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08-16-2011, 01:12 PM
  #11
Iain Fyffe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Surely you can see how that is a tough sell, though. One was full of recognizable players who, just the year before or the year after, cracked an NHL roster when it was the toughest league to get into. One was full of players much more obscure by comparison.
A tough sell, certainly, but perhaps only because people aren't very familiar with this aspect of the O6 era. It's easy to apply modern standards of what "career minor leaguer" means, when it often meant something very different back then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
what does "scored better" mean though? I just want to make sure we're on the same page. Raw numbers wouldn't cut it for me because there could be differences in scoring levels between the leagues.
I didn't go into detail since he's a bench player for me, but he did set the assists record in the AHL and scored over a point a game one season. Overall his numbers are pretty similar from one league to the next but it seems he scored more in the AHL. Just another example of similarity, not trying to say the AHL was weaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Relatively speaking though, I think what vecens is saying is legitimate. The O6 era is a different ballgame, but there are other O6 players here (and many remaining, too) who did play against the very best, for hundreds of games, and performed very well.
That's true, but as Fielder's situation illustrates, ability is not the only consideration in this era. Nowadays he'd be crazy to turn down $1 million to apprentice as an electrician, but in the O6 era that was a legitimate consideration. The economics were completely different, meaning a player could be quite content playing in the WHL for his entire career rather than being jerked around by the NHL syndicate. Look at what Montreal had to do to get Beliveau in their lineup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
This is probably a good time for this conversation. Let's look at an "average" O6 season, like, 1963 or something. I realize the NHL was tough to crack and there were some defensemen good enough to make it (not necessarily good enough to star) in other leagues. I think if they were good enough to star, they'd find their way in, headcase or not.
If they were good enough to star in the high minor leagues, they could find their way in if so inclined. As the Fielder example illustrates, playing in the NHL was not always a priority for minor-league players. The NHL probably didn't pay much more than the WHL at that time, so other considerations are in play. This doesn't make a player a headcase for choosing not to pursue an NHL position year after year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
this is not set in stone and obviously there is a lot of blurring between these tiers but this is how I think it shakes out in a rather simplified exercise. If you're a 1st AST member in a top minor league in the O6, ignoring blurring, it probably means you're about 25th-30th-best defenseman in the world at the time.
That's not a bad listing, but as you say it's a very simplistic exercise and doesn't account for a lot of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
What are your thoughts, Iain? Particularly, what do you think was the highest spot a guy like Hugh Currie or Fred Hucul ever occupied on hockey's great defenseman pecking order?
I wouldn't be able to say without putting much more thought into it.

I think in the cases of Fielder and Hucul longevity must be considered. Fielder led the AHL or WHL in assists fourteen times in his career; all but one of these was before the Great Expansion. He led in points nine times, and was a First Team All-Star nine times. Hucul led WHL defencemen in scoring seven times and was a six-time First Team All-Star. These are not "typical" star minor league players, Fielder in particular.

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