Ten years of so-called elite players

Jason Gregor
May 20 2009 12:21PM

hardhits

So what does a player have to do to be considered elite? Does he need to be in the top-ten scoring for four plus years? Would cracking the top ten twice in ten years qualify? If the average career is four years, would a player only have to be in the top ten four times in his career to be great?

I don’t know the answers so I decided to take a look at the past ten years, and see who has been a top-ten scorer and how many would be considered elite players.

1998/1999

Jaromir Jagr (PIT) | 81 GP | 44 G | 83 A | 127 PTS | 66 PIM | 1.57 PPG

Teemu Selanne (ANA) | 75 GP | 47 G | 60 A | 107 PTS | 30 PIM | 1.43 PPG

Paul Kariya (ANA) | 82 GP | 39 G | 62 A | 101 PTS | 40 PIM | 1.23 PPG

Peter Forsberg (COL) | 78 GP | 30 G | 67 A | 97 PTS | 108 PIM | 1.24 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 73 GP | 41 G | 55 A | 96 PTS | 29 PIM | 1.31 PPG

Alexei Yashin (OTT) | 82 GP | 44 G | 50 A | 94 PTS | 54 PIM | 1.14 PPG

Eric Lindros (PHI) | 71 GP | 40 G | 53 A | 93 PTS | 120 PIM | 1.30 PPG

Theoren Fleury (CGY/COL) | 75 GP | 40 G | 53 A | 93 PTS | 86 PIM | 1.24 PPG

John Leclair (PHI) | 76 GP | 43 G | 47 A | 90 PTS | 30 PIM | 1.18 PPG

Pavol Demitra (STL) | 82 GP | 37 G | 52 A | 89 PTS | 16 PIM | 1.08 PPG

* Six players from the west, four from the east and seven different teams.

1999/2000

Jaromir Jagr (PIT) | 63 GP | 42 G | 54 A | 96 PTS | 50 PIM | 1.52 PPG

Pavel Bure (VAN) | 74 GP | 58 G | 36 A | 94 PTS | 16 PIM | 1.27 PPG

Mark Recchi (PHI) | 82 GP | 28 G | 63 A | 91 PTS | 50 PIM | 1.10 PPG

Paul Kariya (ANA) | 74 GP | 42 G | 44 A | 86 PTS | 24 PIM | 1.16 PPG

Teemu Selanne (ANA) | 79 GP | 33 G | 52 A | 85 PTS | 12 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Owen Nolan (SJS) | 78 GP | 44 G | 40 A | 84 PTS | 110 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Tony Amonte (CHI) | 82 GP | 43 G | 41 A | 84 PTS | 48 PIM | 1.02 PPG

Mike Modano (DAL) | 77 GP | 38 G | 43 A | 81 PTS | 48 PIM | 1.05 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 60 GP | 28 G | 53 A | 81 PTS | 28 PIM | 1.35 PPG

Steve Yzerman (DET) | 78 GP | 35 G | 44 A | 79 PTS | 34 PIM | 1.01 PPG

* Eight players from the west, two from the east and nine different teams.

2000/2001

Jaromir Jagr (PIT) | 81 GP | 52 G | 69 A | 121 PTS | 42 PIM | 1.49 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 82 GP | 54 G | 64 A | 118 PTS | 30 PIM | 1.43 PPG

Patrick Elias (NJ) | 82 GP | 40 G | 56 A | 96 PTS | 51 PIM | 1.17 PPG

Alexia Kovalev (PIT) | 79 GP | 44 G | 51 A | 95 PTS | 96 PIM | 1.20 PPG

Jason Allison (BOS) | 82 GP | 36 G | 59 A | 95 PTS | 85 PIM | 1.15 PPG

Martin Straka (PIT) | 82 GP | 27 G | 68 A | 95 PTS | 38 PIM | 1.15 PPG

Pavel Bure (FLO) | 82 GP | 59 G | 33 A | 92 PTS | 58 PIM | 1.12 PPG

Doug Weight (EDM) | 82 GP | 25 G | 65 A | 90 PTS | 91 PIM | 1.09 PPG

Ziggy Palffy (LA) | 73 GP | 38 G | 51 A | 89 PTS | 20 PIM | 1.21 PPG

Peter Forsberg (COL) | 73 GP | 27 G | 62 A | 89 PTS | 54 PIM | 1.21 PPG

* Six players from the east, four from the west and seven different teams.

