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01-25-2013, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Arguably better, since Messier exploded after Gretzky was no longer on the team and he was given prime offensive opportunities for the first time.
I don't agree with that.

He had one huge season where he played an insane amount of minutes. Other than that, his per-game numbers are worse than those during the Gretzky era.

Actually, there is a perfect example of what would happen with Mark Messier if Edmonton didn't have Paul Coffey or Wayne Gretzky, and instead had only an average first-line center.

In 1988-89, Jimmy Carson was Edmonton's first line center, and finished second in team scoring and ninth in the league with 100 points, two behind team leader and 2nd-team RW Kurri. Messier posted 94 points from the second line, playing - as always - with Glenn Anderson on the right side. Esa Tikkanen and Craig Simpson were the first and second line left-wingers, with 78 in 67 and 76 in 66, respectively.

I think we can all agree that Carson was pretty solidly average in his time as a first-line center in LA and Edmonton. And even aside from that, the Messier "explosion" that happened the following season, which itself is a massive outlier in his career, would likely not have happened had Carson not walked out on the team four games in due to "the pressure to be Gretzky". Messier never gets the opportunity to win that Hart trophy if Carson is still in Edmonton.

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