Seventieslord's thought exercise on goalie talent

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Mike Farkas, Oct 29, 2018.

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  1. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Sorry, I wanted to take some time to thoughtfully respond to this...the thread that it is contained is locked, but I still wanted to respond and I still think fruitful conversation can come from it so I didn't want to reduce it to a PM...

    @seventieslord

    Top-100 Hockey Players of All-Time - Preliminary Discussion Thread (Revenge of Michael Myers)

    So I'm not going to rank them, per se. I'm going to use tiers if that's all right. I don't really see the difference between the 6th best goalie and the 8th best goalie...so tiers seems more appropriate and the length of time covered isn't ripe for some minutia...

    So I made my list and I consulted with a former pro goalie who I am friends with who I thought would find it interesting...he's one of my main go-tos for goalie dirt and I bounce a lot of ideas off of him because I work without a full-time goalie coach on staff...I made a list, he made a list and then we kind of haggled on some things and here's where we are with some notes...

    Talent ranking:

    Tier 1
    Brodeur
    Hasek

    Tier 2
    Belfour
    Holtby
    Joseph
    Kiprusoff
    Lundqvist
    Luongo
    Price (we both can see Price in the first tier too, it's close...I am just slightly no on that at the end, he's a moderate yes)
    Quick
    Rask

    -- we were near consensus on the first two tiers --

    Tier 3
    Fleury
    Khabibulin
    Kolzig
    Nabokov (he's a little lower on Nabby than I am, I'm Strelow/Tretiak fan)
    Schneider
    Varlamov

    Tier 4
    Bryzgalov
    Halak
    Lehtonen
    Miller (he likes Miller, I don't find him to be anything special...splitting the difference)
    Rinne (there was difference here...we're gonna split the difference)
    Turco
    Vokoun

    Tier 5
    Anderson
    Bobrovsky (he hates Bobrovsky's game...I'm ok with it because the drastic mechanical improvements he made in CBJ...but boy does he revert in the postseason...may be the most mentally weak goalie in the league)
    Bishop
    Hedberg
    Smith
    Ward

    Bleh-meh:
    Backstrom
    Biron
    Budaj
    Crawford
    Dubnyk
    Giguere
    Lalime
    Roloson

    Second to bottom tier:
    Denis
    Howard
    Legace
    Mason
    Osgood
    Pavelec
    Theodore

    Bottom tier:
    Elliott
    Hiller
    Niemi
    Salo
    Thomas

    -- bottom tiers were just about consensus as well -- we haggled on which tier one might be on over the other...he wants Osgood on the bottom, I moved him up one...but just minor things like that really...it's pretty obvious who the guys at the very top should be and who the guys at the very bottom should be...those middle tiers are where you get into a little bit more stylistic preference (I like Tretiak school goalies, Finnish glove placement/depth, etc. ...he likes stick discipline, pucks not to go under elbows, etc.)

    But this is about where we're at...there wasn't a lot to argue about either...I pinged one goalie coach on this as well, haven't heard back and may not (it's not a small ask, especially this time of year), but if I get something back, I'll post.

    Do with the information what you will...
     
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  2. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    ... I'm a bit surprised you'd rank Rask as high as 2nd tier, considering that you seem to focus a lot on technicals AND that Rask's skating is unquestionably awful (like, even I can see it).
     
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  3. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Horrific skater. He has adapted his game to play the game from his knees more without making himself small, great shuffle, great controlled pushes and he may have the league's fastest legs...he has improved his edge work a lot since he was a pup, and that's so much of it...his lower core strength is much better too, so now he can fight to the top of his crease without falling because of his poor technical skating, something that plagued him as a youngster...and with his glove angle, the extra three or four inches he gets with that is huge for him...
     
  4. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Luongo, Vokoun, Miller I have thought were great and underrated and are at the top end of the list of minutes played.

    Lundqvist, Rinne, Price I've been big on but they haven't exactly been underappreciated.

