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Who is a better playmaker. Joe Thornton or Adam Oates?

View Poll Results: better playmaker in prime
Joe Thornton 94 42.73%
Adam Oates 126 57.27%
Voters: 220. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
01-23-2013, 12:55 PM
  #26
Sture
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Really like Thornton as a player, but have to say Oates here

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01-23-2013, 12:56 PM
  #27
MastuhNinks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
itdoesn't take anything away from thornton's mvp year, which was amazing, but the degree to which he beat the field in assists... his competition was spezza and marc savard and brad richards, plus an older jagr taking on an uncharacteristic goal scoring role. seems like oates also could have lapped the field in thornton's two 90 assist years.
I think that's a little unfair. You have to go back to 1998-1999 to find a more productive season than Thornton's in his MVP year. A case can be made that it's the best single season of this generation, so using the competition argument seems a little ridiculous.

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Old
01-23-2013, 12:56 PM
  #28
gifted88
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Since the OP is asking for Prime I'm gonna go ahead and say Thornton. His 96 assist season was amazing. Overall career I'm not sure if Joe has passed Oates yet but there are some compelling arguments both ways.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:00 PM
  #29
spiny norman
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Moved to Polls sub-forum and added poll.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:03 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulf View Post
Oates was the better play maker. Thorton is the better overall player.
This....

Oates has legitimate claim as possibly The best pure passer in he game

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:06 PM
  #31
MastuhNinks
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In fact the last time a player had more assists than Thornton's 96 assist season in was 1992-1993 when Adam Oates had 97, the difference being that NHL scoring was 7.25 goals per game to 6.17 goals per game in 2005-2006. It's incredibly, you have to go back 20 years to find a season with more assist's than Thornton's amazing year and even then, it was by 1 assist in a much higher scoring era.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:08 PM
  #32
Money Baer
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Good thread. I would definitely take Oates on this poll.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:09 PM
  #33
EM71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
in 91, oates out-assisted the next guy by 15. 90 vs. 75, and he only played 60 games that year.
It's just one season but that's the stat that impresses me the most about Oates. He would have easily topped 100 assist that year had he not been injured. As is only Gretzky and Lemieux have had better assist per game rates than Oates that year(1.475 per game). No one else even comes close, not even Bobby Orr.

He had 18 assists in his first 13 games in 1990 before he got hurt. Hull scored 16 goals in the next 17 games(0.941 per game) without him. But after Oates return, Hull scored at an incredible pace registering 54 goals in the next 46 games(1.174 per game) with Oates recording 72 assists in 48 games to end the year.
Just wow.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:50 PM
  #34
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
If you remove Gretzky then Oates would lead the league in assists five times. I highly doubt that Thornton can lead twice more.
First of all, that's not true. Oates only lost one assist title (1991) to Gretzky. Remove Gretzky and Oates would have led in assists four times: 1991, 1993, 2001 and 2002.

Secondly, in 2001 and 2002 Oates was 38 and 39 years old. Thornton is 33. So it's a bit premature to say you "highly doubt" that Thornton could tie and then surpass Oates on that front. After all, he's leading in assists right now

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
in all fairness, oates produced the same results whether he was playing with hull, neely, or dmitri kvartalnov.
The difference being that Oates actually did get to play with Hull and Neely. Who's Thornton's equivalent to those players? Marleau and Samsonov?

I mean, is Marleau really THAT good a scorer that he would be considered a huge advantage? Outside his career with Thornton he never topped 28 goals. Oates played with at least three guys on three different teams who topped 50 goals before they played with him.


Quote:
itdoesn't take anything away from thornton's mvp year, which was amazing, but the degree to which he beat the field in assists... his competition was spezza and marc savard and brad richards, plus an older jagr taking on an uncharacteristic goal scoring role. seems like oates also could have lapped the field in thornton's two 90 assist years.
Since we're looking at prime vs prime, here are the 6-year periods where each player had his best production:

Playmaking centers during Oates' prime, 1990-96:


PlayerGPAssistsAssists/gm
Mario Lemieux301 394 1.31
Wayne Gretzky479 5711.19
Adam Oates 500 533 1.07
Mark Messier482 423 0.88
Ron Francis 518 4480.86
Craig Janney 482 4050.84

Playmaking centers during Thornton's prime, 2003-10:

PlayerGPAssistsAssists/gm
Joe Thornton5605000.89
Sidney Crosby3713230.87
Marc Savard4733580.76
Henrik Sedin5643940.70
Pavel Datsyuk5363700.69
Brad Richards5363640.68

Nobody's holding it against Oates that he couldn't keep up with Gretzky and Lemieux, and we should give similar (but perhaps slightly lesser) consideration to Thornton with Crosby. If you ignore the generational-player element, there's a 15-18% drop from both Oates and Thornton to the next-best setup man of the generation. From a bird's eye view, it's still pretty close.

Another thing to bear in mind: Thornton missed the 2005 season due to lockout, then came back and led the league in assists 3 years in a row and won the Hart. We can reasonably assume that he would have put some more distance between himself and the pack in 2005.