2001/2002

Jarome Iginla (CGY) | 82 GP | 52 G | 44 A | 96 PTS | 77 PIM | 1.17 PPG

Markus Naslund (VAN) | 81 GP | 40 G | 50 A | 90 PTS | 50 PIM | 1.11 PPG

Todd Bertuzzi (VAN) | 72 GP | 36 G | 49 A | 85 PTS | 110 PIM | 1.18 PPG

Mats Sundin (TOR) | 82 GP | 41 G | 39 A | 80 PTS | 94 PIM | 0.97 PPG

Jaromir Jagr (WAS) | 69 GP | 31 G | 48 A | 79 PTS | 30 PIM | 1.14 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 82 GP | 26 G | 53 A | 79 PTS | 18 PIM | 0.96 PPG

Pavol Demitra (STL) | 82 GP | 35 G | 43 A | 78 PTS | 46 PIM | 0.95 PPG

Adam Oates (WAS/PHI) | 80 GP | 14 G | 64 A | 78 PTS | 28 PIM | 0.97 PPG

Mike Modano (DAL) | 78 GP | 34 G | 43 A | 77 PTS | 38 PIM | 0.99 PPG

Ron Francis (CAR) | 80 GP | 27 G | 50 A | 77 PTS | 18 PIM | 0.96 PPG

* Six teams from the west, four from the east and eight different teams.

2002/2003

Peter Forsberg (COL) | 75 GP | 29 G | 77 A | 106 PTS | 70 PIM | 1.37 PPG

Markus Naslund (VAN) | 82 GP | 48 G | 56 A | 104 PTS | 52 PIM | 1.26 PPG

Joe Thornton (BOS) | 77 GP | 36 G | 65 A | 101 PTS | 109 PIM | 1.31 PPG

Milan Hejduk (COL) | 82 GP | 50 G | 48 A | 98 PTS | 52 PIM | 1.09 PPG

Todd Bertuzzi (VAN) | 82 GP | 46 G | 51 A | 97 PTS | 144 PIM | 1.18 PPG

Pavol Demitra (STL) | 78 GP | 36 G | 57 A | 93 PTS | 32 PIM | 1.19 PPG

Glen Murray (BOS) | 82 GP | 44 G | 48 A | 92 PTS | 64 PIM | 1.12 PPG

Mario Lemieux (PIT) | 67 GP | 28 G | 63 A | 91 PTS | 43 PIM | 1.35 PPG

Dany Heatley (ATL) | 77 GP | 41 G | 48 A | 89 PTS | 58 PIM | 1.15 PPG

Ziggy Palffy (LA) | 76 GP | 37 G | 48 A | 85 PTS | 47 PIM | 1.11 PPG

Mike Modano (DAL) | 79 GP | 28 G | 57 A | 85 PTS | 30 PIM | 1.07 PPG

* Seven teams from the west, four from the east and eight different teams.