    Nabokov is high because he was the go-to guy in San Jose but Nabbie was disappointing in big games (as was Joseph). His legacy as a Shark is mixed given fans expected him to steal some games at key times and he didn't.

    Two guys in the middle of that list that are diamonds in the rough: Khabibulin & Halak.

    Biron also stands out as a longtime backup in the middle of a list of starters. He often has been pegged as one of the best backups in the NHL. Unfortunately, when he finally got the starter's job, he didn't take his game to the next level.

    The bottom 15 or so guys don't surprise me at all. Hasek is there as an old guy in the 21st century (the guy was international tourney MVPs in the 1980's), a backup at this point really.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  5. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    0:21 part is hilarious.

     
  6. Kevs Security

    Kevs Security aka InmateMack, ultimate NHL insider

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    I can't wrap my head around Thomas and Osgood's placements. Their achievements tell a different truth. How can you tell me Lalime, Budaj, Hedberg etc. career backups are more talented than Thomas?
     
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  7. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Do you actually want an answer to that? Or is it exactly what you said, where you assume that because they achieved something that they are therefore more talented than guys who didn't...?

    Both are a mess from a technical perspective, particularly Thomas. I have yet to find one soul on this planet who has worked with goaltenders at any level that thinks there's even a second ounce of legitimacy with Thomas...he is one of the least talented goaltenders I ever seen play in this league. He fought, I get it...he made it work...no asterisk...but he was not good at the position and that shows clearly in the reliability, consistency, sustainability check boxes...

    Osgood can best be summed up as a pre-1994 goalie in a post-1994 world...very untidy game, a lot of pucks could bore a hole through him which is weird for a compact goalie...and he really did a poor job maintaining angles when the puck moved across even a single lane... or really even down through layers, a puck in shooting position at any point tends to lock him up and then you just see there is no depth adjustment, there is no back shoulder rotation and with his size, he can't cheat like a Bishop or Rinne can (and do)...
     
  8. Kevs Security

    Kevs Security aka InmateMack, ultimate NHL insider

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    I get the technical aspect but still don't think Thomas was an absolute talentless scrub as you make it seem... I mean he still had the talent to stop the puck. Hasek's style was very unorthodox too, no denying his talent. Just made me think... How in the hell Thomas "made it work" then if he had no talent whatsoever? What's his secret? I'm not in the Thomas HHOF crowd but it's a talent itself to have such elite seasons with his style and technical limitations...
     
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  9. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    As a member of the Tim Thomas HHOF crowd, I can see an argument against a pattern of behavior that even with actual positive results could be seen as less likely to be replicated under the same circumstances (the Soviet-Union-beats-United-States-99-times-out-of-100 argument; we’re just looking at the 1% result). The sort of thing where deficiencies that are exploitable do not stop being deficiencies when a defensive team does its best to prevent the potential exploitation. Thomas could be the broken clock that is right twice.

    I tend to side more with the mindset of if-it-happened-you-did-something-right.
     
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  10. FerrisRox

    FerrisRox Registered User

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    You just trashed your credibility with this.
     
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  11. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    Is there a specific technical aspect of Tim Thomas’ style that you would like to see more goaltenders integrate into their game?
     
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  12. Kevs Security

    Kevs Security aka InmateMack, ultimate NHL insider

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    That is an interesting take. But then again I'd rather give Thomas his credit for his run than write alternate history where Bruins don't win with him (because they shouldn't, as USA shouldn't have won Soviets and whatnot...) I like to stay with the actual history when talking hockey history.

    Of course there are arguments to be made about Thomas being a system goalie. Of course. Julien, Chara, Bergeron. It's a nice position for him. But hell, throw a shaky (although more-talented-than-Tim) backup like Lalime, Budaj, Pavelec in the net and I'm not so sure about their chances. Thomas had to do something right. If he didn't, I don't think Conn Smythe has any credibility left when comparing players.

