Rylan wrote:1st team All-Star 5x
2nd team All-Star 1x
5x Vezina Award Winner
6x Stanley Cup Champion
1x Conn Smythe in 1971 (only player in NHL history to win Conn Smythe before being a rookie, much less ROY)
ROY in 1972
His 4 shutouts in 12 wins in the 76-77 playoffs is impressive. He only lost 89 times in his career (regular season and playoffs) and still almost ended up with more ties than that (74). Now those are team stats referencing one of the greatest teams in hockey history. But, as we have seen in Pittsburgh, and historically, a goalie is the linchpin of dynastic success and Dryden was successful.
And now I am tired of showing Dryden incessant love, why should Brodeur be rated above Dryden?
Vezina (as voted by the GMs, sorted in descending): 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 5th (that's 13 top-5 finishes...Roy had 10, Hasek had 7 for comparison). Clearly demonstrated adaptability across multiple eras (started in the trailing days of firewagon hockey - grew up learning in a very open QMJHL league, through the C&G era, across the next lockout into whatever era we're in now. Not only adaptability, but dominance vs. his peers.
The dominance is brought to the forefront by the fact that he faced much stronger competition in his time/prime than Dryden did. In Brodeur's career he had to go against the #1 and #2 best goalies of all time for Vezina/AS shares (Hasek and Roy). Dryden had to go against no one of the sort...his strongest competition was a roughly top-15 guy in Tony O and a top-20 guy in Bernie Parent. And the only good playoff goalie (outside of himself) of the era (Parent), he never faced head to head because of a loss to Buffalo in '75 and because he didn't play in '74.
Dryden faced very little goalie competition and played on clearly the most dominant team of the era...a team that made the rules for the Expansion Draft and it showed. Not only did have to face little in the way of goalie competition, but he faced a weaker field in general due to the fact that over-zealous, over-expansion sapped the league (minus Boston and Montreal) of talented teams. Parity was off in the distance still when Dryden played. He got to face all those expansion teams with Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe in front of him...not to mention how much of the league's talent was diluted by the WHA...a league that existed almost exclusively during Dryden's career.
Brodeur had to face a fully-integrated league that had reached parity by and large. Brodeur had to face the best and second best forwards of all-time early in his career (Gretzky and Lemieux), plus probably the third and fifth best d-men of all-time (Bourque and Lidstrom), and two more top-25 players of all-time (Jagr and Messier). Dryden had to face Orr and then some fringe top-20 of all time players in Denis Potvin, Phil Esposito and Bobby Clarke. While having one himself in Guy Lafleur. He was insulated by a top-10 d-man ever in Larry Robinson (2nd best of the era) and two more top-30ish guys in Savard and Lapointe. Brodeur was defended by a top-20ish guy in Stevens, and a guy step below Savard and Lapointe in Niedermayer, whose game didn't really mature defensively until the turn of the century.
Brodeur was a 3x First-Teamer, 4x Second-Teamer while going against the two best goalies of all-time (only Glenn Hall has more combined All-Star team finishes than Brodeur's 7 (Hall 11)). Brodeur also has more top-5 Hart finishes than any goalie ever (7)...Hasek, Roy, Hall all have 5.
Brodeur's save pct. always looks very "average" relatively speaking which is a two-fold issue. One is home undercounting of shots. This is backed statistically and anecdotally. The Devils don't count shots in their home rink the same as most teams. It was a regular occurrence on Fox Sports NY for Doc to recite the shots at the end of the period in this fashion, "The shots after one are New Jersey 7, Toronto...2...? Well, it sure felt like more than that, didn't it? Anyway, back to Steve Cangliosi in the studio with first period highlights..."
Two, and in conjunction with that, you have to give up two. It's simple, but it's true. You have to give up two if you're a goalie. If you only gave up one, there'd be no discussion; if you gave up three, you wouldn't be in the discussion. Brodeur gave up 2 on 18, other goalies gave up 2 on 24. And whoever is a sucker that falls for raw save pct. as being particularly relevant in modern times, they'll miss the boat. "Brodeur is a product of the system" ...Brodeur was
the system. He was not only an active part of it, but he was easily the most important part of it. No goalie in the Expansion Era has been able to anticipate the play like Brodeur has, and his ability to play the puck has changed the game.
The longevity across multiple eras, with that team changing in front of him so much, really speaks to Brodeur's adaptability. Dryden was in front of the same team in the same circumstances for his entire career. Without looking, Brodeur probably has twice as many RS+playoff wins than Dryden has RS games played. And I'm not the biggest "career" guy, but when you do it for so well, for so long, against such great competition, the edge must be given over a guy that did it very well, for a very short amount time, against far weaker competition and then quit (again).
Many teams sought out the next big goalie like Dryden...it took some time, but they eventually found it. We'll never find another Brodeur.