5'11" / 165 lbs.
As a Penguin (1972-Jan. 1975; 1976-1979; 1982-1986): 290 GP - 88 wins, 133 losses, 44 ties, 3.88 GAA, .886 save pct., 6 shutouts -- playoffs: 10 GP - 3 wins, 7 losses, 3.49 GAA, .895 save pct.*, 0 shutouts
* - might be .887, but I don't think empty net goals were removed from his ledger.
[8062 saves on 9103 shots both should be 3rd all time in Pens history]
In Penguins history: 3rd in GP - 4th in wins, 7th in save pct.*, t-5th in shutouts
* - eyeballing it.
Normally I'd put how many seasons a player has played here, but with Herron it's tricky. He played parts of 10 seasons with the Pens, but only played 40 or more games three times. And only 25 or more six times.
Hart: t-7th (2nd among goalies)
All-Star Voting (G): t-10th*
---Goaltending stats vs. the league:
[top-10 finishes only] (added save pct. numbers since they probably can't be found in many places - league average added for comparison).
1972-73: 18 games - fails to meet GP requirement
1973-74: 5 games - ""
1974-75: 3 games - ""
1976-77: 5th in save pct. (Herron: .910; league average: .891)
1977-78: 8th in save pct. (Herron: .901; league average: .889)
1978-79: t-10th in wins, 9th in save pct. (Herron: .892; league average: .883)
1982-83: t-8th in shutouts (Herron: .838; league average: .875)
1983-84: 9th in save pct. (Herron: .884; league average: .873)
1984-85: t-9th in shutouts (Herron: .875; league average: .875)
1985-86: 3 games - fails to meet GP requirement
The GAA figures are readily available on H-R, save pct. figures are compiled as it wasn't an official stat yet. But look, Herron played on some horrendous teams and never finishes top-10 in GAA as a Penguin, only finishes on the outskirts of top-10 in wins once (though, he has a couple of 11th places in some categories) but look at his save pct. - 4 times in 6 seasons he was in the top-10 in the league despite being on a horrendous team! I wish I could post what he did save pct.-wise when he went to Montreal, but I don't want to skew the opinions with outside stuff. I was quite surprised when I did my research earlier that Herron looks this good - relatively speaking.
---Goaltending stats vs. backups
(note: "pts/gm" figure is measured by "gm = mins/60 - not tradition "GP" figure)
1972-73: 18 GP: 0.87 pts/gm, 3.41 GAA, .879 save pct., 2 shutouts
Others (3): 69 GP: 0.95 pts/gm, 3.31 GAA, .901 save pct., 3 shutouts
1973-74: 5 games
1974-75: 3 games
1976-77: 34 GP: 1.09 pts/gm, 2.94 GAA, .910 save pct., 1 shutout
Other: 51 GP: 0.96 pts/gm, 3.23 GAA, .899 save pct., 5 shutouts
1977-78: 60 GP: 0.94 pts/gm, 3.57 GAA, .901 save pct., 0 shutouts
Backup: 24 GP: 0.62 pts/gm, 5.07 GAA, .838 save pct., 0 shutouts
1978-79: 56 GP: 1.05 pts/gm, 3.37 GAA, .892 save pct., 0 shutouts
Backup: 29 GP: 1.09 pts/gm, 3.54 GAA, .882 save pct., 2 shutouts
1982-83: 31 GP: 0.53 pts/gm, 5.31 GAA, .838 save pct., 1 shutout
Other: 55 GP: 0.58 pts/gm, 4.50 GAA, .860 save pct., 0 shutouts
1983-84: 38 GP: 0.53 pts/gm, 4.08 GAA, .885 save pct., 1 shutout
Backups (2): 52 GP: 0.43/pts/gm, 5.12 GAA, .860 save pct., 1 shutout
1984-85: 42 GP: 0.63 pts/gm, 4.65 GAA, .875 save pct., 1 shutout
Backups (2): 49 GP: 0.68 pts/gm, 4.80 GAA, .867 save pct., 1 shutout
1985-86: 3 games
He beats his backups/tandem partners pretty well over the course of his career here. As a starter on those horrid teams, I imagine he got the brunt of the work too...it was likely Herron that had to play the Islanders in the 80's and the Habs/Bruins in the 70's...but the information wasn't readily available to me, so I didn't do too much research as I don't believe it would have had much more of an effect. Look at his dominance in 1978 vs. his teammates! My heavens, I'm not sure if I've seen anything so lopsided. His teammates gave up over 6 more goals every 100 shots that season vs. Herron!
