Wichita Thunder debate No. 1: Best goalie after Desjardins?

10/25/2011 12:00 AM

08/05/2014 5:06 PM

The Eagle will mark the 20th anniversary Thunder season with an occasional debate about some aspect of the club's history.

Bobby Desjardins, Central Hockey League rookie of the year in 1992-93 and league MVP the following season, is generally regarded as the best goalie in Wichita Thunder history. Who's No. 2?

Three observers and beat writer Kollen Long weigh in here, and you can, too, in the comments section.

Thunder GM Joel Lomurno: Lomurno, who has been with the team for 19 years, narrowed it to George Maneluk, who won the Thunder's second title in 1994-95, and Jason Flick, a standout rookie (19-8-1, .2.63 GAA, 911 SP) in 2004-05. "Maneluk filled in very nicely for Desjardins and helped us win a championship, which no other Thunder goalie has done. Flick was just a solid, reliable goaltender who rarely had a bad game."

Robert Risser: Risser, who said he has been a Thunder fan since Day 1, took some time to check the stats but arrived at a firm decision: Sebastian Leplante. Leplante was a two-time Thunder MVP and holds the team record for saves percentage (.928). "He was just always in position. If he got a good eye on the puck, he could always stop it. Plus, he never showed up his teammate if they made a bad play."

DJ Johnson: Johnson, who has been a season-ticket holder for 17 years, chose Stan "Smokey" Reddick, a fan favorite in 2000-01 and 2001-02. Reddick played on truly awful teams, so his records weren't good, but he managed a 3.01 GAA and a .911 SP his first season. "Obviously, he didn't lead us to a championship, but I remember every night he would make spectacular saves and just spin on his head."

Kollen Long: The other guys make good choices and compelling arguments, but I'm going with Nathan Grobins, who shut down mighty Colorado and helped the Thunder reach the conference finals in 2003-04. Grobins always seemed a little goofy and slightly out of shape, but he went 28-14-2 with a .914 SP for the Thunder that season. His 2.49 goals-against is a team record.

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