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Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood retires after 17 seasons; Is he a Hall of Famer?

Jul 19, 2011, 12:35 PM EDT

Chris Osgood AP

Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood is retiring from the NHL after a career that saw him win 401 games over 17 seasons and saw him win three Stanley Cups. Osgood’s career is a fascinating one and one that will bring about one of the most hotly contested Hall of Fame cases of the modern era.

Osgood spent the bulk of his career with the Red Wings where he saw his highest highs and his lowest lows. Perhaps his most memorable accomplishment came in 2008 where he bailed out a struggling Dominik Hasek in the Stanley Cup playoffs opening round against Nashville to put the Wings on his back and carry them to the Stanley Cup.  Osgood also helped lead the 1998 Red Wings to the Stanley Cup, but surrounding those championships were failures in Detroit that kept the Red Wings searching for another goalie.

From 1994 to 1996, the Red Wings suffered all kinds of tough playoff losses with Osgood at the helm as the starter. In 1994, Osgood’s rookie season, they were bounced out of the playoffs by the eighth seed San Jose Sharks in the first round. The following year, Detroit rolled through the playoffs and into the Stanley Cup finals where they were swept away by the uber-defensive New Jersey Devils. In 1996, it was an ignominious defeat in the Western Conference finals in six games to the Colorado Avalanche.

When the Wings went on to win the Cup in 1997 it would be Mike Vernon and not Osgood that led the way to that title. Vernon was so good in goal through the playoffs he won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year. After the 1998 Cup win, things got rough in the playoffs again for the Red Wings from 1999-2001 losing to the Avs two straight years and then in the first round to Los Angeles in 2001.

After that season, Osgood went to the Islanders where he went on to win 32 games and lead the Isles to the playoffs in 2002 and losing to the Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round. The following season saw the Isles deal him to St. Louis mid-season and led the Blues into the postseason losing to Vancouver in seven games in the opening round. The following year in 2003-2004, Osgood won 31 games in leading the Blues to the playoffs as well losing to the Sharks in the first round.

After the lockout, Osgood found his way back to Detroit where he alternated between being the starter and the backup with the Wings. While being the backup to a future Hall of Famer in an aging Dominik Hasek is one thing, playing second fiddle to Manny Legace is another. Aging and giving way to Jimmy Howard was an eventuality, but Osgood’s career is one that didn’t see him dominate as a starting goalie but ultimately sees him look in the statistic rankings as a great goalie.

source: APHe’s tenth all-time in the NHL in wins with 401, fourth all-time in playoff shutouts with 15, and eighth all-time with 74 postseason wins. They’re gaudy rankings, but is he a Hall of Famer?

Red Wings and Osgood fans will point to his long career, 401 wins, three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2008), as well as winning 30+ games in a season with three different teams as to why he should go in. Those opposed to him see him as a guy who compiled wins behind great Detroit teams over his career and had to play second fiddle to some great and not-so great goalies in order to win it all.

Osgood never won an individual trophy for his play and was twice part of a Jennings Trophy-winning tandem (In 1995-1996 with Vernon and 2007-2008 with Hasek). His career numbers are solid yet not spectacular finishing his career with a 2.49 career goals against average and a .905 save percentage over his 17 seasons. Osgood played in two All-Star Games (1996,2008) and was once named to the NHL All-Star second team in 1996.

Playing in the same era with the likes of Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Martin Brodeur, and Dominik Hasek makes it tough to earn individual awards but Osgood found ways to get noticed, either for good or bad reasons. Is he a Hall of Famer? Let us know in our poll and in the comments.

  1. arizonawingnut - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    He should go to HOF, if not only for his quality of play, but for his 100% total dedication and professionalism to hockey. Class act true and through.

    We’ll miss ya Chris, at least on the ice. You will be one fine coach, that is for certain. Kudos to Mr Holland for his support in maintaining your presence in Motown.

  2. stakex - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Given his numbers, I can’t see how he wouldn’t eventually find his way into the HoF.

    Sure, given the team he was playing with he probably should have won more cups then he has, but that can be said about a lot of goalies. Hell look at Brodeur. Not a year goes by (maybe last year) in which hes not playing behind one of the best teams in the league…. yet he has many a choke jobs in the playoffs, and “only” three cups to show for it. Does that mean he shouldn’t be in the HoF one day? Of course not.

    Osgood’s GAA and S% could be better, but his overall numbers and accomplisments speak for themselves. A lot of people in the HoF have done a lot less, so there shouldn’t be a huge debate here.

  3. trbowman - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM

  4. cmutimmah - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    FYI – His GAA and S% is actually higher than a lot of the listed goalies… not sure how it could be better (aside from him giving up the occasional weak goal, which every goalie does… ain’t the right, Luongo lovers?)

