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Evolution of the Goaltender

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Gone are the days when Terry Sawchuk would stop blistering 100 miles per hour shots with his face when goalies would register six shutouts in a season and when Hall of Fame caliber goalies changes teams frequently. Those days consisted of many butterfly style goaltenders who, in the beginning, had nothing to protect their face. The goaltenders equipment looked like something you would fins used up in the garbage. Over the years the position, styles and equipment would see a dramatic change.

The goaltending position would slowly start to evolve in the late 70’s when changes began to take shape. The equipment was getting upgraded and the game was less physical, at least for the goalies. The 80’s would see the game in terms of talent, with the beginning of a Hall of Fame career of someone named Patrick Roy. The 90’s would be, in my mind, the year when we see the biggest changes. The equipment was the size of King Kong, the masks were looking better and we were introduced to a very good crop of goaltenders, including the likes of Martin Broduer, Dominik Hasek, Mike Richter and later on Roberto Luongo.

Since then the goalie equipment has reduced in size, goalie fights are a thing of the past and the position has been called a third defensemen. The netminder position is much more athletic and goalies are faster than ever, and considering the game is built around scoring and offense, is the best it has been in awhile. Gone are the butterfly and stand up styles and in are the more positional styles. So the question is, after all of this development of the goalie position, where does the game and position go from here?

Photo: NHL.com
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