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11-07-2012, 07:23 PM
  #235
Czech Your Math
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
But having a talent pool 2-3 times the size doesn't mean there are going to be 2-3 times as many Howe/Richards in the league either.
It only means there's a better CHANCE we could.

Just like today. I have no issue with the statement that the NHL has a bigger talent base and that the average player today is more talented than the average player 25 years ago.
That still doesn't mean the most talented players today are better than the most talented players from then.
Yes, you are correct, it's a matter of probability. If the talent pool is 4x as large as 60 years ago, then if you took the best 2 players from 60 years ago, the odds are there would be ~8 in a more recent season. Maybe there would only be 3 or 4 of that quality... and maybe there would be a dozen or 20 of that quality. However, what is quite improbable is that there would be the same or fewer of that quality with 4x the talent pool.

I think a lot of it has to do with the "aura" surrounding some of the earliest stars of the post-WWII NHL, playing on stacked teams which were consistently Cup contenders (by nature of the much smaller league), who could dominate a much smaller talent pool. The smaller league also limits ice time & PP time to a much smaller group of forwards, which basically means only the top 30 or so forwards had any real chance at high rankings and awards in those O6 seasons.

Think about this: Randomly cut the NHL's talent to 1/4 of its present level. Then condense the remaining 1/4 to 6 teams. The top players remaining would have a much easier time dominating the remaining competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
It just means there's a better chance of there being another Gretzky or Lemieux, or that there will be a lot more players equal to Yzerman or Sakic but that obviously hasn't happened yet so it's not about the %'s or size of the pool.
Players like Gretzky and Lemieux are going to appear very infrequently and seemingly randomly, because there are so few (if any) other players of that quality. I don't think Sakic or Yzerman are that unique as far as peak/prime adjusted production. There are other players who were in the same range of career adjusted production as well. It's the combination of peak/prime and career that sets them apart, but there will certainly be more players at/above their level IMO. Besides Jagr, who was at a higher level, the closest to matching both their peak/prime and career adjusted production is probably Selanne. He's still (hopefully) still playing and didn't start to play in the NHL until he was 22, so I'd say he's about the equivalent of Sakic & Yzerman in terms of peak/prime and career production (but most would rank them significantly above Selanne based on playoffs, defense, leadership, etc.). The other player with similar peak/prime production who could end up with similar career adjusted numbers is Thornton (who also shares a relatively mediocre playoff record with Selanne), but he'll have to play several more seasons to do so.

Sakic and Yzerman didn't end their careers that long ago, so we must give it time to see who will emerge as the next at their level. It will probably be whichever of Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin can sustain a long, productive career, as the other contemporary equivalents of Sakic & Yzerman (Lindros, Forsberg) were not able to do so. The difference between Sakic & Yzerman and some other great forwards has more to do with longevity, team success and perceived intangibles than their objective peak/prime production being significantly superior to their potential rivals.

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