Thread: Bryan Trottier
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08-27-2010, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I really don't see how anyone can possibly argue Bossy as a an equal or better playmaker than Lafleur, unless you really believe he was a much better overall player than Lafleur, which goes against the general perception of history.

We know Bossy was the better finisher. We know that he was a better backchecker (though not as good as his linemates). Yet Lafleur is usually ranked higher... because he is an all-time great playmaker. Am I missing something? It seems that a brutal manipulation of stats (comparing Bossy's prime with Lafleur's pre-prime years or using "per game" stats that including Lafleur's awful comeback years) is the only way you can say they are close when it comes to playmaking.
full disclosure - I have a Bossy bias as he was my favorite player.

I believe Bossy was a very underrated playmaker, however you define it. I think his core strength, his pure value proposition as a hockey player was as a goal scorer. He's said as much in his book, in his interviews during his career and since. He LOVED scoring goals and he worked really hard to do that - every game.

Bossy's battle level is underrated as well. I always felt he was a poor skater, not strong on his skates, not fast, not strong along the boards and although he was responsible in his own zone (Arbour demanded it) - he was hardly a defensive player.

Lafleur was far more talented/skilled than Bossy - no doubt about it. Speed, passing/vision, purely offensively he was elite and probably the best in the NHL (arguably) in his prime.

The stats, again, very misleading. I think Bossy was a better player than Lafleur - pure preference on my part. I don't expect others to agree and i certainly don't care to argue the point.

I don't like the seemingly 1to1 relationship between the number of assists to playmaking ability. There's definitely a strong correlation but not as strong as the numbers would suggest IMO.

For example: Brent Sutter averaged under 20 assists per season before 1984 - the he played with Bossy while Trottier was hurt in 85 and got 60 assists and 100 pts that year. Bernie Nicholls with his 70 goals and 80 assists the first season 99 came over. There are dozens of better examples than these extreme ones but my main point is that assists (assists/game per shift per minute) are indicators of playmaking ability, yes, but just not a fan of breaking down a player's offensive ability into sub-categories and assigning weight to their impact.

I mean, Craig Janney was a great playmaker but a horribly hockey player. Adam Oates was an incredible playmaker who had success almost everywhere he played - most notably with his chemistry playing with Brett Hull.

On the contrary, Gretzky looked awful in St. Louis playing with Brett Hull.

It's just a very unclear stats story to me. I know this thread is about Trottier but it's too late now, I've already written all this nonsense.

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