Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Patrick Roy Killed Quebec's Status As Goaltending Factory

On December 2nd, 1995, the Detroit Red Wings hammered the Montreal Canadiens 11-1. Goaltender Patrick Roy was not pulled until after the 9th goal (which was midway through the 2nd  period), after which he walked up to the team President and declared that he had just played his last game in Montreal. Sergei Fedorov had a team high 5 PTS for Detroit in the game that arguably destroyed the Montreal Canadiens franchise.

Did that one fatefull night actually have a negative effect on Quebec's status as a hockey "goaltending factory"? In 2012 for the first time in over 20 years, not a single goaltender was drafted out of the QMJHL, highlighting a steady decline over the last eight years. In the last 3 drafts, only 5 goalies were drafted from the Q; compared to 14 drafted in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 drafts (though only 2 of those 14 would go on to play more than 1 NHL game). If this is more than just a coincidence, what's the difference between young goalies born in 1986 and those born in 1994 (the birth year of most 2012 draft picks)?

The last bumper crop of Quebec goalies were those old enough to remember the Montreal Canadiens last Stanley Cup. The last best goalie drafted to the NHL from the QMJHL was MA Fleury in 2003, who would have been about 10 years old when Roy went to Colorado. Most future professional goaltenders decide to strap on the pads between the ages of 7-12. The 2005 draft class born in 1987 would have been 8 years old when Patrick Roy had his infamous temper tantrum and f**ked the historic franchise. There has been a steady decline in the quality of Quebec goaltending since those in their formative years when Roy left town. This was a province famous for its ability to produce goaltenders, yet one cold night in 1995 might have ruined that.

Below is a chart with the # of QMJHL goalies drafted each year over the last 20 years. Look at the data, decide and decide for yourself; did Patrick Roy destroy a generation of Quebecois goaltending? I'd like to think so.

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