    He most certainly deserves to be in the hall. Aside from the great Wings teams he was on, he got the effing Isles into the playoffs. I don’t think they’ve been there since!

    He’s wasn’t the best goalie of his time, but being above average for 15 years+ is HOF worthy.

    • stakex - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:28 PM

      Well a 2.49 career GAA and .905% are pretty solid…. but they aren’t amazing.

      Compare those numbers to Dominik Hasek: 2.20 GAA / .922 S%, or Martin Brodeur: 2.22 GAA / .918 S%…. and they don’t look amazing. In fairness they are fairly close to Patrick Roy’s numbers, but that still does not make them amazing numbers for a career.

      With that said, they aren’t bad enought to keep him out of the HoF by any means, and yes…. getting the Islanders to the playoffs is a pretty amazing accomplishment these days.

  5. cshearing - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    I would vote no. I understand the “classy guy” comments, but those things do not make one a HOFer.

  6. 22bju - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    No, No, No……….. He only wins most of those games because of the stacked lineups Detroit had.

    I’m not even an Osgood hater, I think he was sharp goalie from time to time, but he is not a Hall of Famer

    • Jordan Reis - Jul 19, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      Roy, Brodeur and Belfour all played in front of a bunch of bums!

      Worst argument EVER!

  7. polegojim - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Yes – great goalie in his prime, good goalie even out of his prime.

    @22bju – his results are his results. Does a good goalie win on a bad team? Where’s the logic?

    I contend he made the lines better by providing them the ability to attack, when with most goalies, you leave the defenders back. His numbers might even be better if they left the defenders back more, but because of his strength, they left him on an island more often, leading to more goals.

  8. Jordan Reis - Jul 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Yes! if Eddie Giacomin is in then there is no reason that Osgood shouldn’t be

  9. sportsinhd - Jul 19, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    If the Wings had beaten the Pens a few years ago he would have won the Conn Smythe, just saying, and I’m a Pens fan.

    Osgood had a great career and was a great and very good for 17 years. He should get in without a fight.

  10. donttouchthedirtypenny - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:04 PM


  11. emperorzero - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    I think the 400 wins has to get him in the HoF. Yes, the Detroit teams were quite good (hard to admit for an Avalanche fan), but let’s not act like the Wings were winning games by the score of 9-8. He let in some dubious goals in the playoffs, but let’s also remember some of those failures came in his first three seasons in the league. I think he was much more consistant in his second tenure with the Wings and bailing out Hasek (one of the greatest ever) should count for something on the resume. And winning 30 with the Islanders – sorry, that’s just amazing when looking at how bad that team has been since about ’93.

  12. ready4jets - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Team and career stats are very misleading. How about Osgood has never been a top 5 player on his own team, and I’d struggle to find a season where he was a top ten Goalie. Who’s next Kris Draper? Maltby?


  13. ready4jets - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Hextall, Richter, Vachon, Van Biesbrouck, Ranford, Vernon, and Hasek all deserve it more than Osgood. Plus current players Brodeur, Thomas, and Miller all have been much better than Osgood.

  14. ready4jets - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    Arguably his best statistical season was 2007/08 where he was 19th in wins, and Craig Hiller, Dan Ellis, Ty conklin, J.S. Giguere, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tim Thomas, Martin Brodeur, Nik Backstrom, Cris Huet, Ilya Bryzgalov, Carey Price, Pascal Leclaire, Thomas Vokoun, Wade Dubielewicz, Martin Biron, Roberto Luongo, and Kari Lehtonen all had better Save Percentages that year.

    I mean, c’mon PHT look a little deeper into stats if that’s your basis.

  15. guypatsfan - Jul 20, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    Osgood reminds me of Mark Recchi. A very good player but not great player who stuck around long enough to amass some nice statistics, get his name on the Stanley Cup and have a nice career in the process. A Hall of Famer? No. A Hall of the Very Good? Yes, definitely.

  16. scoops1 - Jul 20, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    ready4jets – Jul 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM
    Hextall, Richter, Vachon, Van Biesbrouck, Ranford, Vernon, and Hasek all deserve it more than Osgood. Plus current players Brodeur, Thomas, and Miller all have been much better than Osgood

    Are you friggin Serious???

    Richter is only popular cause he played in NYR. One of the most overrated goalies ever. One Cup and 301 wins and you want in the HOF????? He won his cup on a team that was made up of the Ex-Oilers and Brian Leetch

    • ready4jets - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      for the record, I don’t believe Richter should be in the Hall, I just believe he was a better goalie than Osgood ever was. What you don’t seem to understand is Cups and Wins are team stats and career length stats.

      Maybe we should put Craig MacTavish in there (Sarcasm Intended).

  17. ready4jets - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure were the faces of the whole NHL in their prime and aren’t in the Hall and some of you want an average Goaltender like Osgood? Ridiculous.

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