Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Robert Esche
Goaltender Robert Esche spent three years playing with the Detroit/Plymouth franchise of the OHL before making the jump to professional hockey. Born on January 22nd, 1978, Esche, twice represented the United States in the World Junior Championships during his junior career, and was a fifth round draft choice of the Phoenix Coyotes.

After spending the majority of his first season of profressional hockey with the Coyotes AHL affiliate in Springfield, Esche was called up midway through the 1998-99 season and made his NHL debut on Ferbruary 20th, 1999 coming in as relief.

In 1999-00, Esche again spent most of the season in Springfield developing his game, but managed to play eight NHL contests and recorded his first victory. After the season, Esche played for the U.S. in the 2000 World Championships, posting a victory and a tie and a sparkling 0.50 GAA.

After veteran Bob Essensa was not re-signed by the Coyotes, Esche was given the opportunity to win the back up job to incumbent Sean Burke and won the job in training camp. Now an NHL regular, Esche played 25 games for Phoenix in 2000-01, posting a winning record and a 3.02 goals against average while picking three assists, good enough for second amongst goaltenders.

Esche played one more season with the Phoenix organization before he was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers prior to the 2002-03 season. There, along with netminder Roman Cechmanek, Esche shared the William Jennings Trophy with the Devils' Martin Brodeur as both New Jersey and Philadelphia allowed a league-low 166 goals against.

In 2003-04, Esche became the Flyers number netminder after Jeff Hackett retired early in the season and went on to post a 21-11-7 record along with a 2.04 GAA while leading Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference final. Although the club fell short in their attempt to reach their first Cup final since 1997, Esche's strong play earned him a spot with Team USA at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Esche would return to Team USA in 2006 to represent his nation in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

After the Olympics, Esche would end his 2006-07 season with the struggling Flyers. In the off-season, the team opted not to re-sign the netminder who would sign to compete in Russia with AK Bars Kazan on October 18, 2007. He returned to team USA to backstop his homeland at the 2008 World Championships.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1994-95 Gloucester Rangers ON-Jr.A 20 10 6 0 0 4.06
1995-96 Detroit Jr. Whalers OHL 23 13 6 0 1 3.74 3 0 2 0 2.29
1996-97 Detroit Jr. Whalers OHL 58 24 28 2 2 3.81 5 1 4 0 3.60
1996-97 United States WJC-A
1997-98 Plymouth Whalers OHL 48 29 13 4 3 2.88 15 8 7 0 3.10
1997-98 United States WJC-A 4 2 2 0 0 3.28
1998-99 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 3 0 1 0 0 3.23
1998-99 Springfield Falcons AHL 55 24 20 6 1 2.80 1 0 1 0 4.02
1999-00 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 8 2 5 0 0 3.38
1999-00 Houston Aeros IHL 7 4 2 1 2 2.29
1999-00 Springfield Falcons AHL 21 9 9 2 2 3.03 3 1 2 0 4.01
1999-00 United States WC-A 2 1 0 1 1 0.50
2000-01 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 25 10 8 4 2 3.02
2000-01 United States WC-A 6 4 2 0 0 2.17
2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 22 6 10 2 1 2.72
2001-02 Springfield Falcons AHL 1 1 0 0 1 0.00
2002-03 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 30 12 9 3 2 2.20 1 0 0 0 2.00
2003-04 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 40 21 11 7 3 2.04 18 11 7 1 2.32
2004-05 United States W-Cup 4 1 3 0 0 2.53
2004-05
2005-06 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 40 22 11 5 1 2.97 6 2 4 0 4.20
2005-06 United States Olympics 1 0 1 0 0 5.10
2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 18 5 9 1 1 4.33
2007-08 Ak Bars Kazan Russia 18 3 1.86 10 1 2.46
2007-08 United States WC-A 4 0 2.12
2008-09 SKA St. Petersburg KHL 38 9 1.95 3 0 2.59
2008-09 United States WC-A 8 3 5 0 0 3.12
2009-10 SKA St. Petersburg KHL 42 6 2.07 4 0 2.28
2010-11 Dynamo Minsk KHL 24 0 3.30 4 0 1.95
2011-12 SCL Tigers Langnau Swiss 40 15 25 0 1 3.04 4 4 0 0 1.85
NHL Totals 186 78 64 22 10 2.74 25 13 11 1 2.73


OHL Second All-Star Team (1998)
AHL All-Rookie Team (1999) William M. Jennings Trophy (2003) (shared with Roman Cechmanek) (tied with Martin Brodeur)
Traded to Philadelphia by Phoenix with Michal Handzus for Brian Boucher and Nashville's 3rd round pick (previously acquired, Phoenix selected Joe Callahan) in 2002 NHL Draft, June 12, 2002. Signed as a free agent by Kazan (Russia), October 18, 2007.
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