The best NHL starting goalies of all time is a controversial discussion in the goalie community. If you are going to use the term NHL Starting Goalies then you eliminate the great Vladislav Tretiak.
The Russian netminder is a legend and arguably the best goalie to ever dawn a pair of pads. Nonetheless he played a total of zero games in the NHL so he can’t be considered. Thus he gets this honourable mention.
Also Read: Who is Jordan Binnington And Why It Matters
Now the best NHL starting goalies of all time brings us back to the early days of hockey. We are going to rank these goalies in a personal way and not by stats. This list of goalies will be completely different than any other list.
Legendary NHL starting goalies are far and few between. The list will be narrowed down to just a handful or so.
Mike Vernon was a great Canadian NHL goalie who played for the 1989 Stanley Cup winning Calgary Flames and the 1997 Detroit Red Wings. Mike Vernon is one of the greatest NHL Starting Goalies of all time.
The vicious Patrick Roy was legendary. He took the Montreal Canadians and the Colorado Avalanche to Stanley Cups. In an era of high scoring the Habs goalie was a phenomenal tender.
Jaques Plante was the goalie that revolutionized the position. Not only did he revolutionize the position of goaltending but he changed the sport of hockey forever.
Jaques Plante is was one of the greatest NHL starting goalies of all time and won 6 Stanley Cups.
The 1980’s could be nothing without the dynasty of the Edmonton Oilers. This dynasty included one of the greatest goaltenders to ever dawn a set of pads. Grant Fuhr was an unbelievable NHL goalie in Edmonton but also ended up playing for 5 more teams in his career.
Fuhr finished his career in the Alberta rivalry city of Calgary. In 2003 Grant Fuhr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Fuhr also has 5 Stanley Cup’s and a Vezina Trophy to add to his collection.
The late great Johnny Bower was an NHL Leafs legend. The Toronto Maple Leaf goalie was unbeatable during his 12 seasons with the Buds. Bower was an instrumental part of a Leafs dynasty that remains to be unchallenged by any other Maple Leafs club to day.
During the Johnny Bower era we seen the NHL Leafs take the Stanley Cup 4 times. Bower also won the Vezina twice and appeared in multiple all-star games.
Georges Vezina is an absolute legend in the game of hockey. The “Chicoutimi Cucumber” played in a marathon 327 consecutive games. During that time he earned the Montreal Canadiens 2 Stanley Cups.
Georges Vezina’s career came to a tragic end as his iron man streak ended in 1925. Vezina left a game early in 1925 due to an illness. He was later diagnosed with Tuberculosis and died March 27, 1926.
Billy Smith was a former New York Islander goalie. Billy won multiple Stanley Cup’s with the Islanders and was also the first NHL goalie to be credited with scoring a goal.
Included in his 4 Stanley Cup wins he also won Vezina, Conn Smythe and was an All-Star. Smith was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.
Tony Esposito was a legendary Chicago Blackhawks goalie. Esposito who grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was one of the pioneers of the butterfly style goaltenders use today.
Tony Esposito played 15 years with the Blackhawks and won 1 Stanley Cup and 3 Vezina Trophies.
Martin Brodeur played for the pesky New Jersey Devils for 21 years. The Devils goaltender has 4 Vezina Trophies and 3 Stanley Cups. Brodeur was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
Terry Sawchuk was a NHL Goalie that played 21 seasons in the NHL. Sawchuk played for 5 teams while in the league. Terry Sawchuk played most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings in Hockey Town.
Sawchuk was a member of 4 Stanley Cup winning teams and he won the Vezina Trophy 5 times in his career. Terry Sawchuck had his number 1 retired in Motown on March 6, 1994. Sawchuk was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.
Ken Dryden made his mark in the NHL on March 20th 1971. Ken Dryden was later than called up to be the starting goalie during the 1971.
During that run the unknown goalie helped th Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup where he also earned the Conn Smythe. Dryden went on to win the Stanley Cup 5 more times in his career.
In 1982 Ken Dryden was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and on January 29, 2007 Ken Dryden’s number 29 was retired by the Montreal Canadiens.
The “Dominator” Dominic Hasek was a legendary Buffalo Sabre goalie.During his 16 year NHL career Dominic Hasek played for 4 different teams. Hasek is a 6 time Vezina Trophy winner and 2 time Stanley Cup Champion.