"Terry Sawchuk has been unanimously considered the greatest goaltender ever, but Patrick Roy has surpassed everything that he did. In the four Stanley Cups that Roy won, he was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner three times. When his team needed him, he was a difference-maker. He was a superstar in longevity, wins and championships, and that's why he'll be known as the greatest."
Darren Pang, May 28, 2003
I am continually fascinated that only career numbers and team success seem to matter to a lot of people when ranking goalies, even to former NHL goalies like Darren Pang. Notice that Pang never mentioned MVP voting, Vezina Trophies, First Team All-Stars, save percentage, GAA, or the number of times Roy led the league in various categories. The only things he focused on were career length (longevity) and team success (wins and championships).
If players were ranked according to similar criteria, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr would be replaced by Henri Richard and Red Kelly in the all-time rankings lists. All kinds of other weird results would follow, like Scott Stevens (1635 games, 3 Cups, 1 Conn Smythe) being better than Ray Bourque (1612 games, 1 Cup, 0 Conn Smythes), Mark Messier (1756 games, 6 Cups, 1 Conn Smythe) ranking ahead of Wayne Gretzky (1487 games, 4 Cups, 2 Conn Smythes), and Ron Francis (1798 career points, 2 Cups) coming out ahead of Bobby Hull (1170 career points, 1 Cup).
There is simply a different standard for goalies. It becomes even more frustrating when the same person who argues that Brodeur was better then Hasek because he was more durable and more reliable will turn around and take Bobby Orr over Gordie Howe and Eddie Shore over Ray Bourque.
The excess focus on goalie longevity makes career records far more prized than single-season records among goalies. Terry Sawchuk's 103 career shutouts is one of the most famous records in hockey, but I doubt many people could identify George Hainsworth as the single season record-holder, much less how many shutouts he had that one season (22). On the other hand, ask someone to name Gretzky's career goal total and then his single-season goal scoring record, and far more people will get the second one right than the first.
This has led to the perception that Martin Brodeur will be some kind of Gretzky-like record breaker (this view is illustrated by a commentor on NJ.com Sports who claims that "Marty will have shattered every goaltending record known to man"). Actually, Martin Brodeur will almost certainly never set or hold any record for either goals against average or save percentage, including career, seasonal, playoff career, playoff season, or number of times leading the league in either one. Even if you look at just results in the modern era, Brodeur would still be shut out of all of the above.
Out of the dozens of major goalie records out there Brodeur will likely end up holding 7 of them, 6 of which are for either wins or shutouts and the last one for the most regular season games played. That is still impressive, to be sure, but implying that Brodeur is completely wiping the slate clean of everyone else past or present is way overstating it.
It doesn't make any sense to take into account both peak and career when evaluating players, but then rely exclusively on longevity and team success to rank goalies. Both peak performance and longevity should be factored in and team success should be secondary to individual performance to arrive at the best possible ranking for both players and goalies.