Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford Ranked 26th-Best Goaltender

Nov 15, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) watches the puck during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) watches the puck during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports /

NHL Network came up with a very strange list of the all-time best goaltenders, and it speaks kindly of the Chicago Blackhawks’ current netminder

When you think of the best NHL goaltenders of all time, who comes to mind? As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, you surely remember Ed Belfour, Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall. The Blackhawks also played against fantastic goaltenders over the years as well.

Now, Corey Crawford is a great goaltender right now. One of the league’s best, though he rarely gets the credit. Apparently someone over at NHL Network heard our pleas for Crow to get more attention, because they put him just outside the top 25 of the all-time greatest goaltenders list.

But that was far from the biggest … odd decision on this list, which included NHL Network’s top 40 goaltenders of all time. A look at the list, in two tweets from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus:

If you can’t view the list that way, here it is again:

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  1. Martin Brodeur
  2. Dominik Hasek
  3. Patrick Roy
  4. Terry Sawchuk
  5. Jacques Plante
  6. Eddie Belfour
  7. Ken Dryden
  8. Glenn Hall
  9. Bill Durnan
  10. George Hainsworth
  11. Grant Fuhr
  12. Bernie Parent
  13. Tony Esposito
  14. Johnny Bower
  15. Walter “Turk” Broda
  16. Jonathan Quick
  17. Henrik Lundqvist
  18. Roberto Luongo
  19. Curtis Joseph
  20. Lorne “Gump” Worsley
  21. Marc-Andre Fleury
  22. Billy Smith
  23. Frank Brimsek
  24. Carey Price
  25. Rogatien “Rogie” Vachon
  26. Corey Crawford
  27. Tim Thomas
  28. Cecil “Tiny” Thompson
  29. Gerry Cheevers
  30. Chris Osgood
  31. Michel Larocque
  32. Miikka Kiprusoff
  33. Nikolai Khabibulin
  34. Tom Barrasso
  35. Mike Vernon
  36. Andy Moog
  37. Mike Richter
  38. Braden Holtby
  39. Ron Hextall
  40. Georges Vezina

Top of the list makes sense

Alright, so things get started off on a pretty good note. There are some great names in those top 15, including guys among the all-time wins leaders.

Brodeur tops that list with 691, well ahead of Roy’s second-place 551. Sure, Brodeur played for St. Louis in addition to New Jersey, and this list leaves that out, but that’s far from the most egregious item.

Other guys in the all-time wins top 10 for wins who are on this list’s top 15 are Belfour (484), Sawchuk (447), Plante (437), Esposito (423), Hall (407) and Fuhr (403).

There are various multi-time Stanley Cup winners in the top 15 as well. Brodeur (3), Hasek (2), Roy (4), Sawchuk (4), Plante (6), Dryden (6), Durnan (2), Hainsworth (2), Fuhr (4), Parent (2), Bower (4) and Broda (5) have all lifted the silver chalice at least twice. Sadly, the former Blackhawks on this list can’t boast as much due to the lengthy title drought.

Regardless, most all of these top 15 guys are in the Hall of Fame, and if they aren’t already they soon will be.

Then, things go wildly off the rails at No. 16.

Current goaltenders given too much love

OK, Jonathan Quick. Fine goaltender. He’s won two Stanley Cups in Los Angeles. He’s a one-time Conn Smythe winner.

But No. 16 all time on the NHL goaltenders list? That is insane. NHL Network has ranked Quick as the top goaltender currently playing. That’s wrong on so many levels. Most L.A. fans would agree, I’m sure.

The 252 career wins are solid. So are the two Stanley Cups. But Quick is rarely viewed as a top-five goaltender currently playing. In fact, two guys who are often viewed well ahead of Quick are right behind him on this list.

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  • Henrik Lundqvist ranks 13th all time in wins, just behind Hasek. But guess what? No Stanley Cup. Roberto Luongo may finish his career third in all-time wins (he’s currently sixth). But no Cups, so he gets shoved below Quick.

    And Carey Price, the best goaltender currently going? Eight spots below Quick on this list. No Cups.

    That almost has to be the logic, right? There’s no other way to explain why Quick is so high. Of course, if that logic holds, why is Crow 26th with two Stanley Cups? No Conn Smythe?

    But Quick and Crow being that high on the list regardless still doesn’t make sense. Same group? Marc-Andre Fleury, who is a fine goalie known more for his postseason failures. He checks in at No. 21 for whatever reason, ahead of four-time Stanley Cup champ Billy Smith.

    Yes, Crow, Quick and Fleury are all good-to-great goaltenders right now. But, and I’d even put Price in this discussion (he has two fewer career wins than Pekka Rinne at 247), these guys are putting a few years of success against other guys’ entire careers — and they’re coming out ahead.

    Considering guys like Smith, Rogie Vachon, Frank Brimsek, Gump Worsley, Tiny Thompson and Gerry Cheevers are in the Hall of Fame and in some cases have multiple Stanley Cups and more wins than some or all of these current guys, it makes so little sense to put the likes of Crow, Quick, Fleury and Price as high as they are.

    I feel differently about Luongo and Lundqvist because they’ve both piled up tons of wins on the back of stellar play. No Stanley Cups aside, they’re just wildly successful and proven goalers. Crow, Quick, Fleury and Price have had success and are proving themselves, but they’re currently better than Hall of Famers? That’s a tough sell.

    Different eras make for tough comparisons

    Of course, the major issue is trying to compare guys who played in different eras.

    We’re comparing guys who played in the 1920s to guys who are playing today. Guys who played in the 1920s essentially had no padding, though they had smaller nets to protect.

    Players back then weren’t as quick and didn’t have the equipment and preparation opportunities guys today have. Skaters back in the day saw opposing goaltenders constantly and could figure out their tendencies a lot easier (though film today arguably makes it easier for skaters, too).

    There’s so much to compare with goaltenders from different eras, and it’s really difficult to do so. But that doesn’t mean guys like Quick and Fleury should be ranked ahead of Hall of Famers.

    Next: Blackhawks' Eye On The Enemy: New York Rangers

    Crow and other current goaltenders on this list should feel really glad about their inclusion, but some of the decisions are misguided.