Top 12 Elite NHL Goalies Who Started At A Different Position

It’s often said that the position of hockey goaltender is the toughest job in sports. Pucks are flying at over 100 miles per hour and they have to react in a millisecond. When pucks aren’t being shot, they have to deal with forwards parking their 230-pound frames in front of the net, blocking their view, and slamming into them. Going outside of the crease to play a puck is nerve-wracking and dangerous due to their lack of mobility. They also don't get to sit on the bench at any point during the game.

I remember playing goalie in high school gym class and feeling terrified. We didn’t even have rubber pucks, but plastic still hurt a ton. The only protective equipment I had was a pair of goggles. Too bad those goggles weren’t the size of my entire body. After every period, my shins and knees were bruised, but there was a small bit of pride that I only allowed four goals.

It’s also often said that goalies have a screw loose, or that they have to be crazy to get out on the ice and subject themselves to such a large amount of stress. I agree. The people who will willingly allow themselves to be hit with flying rubber disks and wooden sticks are a special breed.

Nobody decides to start learning how to tend goal when they’re in high school. The majority of these competitors have been playing goalies since they started school. But, there’s a few who made the transfer from a skater into the goalie. So, how did all of these athletes find their way into the crease? Let’s take a look.

12 Ray Emery

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

11 Cory Schneider

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

10 Ben Bishop

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

9 Manon Rheaume


8 Frank Brimsek


7 Tiny Thompson


6 Ron Hextall


5 Ryan Miller

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

4 Henrik Lundqvist

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

3 Roberto Luongo

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

2 Jacques Plante


1 Martin Brodeur

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It's amazing that one small decision can make such an impact on a person's life. When Martin Brodeur was seven years old and playing as a forward, his coach asked him if he wanted to be a goalie or a forward that season. Brodeur responded: "I don't know why I decided, but I thought it would be fun to play goal." It was such as simple reason, but the impact was enormous. Brodeur has the record for most wins in NHL history with 691 and the most shutouts with 125. He's a four-time Vezina trophy winner, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, and the best goalie in NHL history.

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Top 12 Elite NHL Goalies Who Started At A Different Position