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Catch-All Statistics Part IV: Was Marty the Best Ever?

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With Marty on his way out in the NHL, it is time to look back on his years and finally begin to try and answer the questions we've been asking about him his entire career. Is he the greatest goaltender of all time? I investigate the question using Point Shares.

Bruce Bennett

Part I: GVT versus Point Shares (Go here if you don't know what those stats are)

Part II: The Devils' Best (2013-2014 overview)

Part III: Best Devils Ever (historical Devils achievements)

If you have been following this story stream then you know by now the type of article this is. If not then, to explain briefly; Point-Shares and GVTs are two different stats each intended to judge a players entire on-ice contribution. They are far from perfect, but if nothing else, they consolidate already present information into a cohesive number. Today we look at the most important Devil of them all and finally come to some conclusions about where he may stand historically.

Point Shares

I don't know why I decided to bold Point Shares in this one because there won't be a GVT section. My reasons are three-fold: 1. GVT is not adjusted for era as well as PS and many of the all-time best goalies played a long time ago; 2. There is not a reliable, current, GVT career spreadsheet that I can locate; 3. It would be a redundant analysis based on my brief overview of some shotty GVT stats.

Below is a list of the Top Ten All-Time goalies in career point shares obtained from Hockey-Reference.

Rank Player GPS
1 Martin Brodeur 206.27
2 Patrick Roy 198.34
3 Terry Sawchuk 180.11
4 Tony Esposito 178.89
5 Glenn Hall 177.71
6 Jacques Plante 173.35
7 Roberto Luongo 172.82
8 Curtis Joseph 167.17
9 Ed Belfour 157.32
10 Dominik Hasek 156.81

I've got to admit, seeing Marty at the top of this list is nice. It is not the final story though. Marty's longevity somewhat clouds how he did on a year to year basis. To weed out this variable I did three things. The first thing I did was copy the top list linked above into an excel sheet and combine it with a separate sheet that had games played so I could calculate the per game PS. I expressed it as a per 82 game statistic though for easier comprehension. When this was done, Marty's company changes somewhat.

Rank Player GPS GP GPS/82
75 Mike Liut 105.52 637 13.58
76 Jocelyn Thibault 90.71 548 13.56
77 Antero Niittymaki 36.14 219 13.56
78 Marty Turco 83.94 512 13.45
79 Ron Hextall 95.02 579 13.45
80 Martin Brodeur 206.27 1259 13.43
81 Denis Herron 69.75 427 13.40
82 Wayne Thomas 37.44 230 13.38
83 Ken Wregget 85.71 528 13.31
84 Don Beaupre 101.2 623 13.31
85 Doug Favell 56 346 13.26

Not as Hall-of-Fame congested as that first chart really. But yet again we face and issue here with longevity because, due to Marty's stature in the organization, he continued to play well past his prime after never failing to post a sub-10 GPS/82 in his first 16 seasons, he managed to do so only once in his final 4. If adjusted though he still only falls just within the top 60 in the statistic.

The other ways used utilities on Hockey-Reference. He is in a tie with several other goalies for 14th all-time in number of seasons in the top 10 GPS at 11 seasons (there was a 4-way tie for 10th at 12 seasons). A lot of the guys there are older goalies though who were playing against worse competition with fewer teams so I also looked into how many times goalies finished with 10 GPS or more. These are the results. Not only is Marty just shy of the lead in this, but only 23 goalies have even done accomplished that feet half as often as he did.

As far as individual season were concerned, Marty had one top 10 all-time season and three top 50. The best showing was in 2006-07 when, for the one and only time, he led the league in Point Shares. At 17.29, that season was the 8th most any goalie has ever recorded in a season.

Observations/Comparisons/Conclusions

One name that came up all over the place was Roberto Luongo. That guy peaked crazy high with both the 1st and 5th best GPS season of all-time also finishing with over 14 GPS in 5 consecutive seasons. Dominik Hasek was definitely the best per-game producer ever finishing with a sterling 18 GPS/82. Patrick Roy's best season was 67th all time so he never had an historic season but he finished top 10 in GPS an absurd 15 times. No modern goalie comes close to that until Marty's aforementioned 11 times. Furthermore, based on my review of GVT, only Belfour was even half as productive as Roy in the postseason (this was done before Marty's 2012 run so he might climb to 3rd all-time still comfortably behind Belfour.). The other names that came up a lot were Sawchuk, Esposito, Plante, Parent. Also Tomas Vokoun came up quite a bit ... don't know why.

I would reiterate here what I said in my previous article. My opinion is that Marty is the most prolific goaltender of all-time. The "best" goalie of all-time is a loaded question, but from these stats the answer would probably not be Marty. My personal Mount Rushmore of goalies is Roy (postseason) Hasek (per game) Sawchuk (the first great) Brodeur (the longest).

Comments

As always feel free to say whatever you'd like about what these stats mean to you, what your opinion is on the topic etc. How do you feel about Marty? Is he the greatest of all-time in your opinion? How much do you think playing on a good team helped him?

**This article was prompted by a comment on my last one by JonathanZ. To answer your question Jon, GVT isn't as reliable through eras as referenced earlier, but the excel sheet is linked here and the goalies above Marty are, in order: Tony Esposito, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Jacques Plante, and Glen Hall. He's 6th all-time so that must have been a typo.