The Ottawa Senators history of the rebirth franchise has seen some amazing talent, including tremendous tendies. Throughout their first few years, it was a struggle for the product on the ice, with the goalies as doormats. As they rose to prominence near the turn of the millennia, the goalies were largely the scapegoat. They made it to the finals, and some continued to blame the goalies. Since that time, many names have passed through the pipes, one reason for making a top-ten list very subjective. As we will see, there are some surprise contenders, given the lack of sample size for many of the candidates. Here is a dive into the Ottawa Senators’ Goalie History.
Understanding the Rankings of the Top Ten for the Ottawa Senators Goalie History
Our approach for determining the top ten Ottawa Senator goalie history was an analytic one (no, not Chat GPT, but it could make for an interesting comparison). The numbers that were considered, in order of more weight assigned: adjusted for era SV%, total regular season GP, regular season Win %, regular season GAA, playoff wins, and total SO (regular season and playoffs). As expected, the list was a who’s-who’s, and the standings were very close.
|Rank||Name||Adj SV%||GP||SCORING f(x)|
The Number One Spot of the Ottawa Senators Goalie History
- Patrick Lalime – really the first two are a 1A-1B selection, but using the approach explained, Lalime took the crown. Lalime played much fewer regular season games than Craig Anderson (435 to 283), but his cumulative numbers hold up. To that point, both goalies are tied with the franchise lead in playoff victories (21). Despite having fewer appearances, Lalime takes the cake for shutouts (35 to 31). One statistic that does stand out is the disparity in GAA, with over half a goal a game difference (2.32 to 2.84). Supporting his status at the top, Lalime was a big part of playoff runs, backstopping the club four years in a row from 2001 to 2004. Most notable, was the 2003 NHL playoff run. The Senators would lose in seven games to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. Lalime was outstanding that spring, collecting all 11 team wins, and posting a 1.82 GAA and a .924 SV%.
Number Two, Might Depend Who You Ask
- Craig Anderson – what else can be said? When Ottawa Senator fans think of their franchise’s history of the best-to-play goalie, the legend that is Craig Anderson is at the forefront. He did not quite squeak this one out, but Lalime and he was truly in their own category. To start, and our highest weighted statistic, his SV% of .914 was quite remarkable, especially considering the span of ten years with the organization. What’s more, is the fact that he got it done when it counted. Twice Anderson got the Senators out of the first round. He was a huge part of the Cinderella run to the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. If we had tracking for fan favourites and intangibles, Anderson probably would have won the GOAT (Goalie-of-all-Time) award.
The Epic Nickname of the List
- Andrew Hammond – admittedly, this is a bit of a shocker. When you consider that regular season games played was given the second most weight. On the other hand, it is not such a surprise when you really look at the totals of goalies who have played for the Senators. Not many goalies have played a lot of games. For instance, Martin Gerber is 7th on the GP list with 100. Therefore, Hammond’s 55 career GP, is not that proportionately misaligned compared to the rest of the challengers in our case study. So, why is the Hamburglar number 2, besides the EPIC nickname? His .920 adjusted save percentage ranked second amongst Senators goaltenders. Both his career Win % and GAA ranked high as well, and his four shutouts helped solidify his standing. The four shutouts may seem insignificant when compared to Lalime’s 35. However, the four allowed his overall ranking not to slip too low, and in fact, was tenth amongst Senators goaltenders.
Of course, Hammond is not out of place given his fairy tale 2015 campaign. His 20-1-2 record after a late call-up, propelled the squad to the post-season that year. All the more remarkable, as he had laced them up for one NHL game at that point. In the end, he did play one more season, but nowhere near the accolades. It just goes to show, that with so much movement in the organization in the crease, one good run, does a legend make.
The Dominator, the Hall-Of-Famer
- Dominik Hasek – another one-hit wonder in 2005-06, but the Dominator did have something special. Some suggest if it were not for a late-season injury, this year’s Senators version was in fact better than the 2007 team that made the finals. It was sustained while representing his homeland, the Czech Republic, at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics. In addition, his adjusted SV% of .927 smashed the rest of the competition. That year, he had a 2.09 GAA, five shutouts, and a .714 WIN%. Even at the ripe old age of 41, that year for Hasek was quite memorable even for his standards.
