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04-01-2013, 09:25 PM
  #62
yave1964
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Four things kept Gartner from getting the credit he was due as a truly great player IMO.

1. He never won a Stanley cup. Never made it to a final.

2. He was a rolling stone, played for the Stingers (WHA) the Capitals when they weren't particularly good, the North Stars, Rangers, (Traded the year they won the cup) the Leafs and finally finishing up with the Coyotes. Some very non memorable teams.

3. He was very low key, even reading his bio in legends of hockey, he pokes fun at his self a half a dozen times or more. He was never one to toot his own horn, just the opposite if anything.

4. He never had the big year, he was the Hockey version of Don Sutton, the hall of fame pitcher who won over 300 games, seemingly with one season after another of 15-11, 17-12 type of years.
Gartner punched the clock year in year out with 30-40 goals, never a bad season, occasionally a 48 or even one 50 goal season, but they were overshadowed every time by the true superstars of his era, so his consistent greatness was overshadowed. It is, like Sutton only when looking at the overall body of work that you realize that the statistical evidence supports him as a truly great. hockeyreference.com does a wonderful bit, where they statisticly rate each player according to their closest statistical comps. According to them, the five players with the most similar statistics to Gartner are:

Norm Ullman-HOF
Vinnie Damphouse
Dino Ciccarelli HOF
Jason Arnott
Rod Brind'amour

Others in his top ten comps include Dave Andreychuk who is certainly destined for the hall, John Bucyk who is in, Alex Delvecchio who is in, Joe Nieuwendyk who is in and Doug Gilmour. Quite a nice bunch.

Many players with lesser stats than Gartner will sail in, based off of one or two big years. He never had the big season, he doesn't get the credit he deserves because of that, but he was a truly great player.

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