Messier Vs Yzerman
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12-15-2012, 11:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
An interesting idea I just had.
Messier had two Harts. Yzerman had none. Yzerman's zero is largely considered to be the product of Gretzky and Lemieux.
Let's use HR adjusted stats to place Yzerman's "equivalent season" in Messier's Hart year.
Messier in 1990 scored 108 adjusted points, a career high. Yzerman's career high was 128. Wayne Gretzky, the league points leader, had 120 adjusted points.
So it's likely Yzerman would have ended up with the 1990 Hart were their top offensive seasons both in that year. Let's move on to 1992. Messier posted 95 adjusted points, tied with 1996 for his second-best. Yzerman's second best performance was 111 adjusted points. Moving to third, Yzerman ends up with 106 AP. The league leader for both seasons was Lemieux, with 116 AP in 1992 and 156 AP in 1996.
So we've established that if Yzerman's peak seasons came the same years Messier's did, Yzerman likely would have had a much greater chance at the Hart (and possibly taken both away).
Now let's perform the reverse. Messier's 108 AP goes to 1989, where Lemieux leads with 165 AP. His two years of 95 AP go to 1990 and 1993, with Gretzky's 120 in 1990 and Lemieux's 116 in 1993. Furthermore, he would be well behind Yzerman in all three seasons, being closest in hypothetical 1993 when he was only 11 AP back.
So the conclusion from this?
Messier did not win his Harts due to dominance. He won his Harts to to a convergence of the perfect storm:
Gretzky's prime ended.
Mario Lemieux suffered repeated injuries.
Steve Yzerman was forced into a "timeshare" program with two other #1 centers (Jimmy Carson and Sergei Fedorov) despite displaying that he was well above their level.
Beyond those three, who was the other competition? A young Joe Sakic, Jeremy Roenick, Adam Oates, and a constantly injured Pat LaFontaine. Nobody that's going to kick a peak Messier off of the AS team more than once.
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