Tuesday night, the Sabres were desperate for goaltending. They had to make retired goalie, Arturs Irbe the emergency backup. I’m not sure if anyone knew where Irbe was for so long; did he defect from Latvia to play in the ECHL was he making a comeback and wanted that elusive Cup. It got me to thinking: Is Irbe the 18th best Canucks goalie of all time?
I’m sure this question is a bit of an odd ball one. People are probably not as excited as Oaken was in Frozen.
Archie played 41 games for Vancouver in the 97/98 season and he led that team to um…14 wins and a 2.73 GAA. His .907 save percentage was about as meaningful as the Canucks trip to Nagano that year. We didn’t really care after a while. Not to be forgotten, Mark Messier arrived that year; we did not like this. Im guessing Irbe didn’t feel comfortable either….for a few reasons.
So where does Irbe rank as one of the greatest Canucks goalies ever? For starters, the list is pretty long because there was a time where we had more goalies than games played. Not sure if that translates but I’m rolling with it.
If we go by hockey-reference.com, they have the goalies ranked alphabetical and Arturs Irbe is 24th. So then he is not the 18th best. If it comes down to wins, he coincidentally is 24th as well. Sure, his helmet was ahead of its time and when the Canucks got him, he wasn’t exactly his early 90’s self. The only season he played for the Nucks, there were 5 goalies; it was a tough season.
Irbe enjoyed success in San Jose and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final with Carolina but lost to the Red Wings. He didn’t take the Canucks to the Stanley Cup, he probably didn’t even take the sky train once! All these highlights in a pretty good career with goofy equipment didn’t land Irbe the top spot on the all time Canucks goalie list, but as far as I’m concerned he’s worth being #18, because quite frankly Peter Skudra doesn’t deserve to be.