for the Sharks, and hadn’t seen any play in the first quarter of the season. Now a starter he generated a 24-10-4 record, .933 percentage and led the Flames not only to the post season, but 5 playoff shutouts, and one win away from the Stanley Cup.
5. Martin Brodeur, 1993-2012
This one requires multiple seasons. You could argue that the Devils have always had a strong defence and had great use of the trap system, but the main reason is the man himself: Brodeur. Idol to all upcoming goalies everywhere, Brodeur has racked up the Calder Trophy, 5 Jennings, and 4 Vezina trophies, while setting records for wins and shutouts. It’s said that the Devils didn’t win on scoring, but on not being able to be scored upon. Brodeur took the team to 3 Stanley Cups and 9 division titles. Brodeur truly was a legend.
4. Bernie Parent, 1973-75
The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the toughest teams in the 70’s. Known as the Broad Street Bullies, they were rough and tumble, but also ended up winning two Stanley Cups in ’74 and ’75, due to an unstoppable performance from Bernie Parent. He posted 12 shutouts in both seasons, and took home the Vezina and Conn Smythe in both years for his amazing play.
3. Patrick Roy, 1992-93
By the 92/93 season, no one expected much of the Canadiens. The previous 3 seasons saw them defeated by the Boston Bruins in the second round, and they weren’t considered contenders. They finished third and met the Quebec Nordiques in the first round. After being called out for dropping the first two games of the series, by his idol and Nordiques goaltending coach, Roy went on a playoff record winning streak of 11 games. They polished off the Nordiques, swept Buffalo and took the first 3 games against the Islanders. Roy went up against the Los Angeles Kings in the Final and won the Cup, while Roy walked away proven, and with the Conn Smythe Trophy.
2. Dominic Hasek, 1992-2001
Nothing is more talked about in goaltender circles than Hasek’s unorthodox style of play. Despite Buffalo not having a skilled team in the 90’s, they made the playoffs 8 out of 9 seasons due to Hasek. His unconventional style of play got him the Vezina Trophy 6 times and the Hart Trophy twice with the Sabres and took them to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final, only to lose to the Stars.
1. Jean Sebastian Giguere, 2002-03
Widely regarded as a joke, as the Disney Ducks, Anaheim took the hockey world by storm, landing at the 7th position going into the playoffs. They then stormed the playoffs on the strength of Giguere, marking his post season debut with a 63 save overtime win over the defending champs Detroit and marking a 4 game sweep. They then took on the top ranked Stars, that took the game one to a 5 overtime, 60 save victory for Giguere. The next series saw the Ducks take on Minnesota, where Giguere only gave up 1 goal in 4 games. Regretfully they lost the final to New Jersey, taking it to seven games, all on the strength of Giguere’s goaltending.
via – thechive