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.