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Is Martin Brodeur the best passing goalie ever?

Mar 20, 2010, 5:30 PM EST

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Martin Brodeur’s amazing breakout pass-turned-assist (jump for the video) made me wonder if he is the best ever at moving the puck. Apparently it really got into the head of Phillip Myrland from Puck Prospectus, though, because he provided a fantastic rundown of the goalies who have been the best at setting up offense.

“Martin Brodeur is probably not the best playmaking goalie ever. Ron Hextall was involved in a higher percentage of his team’s goals, Tom Barrasso has a much better scoring record relative to league average, and contemporaries Marty Turco and Rick DiPietro are both at least as good if not better at racking up assists. However, there is more to playing the puck than scoring. Consistently making the play and minimizing turnovers are also important. This will likely remain a subjective debate since it is difficult if not impossible to fully evaluate this skill through statistics, but when discussing the best puck-moving netminders ever Brodeur is certainly in the conversation.”

Now, obviously, goalies don’t end up on the “good” end of the score sheet very often. Even during the outrageous era of scoring that was the 1980’s, goalies assists peaked at about 1 percent of a team’s totals.

Don’t ask me to explain exactly how Myrland adjusted all-time stats (to correct for the effect a goal-crazed era like the ’80s or a score starved time like the clutch-and-grab ’90s), but here is his top 10 goalies ranked by assists per team goal.

1. Ron Hextall
2. Martin Brodeur
3. Patrick Roy
4. Ed Belfour
5. Tom Barrasso
6. John Vanbiesbrouck
7. Mike Vernon
8. Dan Bouchard
9. Curtis Joseph
10. Grant Fuhr

Interesting stuff. Hockey stats are still far behind the sabermetrics of baseball and one of the newest questions is how to assess the effect a good puck moving goalie can have on a game (since that obviously doesn’t factor into save percentage or GAA). However, it’s often interesting to see the less publicized statistics.

(H/T to Behind the Net. Want to see Brodeur’s assist? I’ve posted it after the jump.)


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