When the Red Wings had Hall of Fame goalies for a decade

Hall of Fame goalie Harry Lumley played seven seasons for the Detroit Red Wings from 1943 to 1950, culminating in a Stanley Cup title in 1949-1950.

For 10 straight seasons, 1947-48 through 1956-57, a Detroit Red Wings netminder led the National Hockey League in victories. This is a streak unprecedented in league history, and a testament to the consistent quality of Jack Adams’ teams of the post-World War II era.

To put this streak in some kind of perspective, note that a Detroit goalie has led the NHL in victories on only six other occasions: Normie Smith in 1935-36 and 1937-37; Johnny Mowers in 1942-43; Tim Cheveldae in 1991-92; Chris Osgood in 1995-96; and Dominik Hasek in 2001-02.

Here’s a look at the goalies who were in the crease for the Wings during that dynastic stretch, which included four Stanley Cup titles.

Season	   Goalie	      Wins
1947-48	   Harry Lumley	        30
1948-49	   Harry Lumley	        34
1949-50*   Harry Lumley	        33
1950-51	   Terry Sawchuk	44
1951-52*   Terry Sawchuk	44
1952-53	   Terry Sawchuk	32
1953-54*   Terry Sawchuk	35
1954-55*   Terry Sawchuk	40
1955-56	   Glenn Hall		30
1956-57	   Glenn Hall		38

*Detroit won Stanley Cup

All three of those goalies: Lumley, Sawchuk, and Hall, are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s an unprecedented string of goalie play on one team, sort of a goalie dynasty all on its own. Given free agency and the rarity of great goalie play in the league, we’ll probably never see another team dominate play in the net like the Red Wings did in that era.

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About Richard Bak

Richard Bak grew up on Detroit's west side doing poor imitations of Dick McAuliffe's batting stance and Denny McLain's leg kick. He is a contributing writer to Hour Detroit magazine and the author of nearly 30 books, including biographies of Ty Cobb and Joe Louis. Bak's most recent books are The Big Jump, the story of Charles Lindbergh and the great New York-to-Paris air race of the 1920s, and Detroitland, a collection of his history pieces. He currently is finishing two more books of history: Soldier of Misfortune: The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik and Its Aftermath (DaCapo) and When Lions Were Kings: The Detroit Lions and the Fabulous Fifties (Wayne State University Press), both of which will be published in 2015.