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05-27-2011, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
How are Esposito's regular season accomplishments better than those of Hugh Lehman or Tiny Thompson?
Re: Thompson, let's just look at the stuff I posted last night:

- 18 top-2s in wins, shutouts, GAA, same as Espo, but in a smaller league (yes, just team accomplishments, only a piece of the puzzle)
- Not his fault, but has no durability advantage over his peers as all goalies played every game generally. Espo was top-2 in minutes 9 times and was by far the most durable of his era. (Brodeur gets massive credit for this, why not Espo?)
- one fewer all-star team (4)
- one fewer first all-star team (2)
- the data doesn't really exist, unfortunately, to beef up his all-star voting record, though I can say he was legitimately 3rd (behind Normie Smith & Wilf Cude) in 1937
- Hart voting record nowhere near Espo's (one 4th-place)
- Not Thompson's fault that no sv% records exist, but for a post-1952 goalie like Espo (or Parent, or Dryden...) sv% records do serve as some proof that this wasn't "just" a goalie posting a low GAA by having a strong team, he did in fact stop pucks at a high level. - it provides a level of "conclusiveness" for modern goalies that we just don't have for the older guys, where GAA is the most telling statistic.
- Thompson's playoff record is every bit as disappointing compared to his regular season.

Where's the advantage for Thompson here?

Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
I was gonna say. Lehman is a 11-time all-star of the PCHA and multiple league champion. Eight times he backstopped his team to the Stanley Cup Finals, the biggest contest. He was indisputably one of the top-3 of his generation and top-10 of the earliest eras (eras, multiple ones, if one clumps all pre-consolidation NHL hockey together).

One would have to do some serious era discounting not to see Lehamn as at least Esposito's equal, if all-time greatness is to be judged by their accomplishments relative to their respective era.
- He's not "indisputably top-3" in his generation. Some would put Holmes ahead - actually, I think most would, considering he gets chosen an average of 230 spots ahead. The playoff gap is just too large there. Indisputably top-4, sure. There's no one else who would take that #4 spot.

- Wherever Lehman ranks in his generation, realistically, is also where he ranks among all pre-merger goalies. By now, everyone seems to regard that generation as considerably better than the last. I know no ATD GM who thinks that any of Hern, Hutton, Lesueur and Moran are better than any of Benedict, Vezina, Lehman and Holmes. I have no problem with this. It's unlikely that four goalies could all truly be so much more "dominant" relative to the field (in which they are all included) than the previous generation was. But, the further back we go, the harder it gets to truly identify which goalies were performing the greatest individually. We know their regular season GAA, we know who won the cups, we have "some" newspaper accounts, and beyond that.....?

- "8 times backstopped his team to the cup finals" is a bit of a smokescreen statement, too. Two of those times were solely due to regular season W/L record and the other 8 were from him winning a two-game PCHA playoff.

- era discounting? Absolutely there has to be some. Lehman played in a league that usually had four teams, and he was often considered the best there. That league was one of two major leagues. (in 1922-1924 it was one of three leagues) Where does a goalie who is 1st/2nd in one of the two leagues rank overall? Could be 1st, could be 5th. We can only speculate. Furthermore, in these times, the 7-8 best goalies in hockey weren't the 7-8 playing in the PCHA and the NHA/NHL. There were other good goalies playing senior hockey, for example. When you see people saying, and rightfully so, "a top-10 back then is like a top-20 now", the same thing has to apply equally to all players, and that includes goaltenders. You dominate against a smaller, weaker talent pool and your all-time greatness has to be considered accordingly. Being 2nd or 3rd-best then, isn't like being 2nd or 3rd-best now.

So, is an all-star voting record of 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, in a three-team league, generally considered to be an offensive league with less impressive goaltending, that was one of two/three big leagues at the time, where even if those leagues were consolidated, the talent pool size would be very small and would not contain all the best players, more impressive than an all-star voting record of 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7 sixty years later? Not necessarily! Or, to simplify further, is being the 4th-best goalie of the 1910-1925 generation more impressive than being the 4th/5th-best goalie of the 1970-1985 generation sixty years later? I think It takes very little era discounting to conclude that it isn't.

I mean, clearly there is a ton of league/era discounting going on already, otherwise, with an all-star record like that, he would clearly by the #1 goalie of all-time. Right?

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