Legends of Hockey wrote:Did you know that Denis Herron was the first goaltender in NHL history to make team's roster out of training camp right after he was drafted? I know I certainly did not know that. That's pretty amazing for any goalie in any era, the list of goalies who have done that must be pretty small.
By October of '72 Herron was the starting goalie for the Penguins. Veteran XXX XXXXXXXXXX temporarily had to make room for the hotshot who had an amazing training camp. Herron won his first two road starts of the season with shutouts against the New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks.
Watching closely was his old team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Realizing they may have been too impatient in dealing the young goalie away, the Pens reacquired Herron by signing him as a free agent in August 1976.
Despite a broken arm interrupting his season, Herron had a terrific 1976-77 season. He went 15-11-5 record with a 2.94 GAA, leading the Penguins into the NHL post-season.
For his at-times spectacular play, Herron was never blessed with the opportunity to play for a team that was not labelled as mediocre at best.
In three of Lafleur's 6 seasons where he scored 50 goals he notched the magical 50 goal mark against Herron.
But do not judge Denis Herron by his statistics. They made be bad, but the teams he played on were usually worse.
The Deseret News - Jan. 22, 1974 wrote:"We were fortunate to get a goalie the caliber of Herron at the time we did and keep him as long as we did. He did a good job here." [former goalie Al Rollins]
The Leader-Post - Nov. 30, 1972 wrote:The Leafs and Penguins each had 36 shots on goal, but Pittsburgh's rookie Denis Herron made several sensational saves to frustrate the Toronto attackers.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec. 3, 1976 wrote:[notes how Herron broke his arm in the first game of the year and the other Pens goalies sucked]...It was up to Herron to bring it all back, which he did last night in the most improbable of places. On one of the most feared skating surfaces in North America and against one of the most talented clubs in the National Hockey League. Herron defeated the New York Islanders, 4-2, in his first appearance since Oct. 6, the night he broke his arm.
Herron was about to go out and shovel snow out of his Pittsburgh driveway yesterday afternoon when assistant general manager XXX XXXXXXX put in the emergency call..."We originally were going to send Denis to Hershey for a few games," Coach XXX XXXXXXXX said..."Then we found out XXXX probably wouldn't be able to play, so XXX said, "What the hell, Denis stones these guys."
Herron would surely get a ringing endorsement from the Islanders, who put 39 shots on goal but could only score twice, once on a power play.
There is one thing, however, the Penguins do not have any more. That is a problem in goal.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Apr. 18, 1979 wrote:Penguin goaltender Denis Herron said yesterday that he intends to take matters into his own hands if his teammates continue to allow Bruins to stand at the edge of the crease when the best-of-seven Stanley Cup quarterfinal playoff series resumes tonight at Boston Garden.
"I'll whack them with my stick," Herron said after a light workout. "Right across the ankles, too. They like to stand in front of the net, but you can't let them get away with that if you want to beat them."
"We have to clean up our own end." XXXXXXXXXX says. "What killed us was the way we played in our zone. You can't give the puck away against the Bruins because they'll put it in the net.
The Montreal Gazette - Mar. 3, 1977 wrote:The little Pittsburgh goalie is one of the best in the league, but not when he goes against Lafleur.
The Pittsburgh Press - Jan. 23, 1978 wrote:His saves, often miraculous, Herron stopped 18 Ranger shots in a frantic final period and 32 overall while drawing his first start since Dec. 17.
