As the years pass by in a hockey players career there comes a point where, at least for the great ones, people begin discussing their “legacy”. Where they stand amongst their peers in terms of the greatest players to play the game.
To aid us in the conversation are certain benchmarks that we use to separate the good from the great. The great from the elite. Numbers that we rarely see achieved and so, in the rare occasion we do, we know we’re seeing something special.
For skaters there are many of these benchmarks. 500 goals, which has happened just 45 times in league history, is a big one. As is 600 goals, surpassed only 20 times. There is also the 1,000 point mark (87 times) and 1,500 points (just 13 times).
For goalies there is just one benchmark. Wins.
In the history of the NHL just 13 goalies have amassed 400 career wins.
With his victory tonight, a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury became No. 13.
Fleury joins the likes of Tony Esposito, Grant Fuhr, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo in the 400 Win Club and is the second fastest to achieve it at 728 career games (Henrik Lundqvist did it in 727).
To put it into some context; 609 goalies have recorded at least one victory in the NHL’s history. Fleury has more wins than the bottom 162 combined (314 if you count the ones that have played but never recorded a win). The other Golden Knight goalies who have started games this season (Maxime Lagace, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk) have a combined 20 career wins.
Fleury, who began his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins after being selected first-overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, recorded his first win October 18, 2003 against Dominik Hasek and the Detroit Red Wings.
Hasek, considered by many to be the game’s greatest goalie, has just 389 wins.
Fleury also sits No. 13 in NHL history with 18,838 career saves, No. 29 in shutouts with 47, and No. 40 in career points with 15. All assists. Also three Stanley Cup rings. Those too.
Flower finished in Pittsburgh with 375 wins, a .912 save percentage and 2.58 goals against average. He has a 25-9-3 record in Vegas this season with a .930 SV% and 2.16 GAA.
This guy’s legacy is an unforgettable one.