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12-05-2012, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
Holmes is in my top 30, which very well could be 25 when all is said and done. I don't think he or Lehman are particularly close to the Winkler/Lindsay/Fowler group you listed. What's the reasoning they are besides they competed against each other, with drastically different resumes?
In order for him to be 25th, he'll have to be #1 on the ballot after next. I mean, that could happen, but it doesn't look extremely likely at the moment.

I also think Lehman and Holmes were a clear step up from the Eastern goalies aside from Vezina/Benedict until Gardiner comes around
Assuming you're not including Worters and Hainsworth in that comment -- if you are, please demonstrate why and we will be just about done here -- then I agree, and I think that's a simple summary of the issue here.

He was a clear step down from the elites of his period (Vezina/Benedict) and a clear step up from the middle-of-the-road Easterners (Connell/Roach/etc) but the problem is figuring out just where the middle-ground of that time period should be valued. Personally I don't look at professional hockey goaltending around 1920 as a period that was extremely deep to the point that being a distant 3rd place is a top-20 all-time kind of achievement.

so I really don't see why they should only be compared against the handful of Western goalies playing at any given time.
Well, the conversation started with a simple All Star count, and those were earned in exclusive competition against his Western peers. So it made sense to talk about that first before extending the scope of the conversation.

One thing we could do is try and estimate what his AS count would look like in a consolidated NHL. I don't think it would be appreciably different than Worters'.

We can infer the man was very good at being a goalie, being regarded as the best goalie in a league full of talented skaters. He's directly competing against them too so it wasn't like he was hiding out West against some mutilated talent pool. I'll post the scoring numbers from the NHA versus PCHA on a yearly basis when I finish compiling them.
But we can't infer that he was a good goalie in an all-time sense, just because he competed against talented skaters. I mean, there is absolutely zero question that the skaters in the PCHA were better than the goalies. Say Lehman was the best goalie -- was he the Cyclone Taylor of goalies? Was Heck Fowler the Moose Johnson of goalies? No, not close. Earlier it was posited that the lack of turnover in the NHL during the early 1920s was evidence of a global talent drought, and we saw exactly the same phenomenon illustrated above in the stagnant western rosters. You'll recall that Lehman's having an NHL job in 1928 was cited as evidence of this talent drought. Yet we didn't discuss this same phenomenon when we talked about defensemen and I doubt it will come up against forwards. It's a goalie-exclusive issue, apparently.

So we have a bit of a challenge in determining just how to rank this time period, not at all unlike Fuhr's peer group in the early-mid 1980s which inexplicably lacked a dominant all-time personality at the top. We surely wouldn't consider the third-best goalie of that group (maybe Moog?) to be a top-20 goalie of all time. Now imagine if Moog was considered miles behind #3, as Lehman is to Vezina.

He was considered the best goalie by the GMs and PHWA exactly once in the 1980s. I really don't see anything in Fuhr's favor, but the playoffs.
Yes, he was considered the best goalie in the world one time, which is a peak that Lehman never reached.

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