I apologize if this thread turns out to be a blow out or people think this as one-sided. I wasnt old enough to watch these two in their primes and really only watched the end of their careers. Hopefully this is a close poll and some good discussion could get going, I want to know who you'd rather take between the two, taking everything into consideration (not just defense or offense, etc...).
Yep i suppose you can ,but in the name of conversation why pick , one that will be a landslide win for Blake??
I like Rafalski but his game was outshined buy guys like Lidstom and Neidermyer,both of whom played that simmeular high skilled defensive game that Rafalski played
As I stated in the OP, I legitimately wanted to see others opinions between these two as I did not get a chance to watch either in their primes. Had I known it would be such a landslide I wouldnt have made the poll, but I appreciate the responses everyone
Would comparing the two's offensive abilities be closer? Obviously one could just look at the stats but that doesnt tell the whole story. Would comparing the two's ability to create offense for their team, either through those long stretch passes or getting good shots on goal, be a different tale?
Ahh I see... Would this be closer if it was Rafalski vs. Foote?
No because Foote was a defensive dman. A better comparison for Foote would be Scott Stevens (who would win because he's one of the toughest SOB's to play against and also was better offensively).
I'm trying to think of a better comparison for Rafalski on the Avs, maybe Sandis Ozolinsh though Ozolinsh had sometimes suspect defence and shorter NHL career though it's not like Rafalski was defensively elite (did play in a defensive elite and later an elite puck possession system).
Thing is that Rafalski was a top 2-3 dman but not a no1 and behind Niedermayer/Stevens on those NJ teams.
Off the top of my head, Mathieu Schneider in that era might be a good comparison with Raflakski.
I'm not really gonna look at Norris voting btw especially when the 2000's were major East Cost + Detroit bias compared to Blake's LA/SJ/Col. I would say Blake is an eventual (not first ballot because of the awesome 2013 class) HOFer while Rafalski probably doesn't get into the HOF (I would personally not have a problem with it but their cafeteria's more stringent). One thing I will say about Blake, his defensive ability due to his size was a bit overrated but I'd still take him over Rafalski.
I wish these polls would happen on the history of hockey forum which is a bit more free of 16 yr olds who never watched or don't remember 90s or early 00s hockey. Obviously Rafalski's peak happened later than Blake's so someone who's 16 watching both might say Rafalski's better.
I'm still going Blake. Though the Devils are just now getting over the loss of Rafalski on defense 5 years later. His last season with us he was like top 5 on the team in points with like 55. He had 8 goals that season too, and our defense this last season only scored 16 goals. We also scored more goals this last season as a team, than we did that year in 06/07. He was missed for a while defensively, and offensively.