Tony Esposito has one of the best regular season careers of any NHL goalie ever, not just in germs of his peak but in terms of how long he was among the best goalies in the league (at least by Goals Saved Above Average). Also, he helped change goalie masks for the better.
Yet his playoff numbers are significantly worse. He underperformed in one of his two good playoff runs and he was only ever on one truly great international team, as a backup.
So, it’s obvious Tony Esposito belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame but where does he rank all time?
Clint Smith set the single-season record for assists in the ’40s. So of course he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Right?
Well, he did it during World War II, when talent in the league was quiet watered down. He doesn’t have a lot of other accomplishments. And he doesn’t have the Cups that many other “veterans committee” inductees of the ’90s have.
So, does Clint Smith belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us try to sort it out here:
Whether or not you think George Hay belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame depends a lot on how much weight you put on a player scoring at a point-per-game pace in the Western Canada Hockey League. It’s worth noting that Hay lost the scoring race to both Duke Keats and Bill Cook in different WCHL seasons – i.e. he was never clearly the best offensive player in the WCHL/WHL. Nor was he ever a true star in the NHL: His brief NHL career isn’t particularly distinguished compared to the careers of his contemporaries, given the size of the NHL at the time.