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Old
01-23-2013, 01:56 PM
  #35
Le Magnifique 66
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Old
01-23-2013, 02:55 PM
  #36
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A lot of solid arguments being made for Thornton, yet he's losing the poll... c'mon Oates side

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Old
01-23-2013, 03:13 PM
  #37
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Thornton is/was an excellent playmaker.

But.... Oates by far.

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Old
01-23-2013, 04:12 PM
  #38
MastuhNinks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Since we're looking at prime vs prime, here are the 6-year periods where each player had his best production:

Playmaking centers during Oates' prime, 1990-96:


PlayerGPAssistsAssists/gm
Mario Lemieux301 394 1.31
Wayne Gretzky479 5711.19
Adam Oates 500 533 1.07
Mark Messier482 423 0.88
Ron Francis 518 4480.86
Craig Janney 482 4050.84

Playmaking centers during Thornton's prime, 2003-10:

PlayerGPAssistsAssists/gm
Joe Thornton5605000.89
Sidney Crosby3713230.87
Marc Savard4733580.76
Henrik Sedin5643940.70
Pavel Datsyuk5363700.69
Brad Richards5363640.68

Nobody's holding it against Oates that he couldn't keep up with Gretzky and Lemieux, and we should give similar (but perhaps slightly lesser) consideration to Thornton with Crosby. If you ignore the generational-player element, there's a 15-18% drop from both Oates and Thornton to the next-best setup man of the generation. From a bird's eye view, it's still pretty close.

Another thing to bear in mind: Thornton missed the 2005 season due to lockout, then came back and led the league in assists 3 years in a row and won the Hart. We can reasonably assume that he would have put some more distance between himself and the pack in 2005.
Excellent post.

I think it's also worth noting that in that time span nobody was even within 100 assists of Thornton's total, whereas even if you remove Gretzky and Lemieux from the equation Francis, Coffey and Gilmour are all closer to Oates in assists than anyone was to Thornton in his prime.

Thornton's level of dominance in the assist department in such a low scoring era is incredible.

Another thing worth noting:

Average NHL goals per game 1990-1996: 6.75

Average NHL goals per game 2003-2010: 5.66


Last edited by MastuhNinks: 01-23-2013 at 04:18 PM.
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Old
01-24-2013, 09:15 AM
  #39
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Old
01-24-2013, 09:32 AM
  #40
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I'd like to see some more compelling arguments from the Oates supporters.

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Old
01-24-2013, 09:47 AM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luigi Lemieux View Post
I think it's Thornton. IMO his 92 and 96 assists in 2006 and 2007 are more impressive than Oates' 90 assists and 97 assists in 1991 and 1993. Not to mention Thornton has an art ross to his name. Also Oates was dishing it to Brett Hull and Cam Neely while Thornton turned Cheechoo into a 56 goal scorer.
This.

Spezza couldn't even make Cheechoo score close to 30 or 40, that Thornton gave him 50 is nothing short of a hockey miracle, though I'm sure attenuating circumstances will be brought up (power plays among them).

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Old
01-24-2013, 10:18 AM
  #42
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Classics case of "older is better" some people in here are absolutely way off base. This should be Joe Thornton when not being blinded by nostalgia. The best part is half the people who say Oates add in "AINEC"

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Old
01-24-2013, 12:03 PM
  #43
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70 of Thornton's 96 assists were primary!

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Old
01-24-2013, 12:23 PM
  #44
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I have no idea how Oates is winning this and by this margin right now. For me it's Thornton

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Old
01-24-2013, 12:58 PM
  #45
Fred Taylor
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Anyone saying not close for either side has not done their research. I chose Thornton, but you could almost flip a coin and wouldn't be wrong either way.

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Old
01-24-2013, 01:13 PM
  #46
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I watched them both extensively and I would take Oates. I see a few people talking about Oates having better linemates, but Oates best season was with neither Neely or Hull. Oates was also the better goal scorer. The year that Neely had 50 goals in 44 games Oates had 30 less points than he did without Neely and 17 less assists.

The fact is that Oates put up his best assist numbers without Neely or Hull.

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Old
01-24-2013, 02:30 PM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luigi Lemieux View Post
I think it's Thornton. IMO his 92 and 96 assists in 2006 and 2007 are more impressive than Oates' 90 assists and 97 assists in 1991 and 1993. Not to mention Thornton has an art ross to his name. Also Oates was dishing it to Brett Hull and Cam Neely while Thornton turned Cheechoo into a 56 goal scorer.
Oates took Hull and Neely and turned them from "very good" to "some of the best seasons ever". Neely is in the HHOF because he played with Oates. Hull broke 60 goals because he played with Oates. Oates was traded away late in the 91-92 season. In 92-93 Hull scored 54 in 80 with Janney (Shanahan was on the other wing and scored 51 in 71). It was 57 for Hull and 52 for Shanahan the next year. Hull had 29 in 48 during the 95 season, followed by 43, 42, and then didn't reach 40 again (he hit 39 in 79 during the 00-01 season with Dallas, when Modano was at his peak).

