Monday, August 25, 2008

The Goaltender's Journey

There will be a lot of eyes focused on the nets this year -- not the ones into which Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, and Alexander Semin are shooting pucks, but the one defended by Jose Theodore. His is not an enviable position, taking over for as close to a sports icon as hockey has ever produced in the Washington community -- Olaf Kolzig. No pressure, eh?

Well, this got us to thinking about goaltenders for Stanley Cup winners in the post-Gretzky, four-in-five-years era. We were wondering about their respective journeys in getting to hoist the chalice. Did they dance with who brung 'em (drafted them, that is)? If not, were they seasoned with a long resume before arriving at their opportunity? Were they successful with that club in the first year they arrived? Well, here's the tale-of-the-tape...


Eight of 19 Stanley Cup winners in this era were backstopped by goaltenders drafted by that team; nine if you count Chris Osgood's second tour with Detroit. In that respect, the goalie having been drafted by the club winning a Cups doesn't appear to be much of a factor.

Of the 10 instances in which the Stanley Cup winner had an "import," only two -- Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy -- won in their first year with their respective clubs. It is worth noting that in nine of those 10 cases in which a goalie not drafted by the winner was in the nets, the goaltender played at least 266 games with other teams before finding ultimate success.

For those of you wondering where Theodore falls out on this...


It doesn't speak to necessarily winning a Cup this year (chances are, the Caps will not be top-of-the-heap favorites), but there is history in goaltenders taking a long and winding road before finally having their names on the Cup. It bears watching.

2 comments:

Nim said...

Of course "it bears watching". What a dumb final line that is! If it didn't bear watching, then what are we all doing here? Sheeeeeesh!

Derek from Cloud9 Sports said...

Jose is not Huet and that is the biggest problem. As one of the older guys in the room this has the potential to get real ugly if Theodore shows his trademark inconsistancy. In their favour is the ability of the Caps to score. I expect a lot of 6-5, 5-4 games from them this year (ala the Sabres of 06)