2003/2004

Martin St. Louis (TB) | 82 GP | 38 G | 56 A | 94 PTS | 24 PIM | 1.14 PPG

Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL) | 81 GP | 41 G | 46 A | 87 PTS | 63 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 81 GP | 33 G | 54 A | 87 PTS | 42 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Markus Naslund (VAN) | 78 GP | 35 G | 49 A | 84 PTS | 58 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Marian Hossa (OTT) | 81 GP | 36 G | 46 A | 82 PTS | 46 PIM | 1.01 PPG

Patrick Elias (NJ) | 82 GP | 38 G | 43 A | 81 PTS | 44 PIM | 0.99 PPG

Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) | 77 GP | 32 G | 48 A | 80 PTS | 24 PIM | 1.03 PPG

Cory Stillman (TB) | 81 GP | 25 G | 55 A | 80 PTS | 36 PIM | 0.99 PPG

Robert Lang (WSH/DET) | 69 GP | 30 G | 49 A | 79 PTS | 24 PIM | 1.14 PPG

Brad Richards (TB) | 82 GP | 26 G | 53 A | 79 PTS | 12 PIM | 0.96 PPG

Alex Tanguay (COL) | 69 GP | 25 G | 54 A | 79 PTS | 42 PIM | 1.14 PPG

* Eight teams from the west, three from the west and seven different teams.

2005/2006

Joe Thornton (BOS/SJ) | 81 GP | 29 G | 96 A | 125 PTS | 61 PIM | 1.54 PPG

Jaromir Jagr (NYR) | 82 GP | 54 G | 69 A | 123 PTS | 72 PIM | 1.50 PPG

Alex Ovechkin (WAS) | 81 GP | 52 G | 54 A | 106 PTS | 52 PIM | 1.30 PPG

Dany Heatley (OTT) | 82 GP | 50 G | 53 A | 103 PTS | 86 PIM | 1.25 PPG

Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) | 77 GP | 43 G | 60 A |103 PTS | 50 PIM | 1.33 PPG

Sidney Crosby (PIT) | 81 GP | 39 G | 63 A | 102 PTS | 110 PIM | 1.26 PPG

Eric Staal (CAR) | 82 GP | 45 G | 55 A | 100 PTS | 81 PIM | 1.22 PPG

Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL) | 78 GP | 52 G | 46 A | 98 PTS | 68 PIM | 1.25 PPG

Marc Savard (ATL) | 82 GP | 28 G | 69 A | 97 PTS | 100 PIM | 1.18 PPG

Jonathon Cheechoo (SJ) | 82 GP | 56 G | 37 A | 93 PTS | 58 PIM | 1.13 PPG

* Eight players from the east, two from the west and seven different teams. * Five 50-goal scorers and seven 100 point players.

2006/2007

Sidney Crosby (PIT) | 79 GP | 36 G | 84 A | 120 PTS | 60 PIM | 1.51 PPG

Joe Thornton (SJ) | 82 GP | 22 G | 92 A | 114 PTS | 44 PIM | 1.39 PPG

Vincent Lecavalier (TB) | 82 GP | 52 G | 56 A | 108 PTS | 44 PIM | 1.32 PPG

Dany Heatley (OTT) | 82 GP | 50 G | 55 A | 105 PTS | 74 PIM | 1.28 PPG

Martin St. Louis (TB) | 82 GP | 43 G | 59 A | 102 PTS | 28 PIM | 1.24 PPG

Marian Hossa (ATL) | 82 GP | 43 G | 57 A | 100 PTS | 49 PIM | 1.22 PPG

Joe Sakic (COL) | 82 GP | 36 G | 64 A | 100 PTS | 46 PIM | 1.22 PPG

Jaromir Jagr (NYR) | 82 GP | 30 G | 66 A | 96 PTS | 78 PIM | 1.17 PPG

Marc Savard (BOS) | 82 GP | 22 G | 74 A | 96 PTS | 96 PIM | 1.17 PPG

Daniel Briere (BUF) | 81 GP | 32 G | 63 A | 95 PTS | 89 PIM | 1.17 PPG

* Eight players from the east, two from the west and nine separate teams.

