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11-23-2012, 10:37 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
... interesting if you delve into his history a bit more, as he did indeed show early promises of what was to eventually follow in Boston, starting with his pro career in the Central League where in 62-63 he had 90pts in 71Gs; the following season racking up 80pts in 43Gs before getting called up by Chicago. Playing on the 3rd line as mentioned earlier, 3 seasons of very respectable numbers for that era consisting of 23, 27 & 21 goals.

Often referred to as "The Happy Worrier", Phil did in fact worry about Billy Reay, who he honestly felt didnt really appreciate his talents, actually valid, branded an under performer, traded to Boston.
Which was more valid though, that his talents weren't appreciated or that he was an underperformer? He didn't separate himself statistically from forwards like Mohns and Wharram in Chicago, despite those players being in their 30s.

Looking at his minor league stats:

'63- 71 gms, 36 G, 90 Pts. Teammate Alain Carron had 61 G & 97 points in 54 games as a 24 y/o winger, yet only managed one season in the NHL (age 29, in first post-expansion season) before bouncing around the minors again, until he had three < PPG seasons in the WHA from '73-'75. Teammate Murray Hall had 29 G & 98 points in 71 games as a 21 y/0 winger, before going on to score ~.5 PPG in 164 (mostly) post-expansion NHL games, then ~.7 PPG in 4 WHA seasons. On other teams, Gord Labossiere had 34 G & 101 points in 72 games at age 22 before ~.35 PPG in 215 (mostly) post-expansion NHL games and < .5 PPG in 4 WHA seasons... Marc Dufour had 50 G & 99 points in 71 games at age 20, but basically was a career minor leaguer... Don Blackburn had 42 G & 96 points in 67 games at age 24, before ~.5 PPG in 185 NHL games and < .8 PPG in ~2 WHA seasons... and Jeannot Gilbert had 34 G & 87 points in 64 games at age 21, but was a career minor leaguer.

'64- 43 gms, 26 G, 80 Pts. Carron at age 25 had 77 G & 125 points. While Espo could be given credit for elevating his totals, he still managed 6 goals in 6 games in the playoffs w/o Espo. Teammate and fellow center Ray Cullen was 21 (actually 7 months younger than Espo) and had 46 G & 98 points in 63 games, later scoring almost .7 PPG in 313 NHL games (all but 35 post-expansion). Jeannot Gilbert scored 50 G & 100 points in 72 games on another team at age 22. You're right, it seems a bit of an oddball league, given that the coaches were the big names, yet very few of the players.

Most of the other players who excelled in that league had relatively brief and middling NHL/WHA careers, even after expansion, or were career minor leaguers. I'm not sure what Espo's complaint was, as he seems to have gotten a comparatively quick call-up from a good NHL team in the O6, rather than having to wait years to play for some expansion team and/or WHA franchise. He did pretty well in Chicago, but he didn't exactly distinguish himself from lesser forwards in their 30s (Mohns & Wharram) nor did he do particularly well in the playoffs. There doesn't seem anything before his years in Boston to suggest that he was going to come close to winning a Ross, let alone break records.

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