Hackett was a solid NHL goaltender. Put him on the 1980-83 Canadiens, and he is likely in the top 20 of this list.
Roy's rookie season was solid, but did not leave any indication of what was to come in April and May. For me, he didn't announce his future greatness until May 5, 1986. I have had the VHS tape of Game 3 against the Rangers for over 20 years, and although it doesn't match the anxiety of watching it live, it was the first glimpse at what lie ahead. How that game or Eric Desjardin's hat trick in the 1993 finals did not make the 10 greatest games DVD is beyond me, but at least I get to watch the Heritage Classic whenever I want to.
Vachon struggled to unseat Worsley as the Canadiens starter in 1969 and was again relegated to the bench for the 1968 playoffs. He caught his break during the second round when Worsley broke his hand. Vachon stepped in and went 7-1 with a 1.42 GAA as the Habs eliminated the Bruins and swept the Blues to win the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens paved the way for Vachon's ascension by dealing Tony Esposito to the Hawks.
Thomas can thank Ken Dryden and his decision to take a $123,000 pay cut for being on this list. Dryden left the Canadiens high and dry in 1974 to intern at a law firm, leaving the duties to Wayne Thomas, Michel Plasse and a 21 year old Larocque.
Thomas enjoyed the best regular season of the three, but Larocque lead the charge into the playoffs as the defending champions flamed out in the first round, thus paving the way for the emergence of the Broad Street bully era in the NHL.
I wonder if Dryden has a fifteen minute dissertation about how he may have had a hand in the ascent of the goon era.
Theodore returned from his 2003 vacation and appeared to have regained his MVP form. Although his numbers appeared similar to his 2002 campaign, they were helped by the lowest scoring season in post expansion history. They also were strikingly similar to Mathieu Garon's. After leading the Habs to another upset of the Bruins, the perception was that Theodore had returned, but being traded for David Aebischer was an announcement to the NHL that his days as an elite goaltender were over. Fortunately for him, Pierre Lacroix and George McPhee weren't listening.
With Worsley temporarily retiring in 1969 after 8 games, Vachon had finally become the undisputed starter in Montreal. During his first season as the go - to goalie, the Canadiens missed the playoffs for the only time in 45 seasons (1948-1994). Vachon took his share of the blame and with Tony Esposito registering 15 shutouts and winning the Calder/Vezina trophy combo in Chicago, the 1969-70 season was the beginning of the end for Rogie in Montreal.
I have seen it explained before that Roy's 1993 playoff performance was overrated because he didn't raise his playoff level as much as he lowered his regular season performance. Granted his performance in the 1993 regular season was a disappointment compared to the level he had established between 1989-92, but Roy was adjusting to life without Pat Burns and the implementation of a more wide open system.
Roy's 1993 performance placed him 5th among NHL goaltenders in efficiency, not exactly a poor season. Roy gets the bulk of the credit for the 1993 Cup, but it is something that has been overplayed by the media. He was the Canadiens best player and deserving of the Conn Smythe trophy, but a 103 pt team that was leading the NHL standings with 15 games to go was not a fluke.
You don't win the Stanley Cup on goaltending alone. Eric Desjardins, Matthieu Schneider and John Leclair went on to great careers, but in 1993 were not viewed with the same amount of respect as they are now. It is easy to see why the '93 Habs were disrespected, as a Roy fan, I would love to perpetuate the myth, but it's not reality.
Jeff Hackett replaced Thibault in the Canadiens goal for the 1999 season. Hackett did an admirable job for a terrible Canadiens squad that saw Rejean Houle continue the dismantling of the one - time contender. Houle followed up the Hackett deal by unloading Mark Recchi and Vincent Damphousse as the Canadiens stumbled to their lowest point total in over 35 years. Houle managed to turn Roy, Turgeon, Damphousse and Recch into Hackett, Corson, Zubrus and a couple of draft picks. Hackett was a solid goaltender, but just happened to be in Montreal at the wrong time. During his 5 seasons the Canadiens went 161-179-48-22. Their worst stretch since the 1930's.
Dead man walking. That was Huet's 2008 season. Huet was in a walk year and with Jaroslav Halak lighting up the AHL and Carey Price coming off a huge season, it was unlikely the Habs would waste $5M in cap space to resign what they essentially viewed as a bridge. When Huet failed to outperform the 20 year old Price, he was dealt to Washington at the deadline.
In an ideal world, Huet could have acted as a mentor to Price and possibly stepped in when he faltered in the 2nd round, but the NHL 2.0 does not provide that luxury.
If anybody signed a deal with the devil it would be Steve Penney. There is nothing in his career, pre and post 1985 playoffs that could suggest what occurred for those magical six weeks and the following season. Penney had arrived like a messiah leading the Canadiens back to respectability in March of 1984, but it wasn't Penney who had signed the deal with the devil, it was the Canadiens. The dark prince to all those who love offensive hockey was responsible for the magical transformation of the journeyman goaltender. 63 games into the 1984 season the Canadiens hired Jacques Lemaire to replace Bob Berry, and with that the Canadiens choked the offense out of oppositions. Two weeks later Steve Penney joined the team.
It is no coincidence that when Lemaire left in 1985 that Penney's game left with him. Steve Penney was never relevant without Jacques Lemaire behind the bench, coincidence? I think not.