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08-09-2010, 10:58 PM
Hockey Outsider
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I'd argue that Modano was better than Selanne between 1993 (Selanne's rookie season) and 2004 (last season before the lockout).

Selanne outscored Modano by an average of just 5.1 points per year during that period (link). They played roughly the same number of games (actually Selanne played in slightly more but the difference is minor). In fairness to Selanne, he usually played on weaker teams than the Stars. In fairness to Modano, he played in one of the most stifling defensive systems in the league which clearly reduced his personal stats for the greater good of the team. Offensively, Selanne gets the edge but it's quite a bit smaller than I would have expected.

Looking at factors beyond offense, Modano was one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL starting in the mid-nineties (and even when he was a one-dimensional forward, he wasn't any worse than Selanne). The difference in terms of penalty killing ice time is particularly striking. Modano also has a superior playoff resume (capped with two consecutive Conn Smythe worthy playoffs - I realize Selanne never had as much of a chance to play as Modano, but the Star definitely deserves credit for making the most of his opportunities).

Selanne finishes well ahead of Modano in terms of Hart voting. That's certainly a point in his favour (he probably had the higher peak) but given how close they are between 1993 and 2004, it also shows Selanne's inconsistencies (he had a lot of bad years to offset the seasons where he was top five in scoring). I know that this is largely due to injuries, but you don't win hockey games with your best player on the bench.

From a franchise building perspective, I'd take Modano's incredible consistency (scoring 75+ points 12 times in his first 16 years, coupled with excellent two-way play for more than half of those seasons). You knew what you were getting almost every year from him and, like Yzerman, sacrificed personal statistics to buy into a team system.

That being said, Selanne's excellent international career and post-lockout resurgence pushes him ahead of Modano on my all-time list.

Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
And yet who triumphed when they went to seven games with a berth in the SC Final on the line? I'd definitely dispute that they were better defensively as well.
Agreed - I think Modano in his prime was better defensively than both Sakic and Forsberg.

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