Monday, May 5, 2008

Divergence in Goalie Opinions

I was reminded of the wide range of opinions on goalies while going through a few HF Boards threads recently. There are many different opinions on which goalies are good, which are the best, and especially which are the best of all-time. What is more interesting is that when someone tries to claim that one goalie is clearly superior to another, they often get shouted down by others who claim that "everyone has their own opinion" on the matter.

I somehow don't think it would become just a mere matter of divergent opinion if someone went around claiming that Jean Beliveau or Rocket Richard was the greatest player of all-time. Virtually every all-time player ranking I have ever seen had a top 4 that was one permutation or another of Gretzky, Orr, Howe and Lemieux, with either #99 or #4 always coming out on top. But I could claim a different all-time best goalie for every day of the week (say, Roy, Hasek, Brodeur, Hall, Plante, Sawchuk, Dryden), and I could find people who would agree with me on each one.

This is just more evidence that goalie evaluation is very subjective and very unrefined, and why there are many observers that continue to try to develop tools that more accurately capture and evaluate a goalie's true level of achievement.

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