Hull was a 50-60 goal scorer who Oates pushed to 86. Cheechoo was

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luigi Lemieux View Post
Remove Gretzky, Lemieux, and Jagr from history and Oates still has 0 art rosses.
And the same would be true of a number of other great playmakers. A number of elite goal scorers also would not have an Art Ross.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
I saw both of them and there starts to be a good case for Thornton. Now it's still Oates.
I don't know what exactly has an Art Ross Trophy to do with playmakers.

Both of them led NHL in assists 3 times.
Oates was TOP10 in A's 12 times, Thornton 8.
There are just three person who created more A's than Oates (Wayne, Mario, Bobby) so Oates is still a player who came the closest to 100 asissts threshold. On the other hand Thornton had way worse player on his wings [(Murray, Cheechoo) - Joe was the man who created them] than Oates (Hull, Neely) - where were more chemistry.
Murray and Cheechoo were skilled players in their own right. Maybe not stars, but they had good shots and could finish a play. And as has been noted before, Oates didn't spend his entire career feeding Hull and Neely as you're suggesting.

And Patrick Marleau is highly relevant; he has played several years with Thornton as a teammate both as a linemate and not as a linemate. Marleau was 237GP, 85-127-212 (29-44-73 per-82) from 05-06 through 07-08. Marleau played center those years, and those were Thornton's first three (2 1/2, really) seasons with San Jose. Since then, he has played on Thornton's LW. Not including this year, He has put up 322GP, 149-142-291 (38-36-74 per-82) in those four seasons. Did Thornton make Marleau a better player, or even scorer? Marleau scored 30+ twice before playing with Thornton on his line. He averaged basically the same number of points, so the difference really comes down to Marleau shifting his style of play to shoot more; he averaged 216 shots per 82 games from 05-06 through 07-08, then averaged 269 shots per-82 over the next four seasons, never shooting fewer than 251 times.

Glen Murray's 41-goal 2001-02 season was partially the result of help from Thornton. But had he spent the entire 82 games in Boston at the pace he scored at as a Bruin, he would only have posted 39 goals. He started the season with 6 goals in 9 games with the Kings and was then traded to Boston with Bryan Smolinski for Kevin Stevens and Shawn McEachern. He already had two 29-goal seasons on his resume. In 2006-07, Murray scored 28 in 59 - which is pace for 39 goals in 82 games. He had scored 24 in 64 the previous season (31-goal pace), and he led into the lockout with 44 and 32 goal seasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulf View Post
Oates was the better play maker. Thorton is the better overall player.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SensFanDan View Post
This.

Spezza couldn't even make Cheechoo score close to 30 or 40, that Thornton gave him 50 is nothing short of a hockey miracle, though I'm sure attenuating circumstances will be brought up (power plays among them).
Cheechoo's performance in Ottawa is irrelevant. He was traded because he had become ineffective due to injuries. Why you would use the fact that Spezza couldn't make him as effective as he was before his injuries as a reason that Thornton is better than Oates is beyond logic. Maybe you could use Cheechoo to compare Spezza against Thornton, but even then you have to go back to Heatley. Heatley was far more productive on Spezza's wing than on Thornton's. If Thornton's such an incredible playmaker, why did Heatley have more scoring success with Spezza? Does this mean Spezza>Thornton>Oates?

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Old
01-25-2013, 02:06 AM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Habs Go View Post
Oates didn't play with Brett Hull his whole carreer. His best season was 92-93 with 142 points. Look at who his linemates are. Thornton always had decent linemates.
For the uninformed, his linemates that entire season were Joey Juneau and Dmitri Kvartalnov.

What he did for Hull and Neely is well established, they were 50 goal guys who reached a goal per game with him. Look beyond that. He made Joey Juneau a 102 point scorer, never came close to repeating it. He made Dmitri Kvartalnov a point per game player, something he could barely do in the AHL on his own. He turned Chris Simon into a 29 goal scorer, his next highest season was 17 (largely with Messier). Dave Barr scored 27 with Oates in Detroit, in his next best season he had 18. Steve Heinze was on by far the best goal scoring pace of his career with Oates until Darius Kasparaitis wrecked his knee. He helped elevate Paul Kariya in Anaheim to a level he wasn't close to in the seasons immediately prior or after.

Having watched Oates and Thornton extensively in Boston (and on the Sharks in his MVP year), and as a big fan of both players who was terribly upset when each of them was traded, Oates without a doubt was the better playmaker. Thornton didn't make the players around him better to the same degree that Oates did.


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Old
01-25-2013, 03:15 AM
  #49
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Can I abstain from voting? Seriously my 2 all-time favourite players. It's hard but if we're talking about strictly playmaking here I'd have to give the edge to Oates. Overall complete player I'd have to give it to Thornton.

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Old
01-25-2013, 05:08 AM
  #50
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Oates.

Adam Oates was behind only Wayne Gretzky back in the day, 'nuff said.

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