Is Mario Lemieux a bit overrated?
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04-19-2013, 08:41 PM
Just a Fool
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Guelph, Ont
Originally Posted by
eva unit zero
I think the 1989 Hart should have gone to Yzerman, with Lemieux a deserving choice as well. Gretzky definitely had an impact, but he scored at a level well below any of his prime Edmonton seasons, with a teammate who had a higher scoring season than anyone he would play with in any other season - despite only playing on the PP with Gretzky rather than being his winger as Kurri was.
In fact, Gretzky never even played with a player who scored that well in his career in any other season; the closest was when he was teammates with Pat LaFontaine (career high: 148) on the Rangers when both were near the end.
Gretzky played 78 games compared to his 64 from the year prior. The difference in production? In that 14GP difference, he added 14-5-19.
Meanwhile, second-line center Bernie Nicholls had played 65 games in 87-88, and scored 32-46-78. This puts him on pace for about 100 points, which is where he generally was scoring. In 88-89, he played 79 games - also a 14-game increase. Nicholls added 38 goals and 34 assists for 72 points in that 14-game difference.
Luc Robitaille's scoring numbers decreased.
Gretzky in 88-89 compared to Jimmy Carson in 87-88 is more interesting; Carson played 80 and scored 55-52-107. So in two fewer games, Gretzky had one fewer goal and 62 more assists.
So we can see that Gretzky>Carson was certainly a huge jump. But not as much of a jump as Nicholls>Nicholls. And while the argument is made that Gretzky was responsible for Nicholls' season, it must be remembered that he played on a separate line at even strength and still finished fourth in the league in even strength scoring. Playing with Gretzky on the PP allowed him to score a ridiculous number of goals, but he was a very good player in his own right and his health and improved play was a significant part of the Kings' turnaround.
And how much more room and secondary matchups did Nicholls face at Even Strength when every team was focused on Gretzky's line?
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