2007/2008

Alex Ovechkin (WAS) | 82 GP | 65 G | 47 A | 112 PTS | 40 PIM | 1.36 PPG

Evgeni Malkin (PIT) | 82 GP | 47 G | 59 A | 106 PTS | 78 PIM | 1.29 PPG

Jarome Iginla (CGY) | 82 GP | 50 G | 48 A | 98 PTS | 83 PIM | 1.19 PPG

Pavel Datsyuk (DET) | 82 GP | 31 G | 66 A | 97 PTS | 20 PIM | 1.18 PPG

Joe Thornton (SJ) | 82 GP | 29 G | 67 A | 96 PTS | 59 PIM | 1.17 PPG

Henrik Zetterberg (DET) | 75 GP | 43 G | 49 A | 92 PTS | 34 PIM | 1.22 PPG

Vincent Lecavalier (TB) | 81 GP | 40 G | 52 A | 92 PTS | 89 PIM | 1.13 PPG

Jason Spezza (OTT) | 76 GP | 34 G | 58 A | 92 PTS | 66 PIM | 1.21 PPG

Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) | 70 GP | 40 G | 49 A | 89 PTS | 34 PIM | 1.27 PPG

Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL) | 79 GP | 52 G | 25 A | 87 PTS | 52 PIM | 1.10 PPG

* Seven players from the east, three from the west and eight different teams.

2008/2009

Evgeni Malkin (PIT) | 82 GP | 35 G | 78 A | 113 PTS | 82 PIM | 1.37 PPG

Alex Ovechkin (WAS) | 79 GP | 56 G | 54 A | 110 PTS | 72 PIM | 1.39 PPG

Sidney Crosby (PIT) | 77 GP | 33 G | 70 A | 103 PTS | 76 PIM | 1.33 PPG

Pavel Datsyuk (DET) | 81 GP | 32 G | 65 A | 97 PTS | 22 PIM | 1.20 PPG

Zach Parise (NJ) | 82 GP | 45 G | 49 A | 94 PTS | 24 PIM | 1.14 PPG

Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL) | 79 GP | 43 G | 48 A | 91 PTS | 50 PIM | 1.15 PPG

Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) | 81 GP | 25 G | 66 A | 91 PTS | 121 PIM 1.12 PPG

Jarome Iginla (CGY) | 82 GP | 35 G | 54 A | 89 PTS | 37 PIM | 1.08 PPG

Marc Savard (BOS) | 82 GP | 25 G | 63 A | 88 PTS | 70 PIM | 1.07 PPG

Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) | 82 GP | 22 G | 66 A | 88 PTS | 46 PIM | 1.07 PPG

* Seven players from the east, three from the west and eight different teams.
Here’s a more in depth break down, and there was a total of 55 different players who made it at least once. The number in parenthesis is their Point Per Game average over their career.

Players who cracked the top ten more than three times: (3)

  1. Jaromir Jagr | (6) | (1.25)
  2. Joe Sakic | (6) | (1.19)
  3. Ilya Kovalchuk | (4) | (1.02)

Players who cracked the top ten three times: (10)

  1. Alex Ovechkin (1.30)
  2. Sidney Crosby (1.37)
  3. Jarome Iginla (0.90)
  4. Peter Forsberg (1.25)
  5. Pavol Demitra (0.92)
  6. Mike Modano (0.95)
  7. Markus Naslund (0.78)
  8. Joe Thornton (1.01)
  9. Daniel Alfredsson (0.99)
  10. Marc Savard (0.89)

Players who cracked the top ten twice: (12)

  1. Teemu Selanne (1.07)
  2. Dany Heatley (1.07)
  3. Marty St. Louis (0.84)
  4. Paul Kariya (1.03)
  5. Pavel Bure (1.10)
  6. Marian Hossa (0.93)
  7. Evgeni Malkin (1.25)
  8. Patrick Elias (0.86)
  9. Ziggy Palffy (1.04)
  10. Pavel Datsyuk (0.99)
  11. Vincent Lecavalier (0.85)
  12. Todd Bertuzzi (0.73)

Players who cracked the top ten once: (30)

