4. Terry Sawchuk

From a Ukrainian background in the tundra of Winnipeg, Terry Sawchuk is one of the greatest hockey players to come out of the province of Manitoba.  The Red Wings signed the Goalie in 1947, and after a stint in the minors, he was called up to replace the injured Harry Lumley late in the 1949-50 Season.  Lumley never played for Detroit again.

Sawchuk easily won the Calder in 1950-51, and he led the NHL Goalies in Wins (44), Shutouts (11), Goalie Point Shares (17.0), and he was named a First Team All-Star.  There was no doubt that Sawchuk was the best Goalie in hockey that year, but he would prove that he was the best netminder in the first half of the 1950s.

Winning three Vezinas in the next four years, Sawchuk was a First Team All-Star in 1951-52 & 1952-1953 (winning the GAA title in both years) and a Second Team All-Star the two seasons that followed.  While Sawchuk had a lot of offensive talent in front of him, he more than did his job in net, and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1952, 1953, and 1955.   

As great as Sawchuk was, Detroit deemed him expendable, as they had Glenn Hall waiting in the wings.  He was traded to Boston, but that stay was a disaster for both parties.  In his second year, Sawchuk was diagnosed with mono, and he retired, citing exhaustion. It was a bad look for Sawchuk, and even if he were to return, the Bruins fans wanted nothing to him.  Detroit traded Hall to Chicago, and reacquired Sawchuk for run number two in the Motor City.

Sawchuk’s second stint as a Red Wing stretched from 1957 to 1964, and he was still a good goalie.  In two of those years, Sawchuk was a Second Team All-Star, with both years earning a top-five finish for the Hart.  The Toronto Maple Leafs landed him the 1964 Intra-League Draft, and after winning another Cup there.  After a season with Los Angeles, Sawchuk returned to Detroit for one more year, playing as a backup.  Sawchuk went to the Rangers for a final year before retiring.

With the Red Wings, Sawchuk amassed a record of 350-245-132, and he still holds the franchise records for Games Played (734), Wins (350) and Shutouts (85).

Sawchuk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971, and in 1994 his #1 was hung to the rafters.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Goalie
  • Acquired: Signed in 1947.
  • Departed:

    Traded to the Boston Bruins with Vic Stasiuk, Marcel Bonin, and Lorne Davis for Ed Sandford, Real Chevrefils, Norm Corcoran, Gilles Boisvert, and Warren Godfrey 6/3/55.

    Acquired (2): Traded from the Boston Bruins for John Bucyk and Cash 7/10/57.

    Departed (2): Claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Intra-League Draft 6/10/64.

    Acquired (3): Traded from the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Peters 10/10/68.

    Departed (3): Traded to the New York Rangers with Sandy Snow for Larry Jeffrey 6/17/69.

  • Games Played: 734
  • Notable Statistics:

    350 Wins
    245 Losses
    132 Ties 
    2.44 GAA 
    .904 Save Percentage* 
    141.8 Goalie Point Shares
    46-37, 2.40 Playoff GAA

    *Save Percentage was not calculated until the 1955-56 Season

  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    Stanley Cup Champion (1952, 1954 & 1955)
    Vezina Trophy (1952, 1953 & 1955)
    First Team All-Star (1951, 1952 & 1953)
    Second Team All-Star (1954, 1955, 1959 & 1963)
    All-Star Game (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1959 & 1963)
    Calder Trophy (1951)
    Most Games Played by a Goalie (1950-51, 1951-52 & 1957-58)
    Most Wins (1950-51, 1951-52, 1952-53, 1953-54 & 1954-55)
    Most Saves (1957-58)
    Lowest Goals Against Average (1951-52 & 1952-53)
    Most Shutouts (1950-51, 1951-52 & 1954-55)
    Most Minutes Played (1950-51, 1951-52 & 1957-58)
    Most Goalie Point Shares (1950-51, 1951-52 & 1952-53)
    Most Point Shares (1950-51 & 1951-52)

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