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11-14-2012, 12:28 PM
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Tony Esposito the workhorse

Tony Esposito has a record as a workhorse goalie that is perhaps unprecedented in the post-expansion era. Six times he played the most minutes in the NHL, three other times he was 2nd, and twice more he was 3rd, for a total of 11 times in the top-3 – ever season from 1970-1981 except 1972, when he was “only” 6th.

Here are some other top post-expansion goalies and their top-3 minutes placements:

Brodeur: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-3-3
Esposito: 1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3
Kiprusoff: 1-1-3-3-3-3
Joseph: 2-2-3-3-3
Vachon: 2-2-3-3
Giacomin: 1-1-1
Irbe: 1-1-2
Belfour: 1-1-3
Fuhr: 1-2-2
Parent: 1-2-3
Hextall: 1-2-3
G Smith: 1-3-3
Luongo: 2-3-3
Bouchard: 2-3-3
Ranford: 3-3-3
Roy: 1-2
Kolzig: 1-2
Meloche: 1-3
Millen: 1-3
McLean: 1-3
Turco: 2-2
Hasek: 1
Barrasso: 1
Hrudey: 1
Potvin: 1
D Edwards: 1
Ward: 1
Vernon: 2
Richter: 2
Nabokov: 2
Salo: 2
Crozier: 2
Hebert: 2
Casey: 2
Burke: 3
Vokoun: 3
Biron: 3
Lemelin: 3
Peeters: 3
Miller: 3
Lundqvist: 3
Dafoe: 3
Puppa: 3
Smith: NIL
Vanbiesbrouck: NIL
Khabibulin: NIL
Osgood: NIL
Beaupre: NIL
Theodore: NIL
Giguere: NIL

(edit: I've now covered the vast majority of top-3 placements since 1968)

Aside from Brodeur, Esposito has been considerably more durable & consistent, and displayed greater stamina and staying power than any other goalie on this list. 3rd on the list is Miikka Kiprusoff, and Esposito led the league in minutes as many times as Kipper was even top-3!

Why you should vote Esposito in higher than Durnan

Line up their best seasons against eachother (an argument I used in the ATD)

xth-best season Esposito Durnan
1 1st AST (1970), Hart-2, sv%-1 1st AST (1947) - in WW2-recovering NHL, over Brimsek
2 1st AST (1980), Hart-3, sv%-2 1st AST (1949) - in WW2-recovering NHL, over Rayner, Hart-2
3 1st AST (1972), Hart-8, sv%-1 1st AST (1950) - in WW2-recovering NHL, over Rayner, Hart-5 (two votes)
4 2nd AST (1974), Hart-5, sv%-2 1st AST (1946) - in WW2-recovering NHL, over Brimsek, Hart-3
5 2nd AST (1973), Hart-9, sv%-2 1st AST (1944) - over brutal wartime goalies
6 3rd AST (1971), Hart-8, sv%-4 1st AST (1945) - over brutal wartime goalies
7 3rd AST (1978), Hart-9, sv%-3 nondescript season
8 5th AST (1979), Hart-11, sv%-4 DNP
9 6th AST (1976), sv%-6 DNP
10 6th AST (1977), sv%-7 DNP

Are Durnan's three best seasons better than Espo's (look at when they were, and who each goalie beat)? I don't think so. They are close though.

Are Durnan's 4th-6th-best seasons better than Espo's? A layman would look at them and say they are 1st AST years, so they must be better. But two of them are 1944 and 1945, so we know better than that. His 4th-best in 1946.... it's debatable.

Durnan's nondescript 7th-best season is obviously not better than Espo's.

And Espo played an 8th, 9th, 10th season, and beyond, at a pretty high level and deserves credit for that.

I'm not seeing why Durnan is "definitely" ahead, other than canon. He gets a lot of mileage out of the 6 first ASTs, but those aren't that great once you really look at them, much like Hainsworth's three straight Vezinas.
To recap:

1. Their best 4 seasons are very close to even in terms of historical impressiveness. No matter who you prefer, it’s clear that it’s very close.
2. Beyond 4th-best seasons, it is clear that Esposito has the more impressive seasons. Esposito actually had 14 relevant regular seasons at the NHL level.

I would be interested to hear cases against recap points 1 and 2. I’m not seeing one myself.

Last edited by seventieslord: 11-14-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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