Often somebody who gets forgotten in the annals of NHL history, but my god was this guy dominant between 1981 and 1984
Even after several serious surgeries that pretty much took a chunk out of his shoulder, he came back as a solid 70 point guy in the mid 80's before it looks like he finished out his career as a checker in the late 80's early 90's.
He scored 50 points in 28 playoff games in the 82 and 83 playoffs. That's off the charts incredible. That's Gretzky like!
What would this guy have topped out at stat wise if not for the unfortunate tumor that was discovered in his shoulder?
A number of good quality centers broke in, in the early to late 80's. Comparing his 1st three years to their's, Pederson was right there with, or better than the likes of Savard, Hawerchuk, Yzerman, Francis, Messier and Lafontaine. With good health, I have no doubt he'd be in the HOF with the guys I've mentioned. Where he'd rank amongst them is anybody's guess, but his name would likely be mentioned in the same breadth.
His health problems also seemed to suck the life out of Middleton's career as well. Nifty was never quite the same player again.
Last edited by Psycho Papa Joe: 02-19-2013 at 11:40 AM.
Pederson had an excellent all-around game beyond the scoring exploits.
A good face off man and penalty killer (this part of Middleton's game seems to get overlooked too.) He wasn't someone who made you jump out of your seat, but possessed a great hockey IQ and always seemed to be in the right place, making the right play.
The Neely trade has gotten tons of attention over the years, but if Barry Pederson hadn't experienced the benign tumor and subsequent surgery on the back of his arm, Boston doesn't even consider this trade. Neely wasn't that Cam Neely yet and Pederson was firmly on the second tier of centers with Stastny, Hawerchuck, et al.
The Canucks were also desperate for a center who could help them compete against their division rivals; who could ice guys like Gretzky and Messier (Edm), Hawerchuk and Steen (Win), Nieuwendyk and Otto (Cal) and Dionne and Nichols (LA).
A top two with pre-operation Pederson and Sundstrom wouldn't have looked out of place in that crowd... with post-operation Pederson, not so much so.