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11-22-2012, 04:50 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Fred Taylor View Post
How do you explain his 126 point season, leading the league by far when Orr was only a 60 point player? Don't his years in Boston coincide with the average players prime?
I don't have an exact explanation, other than that Espo was great that year. Perhaps the offense was run a bit differently that season compared to later years? It seems like he had more of a playmaking role vs. goal-scoring, compared to later years, as he only had 4 more goals than Hodge.

I guess his prime wasn't THAT late, but 26-32 is still unusually late for a forward who relies heavily on goal-scoring. I mainly pointed it out, because it's something he and Messier had in common.

I don't want to bash Espo, because he was a great player with a great career. I just think he had one of the most ideal post-expansion situations in terms of the talent and superiority of his team, in a weak/diluted league, with relatively weak competition (the transition between the Hull/Mikita/etc. years and the Lafleur/Dionne/etc. years). Maybe I am being too harsh, just as I favored him too much at a previous point in time. There's significantly more information to work with now, and I've learned more (and hope to learn yet more in the future), so I've changed my perspective and rating of his career in more recent years. For instance, it's concerning that his team didn't have an ES advantage with Espo on the ice vs. off the ice after '72... and that overall during his career (at least from '68 when data became available), his teams weren't significantly better at ES with him on the ice vs. off (Messier has similar issue, but had Gretzky as an off-ice comparison).

Espo isn't the only offensive superstar to not give a full defensive effort at times, but it doesn't seem like he had superior possession skills to offset that lack of defense. There may still be more questions than answers, but what questions have been (at least mostly) answered have not been favorable for Espo IMO.

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