Thread: Sergei Fedorov
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11-09-2012, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Sure, overall, most people are going to peg Yzerman as the best player over those total years. Thing is, though, how much further down a rankings list can you put a guy who was not only undisputedly and clearly better than him on the same team over a meaningful chunk of that decade + (whether Yzerman was "better" for the "majority" or not), has almost the same number of accumulated points (and more playoff points - gap somewhat equivalent to the difference in their regular season production), and won more individual awards during their period together?

People are going to emphasize what they like when contemplating career or "overall" value, or whatever, but I probably rank them Yzerman/Sakic (I can never decide between these guys "overall"), Fedorov, Forsberg. If it was just a "best player" ranking, I'd probably go Fedorov, Yzerman, Sakic, Forsberg. Forsberg gets too many "what if" points for his partial seasons when discussing his peak/prime, and for his early pseudo-retirement, imo, but he was a beast. Fourth on that list is not a slight by any means, though.
Originally Posted by KingForsberg View Post
I think it is fair to compare them when they played together. Fedorov did look better at times but over the entire time they played together I'd still say Yzerman was more important to the Wings and the better player. i think would rate them in order of Sakic, Yzerman, Forsberg, then Fedorov. I think Sakic and Yzerman are closer together ad both top 35 players of all time. Forsberg falls to around 50th on my list and Fedorov is a little lower than that. It's a great comparison however.
Yzerman and Sakic are often put on lists as inseparable twins in the manner the Sedins are. The thing is, that's folly.

Over the course of the overlapping portion of their careers, Yzerman and Sakic were virtually identical in terms of offensive output. Yzerman began this period as a solid defenive player and ended it having won a Selke (and contended for it for a decade). Sakic started his career as a pretty one-dimensional player; he wasn't a solid defensive player until the late 90s.

For the overlap period from 88-89 to 05-06, Sakic scored the most points and Yzerman was third.

Per-82 scoring went like this:
Sakic: 38-61-99
Yzerman: 37-58-95

That's in seasons both of them played in. It does not include Yzerman scoring 50-52-102 in 64 games (63-65-128 over a full 80) in 1987-88, or Sakic's 36-64-100 in 82 the year following Yzerman' retirement.

During the 90s rivalry, they were comparable level players. Sakic was putting out a bit more offense, but Yzerman was an elite defensive player at that point as well a being a PPG center.

Fedorov and Forsberg is a similar comparison, but it's closer because Forsberg has a notable lead over Fedorov offensively. Forsberg was never the elite defensive player Fedorov was, but overall they were of comparable level. A matter of taste in that respect. I would rank it Yzerman, Sakic, Fedorov/Forsberg. Fedorov would come first on a list if I had to choose because of superior durability and longevity; his per-game offensive numbers were hurt by the fact that he played through many of the same kind of minor injuries Forsberg would often sit out a game or two for. And having him on the ice, not scoring, still helped the team. A recent example of this is Marian Hossa in the 2009 playoffs. He wrecked his shoulder and basically couldn't shoot, but he played the whole run and did a wonderful job at everything but scoring goals. When the Wings lost (and ever since) Hossa took a lot of flak, but he was one of the team's best players (5th on the team in scoring, 6 points ahead of Datsyuk).

Another intriguing comparison. However I still think the gap in offense between Fedorov and Lafluer is larger than that of Kovalchuk and Datsyuk in their primes.
Is that really a fair way to compare players though? Just taking players out of their era and comparing them head to head on an absolute scale is really meaningless in my opinion. Obviously players today would dominate players of the 40s and 50s. Kovalchuk would probably break goal scoring records if playing in the 80s. But you have to look at how players compare against their peers. Yes there was probably more talent in the NHL when Fedorov played but then again Fedorovs talent level according to you is higher. So shouldn't he be able to dominate just a little bit more on offense than he actually did?
If Fedorov had focused on offense-first like Lafleur did, or his former linemate Bure for that matter, he would have dominated the scoring lists.

You say the difference between Lafleur and Fedorov is bigger than that of Datsyuk and Kovalchuk?

Hmm. Let's use HR's adjuted stats to do some testing of your theory.

Adjusted stats:
Datsyuk 732GP, 261-504-765 (29-56-85)
Kovalchuk 779GP, 445-401-846 (47-42-89)

Lafleur 1126GP, 480-681-1161 (35-50-85)
Fedorov 1248GP, 508-718-1226 (33-47-80)

Looks like it's about the same difference. It's a wider gap by a very tiny margin, but Fedorov IMHO was better defensively than Datsyuk.

So your question. Would you take Datsyuk or Kovalchuk? The answer might tell you whether you would take Fedorov or Lafleur.

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