Who is a better playmaker. Joe Thornton or Adam Oates?
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01-23-2013, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Iron Throne
Originally Posted by
Since we're looking at prime vs prime, here are the 6-year periods where each player had his best production:
Playmaking centers during Oates' prime, 1990-96:
Playmaking centers during Thornton's prime, 2003-10:
Nobody's holding it against Oates that he couldn't keep up with Gretzky and Lemieux, and we should give similar (but perhaps slightly lesser) consideration to Thornton with Crosby. If you ignore the generational-player element, there's a 15-18% drop from both Oates and Thornton to the next-best setup man of the generation. From a bird's eye view, it's still pretty close.
Another thing to bear in mind: Thornton missed the 2005 season due to lockout, then came back and led the league in assists 3 years in a row and won the Hart. We can reasonably assume that he would have put some more distance between himself and the pack in 2005.
I think it's also worth noting that in that time span nobody was even within 100 assists of Thornton's total, whereas even if you remove Gretzky and Lemieux from the equation Francis, Coffey and Gilmour are all closer to Oates in assists than anyone was to Thornton in his prime.
Thornton's level of dominance in the assist department in such a low scoring era is incredible.
Another thing worth noting:
Average NHL goals per game 1990-1996: 6.75
Average NHL goals per game 2003-2010: 5.66
Last edited by MastuhNinks: 01-23-2013 at
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