Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mike Richter - a Ranger Great - but better than Hank?

We've seen some items this week comparing Mike Richter to Henrik Lundqvist - starting with a blog entry over at by Patrick Hoffman. Very interesting topic, Patrick.

Let me weigh in by saying that, for starters, these are both exceptional goalies - they are both good enough to win a Stanley Cup with - and they are both better than that Marty guy over the river on the Newark team.

Mike will always have a special place in our Ranger hearts because he rose to the occasion. He was magnificent in battle and won us a Stanley Cup back in 1994.

Henrik on the other hand - well, we here at Blueshirt Brothers feel he has a chance to be one of the best goalies ever. He too has been magnificent in battle and has at time carried the team on his back at times.

Both players have had to work with poor supporting casts at times. Mike had 5 years of non playoff teams. Henrik has had the Tom Renney shooting gallery strategy with him as the target.

I think Mike gets a little extra boost right now because - years later - our strongest Richter memory is him winning the cup. And our last memory of Hank is the crushing, somewhat soft, goal that snuck by him in game seven in DC.

Here are the career stats for both - again from Patrick Hoffman:

For Richter:

Regular Season-
2.89 goals against average-
.904 save percentage

2.68 goals against average-
.909 save percentage

For Lundqvist:

Regular Season-
2.31 goals against average-
.917 save percentage

2.66 goals against average-
.907 save percentage

In the regular season - Lundqvist has been better. To me - save percentage is the key stat. A goalie faces shots and what percentage he saves tells the story of how good he is. For every 100 shots in the regular season - Mike let in 1.3 more goals.

The playoff stats favor Mike - but by the thinnest of margins.

And in the end there's this. Lundqvist was considered one of the leagues top 3 goalies in three of his four NHL seasons. Mike can't match that. And Hank may be the most overworked Ranger goalie in a long time - he lead the NHL in games played last year. No wonder he gave out at the end.

So I'd have to say - right now - Hank has had the better career and the higher potential. But I'm also expecting his game to bounce back from last year's decline. Tortorella's system will help Hank immensely by (1) keeping the puck away from him, and (2) providing him a lot more rest days.

Of course, if Hank's game continues to erode... but let's not even go there.


  1. Hey pal when Hank wins us a cup then we can begin to have this conversation.

  2. Hey Sect 414 - great to have you in the house.

    I love Richter. But when we won the cup in '94 it was not just the goaltending - there were 18 other guys out there skating also (Messier for example may have contributed a little bit...).

    To me, if you're asking for a goalie wh can dominate a game - it's Hank over Mike. But more folks out there agree with you than with me. Let's put it this way - if we do win a cup with Hank, then we can have the apples-to-apples discussion and everyone will be happy.

    Thanks for your comment and keep them coming!