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12-01-2012, 06:24 PM
  #16
vadim sharifijanov
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if murphy retires at the end of the '96 season, having never played in detroit, these are his career stats:

1234 games, 245 goals, 761 assists, 1006 points

his playoff stats:

148 games, 30 goals, 88 assists, 118 points

good for 6th all time in defenseman games played in the RS (up to '96, so he'd only be 26th all time today), 4th all time in defenseman RS points (only the fourth d-man to hit 1,000; only housley, lidstrom, leetch, and macinnis would pass him), 11th all time in defenseman games played in the playoffs (up to '96, so he'd eventually fall behind lidstrom, stevens, niedermayer, and others), 6th all time in defenseman playoff points (lidstrom, chelios, macinnis, and pronger would all pass him, stevens will eventually tie him).

on paper, that's a hall of fame career, especially when you also consider that he was the #1 defenseman on two cup winners and was a part of the second most famous goal in canadian international history (as gretzky's decoy).

i think detroit pushed murphy to first ballot, and in my opinion undeservedly so. but it's hard to say a defenseman who played that many games and finished with 1,000 points and two cups is not a hall of famer. with the high standard for defensemen, i actually think murphy is borderline, but i can't imagine the actual people who make these decisions not eventually inducting him even if he'd called it quits after his first toronto year.

other than yzerman, i think murphy is probably the most slam dunk of the guys on that list if he'd retired early. everyone else has at least one question mark-- selanne, cups and longevity; pronger, playoffs and longevity; niedermayer, longevity and very short peak; francis, lack of wow factor without the crazy longevity and 4th all time in points/2nd in assists to make up for it. that said, i still think francis is comfortably in (he retires 19th all time in points with two cups and a selke), and selanne is a very good bet. the two younger defensemen would be a harder sell. at least niedermayer has the ridiculous trophy case, minus a fourth cup and his smythe. pronger, especially with the injuries between his hart season and the lockout, would be a huge "what if" case.

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