Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by WADEugottaBELAKthat, Mar 13, 2005.
how would he have ended up being ranked with all the great goalies of the 80's? How about all time?
Very good goaltender, it is really hard to say though because we didn't get to see him when he hit his prime.
I've read from people on here that he may have been the best goalie in the league at the time of his death, but that's from Flyer fans, so take it as you will. I never saw the guy play, but it's a shame he had to go out drunk driving that night.
I am a Devils fan, and I agree with the Flyers fans on that. In his only full season as a starting goaltender, Lindbergh won the Vezina Trophy and led his team to a Wales Conference Championship as he turned 26 years of age. A few months later, after going 6-2-0 with a shutout to start the next season, Lindbergh crashed his Porsche and died after being taken off of life-support.
Had he lived, there is a good chance that Lindbergh would have been with Roy and Belfour as the NHL's top goaltenders for the period between 1985-94.
Those Keenan-coached mid-1980s Philly teams were awesome, though, so it's difficult to gauge Lindbergh. Everyone who played goal for them from 1984-88 or so looked great. Lindbergh was average until Keenan takes over, then immediately wins a Vezina. Career backup Bob Froese takes over after Lindbergh is killed, and proceeds to win a Jennings and almost a Vezina. Then Ron Hextall comes out of nowhere to win the Vezina as a rookie, and never looks nearly as good ever again. Even an ancient Chico Resch posted his best numbers in ages at the end of his career in Philly.
When you have three goaltenders posting three successive Vezina-calibre seasons, and none of the three really did anything close to that before or after, how much is the team and how much is the player?
I'm not saying Lindbergh wasn't an excellent goaltender, but it's exceptionally difficult to figure how his career might have turned out. Goaltenders are difficult enough to figure at the best of times, and without ever really playing on anything other than excellent teams, Lindbergh is doubly difficult. If he'd performed admirably for a poor team, or if his successors had struggled to match his performance it would be much easier.
Probably had the best single season of any goalie I saw in the 80's. IMO he was the best in the world at the time of his death. He was still pretty young at the time and IMO he was headed for a Martin Brodeuresque type of career.
#1. Bob Froese was far more than a career backup. In 144 career games with the Flyers over 4 seasons bob Froes was 92-29-12 for a .737 win%. Froese was the Flyers starter during two playoff years and he stuggled both years. In the regular season however he was an excellent goalie, and was jobbed out of the 1986 Vezina trophy.
#2. Hextall's rookie year was a bit overrated, as was his playoff run that same year. Hextall was very up and down, he'd be great one game and below average the next.
#3. Starting goalies usually play very very well under Mike Keenan, because he picks a goalie and let's him know that he's the man and is going to play alot (Lindbergh, Hextall, Belfour, Richter, Fuhr)
#4. The Flyers in 1984-85 weren't expected to do much at all, the Flyers had been swept in the opening round in each of the previous three seasons. The Flyers were without an big time experienced players as Clarke retired after 1984, Barber missed the whole year due to injury that forced his retirement, and Darryl Sittler was traded right before opening night. Tocchet, Zezel and Derrick Smith were all rookies.
A few other items regarding Lindbergh. He was a big time prospect, and his 1984-85 didn't come out of nowhere.
In 1980 he was the goalie for the Bronze medal Swedes, the only team that didn't lose to the USA.
In 1981 Lindbergh was the rookie of the year in the AHL, for the Maine Mariners. That same year he was also the MVP of the AHL.
In 1982-83 his first in the NHL he was having a great start to the season and then he was injured in a game against the Soviets, he returned from the injury and gave up 5 goals to Gretzky in the NHL-all-star game. His season never recovered.
At the time of his death he was clearly the best goalie in the NHL, Grant Fuhr would have been a solid number two.