    And I'm not even comparing Thomas to all time greats here. Just wondering what makes a Conn Smythe winner and 2x Vezina winner less talented than journeymen who didn't even reach a starting job in the league.
     
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  13. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Yeah even if you discount one season as being a hot streak.. once you have two Vezinas and a Conn Smythe he has to be doing something right.

    It is a mind boggling position to take.
     
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  14. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    I’m the same, but I’m sure every coach I’ve ever had that emphasized the lesson as opposed to the fortunate result would feel different.
     
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  15. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    He was pretty talentless as far as NHL goaltenders go. Just a mess in the nets.

    Comparisons to Hasek are misguided. They didn't play anything alike...complete misrepresentation of "all non-butterfly goalies are the same" [MOD]

    Thomas made it work because he had a historically good rebound eating/slot owning defenseman in Zdeno Chara and one of the best defensive centers in history in Patrice Bergeron...plus, the Bruins superhuman offensive push in the playoffs to offset Thomas' unpredictable and leaky goaltending...they should have run through teams like LA did (with reliable goaltending) the next year...instead, Thomas let series just drag around...it looked like he was going to be singlehandedly responsible for them being upset in the first round by a weak Montreal team...

    His secret was: other players around him accounting for his flaws. Which isn't a secret really...
     
    Last edited by moderator garnetpalmetto: Oct 30, 2018
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  16. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Only to people who don't know anything about goaltending...in that case, probably, yeah...

    "ooh, look, save pct....shiny!"
     
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  17. FerrisRox

    FerrisRox Registered User

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    I've played goaltender for 32 years.

    Try again.
     
  18. abo9

    abo9 Registered User

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    Would you say that although technically challenged, he had great reflexes and a good read on shots/good ice vision, at least for first shots?

    Because as others said, he had to be doing something right to get 2 Vezinas and be as "statistically dominant" as he was. Maybe he did not control his rebound well and made great use of Chara and Bergeron for that, but he was stopping those first shots right?

    Just an honest question here :)
     
    Last edited by moderator garnetpalmetto: Oct 30, 2018
  19. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Operative word career as opposed to stretches.
     
  20. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    I'm not so sure I'm putting Hasek above the likes of Price, Lundqvist, and a few others there if we are only talking about his 1999 and beyond body of work.
     
  21. Orange Dragon

    Orange Dragon Registered User

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    It's all about stoping the puck, isn't it? I couldn't care less if my goalie can't skate or even walk as long as he is able to stop the puck, espsecially if he can win Vezina, Smythe, Cup.

    If Thomas sucked so much, oposing teams would for sure find ways to exploit his weakneses, especialy in play offs. But that didn't happen, did it?
     
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  22. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    With a little help from your friends. :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Filthy Dangles

    Filthy Dangles Registered User

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    goaltending is so volatile and tough to evaluate relative to skaters. but Tim Thomas, while pretty short lived, saw pretty unbelievable results backstopping an NHL cage for a few years. Let's not confuse elegance and style with talent.....and let's not act like you could have replaced Thomas with someone who really truly had no talent and would have seen the same reslts.
     
  24. Johnny Engine

    Johnny Engine Moderator

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    So what tier does ball hockey superstar Michael Ryder belong in?
     
  25. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    I don't like the Bruins (Patrice Bergeron notwithstanding) and I don't like Tim Thomas. But I can't imagine how he could possibly be ranked behind the likes of Budaj, Lalime, Biron etc. who, while respectable goalies (as is anybody who had a cup of coffee in the NHL) had difficulty holding down starting jobs. Hell even as a 39 year old after a 1-year hiatus Thomas had a somewhat respectable 0.909 save percentage over 40 games on a poor Florida Panthers team.

    Unorthodox, hilariously flawed style? Sure. Abrasive jackass? Yup. But with 2 Vezinas (and another top-10 voting result) and 2 1st Team All-star nods he sure fooled a lot of knowledgeable hockey people if he was truly that bad. I wish I could fake it like that.
     

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