Scott Stevens vs Chris Pronger
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11-16-2012, 02:01 PM
Delivering The Truth
Join Date: Jul 2007
Both are obviously tremendous talents, and two of the most dominating physical specimens to ever play in the NHL or the sport of hockey in general. However, while it is arguable that Stevens had both the higher individual offensive peak and higher individual defensive peak, where Pronger shines was in his ability to combine both and suffocate the opposition at both ends of the rink. Furthermore, while both were amazing playoff performers I don't beleive Stevens ever had a playoff campaign like 05-06 where Pronger posted one of the best playoff campaigns in the history of the NHL. He was both the leading scorer on the Edmonton Oilers who went to Game 7 of the SCF as a defenseman as well as the top defensive player in the entire NHL at the time.
What makes Pronger so intriguing is that has such a unique résumé. From an outsiders standpoint, you look at his résumé pre-lockout:
-2000 - Norris Trophy
-2000 - Hart Trophy
-2000 - 1st All Star Team
-1998 + 2004 - 2nd All Star Team
-2002 - Gold Medal
And one would assume Pronger played his best hockey pre-lockout. However, aside from his obvious outstanding Hart Trophy winning season, I believe post-lockout is where Pronger truly played his best hockey, and it is truly a shame that he was robbed of the Norris in the 5 dominating post-lockout regular seasons he posted and the Conn Smythe in the 3 dominating playoff runs he had during this time.
I love Scott Stevens, I really do, I grew up idolizing the guy. But there was never one season he was the undisputed top defenseman like Pronger. Whether that's attributable to tougher competition on a year by year basis, or his almost divine focus to the defensive side of the game -- I don't know, but I can say there were actually several seasons where one could confidently say Pronger was by far the best defenseman, and even best player in the game at that point.
That's why Pronger gets my vote.
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