Colorado Avalanche’s Patrick Roy Beats Martin Brodeur


Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens great Patrick Roy officially surpasses New Jersey Devils great Martin Brodeur with a little help from hockey math.

Colorado Avalanche — and likely Montreal Canadiens fans — will all tell you Patrick Roy is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) of goalies. If you ask your average NHL fan who was the greatest, though, the big debate is between Roy and longtime New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. Every now and again you’ll get an outlier for Dominik Hasek, but usually it’s between Roy and Brodeur.

For me the truth of Patrick Roy’s superiority has always been self-evident. Twenty-three years ago, when I first became a hockey fan, the only man who could shut down my Pittsburgh Penguins consistently was Roy. As long as I’ve been a fan, Roy has been synonymous with the G.O.A.T. of goalies — before G.O.A.T. was even a thing.

However, proponents for Martin Brodeur always like to point out one thing — he broke Patrick Roy’s record for wins and currently holds the record for most wins by a goalie.

That fact fails to take into account two other Roy records Brodeur broke — most minutes ever played by a goalie and, ultimately, most games played by a goalie.

Let’s start there.

Martin Brodeur’s Statistics

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Martin Brodeur was selected 20th overall in the 1990 draft by the New Jersey Devils. His NHL career spanned from 1991 to 2015, a total of 22 years. He played all except the last with the New Jersey Devils. His number has been retired by the Devils.

In all, Brodeur played 1,266 regular season games. He recorded 691 wins and 105 ties. His total minutes played was 74,438.

Brodeur played 205 playoff games. He won 113 times. He won the Stanley Cup three times, all with the Devils.

Brodeur holds the record of most regular season wins with that 691. He hasn’t been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame yet because he hasn’t been retired long enough.

Now let’s look at Patrick Roy.

Patrick Roy’s Statistics

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Patrick Roy was selected 51st overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984. His NHL career spanned from 1985 to 2003, a total of 18 years. He spent the first ten years with the Canadiens and the other eight with the Colorado Avalanche. Roy’s number has been retired by both the Canadiens and the Avalanche.

In all, Roy played 1,029 regular season games. He earned 551 total regular season wins. Patrick had 131 career ties. His total minutes played was 60,225.

Patrick Roy was known for being a clutch goal tender in the playoffs. He played 247 playoff games and won 151 games. As points out, that’s a record:

Patrick Roy won the Stanley Cup four times — twice with the Canadiens and twice with the Avalanche. He is the only player in NHL history to have won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP three times. He’s also the only player to have done so in three different decades and for two different teams.

Let’s do a little hockey math. Careful, folks — I was told by a computer programmer that what’s coming up is $100 worth of math.

Hockey Math

Number for number, Martin Brodeur has more wins than Patrick Roy. The number 691 is greater than 551. You can’t argue that.

Two things have always bothered me about doing a number for number comparison of the two goalies. First off, Martin Broduer played for four years — and over 200 games — longer than Patrick Roy. Second, Roy never played in the shootout era, which started the year right after his retirement.

Those two factors mean a number-for-number comparison might not be the best representation of the two goalies’ careers. So, to get a more accurate representation, I turned to math.

To my mind, it made sense to get a winning percentage over a total wins to account for Brodeur’s longer career. If you do the math straight, 691 wins divided by 1,266 games played gives you a 54.5% win percentage for Brodeur. For Roy, 551 wins divided by 1,029 games gives you a 53.5% win percentage.

Those figures don’t account for the shootout era, though. Brodeur played six seasons in games that didn’t result in ties. Every single game resulted in a win or loss because of the shootout. According to Brodeur’s own website, he recorded 26 shootout wins.

To my way of thinking, to get a more accurate win percentage, I should remove the shootout wins from Brodeur’s record. After all, those 26 wins initially went to a tie. In the old rules, the number would have ended there. So, 691 total wins minus the 26 (665) shootout wins equals a 52.5% win percentage.

When I ran those numbers by my actuary friend and an accountant (English major here), they held up.

Roy’s win percentage (53.5%), with the playing field leveled, is greater than Brodeur’s (52.5%). When Patrick Roy was in net, he was just that little bit more likely to win than Martin Brodeur.

Patrick Roy beat Martin Brodeur for title of G.O.A.T. of goalies.

Next: Best Patrick Roy Moments

Editor’s Note: Today marks the two-year anniversary of my editor-ship here at Mile High Sticking. This is my 1,000th post. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.