Messier vs. Esposito
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11-25-2012, 01:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Originally Posted by
Quantity matters, as I said in this thread (or maybe the other thread) my chart shows that he still has some significant scoring finishes ahead of what would be the second place finisher. Besides, you look at the original chart here in this thread on the OP and you can see it is scattered all over the place and there is actually a time when Esposito scores more without Orr (I think it was 1968). Then the biggest sample size is 1973 when Orr missed 15 games. Esposito was on pace for a 126 point season in comparison to his 130. So really, why is the guy being shortchanged so much?
I've seen the evidence and the scoring finishes. I fail to see where Esposito would have lagged behind to become just a regular "top 10" guy rather than a guy constantly threatening the scoring race and still winning it enough times. There wasn't a dominant forward in the NHL like him at that time with or without Orr.
Don't pay too much attention to the small season by season samples provided. Singularly they don't mean much, but together they form a large enough sample to prove that Orr was responsible for boosting Espo's production by a bare minimum of 25%. As I showed in the other thread, if we take Orr out of the picture, Espo's best point finishes become 1-2-2-4-6-6.
I wouldn't call that just a "regular top-10 guy", more like "regular top-6" which would make him, at the absolute bare minimum, a Peter Stastny, except there's also an 11th in 1968, plus two top-10s from Chicago, so no doubt he had the offensive ability to place highly and often. But to place 1st, and often, and by a high amount? No.
Esposito's true ability lies somewhere between the "5 scoring titles at face value" and "completely a product of Orr" crowds. The math I did is rather simple but is grounded in fact and is a greats starting point for a discussion of what he'd have done had Orr not existed.
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