NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
Last week, former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood was named to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame along with former teammate Brendan Shanahan. While this is quite an honor for Osgood, he should ultimately be added to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as well.
Chris Osgood is perhaps one of the most underrated and under-appreciated goalies of all time. Many argue that Osgood’s success is mostly due to the players he had in front of him during his time in Detroit, and that his numbers are inflated because of those teams. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, for any NHL team to win a Stanley Cup with a mediocre goalie. The Red Wings won two Stanley Cups with Osgood between the pipes (1998, 2008). Many forget that Osgood also had brief stints with the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, whom he led to the playoffs as well.
In 18 NHL seasons, Osgood finished 11th all-time in wins with 401, posted a 75-49 record in the playoffs with 15 shutouts, recorded a career winning percentage of .539, was named an All-Star three times, and won the Jennings Trophy twice for having the least amount of goals scored against him. He was also the third goalie in NHL history to score a goal. As mentioned above, he lead the Red Wings to two Stanley Cup victories in 1998 and 2008 and was a member of the 1997 Stanley Cup team. Not bad for a “mediocre” goalie.
There are goaltenders in the Hall of Fame who have not accomplished what Osgood has. Former Red Wing Dominik Hasek, who entered the Hall in 2014, ranks behind Osgood in wins with 389 and has only won the Stanley Cup as a starter once (2002 with Detroit).
In every sport, the playoffs are where it all matters, and hockey is certainly no exception. Many Red Wings fans likely remember Osgood as an average goalie during the regular season who transformed into a superstar in the playoffs. Osgood’s 74 playoff victories are good for 8th all-time, while his 15 playoff shutouts are good for 4th all-time, ahead of legends Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Jacques Plante, and Terry Sawchuk.
During the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup run, Chris Osgood was arguably snubbed for the Conn Smythe Trophy given to the MVP of the playoffs, as he recorded a .930 save percentage and 1.55 goals-against average. His numbers were impressive the following playoff season as well, as he posted a .926 save percentage and 2.01 GAA in a stretch that left the Red Wings one win away from repeating as champs.
Although Osgood is often discredited for his successes because of the phenomenal teams that he played on, his career numbers speak for themselves. Average goalies do not often win the Stanley Cup as a starter, let alone twice. Chris Osgood deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it’s just a matter of time before Ozzie becomes a hockey immortal.
What do you think, Nation, does Chris Osgood belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?