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11-23-2012, 12:28 AM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
He was also in his peak years in Boston. Playing with Orr would make anyone better, not just Esposito. And let's not ignore just how much better Orr was playing with Esposito as well. We tend to gloss over that part, why can't do Hall of Fame players be able to play off each other and make each other better (Bossy, Trottier)?
How can we gloss over the fact that his adjusted PPG was never above 0.95 in 8+ full season with Chi/NYR, and never below 1.24 in Boston? The avg. of his 8 seasonal PPGs in Boston are over 80% higher than the avg. of his seasonal PPGs in Chi/NY!

Of course great players make each other better, but generally the lesser ES player needs the better player a lot more than vice versa. Orr never really played a significant sample w/o Espo (although his PPG in '67 was roughly the same as in his first year w/ Espo in '68), but Espo has samples before and after Boston that suggest his playing with Orr was a huge advantage. During their time together in Boston, Orr was always creating a large ES advantage, while Espo was usually far behind Orr in that regard (even in '69, he had a worse on/off ratio than Orr).

In Chicago:

Espo '65-67 (ages 22-25): 208 gm, 71 G, 169 Pts
Wharram '64-68 (ages 30-34): 351 gm, 147 G, 292 Pts
Mohns '66-68 (ages 31-34): 196 gm, 71 G, 162 Pts

Junior stats aren't the most reliable, but Espo doesn't compare favorably (despite being older) to some of his contemporaries in that regard either:

1962 (age 19) OHA-Jr. 49 gm, 32 G, 71 Pts

1958 (age 17) OHA-Jr. 52 gm, 31 G, 78 Pts
1959 (age 18) OHA-Jr. 45 gm, 38 G, 97 Pts

1960 (age 19) OHA-Jr. 48 gm, 38 G, 96 Pts

1964 (age 15) OHA-Jr. 56 gm, 29 G, 72 Pts
1965 (age 16) OHA-Jr. 56 gm, 34 G, 93 Pts
1966 (age 17) OHA-Jr. 47 gm, 38 G, 94 Pts

So we have his actual record-breaking seasons during a rather late prime while playing with Orr on an offensive powerhouse in a weak/diluted league with a large disparity between the better O6 teams and the expansion teams... and his play in a small sample of games for a generally superior Canadian squad.

OTOH we have:
- his junior stats when he was not as productive as Mikita, Ratelle, or Orr (who were the same age or younger)
- his time in Chicago, in his early-mid 20s, when he really wasn't more productive than forwards like Mohns & Wharram, who were in their early 30s
- and his time with the Rangers when he immediately went from ~1.5 PPG or more to ~1.0 PPG.

Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Like I said, I'll give Orr #1 status in 1972. I'd put Esposito over Hull in 1972 but even if some don't who else is near the player that Esposito is in 1972 other than those two?
Ratelle seems at least close that season.

Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Orr hadn't quite reached the crazy level he would reach by 1969 so this was Espo's Bruins team. Same for 1968. A guy that finished 2nd in scoring behind Mikita should give all of his credit to a sophomore defenseman who missed half the season? I don't think so. There is too much evidence that points to Esposito being an elite individual talent on his own.
He was an elite talent, the question is just how elite?

His ES data suggests his peak was really more from '69-72, when Orr still clearly created more ES advantage than him.

Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Let's also look at the evidence here. Esposito won 5 Art Rosses. They look like this:

1969 - Esposito 126, Hull 107, Howe 103
1971 - Esposito 152, Orr 139, Bucyk 116
1972 - Esposito 133, Orr 117, Ratelle 109
1973 - Esposito 130, Clarke 104, Orr 101
1974 - Esposito 145, Orr 122, Hodge 105

From 1971 to 1974 it is true that Orr was godly at that time but not so in 1969. That being said, take Orr out of the NHL. I still think Esposito wins 5 Art Rosses and as strange as it may sound, he may even win a couple by even bigger degrees (1971, 1974) without Orr. I don't know how that can't answer anyone's question.
Orr always created more advantage at ES than Espo, even in '68 & '69. Even to maintain the same advantage as one has playing with a player at/near the top of the league in points would be amazing, but to increase the advantage w/o that player suggest that Orr was not reliant on Espo and/or that Espo was a real defensive liability.

As far as the Rosses, I don't think he wins close to 5 w/o Orr, although it's difficult to say. Espo had an immediate jump of ~40% in his adjusted PPG from Chi to Bos, and an immediate drop of ~30% in adjusted PPG from Bos to NYR. That suggests a drop of ~30% drop w/o Orr, but let's use a range of 25-30% and see where he would have finished (excluding all other Bruins):

'69- 4th
'70- at best 4th, at worst outside top 10
'71- 1st
'72- at best 3rd, at worst 5th-6th
'73- at best 3rd, at worst 8th
'74- 1st
'75- at best 8th-9th, at worst outside top 10

So that gives Espo two Rosses, even though (outside he & Orr) the competition is unusually weak during that period. Remember, Espo wasn't competing against Europeans. Realize that Messier was not considered an offensive wizard, but still finished 3rd (to Gretzky & his European linemate Kurri) and 2nd (to Gretzky), although Espo would still have more top 5 and top 10 finishes. I think Espo's offensive peak/prime should be compared more to the group of players who would have stood a good chance to win a couple Rosses if not for superior competition: Dionne, Trottier, Bossy, Stastny, Yzerman, Sakic, Lindros, Selanne, Forsberg, Thornton, Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin (who actually has done it).

Last edited by Czech Your Math: 11-23-2012 at 12:39 AM.
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