Rylan wrote:Was Barrasso that much better than Wregget? I mean didn't they really split time for years?
After a little digging, it was more because Barrasso couldn't stay healthy during that time, but it's not like Wregget played poorly...
1992-1993: 13-7-2 in 25 GP, .887 SV, 3.42 GAA (Barrasso was 43-14-5, .901, and 3.01 in 63 games)
1993-1994: 21-12-7 in 42 GP, .893 SV, 3.37 GAA (Barrasso was 22-15-5, .893, 3.36 in 44 games (eerie how similar the #'s are))
1994-1995: 25-9-2 in 38 GP (shortened season of 48 games), .903 SV, 3.21 GAA (Barrasso only played 2 games. Would be unfair to post #'s)
1995-1996: 20-13-2 in 37 GP, .905 SV, 3.24 GAA (Barrasso was 29-16-2, .902, 3.43 in 49 games)
1996-1997: 17-17-6 in 46 GP, .902 SV, 3.25 GAA (Barrasso only play 5 games. Again, unfair comparison)
So in this timeframe when Wregget was on the team, statistically, Barrasso was just a little better (could argue his #'s were inflated in 1992-1993 due to how freaking good that team was, but I feel like it wouldn't matter), but like I noted, the similarities between their 93-94 numbers are nothing to be overlooked.
Wregget was your perfect #2 guy who could come up and still be a viable option as starter (similar reasoning is what brought Tomas Vokoun here).
Basic information presented, time to dig deeper.
As we've seen already, Barrasso vs. backups/other goaltenders in the profile created for him (page 8) and now you've presented Barrasso vs. Wregget directly.
Of note, Wregget was acquired at the 1992 deadline, his stats are missing in the above table despite receiving 40% of the starts down the stretch for the club - a significant number in context. 9 games for a season looks insignificant, but really it was 9 games to Barrasso's 15. Wregget presents a challenge for Barrasso, how did he respond when a competent goalie was brought in and a sub-replacement level goalie was phased out?
Health concerns -
As you mentioned, health was an issue for Barrasso. This allow Wregget to play quite a bit of time. Including the shortened 1994-95 season. I'm not sure if anyone would care to comment there. But, the season was one of poor quality. Teams had minimal time to prepare for the season and many injuries seemed to occur that year. Lemieux took the season off, Gretzky really showed rust for the first time ever, the unravelling of the Montreal Canadiens took hold. The only noteworthy things that happened were: Jagr takes off, Lindros takes off and the term "neutral zone trap" became a household term. The Penguins got off to an incredibly hot start (12-0-1) feasting on the unreadiness of others with their terrific offense and the emergence of Jagr. Thanks to a relatively friendly schedule (5 weak expansion teams, plus the hapless Islanders, Habs and Whalers who were woefully incompetent that season) to start.
Wregget's abilities -
As I've mentioned, the similiarities in player type aren't dissimilar to a Martin Biron type. High quality backup goalie that can play longer stretches in a pinch, but not quite starter material because of either physical or mental limitations.
In 1994-95, he wears down over the course of even a short season:
January/February: 14-2-2, 2.98 GAA, .912 save pct.
March/April/May: 11-7-0, 3.43 GAA, .894 save pct.
Whole career. Starter for the 1988 Maple Leafs.
Starts out fine...wheels fall off...
October/November: 7-8-2, 4.26 GAA, .867 save pct., 1 shutout
December-April: 5-29-2, 4.63 GAA, .869 save pct., 1 shutout
1989 Leafs, limits starts further, still a tandem goalie, starts out hot:
October: 7-3-1, 2.80 GAA, .904 save pct.
Rest of the way: 2-17-1, 5.30 GAA, .849 save pct.
Leafs quickly tired of this and traded him in March.
Unfortunately for him, in Philly it was little better...
October-December: 13-13-1, 2.84 GAA, .909 save pct.
January-March: 9-11-2, 4.17 GAA, .870 save pct.
When the Flyers saw something similar begin in 1991, they realized that they had not acquired what they thought they needed and made the move to send him to Pittsburgh without requiring a goalie back. Leaving them with a Dominic Roussel/Tommy Soderstrom/Stephane Beauregard trio for the 92-93 season.
Despite Wregget's playoff success in 1996, when the team got into any sort of a remotely tough spot (like losing game 1 to Florida), they immediately went to Barrasso again, feeling that he gave them the best chance to win. Wregget was steady when managed correctly, but overall could not handle the rigors of the starting position over the long haul.
Coaching styles and attributes -
Understanding the role of the coach in goaltender management.
Scotty Bowman takes over and one of his first orders of business is to replace Wendell Young with a competent backup goalie (Wregget) so that he can properly manage starts. Bowman and his disciples are known for this - there is a post linked in the Barrasso profile that speaks to this.
Eddie Johnston - former goaltender, goes on intuition. Can tell when a goalie is "sharp" or not. Rides the hot hand. How many times in a row was Wregget forced to start in the shortened, condensed scheduling in the start of the 1994-95 season?
Kevin Constantine - Demands much of his players to protect his goalie from a tremendous workload so that he can ride his starter until he gives (see: his handling of Barrasso in 1998, his handling of Irbe on the expansion Sharks).
Unfortunately for Barrasso, his consistency and health left many wanting. So this allows for the comparison to Wregget to even creep into the picture. In reality, it wasn't really that close. Statistics, typically on more defensive teams (1993, 1998) tend to keep goalie stats together. Martin Biron once again provides the example: in 2011 his numbers are equal or better than Henrik Lundqvist's...in 15 years will we look back at say, "if only they had played Biron more, he might have done [this]..."
Hopefully not, Henrik Lundqvist is probably going to put together a HHOF resume, while Biron was nothing more than a quality backup or decent tandem option. Similarly, Barrasso vs. Wregget should be viewed in the same light. Barrasso a weak/fringe HHOF option or top-notch Hall of Very Good option vs. Wregget, a quality backup or decent tandem option.
That's why I'm directing the discussion towards Les Binkley. Minor league veteran that couldn't crack the NHL in a six-team league, when jobs expanded and the two-goalie system was beginning to be introduced, Binkley came in at the end of his career and did what he did. Multi-faceted argument: Binkley was a top-10 goalie in the world all this time (6 in the NHL, 3 or 4 in minor hockey, maybe allow for one international player - Konovalenko? Seth Martin?) and finally got his chance with a roughly minor league caliber team made up of minor leaguers and big league rejects and did about what you'd expect (or better in the case of 1968) before trying to cash in in the WHA. Or, was it a minor league goalie playing on a minor league team that was outplayed by his fellow netminders who have more league longevity and adjust better to the slowly-evening talent levels?
That's the angle I would attack, personally, if I was looking to make a case. Wregget vs. Binkley. It's easier when you just have Binkley's Penguins resume to go on vs. Wregget's Pens resume because Wregget played his best hockey in Pittsburgh...Binkley played his best hockey in the high minors...