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12-04-2012, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Three things that jump out as separating factors:

- Lehman has a big edge in outright longevity. His final full season was at age 41, though I don't have a sense of how well he performed at that age. Worters retired at 36, playing only half of that season. So we could call it a 5 1/2 season longevity gap.
Lehman was 38 years old as a 1st Team All Star in the last year of the PCHA's existence. Pelletier seems to indicate that he declined after that season, however.

Still, being a fulltime starter at 41 (even if he wasn't as good anymore) is pretty impressive.

- During Worters' career, there were between 8 and 10 active major league teams per season. During Lehman's Lehman's career, there were between 7 and 10 active teams per season.

^ That superficially looks like equal competition, but I really believe there was a significant difference in the talent supply between the 1910s and early 20s, and the late 20s and 1930s. I'm inclined to have a little more respect for the competition that took place in the consolidated NHL a full generation farther into the future, especially during the Depression when the league contracted slightly.

- We've already inducted two goalies, Vezina and Benedict, who were direct generational competition to Lehman. He would be the clear-cut third of his generation according to our list. Meanwhile we have inducted one guy who I see as Worters' generational peer (Gardiner) and a couple of guys who have some partial overlap (Benedict and Broda). So Worters would also be considered the third-greatest goalie in any given season of his career. Which again sounds equal, except I really do think the increase in player quality was significant between these generations, and in theory our list would reflect that increase proportionally. But that is only an ideal, not a necessity, so I guess it's not the strongest of points. But something to at least have in mind.

Frankly I don't think any of these points are conclusive, which is par for the course in this project. For those who heavily value longevity and quality of competition, each goalie might score some points in this post.

Interesting point. What do you think of Nalyd Psycho's contention that the fact that Vezina, Benedict, and Lehman all had excellent longevity is evidence that it was a strong generation - meaning that the younger generation (Worters' generation) wasn't producing players who surpassed them?

For what it's worth, Lehman's career is listed from 1908-1928 and Worters is listed from 1925-1937.

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