Detroit Red Wings: Chris Osgood Waits for Call to the Hall

SAINT PAUL, MN - JANUARY 27: Goaltender Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings deflects a shot away from his goal against the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on January 27, 2010 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAINT PAUL, MN - JANUARY 27: Goaltender Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings deflects a shot away from his goal against the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on January 27, 2010 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Seven years ago today Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood announced his retirement from the National Hockey League.  Has there ever been a more unappreciated Red Wing nationally in NHL history?

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Chris Osgood back in 1991 with a third round selection.  Osgood did fly out of the gate running.  Finding success early on in his career with the Detroit Red Wings.  The call to the “show” came in 1993/94.  Osgood 21 years of age posted a 23-8-5 record after the call-up.

The lack of league-wide respect came two seasons later though in 1995/96.  Osgood posted a league leading 39 wins.  His total line for the season was 39-6-5.  Osgood would go on to finish 2nd in the Vezina Trophy race.  So you may ask yourself who won and with what record.  It must be Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur right?  Maybe Ed Belfour or Dominik Hasek.  If you’d guessed any of those, you would be incorrect.

The winner of the Vezina Trophy that year was Jim Carey.  Nope, not the actor.  Jim Carey at the time played for the Washington Capitals.  The 21 year stole the trophy with 40% of the vote, Chris Osgood received 35.38% of the ballot that same season according to Hockey Reference.  Jim Carey that season was 35-24-9.  A fabulous season but to say the least Osgood really could have walked away with the prestigious award quite early on in his career.

The kicker of the whole deal is not only did Osgood have a better record, more wins.  Osgood bested Carey in Goals Against Average along with a better save percentage.  Osgood posted a 2.17 GAA along with a .911 Save%.  Jim Carey a 2.26 GAA, .906 save%.

So this league-wide or lets say none Detroit market, of overlooking Chris Osgood started quite early on.  Detroit Red Wings fans have heard it all.  “Oh, he is the beneficiary of playing for great teams.”  “Osgood wouldn’t have been nearly as successful anywhere else.”  “Anyone can play net for the Detroit Red Wings.”

Stop it.  Detroit was on the up and up when Osgood arrived in town, no doubt about it.  Did he play for good teams?  Your darn right he did.  Don’t forget he also left Detroit and played for St.Louis and the New York Islanders.  Average teams at the time, guess what.  He never posted a sub .500 record for either.  The only time Chris Osgood posted a losing record in his NHL career was as a back up to Jimmy Howard.  Chris was 37 years old and went 7-9-4.

The old argument from fans about playing on a great team has been the main argument.  Do these people remember the Colorado rosters or the New Jersey Devils defense core?  I’m in no way shape or form comparing Osgood’s skill to Brodeur or Roy because he definitely is not as talented as they are.  I understand that, but the point is those teams were excellent.  The Dallas Stars were very good with Ed Belfour in the late 90’s/early 00.

Chris Osgood has carried a shadow over himself for so long and it’s just not fair to him.  At one time 400 wins were the mark of a sure hall of fame goaltender.  Chris Osgood archives 401 and still year after year his phone doesn’t ring.

Osgood, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, granted two as a starter.  As great as he was in the 1998 playoffs and yes I use the word great, he was even better ten years later in 2008.  Henrik Zetterberg won the Conn Smyth trophy in 07/08, well deserved mainly going head to head and frustrating Crosby shift after shift.  Chris Osgood took over the net from Dominik Hasek and never gave it back.  Osgood went on an unbelievable run posting a  14-4 record.  The best part though was the 1.55 GAA & .930 Save %.  That’s video game numbers.

Not taking anything away from Zetterberg but Osgood could have easily been chosen for the Conn Smyth trophy here.  Oh so close early in his career to a Vezina and again later in his career just missed on a playoff MVP award.

It’s not quite finished yet for Osgood believe it or not.  The following season coming off that terrific playoff run Osgood and the Detroit Red Wings are in the finals again. Leading the series 3 games to 2.  Detroit loses the final two games, game 7 being at home in Joe Louis Arena.  Osgood’s numbers were fairly similar to the previous playoff run people often say that was his Conn Smyth that year if Detroit had gone on to win.  Also adding another Stanley Cup should have sealed his fate in the Hall of Fame.

Chris Osgood was a victim of not being a flashy goaltender.  He wouldn’t be swimming around in the crease making some unbelievable save like Dom Hasek.  He wasn’t as dominating as Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur although at times had his moments.  Osgood wasn’t in the press for trashing locker rooms like Ed Belfour.  One thing the Detroit Red Wings could always count on though was steady goaltending night in and night out.  Some people often overlook reliability.  That’s what Chris Osgood was, Mr. Reliable.

Next: Detroit Red Wings: Against the Grain: A Look at Filip Zadina

That’s three significant times in his career greatness eluded him.  Chris Osgood may never get the “Call to the Hall” but make no mistake Chris Osgood is a Hall of Famer in the eyes of Detroit.