This is the midpoint of the 1970s on NHL Saturday as the Philadelphia Flyers won a second-straight Stanley Cup in 1975, much to the chagrin of hockey purists. But the Broad Street Bullies were just that good; no one could stop them, obviously. They also had a strong impact on the voting for the awards below, so there is that for us to review. How many awards did the Flyers take home this time?
Read on to find out!
1975 Hart: Bobby Clarke (original), Guy Lafleur (revised)
Two forwards stood out during the regular season, and Hart vote winner Bobby Clarke, the Philly star center, was not one of them, although he did have a good season with 11.2 Point Shares. But, Boston Bruins center Phil Esposito (13.17 PS) and Montréal Canadiens right wing Guy Lafleur (12.91 PS) were better players.
The NHL realigned in 1975, creating four divisions in two new conferences, and the Flyers ended up atop the Patrick Division with 113 points, while the Bruins finished second in the Adams Division with 94 points. Meanwhile, the Canadiens won the Norris Division with 113 points, which means we’re inclined to give this award to Lafleur for his excellence and his impact upon his team in the standings, too, enough so to overcome the slight margin Esposito holds in PS.
Lafleur’s numbers: NHL-best 36 even-strength goals and 11 game-winning goals, in addition to his 66 assists, 119 points, plus-53 rating, and 20.4 shot percentage. He also added 15 power-play goals and 2 short-handed goals. Lafleur also managed 2 defensive PS, so he was a solid-enough two-way player. This ends a four-year stretch where Esposito won this award from us, by the way, and this is the second time we’ve taken the award away from Clarke.
1975 Vezina: Bernie Parent (original, confirmed)
Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent won this award for a second-straight season, although this time he did not share it with Chicago Black Hawks netminder Tony Esposito. They were the two best goalies in the league, for sure, but Parent was significantly better (18.57 PS to 15.20 PS). Plus, Chicago finished just third in the Smythe Division with only 82 points, so there is more value in Parent’s superior PS total as well.
Parent’s numbers: He didn’t win the Triple Crown this time, but his 44 victories and 2.04 goals-against average were tops in the league. The .918 save percentage was still very good, and Parent led the NHL in shutouts, too (12). He was a big part of the Flyers’ overall regular-season success.
1975 Norris: Bobby Orr (original, confirmed)
Boston defenseman Bobby Orr once again topped the league in PS (21.47) by almost 3 PS over Parent, and he also was tops in offensive (13.06) and defensive PS (8.41), respectively. The guy was amazing, obviously. This is the seventh-consecutive year Orr has won the Norris from us, as well: That’s legendary status right there.
Orr’s numbers: NHL-high numbers in assists (89), points (135), plus/minus rating (plus-80), and shots on goal (384). He also added 101 penalty minutes, too. However, this was Orr’s last great season, at age 26. Over the next three seasons combined, he played just 36 more games after this season due to repeated knee injuries that sapped his ability to skate.
1975 Calder: Eric Vail (original), Danny Gare (revised)
The three best rookies were Atlanta Flames left wing Eric Vail (6.1 PS), Buffalo Sabres right wing Danny Gare (6.0), and Pittsburgh Penguins center Pierre Larouche (5.4). The vote went to Vail, although the Flames finished last in the Patrick Division and missed the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Sabres won the Adams Division with 113 points, and the Penguins finished third in the Norris Division with 89 points.
That makes us lean toward Gare for this award, as who would have imagined Buffalo being so good as to tie for the best point total in the league, let alone finishing ahead of Boston? Strangely, Gare finished third in the Calder voting, despite posting 31G, 31A, a plus-39 rating, and 75 PIM. His splits (4.2 oPS, 1.8 dPS) were very good for a first-year player, as well.
Vail scored 39 goals with only 21 assists, and he wasn’t as good on defense (1.2 dPS) as Gare was, either. We suspect it was the goal total that earned him the vote despite his clear freedom to shoot at will for a last-place team without having to worry about anything else that was at stake. That’s why Gare’s efforts have much more value.
1975 Conn Smythe: Bernie Parent (original), Rick Macleish (revised)
The Flyers beat the Sabres in six games to claim the Cup, and Parent won the Conn Smythe vote by posting a 10-5 record with a 1.89 GAA and a .924 S%—but he missed two games, and his backup (Wayne Stephenson) posted a 2-0 mark with a 1.95 GAA and a .922S%. This makes us wonder if someone else was more important to the Flyers, since Parent was clearly somewhat replaceable in the playoffs.
Philly center Rick Macleish once again topped the Flyers in postseason scoring with 20 points in 17 games, but he had just one GWG this time around—and no skater on the roster notched more than 2 GWG in the playoff run to the Cup Finals. Macleish did post a plus-17 rating, however, in the 20 games, so he was clearly the best skater on the team.
No player on Buffalo’s team posted particularly good stats, and certainly no Sabres player was dominant. So this comes down to Parent and Macleish again, and unlike 1974, Parent didn’t start every game—and his backup did just as well as he did with the skaters in front of him. So we give this award to Macleish this time around, simply because he was the best skater, and no one could replace his efforts for the Flyers.