Martin Brodeur is enjoying his job in the St. Louis front office. He retires with the most wins in the NHL along with many other records and accolades that will mark him as one of, if not the best goalie in NHL history. He finished his career just short of 700 wins but is still an astonishing 140 wins above second place Patrick Roy. So with any retiring or passing legend people want to know if anyone will ever match or surpass what they have done.
The active goalie that is closest to Brodeur is Roberto Luongo at 395 wins. He only needs 296 more wins to tie Brodeurs record, which seems possible until you realize Luongo is only seven years younger than Brodeur. If he played 7 more seasons Roberto Luongo would have 574 games available and would have to win close to half of those. That’s a hard task to accomplish, very hard. Luongo is 35 but there are plenty of younger goaltenders that look great on the ice that might approach Brodeur’s amazing record. So let’s look at how some of the NHL’s current best net-minders compare to Brodeur and if they even have a chance to catch Brodeur.
I took two 5 year portions of Brodeur’s career: The season when he was ages 24-29 and when he was 30-35. These two age groups compare fairly well to the top goalies I looked at. I took the last five seasons of LA’s Jonathon Quick (29), Florida’s Roberto Luogno (35), Nashville’s Pikka Rinne (35), the Rangers’ Henrik Ludqvist (32), Montreal’s Carey Price (27), and the Bruins’ Tuuka Rask (27) to compare to Marty. If you don’t want to read any further I’ll sum it up right now. Anyone chasing Brodeur should give up now.
In the two age sections of his career Brodeur averaged 75 and 71 games a year, that’s a lot of games for a goalie. No goalie I analyzed even played 70 games in a season in their past five seasons. With that in mind, no goalie could average the same number of wins, because they didn’t have enough games to do it in. Here’s the data for each goalie over their past five seasons. You’ll see that Brodeur’s numbers are extremely superior to everyone’s.
Brodeur had the advantage because he played more games, plain and simple. So what if every goalie played the exact same number of games? That’s what I did. I changed the data so that all goalies played 50 games each season, then found their wins per 50 games.
Now that every goalie has played the same number of games the wins are extremely close. Lundqvist and Price have a better W/50 than Brodeur in their respective age seasons. So if Price or Lundqvist were playing the same number of games as Brodeur was then they, mathematically, would surpass Brodeur for all time wins. I highly doubt we’ll ever see Price or especially Lundqvist play 70 games a season, which makes me doubt we’ll ever see Brodeur lose his record. It is possible for Marty to be dethroned but it would take an incredible effort by a tremendous goalie willing to play 85% of the season for a lot, I mean a lot, of seasons.
The record for most NHL wins is going to stand for a very long time ladies and gentlemen, embrace it, and enjoy it. I had the honor of watching Brodeur play in person once, even if it was for the Blues, it was awesome to see him. So support your teams goalie, hope he somehow does break the record, but accept that the math will hold Brodeur on top for a while.