Who is the 5th best NHL player of all time?
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02-27-2013, 03:38 AM
Czech Your Math
Join Date: Jan 2006
Originally Posted by
Meh, Jagr tied for the scoring lead in 1994-95 with fewer PPG than Lindros, and everyone knows he was gifted the 2000-01 title by Lemieux's return. I don't find those seasons any more impressive than some of Richard's second place points finishes while being a superior goal scorer (and he has 5 of them).
So it comes down to whether you prefer Jagr's 3 year regular season peak (1997-98 to 1999-2000), where he did hit a level Richard never did (at least in the regular season), or if you prefer Richard's greater consistency as an elite player and superior playoff record. I take Richard's record without a second thought.
Richard seems to have had some off years too, it's just that with a much smaller talent pool and limited opportunity for other players, that can be obscured. With only 18 first line forwards, finishing in the middle of the pack among first liners still often meant a top ten finish. If Jagr was only going up against Canadians, he would have finished top 10 in points in '03 & '04 as well, which would mean he was at top 10 level from '94-'07, or 14 straight years.
Of course Richard was a legendary playoff performer, but he still had some duds as well (35 points in 57 PO games, during 6 consecutive POs at ages 27-32). Maybe he was injured during some of those, but then about the only time Jagr didn't have great numbers in the playoffs were when he was injured (e.g. '01 & '06 vs. the Devils) or outside his prime (e.g. '91) or both (2012).
It sounds like you are discounting a couple of Jagr's Rosses, but I don't think Jagr won 5 Rosses, because he was lucky:
- In '95, it's questionable whether Lindros would have stayed healthy enough in a full season to perhaps win the Ross, given that he played 46/48 games that year, but never played more than 73 games in a season from '93-'02.
- In '96, Lemieux won the Ross, but Jagr finished 2nd by 29 points and led the league in ES points by ~20 points. BTW, with 10 games left in the season, Lemieux held a 139-138 lead.
- In '97, injury was the main factor that prevented Jagr from giving Lemieux a race to the wire. Before Jagr was injured, Lemieux held a 91-87 lead with 25 games left.
- In '02, injury again cost him a shot at battling for the Ross.
- In '05, the lockout prevented him a prime chance, as Nylander & Straka had already been acquired by what would have been the start of the '05 season, and I can't think of any player with a better chance at the Ross than Jagr that season.
- In '06, it being an Olympic year may have factored into the race, and Thornton's two extra games available as a result of the trade certainly seem to have been.
So one could argue that Jagr was fortunate to win 5 Rosses, but it's hard to give him credit for any less than 4, and considering that he lost one to a prime Lemieux, one to questionable circumstances (2006) and chances at others due to lockout (2005) or injury (1997 & 2002), it seems to me that he deserved at least 5.
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