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01-25-2013, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
One theory that I've touted around for awhile is that everybody became better because of Gretzky even after he left.

What are the chances that the Oilers draft three HoFers between the '79 and '80 drafts plus Glenn Anderson and Kevin Lowe? Did they happen to have the best/luckiest drafting on all time or is there something else in effect?

My theory is that playing with Gretzky didn't just improve the performance of players, but just all around made them better players. More on, that Messier would not be a HoFer if not for the experience of playing with Gretzky.

I know from my own standpoint that playing with players so much better than me has not just improved my performance while playing with them, but has taught me things that made me better on my own.

I think this extends into a lot of dynasties. They're quarterbacked by two or three amazing players that made the other good players into great players.

Now, I don't have any empirical data, but it certainly does help to make sense of how a team like the Oilers could get so good so quickly.
This has always been my take as well.

Kurri/Messier etc. might have been great individually after Gretzky left, but I highly doubt they would have been great individually without the time they spent with Gretzky. Playing in that Gretzky-led offensive powerhouse made them into stars far beyond what they ever would have been if they'd been drafted by, say, Hartford or St. Louis.

The situation often makes (or breaks) the player. Compare the relative talents at age 20-22 of Pavel Datsyuk and Robert Nilsson (two very similar-style players with similar toolboxes), and the situations they ended up in.


As for the original question, Shutt and Gillies take the cake. Guys who were plainly carried to the HHOF by their megastar linemates.

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