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Iron Men: Top 15 NHL Goalies Who Have Played The Most Games

Hockey goalies have been called a lot of things in the past: protectors of the paint; caretakers of the crease; masked-marauders of the mesh; or guardians of the goal. However, this list will examine the top 15 ‘Iron Men’ to ever stand between the pipes in the NHL. In other words, the goalies who lead the NHL’s history in games played.

More often than not, playing goaltender in hockey seems like a thankless position. The credit for a victory is usually awarded to the forwards and defensemen who scored, unless of course, the goalie figuratively – and sometimes literally – stood on his head. Following a loss, spectators are quick to point the blame in the direction of the goalie who, whether deserved or not, is the ideal scapegoat in most scenarios. Realistically, they are the only player on a team that can be replaced at the snap of a finger; backups constantly battle for the starting job and are often utilized in favor of a struggling starting goalie. It is therefore an incredible feat that the fifteen ‘Iron Men’ that made this list managed to play so many professional NHL games.

Although they can be under-appreciated at times, there is little doubt that goaltenders play the most important position on the ice. Without their reflexes, their flexibility, or their ability to anticipate plays, hockey would not be the game it is today. As hockey has evolved, so too have goalies. In order to keep up with the speed and skill of an ever-evolving NHL, it is necessary for goalies to be fast, fit, and sharp – in effect, the ‘Iron Men’ of the league.

15 Nikolai Khabibulin (799)

via rawcharge.com

14 Harry Lumley (803)

via sportsnet.ca

13 Sean Burke (820)

via broadstreethockey.com

12 Jacques Plante (837)

via rds.ca

11 Gump Worsley (861)

via habseyesontheprize.com

10 Grant Fuhr (868)

via thescore.com

9 John Vanbiesbrouck (882)

via thehockeynews.com

8 Tony Esposito (886)

via andrewpodnieks.com

7 Glenn Hall (906)

via sasksportshalloffame.com

6 Roberto Luongo (926)

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

5 Curtis Joseph (943)

via espn.go.com

4 Ed Belfour (963)

via espn.go.com

3 Terry Sawchuk (971)

via thestar.com

2 Patrick Roy (1,029)

via lincoln4life.blogspot.com

1 Martin Brodeur (1,266)

via coppernblue.com

Martin Brodeur was undoubtedly the best goalie the NHL has ever witnessed. The New Jersey Devil stalwart played in over 70 regular season games twelve times in his 22 year career. In total, Brodeur played in 1,266 games and is the winningest goalie in NHL history with 691 wins. The next closest goalie is Patrick Roy who has 551 career wins, putting him a casual 140 behind Brodeur. For someone who played for so long and for so many minutes – 74,439 – Brodeur’s stats are absolutely insane. For his career, Brodeur posted a 2.24 GAA, a .912 save percentage, and 125 shutouts. Brodeur also sits second among NHL goalies in recorded points with 47, and is the only goalie in the league’s history to score more than one goal – he has two. One of the best testaments to Brodeur’s Iron Man qualities, aside from his statistics, is the fact that he remained with the Devils for the entirety of his career, save for seven games with the St. Louis Blues in his final year. With New Jersey, he won the Stanley Cup three times, the Vezina trophy four times, the William M. Jennings trophy five times, and the Calder Memorial trophy in his rookie campaign. Without a doubt, Martin Brodeur is the greatest Iron Man to ever stand between the pipes in the history of the NHL.

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Iron Men: Top 15 NHL Goalies Who Have Played The Most Games