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01-18-2013, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
...I'm not seeing it. they allowed 7 fewer goals and won one more game. And they were much, much better after he left.
Probably the best we could say is that the average WHL team allowed 240 goals that year, and the Calgary defense was average at best, so he likely kept their goal differential at more-or-less even instead of being far into the negative. This notion is supported somewhat by a look at the standings and GF/GA columns:

Vancouver Canucks93238174+64
New Westminster Royals81254224+30
Seattle Americans70244231+12
Victoria Cougars38226313-87

Winnipeg Warriors83262211+51
Edmonton Flyers80264225+39
Calgary Stampeders65222223-1
Saskatoon/St. Paul50214323-109

The order of things seems mostly logical here -- the more goals each team allowed, the worse they fared overall. And the correlation is pretty typical for minor league hockey, with the bottom teams being comically bad.

The one oddball number is Calgary's 223 goals against. That's only 2 goals (over 70 games) worse than Edmonton, which finished 15 points ahead, and only 1 goal worse than New Westminster, which finished 16 points up. Calgary actually had a worse offense than the horrendous Victoria Cougars*, but allowed 90 fewer goals and therefore finished far ahead in the standings.

To make the case even stronger, none of Calgary's defensemen played more than 62 games. Either they were getting called up regularly or the team faced injury problems; either way, they ended up playing 7 regular defensemen in the two-pairing era. Of the 7, only Fred Hucul (cameos with the early-50s Hawks and the expansion-season Blues) and Doug Barkley (a regular Wing in the 1960s) had substantial NHL careers. Winnipeg was fielding Kent Douglas, Edmonton had Bud McPherson and Edmonton had an admittedly ancient Pat Egan, so it's not like Calgary had any kind of phenomenal defensive group.

The smoke suggests Rollins made a substantial difference between a trainwreck season and a Finals run. It's tough to see that on the season-by-season totals, in part because of other confounding factors that you mentioned earlier, but it really seems like Calgary would have been fighting for last place if they didn't basically have an NHL goalie.

* By the way, Emile Francis was the goalie in Victoria!

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