When you think of the best NHL goalies of all-time you may have a few that come to mind; Hasek, Brodeur, Roy. These are all great choices but if you have been watching hockey the last five years you may think of another name, Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Tampa Bay goaltender is currently having some of the most success we’ve seen from a goalie in a long time. From great individual stats, team success, and playoff dominance, it will show that Andrei Vasilevskiy will have a very good chance to end his career as the greatest goalie ever.
Vasilevskiy started his career in 2014 for the Lightning and in two years played a total of 40 games posting a save percentage of .914, which is very respectable for a young backup goalie. In 2016 though he was given the starting job where he again had a respectable save percentage of .917. But where he really kicks into gear is in 2017 to the present day where he has posted a .921 save percentage, 149 wins in 211 games started, giving him a 70.6 win rate and 125 quality starts. These stats pop off the page for a five year career especially at the age of just 27.
How does he stack up though against some other goalies in the same stretch of their career?
If we look at ages 23-27 for all-time great Martin Brodeur he had a .914 save percentage and 196 wins in 356 games started giving him a 55.1 win rate. Up against one of the most praised goalies of all-time (and a statistical darling) in Martin Brodeur, he holds up very well.
Vasilevskiy also has had as much team success as any goalie. He is a back-to-back cup winner and is still fighting for a third in the playoffs right now. If you compare him to one of the most winning goalies of all-time, Patrick Roy, you can see that he’s right up there. Patrick Roy has won three cups in his long 19 year career with the Canadiens and the Avalanche while in only eight years Vasilevskiy has captured two cups and still has a long career in front of him.
What it all comes down to for a goalie is playoff dominance. The best thing about a goalie is that they are one of the only positions in sports that can take over a single game and win the team that game or series. Vasilevskiy is one of the best to do it especially in the last three years. Over these three post-seasons he has had a .932 save percentage with seven shutouts. One stat that shows his total dominance in the playoffs has got to be his closeout game stats. In the last seven closeout games for the Lightning he has given up one goal. The latest of these were against the top seeded Florida Panthers where he had a 49 save shutout to end their quest for the cup.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stands at the top of the all-time goalie list alongside many all-time greats. However, at this point in time Vasilevskiy has a strong case to be the greatest goaltender of all-time when it’s all said and done. His statistical greatness, team success, and playoff dominance has continued to show why he should now be considered in this debate, especially with a long career still ahead of him.