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Goal Line Report

Is Richter Hall of Fame Worthy?

With the most recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductions having taken place, I figured now would be a good time to bring up a player that I think deserves a call into hockey’s hallowed hall one of these days.

While many would think that I would go with obvious ones such as may be a Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, or even Eric Lindros, I decided to take the road less travelled by and go with someone who is more than likely going to stay on the cusp. You can call me crazy but I think this particular player deserves some serious recognition.

One player that I think deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame is former New York Rangers’ netminder Mike Richter. Sure, he may not have the amount of wins that a Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, or Terry Sawchuk or even the pedigree of a Grant Fuhr, but Richter was one of the game’s elite netminders for several seasons and paved the way for how U.S. netminders play in today’s NHL.

For starters, Richter is one of the Rangers’ franchise’s greatest players of all time. Richter spent his entire career with the Blueshirts, 14 seasons in all, and did so in fine fashion. He is the leader for wins by a Rangers’ netminder (301) and one of few Rangers’ goaltenders to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup, which he did back in 1994.

Secondly, his stats are pretty solid for a goaltender. Having 300 wins is something that the Hall of Fame tends to like and his career goals against average of 2.89, a save percentage of .904 and 24 shutouts. Again, not Brodeur numbers but solid numbers for a goaltender that played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League.

Richter also appeared in three NHL All-Star games. The most memorable one being the one in 1994 at Madison Square Garden when he was the game’s most valuable player.

Richter’s achievement in International Hockey as a member of USA Hockey also needs to be looked at. In 1996, he put USA Hockey back on the map by leading his country to victory at the World Cup of Hockey. For his stellar play, he was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Six years later, he almost led USA Hockey to another victory when the team won a Silver Medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. For his fine play, Richter made the tournament All-Star team.

Again, Mike Richter is probably not the most obvious choice when it comes to players who should be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Then again, Richter is a player that deserves some serious recognition.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richter, new+york+rangers

Comments

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No

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 11/17/11 at 05:26 PM ET

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No way.

Posted by steiner on 11/17/11 at 06:10 PM ET

awould's avatar

I know of a goalie with 401 wins, multiple Cups, 2.49 GAA, .905 SV% and 50 SHO that a lot of people argue against allowing into the HHOF.  These stats put this guy on the cusp, apparently. So if a guy with those stats is on the cusp, where does that put Richter?  On the way outside looking up at the guys on the cusp. It’s never gonna happen and shouldn’t even be considered.

Posted by awould on 11/17/11 at 06:28 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

It’ll happen. Just because of what awould just said. That’s why it’ll happen

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 11/17/11 at 06:37 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I guess I’m in the minority… I say YES. His numbers are cut short because of unfortunate injury (wasn’t as if he was injury prone or missed a lot of time until that head injury), but not so short he doesn’t still have the credentials (kind of like a Cam Neely or Bobby Orr, though I’m not saying Richter is the Orr of goalies).

Also, he was excellent on the international stage and is a huge influence for a whole generation of really really good American goaltenders that we are watching the league now.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/17/11 at 06:55 PM ET

awould's avatar

Also, he was excellent on the international stage and is a huge influence for a whole generation of really really good American goaltenders that we are watching the league now.

This is the only good argument FOR him, I think. I mean, he had a good career and was a good NHL goalie, not trying to diminish that. But his NHL stats do not stack up to the HHOF.

Posted by awould on 11/17/11 at 07:02 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Oh, and add me to the “No list” as far as Lindros goes too.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 11/17/11 at 07:03 PM ET

awould's avatar

Oh, and add me to the “No list” as far as Lindros goes too.

Lindros did lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997. Like a pig into slaughter. ha ha

Posted by awould on 11/17/11 at 07:06 PM ET

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Richter’s NHL statistics, especially when you look at save percentage versus league average over his career, are good but nowhere near elite. His numbers are generally better than the backups the Rangers employed during his tenure, but not by as much as you might expect.

Also, for several consecutive years during his peak, the Rangers consistently gave up one to two more shots per game at home than on the road (a rare occurrence in any case, especially considering the Rangers had a much better record at home than on the road over the same time frame).

Although that doesn’t prove anything, it could suggest that the Rangers’ official scorer during that period might have been overly generous in crediting saves to Rangers goalies. This possibility is further corroborated by the fact that Richter’s road save percentage was quite average for a starting goalie of his era.

Richter played in a big market his entire career, helping it win a long-awaited Stanley Cup. He also had a lot of success in international play (though, to be fair, there really wasn’t much competition among other American goalies). That certainly boosted his profile.

But I think it’s a stretch to say he was one of the game’s “elite” netminders for any period of time. He was top ten, maybe even top five for a small slice of his career, but I don’t think it’s nearly enough to be considered Hall-worthy. Even with his international accomplishments, his NHL resume is too much “solid” and not enough “great.”

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 11/17/11 at 07:07 PM ET

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It is the Hockey Hall of Fame, not NHL Hall of Fame. International excellence should put him over the top IMO.

Posted by mc keeper on 11/17/11 at 07:40 PM ET

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RIchter will not make it in because there are too many goalies that should be in beofre him.  After Osgood and Brodeur between him and the HoF there are CuJo, Vernon, Moog, Vanbiesbrouck, and then the current actives will creep up on him…Luongo, Khabibulin, Thomas, etc…

No more than 1 goalie per year will be elected, so I expect that we’re looking at 4 to 6 year wait for Osgood, during which CuJo may or may not get in…, but Osgood should be in BEFORE CuJo PERIOD.  Brodeur will get in before Osgood, especially if he retires after this season.  Vernon might also be in before Osgood.

Posted by Bobafett from Las Vegas on 11/17/11 at 08:02 PM ET

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He lost with 80m dollar teams, he was on team Nagano and needed to buy a ticket to attend a playoff game after 1997, upsetting the Devils and being the second best goalie to Kirk McLean’s 35-34 team in 1994 finals does not put you in the hall of fame.

He made teams and players worse, Cablevision always wanted to dump him for Cujo, who would not come to play for Dolan or Neil Smith at any price.

Plus Richter was no team player, always selfish, always demanding starts, he had to be in another all-star and got hurt in the skills competition.

Barasso, Osgood, about a dozen goalies far better not in the HOF who merit real consideration over Ranger fan Hoffman sales pitch article.

What’s next Fleury should be in the HOF as a Ranger.

Chico Resch deserves HOF more than Richter winning a cup with New York.

Posted by NYIFC on 11/17/11 at 08:52 PM ET

K24's avatar

He made teams and players worse, Cablevision always wanted to dump him for Cujo, who would not come to play for Dolan or Neil Smith at any price.

Plus Richter was no team player, always selfish, always demanding starts, he had to be in another all-star and got hurt in the skills competition.

Prove it.

Posted by K24 from NYC on 11/17/11 at 10:08 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Sorry NY area fans, but Richter gets in the H.O.F when Chris Osgood opens the door from the inside for him!

Posted by Down River Dan on 11/17/11 at 10:45 PM ET

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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.