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01-24-2013, 11:12 PM
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I keep telling myself that "this is the draft I'll finally build a defense-first team," but it never works out that way.

IMO, the best value pick at this point is clearly 5-time Art Ross winner, Phil Esposito, C

He falls because he's a very specialized player, not because of lack of upside:
  • 5 Art Ross Trophies (the same number as Jagr )
  • Led the league in goals 6 Times
  • Led the league in assists 3 Times
  • 2 Hart Trophies
  • 2 Lindsay Trophies
  • 1st Team All Star Center 6 straight seasons
  • 1st or 2nd Team All Star Center 8 straight seasons
  • Had thirteen consecutive 30+ goal seasons, second most in history.
  • Points finishes: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 7, 9
  • Goals finishes: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 4, 8
  • Assists finishes: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 6
  • Led the playoffs in points 3 times, goals 3 times, and assists 2 times.
  • Led the 1972 Summit series in scoring with 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) in 8 games. With no Bobby Orr in the lineup.

NHL coaches polls:

Best on faceoffs 3rd 1974
Best on faceoffs 3rd 1981
Best shot 3rd 1971
Best shot T-1st 1974
Best stickhandler 1st 1971
Most dangerous near goal 1st 1971
Most dangerous near goal 1st 1974
Most dangerous near goal 2nd 1976
Smartest player 2nd 1971
Smartest player 4th 1974

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Esposito was teamed up with Bobby Orr in Boston, forming one of the most dynamic scoring duos in hockey history. Orr would dance around from his point position with no one knowing how to defend against hockey's first offensively dominant defenseman. Esposito would park himself in the slot, readying himself for a pass, a deflection or a rebound. He was such a master of scoring garbage goals that a common saying in Boston in these days was "Jesus saves, but Espo scores on the rebound." Stan Fischler once dubbed Espo as the "highest paid garbage collector in the United States."

In his very first year in Boston Espo led the entire league in assists. By year two He became the first player to break the 100 point plateau. In fact, he smashed the old record held by Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. Both of those magnificent Chicago players shared the record with 97 points in a single season. In 1968-69, Phil scored 126 points!! Two years later he would again post mind boggling totals of 76 goals and 76 assists for 152 points, unheard of stats then especially, and even by today's standards absolutely amazing!

Three years after the trade Espo led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup, ending a 29 year drought for the B's. Although Bobby Orr's flying-through-the-air Cup clinching goal against the Blues is best remembered, Esposito had an incredible playoff, scoring 13 goals and 27 points in just 14 games, leading all post season scorers in each category Two years later, the Bruins won another Stanley Cup with Esposito scoring 24 points in 15 games.
He is one of those lucky players with a comprehensive well-cited wikipedia entry:

Chicago Black Hawks

Midway through the 1964 season, Esposito was called up to the parent Black Hawks to make his NHL debut. Centering for the great Bobby Hull beginning in the 1965 season, he proved himself a quality playmaker, twice finishing amongst the league-leading scorers over the next three seasons.

Boston Bruins

In 1967, he was dealt to the Boston Bruins in a blockbuster trade, along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. While the hitherto unremarkable Hodge and Stanfield became stars in the black-and-gold, Esposito blossomed into the greatest scorer of his day, becoming the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season with 126 in the 1969 season. He would top the "century" mark six times in all, including five consecutive seasons between 1971 and 1975 (plus a 99-point season in 1970), capturing the Art Ross Trophy in 1969 and 1971–74 as the top regular season scorer, and leading the league in goals for six straight seasons, (69/70 to 74/75).

Esposito was named to the NHL's First All-Star team six consecutive times (from 1969–74), and won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1969 and 1974. His Boston fans printed and displayed bumper stickers during his best years to celebrate his scoring: they read, "Jesus saves, Espo scores on the rebound." Esposito, while not a fast or graceful skater, was best known for his unmovable presence in front of the opposition net from which he could score from all angles. Esposito has said: “Scoring is easy. You simply stand in the slot, take your beating and shoot the puck into the net.”[1]

During these great years, centering one of the most renowned forward lines in history with Hodge on right wing and left winger Wayne Cashman, Esposito and fellow superstar Bobby Orr led the Bruins to Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972, and first-place finishes in the league in 1971, 1972 and 1974.

During 1970–71, Esposito shattered the record for most goals scored in a season when he finished up with 76. This record stood until 1982 when Wayne Gretzky scored his 77th, 78th and 79th goal against the Buffalo Sabres on February 24, 1982 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Esposito was on hand to present the game puck to Gretzky. Esposito also set the single season point-scoring record in 1971 with 152, a mark now held by Gretzky at 215. Only three other players have reached the 150 point-scoring plateau — Mario Lemieux 199, Steve Yzerman 155 and Bernie Nicholls 150 — and only Gretzky, Lemieux, Brett Hull, Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny have scored 76 or more goals in a season. That season also saw Esposito shatter the single season mark for shots on goal with 550. This record still stands; in fact, only one other player has been within 100 shots of tying it (Alexander Ovechkin in 2008–09, in a season that was four games longer than when Esposito set the record).

After his performance in the Summit Series, where he was the inspirational leader for Team Canada and its leading scorer in the series, he won the 1972 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding male athlete of the year and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Esposito also scored the first goal of the series and he scored or assisted four times in the deciding game. During that series, his scolding of Canadian fans, who booed the national team after a 5–3 loss to the Soviet Union in Game Four, was credited with firing up his teammates:[2]

"If the Russian fans boo their players in Moscow like you people are booing us, I'll come back and apologize personally to every one of you, but I really don't think that will happen. We gave it and are doing our best. All of us guys are really disheartened. . . . We came out here because we love Canada. They're a good hockey team, and we don't know what we could do better, but I promise we will figure it out. But it's totally ridiculous — I don't think it is fair that we should be booed."
He also played for Team Canada in the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976, on a line with Hall of Famers Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne. The following year, Esposito would represent Canada once more in the 1977 World Championships.

New York Rangers

In 1975–76, he and Carol Vadnais were traded to the New York Rangers for Brad Park, Joe Zanussi and Jean Ratelle.

While not as glittering an offensive force as in his glory days, as captain of the Rangers, Esposito led the Blueshirts in points each of his full seasons with the club and remained an effective scorer until his final season. The highlight of his years in New York was leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final in 1979 where at 37 years of age he finished third in postseason scoring.[4][5]

On November 4, 1977, Esposito scored his 600th NHL goal at Vancouver, becoming the first player to reach that milestone in a Rangers uniform.
He retired in 1981, behind only Gordie Howe in career goals and total points, and third in assists to Howe and Stan Mikita.

Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 01-25-2013 at 06:34 AM.
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