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12-22-2010, 12:05 PM
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
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With the #65 pick in A2010, The Rosemont Mintos are pleased to select:

Gilles Villemure, G

Villemure was the backup (or 1B?) for one of the strongest goaltending tandems of all-time with Ed Giacomin. One year apart in age, these two goalies led the Rangers to three 100-point seasons and two more with 94 and 88, between 1971 and 1975.

TCG makes an excellent case that Giacomin was possibly undeserving of his five all-star team nods, or at least was a default choice in a few of them (, but there is no doubt that he was at the very least one of the few best goalies in the game. Well, from 1971-1975, Villemure actually had virtually the same win% as Giacomin (.645 to .642), and a significantly better GAA (2.60 to 2.85). He wasn't just riding the pine, either: His 9732 minutes represent 41% of New York's goaltending minutes over this time, Giacomin played 56%.

overpass did some great work using the Hockey Summary Project a few weeks back, detailing the difference in strength of opposition for a few choice tandems over the years. He demonstrated that Giacomin faced opponents with about 4% better win percentages, and about 3% better offenses:

1971-75 New York Rangers - Giacomin vs Villemure
Year Team Player GP OppW% OppG/G Player GP OppW% OppG/G
1971 NYR Giacomin 45 0.470 3.04 Villemure 34 0.503 3.04
1972 NYR Giacomin 44 0.534 3.05 Villemure 37 0.440 2.81
1973 NYR Giacomin 43 0.509 3.25 Villemure 34 0.475 3.10
1974 NYR Giacomin 56 0.484 3.08 Villemure 21 0.522 3.17
1975 NYR Giacomin 37 0.532 3.50 Villemure 45 0.491 3.32
71-75 NYR Giacomin 225 0.504 3.17 Villemure 171 0.483 3.09

If the two goalies performed equally, you'd expect Villemure to outperform Giacomin by about 3%. But Giacomin was considered better, so he should have bridged that 3%, and then some. So why does Villemure actually have the 9% better GAA during this time? Let's see if save percentage tells us anything:

Giacomin - 5439/6062: .897
Villemure - 3943/4365: .903

So Villemure's sv% was about 6% better, so in about the same range. This doesn't illuminate the analysis any further.

No doubt Giacomin was considered better in this time, and he probably was (it vould have also been reputation from his four all-star spots prior to this) and he got most of the playoff starts, performing well from a W/L standpoint but poorly from a sv% standpoint. Villemure's playoff numbers are too small a sample to attempt a meaningful comparison.

Point of all this: Villemure, from 1971-1975, was about as good as Giacomin. The two actually went to the all-star game together in 1971 and 1973, but Villemure went without Eddie in 1972. (not sure, maybe there's a story behind that?) And Villemure actually earned a ton of All-star recognition relative to the other goalies available right now:

1973: 3rd with 42 points (behind Dryden/Esposito)
1971: 4th with 18 points (behind Giacomin/Plante/Esposito) - he was also 10th in Hart voting this year
1972: 5th with 14 points (behind Esposito/Dryden/Cheevers/Worsley)

He was 3rd, 6th, and 10th in the NHL in save% in his three best seasons, the same years he earned the all-star recognition.

Villemure also proved his worth before joining the NHL full-time: In 1966 he was the WHL's 2nd all-star, and in 1969 and 1970, he was not only the AHL's first all-star team goalie, he was also the MVP, and In 1970, he swept the Springfield Kings in the AHL finals.

Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1973
a year-round athlete, he drives harness race horses in the summer... claims handling the trotters helps his reflexes and thus his goaltending as well... chosen to play in the last two midseason all-star games... a standup goalie who seldom flops to the ice...
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1974
unperturbable goalie who never loses his poise under pressure... "he's the perfect temperament for a goalie," says teammate Vic hadfield... uses a standup style and like partner Ed Giacomin, is slick with his stick... makes tough saves look easy with his relaxed style...
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1975
a superb "angles" goalie...
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1976
outdid his longtime partner Ed Giacomin last season... stand up style... plays angles well...
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1977
one of Fred Shero's favourite goalies...

Last edited by seventieslord: 01-03-2011 at 09:38 PM.
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