These are mostly from the last two decades or so. It seems like there are always a few goalies who the powers that be proclaim to be the next big thing. Yet goalie is one of the most interesting positions in any sport. Your the only player who plays the whole game, just about every minute. Sometimes a team and a goalie just don’t mesh, sometimes a backup is just meant to stay backup. Here are some of the more memorable ones.
People were talking about him just needing a chance for a while. That chance wasn’t coming with Felix “The Cat” Potvin in net. He eventually made his way to the awful but improving Ottawa Senators. Splitting time with Also-Ran Ron Tugnutt it slowly became clear that Rhodes had peaked while Tugnutt continued to improve and won the job. He was then picked up by the Thrashers, who proceeded to be one of the all time worst expansion teams. Although it can be argued that his struggles weren’t all his fault, his time in Atlanta was the end of his career. From promising Backup to out of the league in only Six years.
Another former Leaf. The 16th overall pick in 1994 was talked of as the “Next Roy”. By now that’s almost a warning sign not to pick up a goalie. Although impressive in the AHL, Milbury had told anyone that would listen that this kid was the future of the franchise. He was called up far too early, and through three years on the Island he lost the starting job to Tommy Salo. Following his last season as an Islander he never again reached double digit games and became the quintessential journeyman goalie a team picked up when it needed a cheap backup or third stringer. His last NHL playing time was in 2001, meaning another goalie from promising elite to out of the league in only six years.
Growing up in NYC, I never heard the end of it about Cloutier. He was the next big thing, and the overrated Goon and his run in with Salo always annoyed me. I knew his trade to the Lightning was going to be his ending. It would have been a majority of the time. Two seasons with a sub .900 sv% looked like the end of the road for him. Unfortunately the Canucks grabbed him off the scrap heap and put a NHL caliber team in front of him. He still struggled as a starter before being shipped off to the Kings when the team got Roberto Luongo. Out of hockey now, he’s so infamous for being a bad goalie that there’s a picture of him with a beach ball in the net.
The Poor Flyers. Every few years their backup gets hot in the playoffs, they think they have finally taken care of their weak goalie position, he ends up being a bust the next season. Snow was highly touted in the time between his being drafted and making the NHL. He had an incredible run. Ending up in Philly behind Hextall,he got hot and helped lead the Flyers to the Confrence finals. The following year there was High expectations, but he didn’t really pan out and Hextall was back as starter. A few more years in Vancouver, Penguins and finally a few years (with one outstanding season) for the Islanders before calling it quits. He is far above expectations when it comes to being a General Manager.
Another one of those “Next Patrick Roy” he was helped by playing behind Roy himself. A Former first rounder, he had two really good seasons behind Roy before being tagged in the expansion draft by Columbus. In four years in Columbus he did have two outstanding seasons, but could never get to the 30 Win plateau. After being traded to the Lightning he hit career lows with a .889 SV% Followed by a .859 and a later stint with Montreal he only managed a .857 SV%. His career is all but over already.
A lot of Jersey Goalies could take this spot. But Dunham, drafted the same year as Brodeur had a lot of fans and pundits predicting greatness. The Devils themselves went so far as to (Claimed by his agent) underplay him so either he couldn’t be a RFA or he wouldn’t be in the Expansion Draft. In the end he was picked up the expansion Predators. He had some good seasons too, but injuries would continually pile on. When the Predators gave up on him and went with Vokoun, things wouldn’t get better. Of his next four seasons after the Predators he only managed to get back above a .900 SV% once, and that was his first year with the Rangers. Like another goalie on this list, he finished his career on the Island and ended up moving to become a coach at the end of his career. Meanwhile Brodeur is still protecting the crease in Jersey.
These are almost all going off memory and some checking via Wikipedia and HockeyDB. If I got anything wrong feel free to comment, My memory is not that good.