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07-07-2013, 06:12 PM
  #53
pdd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
an interesting thought. messier is the guy who stands to have his legacy the most if gretzky retired early. you'd have to think there'd be a strong contingent to place him in the top ten all-time, maybe even top five. which would be wrong, of course, but still...
I went into it earlier about how Gretzky retiring in 1988 before the trade means Messier would more likely be viewed as lesser, not greater. There's no "Messier leading Edmonton to the Cup without Gretzky" storyline, and there's likely no Messier trade to New York (the Rangers traded wingers for a center when they got Nicholls - a deal that doesn't happen without the Gretzky trade - and the Oilers needed a center back when they traded Messier.

It's more likely that you see a guy like Oates or Yzerman (or even Sakic, LaFontaine, or Roenick) getting a first-team nod and some real recognition with Gretzky retired and Lemieux injured.

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