On Tuesday, Detroit goalie Chris Osgood retired with 401 wins.
The total ranks 10th all-time, but his numbers aren’t good enough for a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Here’s why.
First, the impressive numbers of Osgood (from NHL.com):
Osgood’s 401 career victories rank 10th all-time in the NHL, two behind Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr. He appeared in 744 games in 17 seasons and posted a .905 save percentage, 2.49 goals-against average and 50 shutouts. Osgood was better in the postseason, with a 74-49 record, .909 save percentage, 2.49 GAA and 15 shutouts in 129 games. He’s fourth all-time in playoff shutouts.
Wow. Pretty impressive, right?
To be a Hall of Famer, you have to put up elite numbers and be one of the best of your generation, if not the best.
Consider that, in 17 years, Osgood started more than 54 games on only four occasions. He won more than 30 games only six times in his career. He finished in the league’s top ten in save percentage only three times.
He was never a First Team All-Star, and was only selected to play in two All-Star games in 17 seasons. He was never a Vezina Trophy winner.
Here’s a case study. Examine these two resumes:
Now what if I told you Goalie A had just nine fewer shutouts in 206 fewer career games? Would you put either of these goalies in the Hall of Fame?
Goalie A is Marty Turco.
Also consider what Osgood played behind. In his 17 seasons, the Norris Trophy has landed in Detroit on five times (and the three seasons he wasn’t in Detroit, Niklas Lidstrom won the award with the Wings).
Just because Osgood put together great gross numbers at the end of a long career doesn’t make him a lock for the Hall of Fame. Indeed, further examination of his numbers indicates that his case is indeed not as strong as his 401 wins might otherwise indicate.