Jonah Keri has written an article about the 10 most underappreciated active pro athletes. Coming in first place was Martin Brodeur. Either this was Opposite Day at ESPN, or it shows how clueless ESPN has become about hockey, given that one of their columnists ranked one of the most overrated goalies of all-time as the most unappreciated athlete in sports.
I've already summarized the arguments against Brodeur, so I'm not going to do that here. The comments thread to the article, however, illustrates again how the Brodeur debate essentially falls into two camps, which, despite what Internet message board flame wars would have you believe, aren't actually divided by their personal like or dislike of Brodeur. The difference is simply in their philosophies of evaluating goaltending play, which clash head-on in the case of Martin Brodeur.
The first camp associates team success with the individual goaltender, and the second camp believes goalie play is heavily dependent on the rest of the team. Those in the first group see Brodeur as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, goalie ever, because of his wins, shutouts, and Cups. None of those things mean anything at all to those in the second camp, who look at his save percentages and the strength of his teams and conclude that Brodeur is actually quite ordinary. The reason this perception gap is so large is that Brodeur has been the beneficiary of the most favourable goaltending environment in the NHL since Ken Dryden.
So we have probably an irreconcilable debate about Brodeur, at least until everyone comes to some agreement on the evaluative criteria. Nevertheless, when you take a deeper look at goaltending numbers, it becomes quite clear that the "team dependency" side has much stronger ground to stand on. If you still need convincing, though, check out these 12 examples for starters, and since this is basically the founding philosophy for this blog there is lots more written on this topic available on this site.