- Ray Emery – we can confidently say, the late Ray Emery is about where you’d expect him to land. Even if those around him might be shuffled, having the tough guy goalie at five feels about right. He is third in playoff wins at 18, but it is not close. Fourth happens to be Damian Rhodes with five. Additionally, Emery’s 143 games played were enough to put his high standing at a respectable level. Neither his GAA (2.71), nor his adjusted SV% (.907), were anything to brag about, but he was a winner. He led the franchise to their only Stanley Cup final appearance in 2007.
Emery was always passionate and would stick up for his teammates. He wore his emotions on his sleeve, and his tough guy image was personified in many ways. One of them was his unique boxing-themed masks, including one featuring the Champ, Mohammed Ali. He may have had an up-and-down career, but he will always be remembered for his skills shining through in that one magical playoff run.
The Wiley Vet of the Bunch
- Ron Tugnutt – how can we have an Ottawa Senators top-ten goalie list, and not include “The Tugger?” We couldn’t! Simply put, Ron Tugnutt was a terrific goalie with the Senators. He came to the Senators after proving he still had it for a full year in the AHL with the Portland Pirates in 1995-96. When Tugnutt came to the Senators, it was at the time when the franchise was starting to turn the proverbial corner. Some say he was even the reason. He helped lead the team to their first playoff appearance in 1996-97. That would begin an 11-year streak for the team making the playoffs. Moreover, he would go on to play 166 career games for the Senators. All the while, he boasted a respectable 2.32 GAA. Considering these facts, Ron Tugnutt currently has himself at six, on the Senators 10 best goalies.
The Controversial Selection
- Jani Hurme – okay, where would a top-ten list be without (a lot) of controversy? Cue Finnish goaltender, Jani Hurme. Hurme was the 58th overall pick for the Senators in the 1997 draft. Similar to a current Sens up-and-coming goalie, Leevi Merilainen, Hurme was highly touted out of the Liiga in Finland. Hurme’s inclusion on the list is a product of a couple of factors. First of all, he joined the Senators, in the middle of their playoff streak, so the team in front of him was solid. As long as he played just all right, he would put up good numbers. Secondly, and most credibly for making the list, he played in just enough games to not diminish his numbers. He appeared in 48 games for the Senators in his career. All of his stat lines were impressive during his run, probably most notably five shutouts. His Win % of .625 during that time, also helped his case.
The Swiss Stopper
- Martin Gerber – when you add it up, the Swiss product is probably a little low if anything. Conversely, his zero career playoff wins as a Senator makes it more logical. Gerber laced them up for 100 games. His numbers were decent, but not overly impressive, with a 2.76 GAA and an adjusted SV% of .908.
Where Could He Have Been if He Hit His Peak as a Senator?
- Robin Lehner – is he too low? Maybe. His 86 games and a solid .912 adjusted SV% would suggest that is he too low. Those two alone might have him higher. As a note, his off-ice lifestyle or propensity for unexpected answers to reporters were not factored in. So, why was he so low? Unlike many on this list, he did not get it done in the win column. Such is the case, his .462 Win % and zero playoff wins are sufficient evidence.
One More One-Hit-Wonder
- Martin Prusek – because we needed an unheralded figure, a forgotten warrior. How might you ask, did Prusek in his 48 career games crack the list? It starts and finishes with his .683 Win %. Maybe throw in his 2.23 GAA over those games, and mix in three shutouts. What you have is a very short, yet successful tenured tendy.
Few Final Thoughts, and Oh, Honourable Mentions
There you have it, the top-ten history of Ottawa Senator goalie list. Hope you have enjoyed it. We would be remised, if we did not mix in the honourable mentions. In no particular order, Ben Bishop, Anton Forsberg, and Brian Elliot. The two former Sens did compile successful careers for themselves, mostly elsewhere. Just good examples, of the volatility the Senators have had between the pipes over the years. Finally, one note on Forsberg. If he (and a big if too), can have a good run in 2023-24, he might squeak on future lists. On the other hand, if he does not do that, he might find himself struggling for an NHL job.
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