The New York Islanders have a goalie in the Hockey hall of fame in Billy Smith, and then it’s a supporting cast that wouldn’t belong in any other NHL team’s top five.
Originally we wanted to compile a list of the top ten New York Islanders goalies in franchise history. But after looking at the record books it became abundantly clear that the Islanders haven’t always had quality between the pipes.
Of course, there are the shot-stoppers from the Stanley Cup-winning years in Billy Smith and Chico Resch. But after them, it’s a surprising list of goalies.
In putting the list together we ranked the top five goalies by wins. We figured this was perhaps the best way to distinguish goalies across the eras of the sport.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare goalies today who routinely stop well over 90 percent of the shots they face and let in under three goals against a game, on average to goalies from forty years ago.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s, that wasn’t the case. When players like Wayne Gretzky could score 92 goals in a season. Or when goalies essentially had phone books strapped to their legs. Or when they still primarily played upright. Ranking goalies based on their wins was probably the best way to do it.
Again, we wanted to compile a top ten but settled for a top five. The quality of goalies that have played for the New York Islanders wasn’t great. To be fair, it’s not like they had star-studded teams playing in front of them.