  1. Alexei Yashin (0.91)
  2. Eric Lindros (1.14)
  3. Theoren Fleury (1.00)
  4. John Leclair (0.84)
  5. Mark Recchi (0.96)
  6. Alexei Kovalev (0.81)
  7. Owen Nolan (0.75)
  8. Jason Allison (0.88)
  9. Tony Amonte (0.76)
  10. Doug Weight (0.85)
  11. Martin Straka (0.75)
  12. Steve Yzerman (1.16)
  13. Mats Sundin (1.00)
  14. Adam Oates (1.06)
  15. Ron Francis (1.04)
  16. Milan Hejduk (0.84)
  17. Glen Murray (0.64)
  18. Mario Lemieux (1.88)
  19. Cory Stillman (0.72)
  20. Robert Lang (0.73)
  21. Brad Richards (0.88)
  22. Alex Tanguay (0.88)
  23. Eric Staal (0.87)
  24. Jonathon Cheechoo (0.66)
  25. Daniel Briere (0.80)
  26. Henrik Zetterberg (0.94)
  27. Jason Spezza (1.03)
  28. Zach Parise (0.77)
  29. Ryan Getzlaf (0.91)
  30. Nicklas Backstrom (0.96)

I’m guessing that a player like Getzlaf, who has only played four seasons, will be in the top ten many times before he is done. Same with Parise and Staal. What is interesting is that Rick Nash with six years in the league hasn’t cracked the top ten once. In fact, his highest ranking ever was 18th. Nash is widely regarded as one of the top players, but his stats don’t back up that statement. He has a 0.80 PPG too date.

And you can’t use “He is on a bad team with no other skilled players” as an argument, because Iginla won a title with Craig Conroy as the second highest player on his team. Joe Sakic had 100+ point seasons early in his career on horrible Quebec teams. One year Sakic had 109 points, 50 more than Mats Sundin who was 2nd on the Nordiques. Great players will produce regardless of their linemates.

Pavol Demitra cracking the top ten three times was the biggest surprise for me. I’ve never considered him a great player, and I still don’t, but his stats suggest I might have underrated him.

I did a check on the previous ten years as well, and noticed that in that time only 43 players cracked the top ten. I would argue that during this ten-year stretch from 1988/89- 1997/1998 there were more elite players, thus a smaller group of players who cracked the top ten.

Some have argued that Adam Oates isn’t a Hall of Famer, but when you consider that he cracked the top-ten seven different times in his career, it would be hard not to put him in.

Compared to a player like Dave Andreychuk, who was consistent over his career with 640 goals in a 23-year career, but only cracked the top-ten once, I can see why he isn’t in the Hall to date.

Oates scored 1420 points in 1337 games, while Andreychuk compiled 1338 in 1639. Andreychuk scored 640 goals to Oates’ 341. I love goal scorers, but for my money Oates was a better player averaging 1.06 PPG in his career compared to Andreychuk’s 0.81.

This ten year span also included three D-men, Coffey (3 times), Leetch and MacInnis, which just re-affirms how great they were. Not one D-man cracked the top ten during the past ten seasons.

Some names also jump out at you as one year wonders like Josef Stumpel and Mikael Renberg as players who clearly had skill, but were more one-hit wonders than true top-end players.

Players who cracked the top ten more than four times: (8)

  1. Wayne Gretzky | (7) | (1.92)
  2. Mario Lemieux | (6) | (1.88)
  3. Adam Oates | (6) | (1.06)
  4. Jaromir Jagr | (5) | (1.25)
  5. Steve Yzerman | (5) | (1.16)
  6. Joe Sakic | (5) | (1.19)
  7. Ron Francis | (4) | (1.04)
  8. Teemu Selanne | (4) | (1.07)

Players who cracked the top ten three times: (5)

  1. Paul Coffey (1.08)
  2. Mark Messier (1.07)
  3. Luc Robitaille (0.97)
  4. Mark Recchi (0.96)
  5. Brett Hull (1.09)

Players who cracked the top ten twice: (15)

