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04-22-2013, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
That last season hurrah was mainly in part due to a change of scenery though to the Avs.

Before that he was aging as expected, just a little bit less each year and ahead of the normal curve.

Howe is the obvious choice here and Chelios was 2nd, although he like Bourque did benefit from a change of scenery.

Selanne will be up with with Howe once he makes the HHOF which he will do.

Ron Francis also aged very well, better than expected IMO.
Originally Posted by Loto68 View Post
If he had been surrounded by competent players his decline would not have seemed nearly as bad. He was asked to do far too much with nothing worthwhile around him. If he had played on the Wings or Aves after 97 for example instead of being on the Rangers he might have won a 3rd Norris.
Leetch would have been #2 to Lidstrom; and had he been on the Wings in 96-97 he likely wouldn't have won the Norris as he'd have been on the second pairing.

The offensive production he put up 2000-01 with only 2 other players that could even be considered "good" Nedved and Fluery who entered rehab with a quarter of the season remaining killed him. He still put up 79 points in 82 games. Just imagine what he might have done. The only other defenseman on that team worth even half a damn was a young and raw Kim Johnsson. I also believe that playing on some of those miserable Rangers teams killed his spirit which precipitated his decline. Physically he was a freak of nature that would have been able to play at a high level until he was 40. I remember watching a Ranger documentary where it was mentioned that they did tests on him that revealed that even by the standards of world class athletes, his body recovered exponentially faster than it should have been able to. For him a 30 second rest was as effective as a 90 second rest for someone else.
That's fine and dandy... he still aged poorly given actual performances and not what-ifs. What-ifs are great sometimes. This is not a matter of "what if". It's a matter of "who aged well" meaning who maintained their level of play for a long time into their career. Leetch didn't do that.

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