In the third period, Herron saved the necks of his teammates with his brilliance, notably against aging but dangerous Phil Esposito...
Esposito cut loose from 15 feet in front of the Penguin goal. The shot seemed ticketed for the net, but Herron flashed out his catching glove and caught the puck, the momentum driving him off his skates and onto the seat of his pants. "Everything just was working," Herron said of his performance that was dependent on the lightning glove more than anything else...
The Pittsburgh Press - Oct. 20, 1977 wrote:If you would put them on a see-saw, three Denis Herrons wouldn't equal Phil Esposito and Greg Polis, but last night one Herron balanced out those two heavyweights. ...the skinny little goaltender, barricaded the Penguin goal through a first-period barrage of 18 New York Rangers shots.
"If not for Herron, we blow them out in the first period," marveled Ranger Coach Jean-Guy Talbot. "If we play every game like that, well, not many goalies are going to stop that many pucks."
The Miami News - Feb. 1, 1978 wrote:They're also getting spectacular goaltending from Denis Herron, who made 48 saves to beat the Red Wings 5-3 in their home rink. "I expected a lot of shots, but not 51!" Herron said after his Penguins were outshot 51-20.
Herron actually stopped 49 pucks because someone in the stands beaned him with one after the final buzzer.
The Phoenix - Feb. 22, 1979 wrote:Goalie Denis Herron led the way as Pittsburgh Penguins beat Montreal 3-1 Wednesday in a National Hockey League game that halted the Canadiens' unbeaten string at 14 games.
"Denny probably played his best game of the year," Said Penguins' coach XXXXXX XXXXXX. "He made some spectacular saves..."
"It was one of the best of the year for me," said Herron, who stonewalled the Canadiens for all eight minutes of their power play.
The Pittsburgh Press - Apr. 5, 1978 wrote:He weighs about as much as an armful of groceries, but there is no method of measuring the contribution of Denis Herron to the Penguins in a season that otherwise should be forgotten.
Behind a defense that has been a disappointment, Herron too often found the puck in his own net. He has remained cool, in spite of the working conditions.
...He registered two of them (shutouts) as a rookie with the Penguins six years ago before becoming a pawn in a management squabble and being shipped to Hershey.
The Spokesman-Review - Mar. 9, 1977 wrote:Goalie Denis Herron stopped 32 shots, including two on breakaways in the period, to score his first shutout of the season...
Herron came up with several remarkable plays in addition to stopping Wilf Paiement and Nelson Pyatt when they came at him on breakways.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Oct. 19, 1983 wrote:Last night, the Penguins wasted a magnificient performance by goalie Denis Herron.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan. 10, 1986 wrote:The strange career of goaltender Denis Herron took another twist yesterday when the Penguins demoted him to their Baltimore farm club in the American Hockey League.
"It caught me by surprise, and I'm not sure I want to go down there. My contract ends in April, and it's obvious they don't want me here. But there may be only three or four months left in my career, and after giving nine years to this organization, through good times and bad times, this is the worst. It just shows what kind of class they have." [Herron said]
He made his first appearance since Nov. 24 when the Penguins tied the touring Moscow Dynamo, 3-3, Saturday night at the Civic Arena. After a shaky start, Herron played superbly against the Russians, even though he had practiced sparingly the previous couple of weeks.
Ed. note: It's a pretty sad tale about Herron. He was told at training camp he would just be an insurance policy if someone got hurt. He asked to be traded, the Flyers offered a trade for him and the Penguins rejected saying that they won't help them or anyone else (by trading Herron to them). He cleared waivers, they wouldn't release him, they would suspend him if he didn't report. He said that they don't care about his situation and still Herron said "I understand it's a business, but being treated this way is very hard to take, especially since they waited until [coach] had gone out of town to tell me about it. I'd have liked for him to have told me this face-to-face, but I guess he couldn't do it."
...pretty brutal for a guy that, when he retired, played 100 more games than any other net custodian in franchise history. Epilogue: Herron did report saying that the only way to get traded is to impress somebody and you can't impress anybody if you don't play.