  1. Peter Forsberg (1.25)
  2. Pavel Bure (1.10)
  3. John Leclair (0.84)
  4. Ziggy Palffy (1.04)
  5. Paul Kariya (1.03)
  6. Eric Lindros (1.14)
  7. Alex Mogilny (1.04)
  8. Sergei Fedorov (0.94)
  9. Theo Fleury (1.00)
  10. Pat Lafontaine (1.17)
  11. Pierre Turgeon (1.02)
  12. Doug Gilmour (0.95)
  13. Jeremy Roenick (0.89)
  14. Bernie Nicholls (1.07)
  15. Brendan Shanahan (0.89)

Players who cracked the top ten once: (15)

  1. Mats Sundin (1.00)
  2. Dave Andreychuk (0.81)
  3. Jason Allison (0.88)
  4. Jozef Stumpel (0.70)
  5. Alexie Zhamnov (0.89)
  6. Mikael Renberg (0.70)
  7. Kevin Stevens (0.83)
  8. Jimmy Carson (0.89)
  9. Brian Leetch (0.85)
  10. John Cullen (0.88)
  11. Al MacInnis (0.89)
  12. Steve Larmer (1.00)
  13. Rob Brown (0.80)
  14. Joe Mullen (1.00)
  15. Jari Kurri (1.11)

So after looking at the numbers it is obvious who the true elite players are. Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Sakic, Yzerman and Selanne were regulars in the top ten, and that isn’t a surprise.

Would anyone consider Pavol Demitra better than Mats Sundin? Probably not, but Sundin only cracked the top ten twice in his career, while Demitra did it three times. So is Demitra better? Of course not, but for a five-year span Demitra was an above average point producer.

And if a guy has four or five really productive seasons and then falls off, he is better than a guy like Mike Gartner, who only cracked the top ten once in his career (1985), but finished with more than 700 goals and had a mind blowing 13 seasons with at least 32 goals? Gartner finished with a career average of 0.92 PPG.

I think PPG might be a more accurate way to evaluate great players, rather than how many top-ten finishes a player ends up with. But even then certain numbers can be misleading.

Take Peter Forsberg (1.25) v. Joe Sakic (1.19). Forsberg has a higher PPG, but he also played almost half as many games. I think part of being considered an elite player has to be longevity and productivity. Had Forsberg played another 600 games, would he have kept up his PPG average? Doubtful since very few do, although Sakic did. For my money I still take Sakic, based solely that he was more of a goal scorer. Forsberg was a 0.35 GPG, while Sakic was a 0.46. And I hated that Forsberg dove so much, especially when a shift earlier you couldn’t knock him down with an axe.

After looking at the last 20 years, I’ve decided to create a few categories to try and separate where a player fits in.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Joe Sakic and Jaromir Jagr were the most dominant players. Each guy cracked the top ten a mind blowing eleven times.

HALL OF FAMERS

Gretzky (1.92), Lemieux (1.88), Lafontaine (1.17) Kurri (1.11), Coffey (1.08), Messier (107), Francis (1.04), Mullen (1.00) and MacInnis (0.89).

ON WAY TO HALL OF FAME

Forsberg (1.25), Sakic (1.19 and expect him to retire after someone wins the Cup this year), Yzerman (1.16), Bure (1.10), Hull (1.09), Oates (1.06), Mogilny (1.04) and Leetch (0.85).

DEBATEABLE HALL OF FAMERS

Lindros (1.14), Nicholls (1.07), Palffy (1.04), Turgeon (1.02), Fleury (1.00), Larmer (1.00), Robitaille (0.97), Recchi (0.96), Gilmour (0.95), Modano (0.95) Shanahan (0.89), Roenick (0.89) and Andreychuk (0.81)

ACTIVE GUARANTEED HALL OF FAMERS

Jagr (1.25), Selanne (1.07), Sundin (1.00) and Fedorov (0.94)

ACTIVE ELITE

Crosby (1.37), Ovechkin (1.30), Malkin (1.25), Heatley (1.07), Kariya (1.03), Spezza (1.03), Kovalchuk (1.02), Thornton (1.01), Alfredsson (0.99), Datsyuk (0.99), Backstrom (0.96), Zetterberg (0.94), Hossa (0.93), Getzlaf (0.91) and Iginla (0.90).

