Round 2, Vote 5 (2009 update)
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08-24-2009, 09:15 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Evil Empire
I like Malone, I doubt he'll be my number one though. When I think Malone, I think of a player somewhere in between Mike Bossy and Brett Hull, and appropriately he'll probably end up about half way between the two. Of the great pre-consolidation players I rank him behind Frank Nighbor, who is not yet up for voting (which is a shame IMO).
Paul Coffey is my top defenseman here. The defensive side of the game is lacking, but Coffey was a game breaker in a way that no other defenseman besides Orr was. I suspect that if you were to ask a collection of coaches/GMs/players that were around the game during the careers of the five d-men up for voting in this round which of them they would least want to face in their prime, the answer would be Coffey.
The offensive contributions of Pierre Pilote and Tim Horton can't be overlooked either. Pilote had five of the seven highest scoring seasons by a d-man in the pre-expansion portion of the sixties. He was the dominant offensive blueliner of the decade without sacrificing his defensive game (I guess I probably just made a case for Pilote > Coffey, haha). Taking into account the span of 1956-57 to 1967-68, Pilote scored 30% more points than the next best blueliner, who happens to be Tim Horton. Both of these players also had a Smythe-caliber performances on the '61 Hawks and '62 Leafs respectively.
Only two goaltenders in this round, and I had both of them close together on my original list. I think Tretiak's Soviet MVP record might give him the edge over Durnan here, and the fact that he was generally considered a generational goaltender. Durnan's peak is excellent though, and I really don't see much separating him and Dryden. If you had Dryden high on your list last round, you should probably give Durnan the same treatment (and if not, I'm very open to some arguments as to why). The two ex-Habs seem kind of like the Sakic/Yzerman of goaltenders in terms of comparability.
Frank Boucher might be the third or fourth best playmaker of all time. He was named to the 1st AST at center three years consecutively, a feat no other player not already on the list accomplished. He was one of his generation's most dominant playoff performers; his 1928 Cup-winning playoff with the Rangers ranks among the best of all time. Boucher led the way with seven goals and 10 points total in nine games. His linemate Bill Cook was second in playoff scoring with five points, half of Frank's total. No other player in the
had more than two playoff goals that year.
Over the course of Boucher's NHL playoff career (considering 1926-27 to 1936-37, excluding season with Ottawa and final two seasons where the Rangers didn't make the playoffs), he scored more playoff points than any other player in the league. On a per-game basis, he trails only Barry and Weiland amongst guys with at least 20 PO points, though they have the benefit of having played significantly fewer games. Over that same span he is also the regular season points leader, norrowly edging out Morenz for top spot.
Boucher was of course considered one of the most sportsmanlike players of his era (don't confuse this with being soft, Boucher wasn't), and won multiple Lady Byng's. The award may not mean much today, but the perception is that it was considered much more prestigious back in the 20's and 30's. I don't have a link to back that up with, so maybe somebody else can confirm that.
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