Where does Kent "Magic Man" Nilsson rank all-time in pure skill?
I never got the chance to see him play, but reading through old issues of The Hockey News, it sounds like he was extremely talented. He sounds exactly like Alex Kovalev, all the talent in the world, but extremely inconsistent.
Wayne Gretzky apparently stated that he wished he had Nilsson's talent level and after acquiring him, Lou Nanne stated that there should be an asterisk beside his name for most "bad" seasons with 100 points.
So, for those who saw him play...where would you rank him in terms of pure skill/talent?
Out of this world talent and way more hockey sense than Kovalev.
However, he mailed it in way too often, and preferred the easier European schedules and travel.
About it sums it up imo.
Had Lemieux level talent, Klima like drive and liked getting hit or going in a corner about as much as Craig Janney.
About the only time Nilsson spent time in his own zone was if there was a faceoff there heh.
There is a story that once in 1987 Messier pinned Nilsson up against the wall in the Oiler dressing room urging him to show more heart on the ice. I guess it worked, the Oilers won the Cup but I often wonder how true that story is. Nilsson took one of the best chops to the back of the legs (for no reason) by Hextall in the 1987 final though so maybe Messier laid off of him after that haha......