GREAT BUT NOT ELITE

Savard (0.89), Richards (0.88), Staal (0.87), Elias (0.86), Lecavalier (0.85), St. Louis (0.84) and Parise (0.77).

ONE NIGHT STANDS: Proven talent but couldn’t maintain it.

Demitra (0.92),Yashin (0.91), Zhamnov (0.89), Carson (0.89), Allison (0.88), Weight (0.85), Leclair (0.84), Kovalev (0.81), Briere (0.80) and Naslund (0.78)

MORE OF A WINGMAN: Couldn’t wheel a tire down hill.

Cullen (0.88), Tanguay (0.88), Hejduk (0.84), Stevens (0.83), Brown (0.80), Amonte (0.76), Straka (0.75), Nolan (0.75), Bertuzzi (0.73), Lang (0.73), Stillman (0.72), Stumpel (0.70), Renberg (0.70), Cheechoo (0.66) and Murray (0.64).

These numbers don’t tell every story, but it sure gives us a better impression of those who are great, good or just overrated.

In the last 20 years only 81 different players have managed to have a top-ten season. It was proven that players like Murray, Cheechoo, Renberg and Stumpel can have a great year, but be far from being considered a great player.

In case you are curious, Lidstrom (0.75), Pronger (0.59) and Niedermayer (0.58) who many consider potential Hall-of-Famers haven’t come close to the offensive numbers of Coffey, MacInnis or Leetch.

Should that keep them out of the elite category? Of course not, but if forwards can still average close to one PPG why haven’t any of the D-men in the past ten years? The argument is that the game isn’t as offensive, and that is fair, but the forward’s numbers in the past few years are on par to the elite players of the previous ten years, excluding Gretzky and Lemieux, so maybe Pronger and Niedermayer aren’t as great as we have been led to believe?

Let the debate begin on who you like and who you think you should be included in any of the lists.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Ogden Brother
May 21 2009, 07:30AM
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Homie wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: What is interesting is that Rick Nash with six years in the league hasn’t cracked the top ten once. In fact, his highest ranking ever was 18th. Nash is widely regarded as one of the top players, but his stats don’t back up that statement. He has a 0.80 PPG too date. He’s a top player because he’s had 41, 40, 38 and 27 goal seasons before he turned 25. For COLUMBUS. PPG gives too much weight to assists, when there are two available for each goal. I think if you ran your calculations for Goals per Game or reduced the value of an assist (like 0.6 of a goal or so), you’d see Nash in the top ten for 4 of the last 5 years, but don’t quote me because I haven’t actually run it. I’d trade Hemsky for Nash in a heartbeat even though they have a similar PPG over the last few seasons and are around the same age. I’d throw in Gilbert and a pick too, then sign the guy for 10 years.

Didn't you know? He'd be coming here next year as a UFA if it wasn't for Klowe.

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#52 Phil
May 21 2009, 11:25AM
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Gretz' career ppg = Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla combined! Gadzooks.

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#53 Rob Huck
May 22 2009, 04:47PM
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Great work.

Move the following up one category:

Robitaille Gilmour Modano Shanahan

Datsyuk* Zetterberg* Iginla

Lecavailier St Louis

Cullen Nolan

* debatable -- if the league shut down today, then perhaps not, but if Wings win the Cup next month, how do you argue against their induction?

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#54 Jonathan Willis
May 23 2009, 11:34PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

I know what you mean, and I don’t think Willis would be offended if it was attributed to him in any case. It’s an interesting and solid piece.

It is indeed. I also wasn't the slightest bit upset to see Vincent Lecavalier described as "great but not elite"; I recall describing him in very similar terms a while back, although folks weren't all that happy with me at the time.

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