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Jason Arnott vs Keith Primeau

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03-08-2013, 09:29 AM
  #1
DisgruntledGoat
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Jason Arnott vs Keith Primeau

These guys have always been linked in my mind as two of the first, and highest-profile, 'post-Lindros' XL-sized scoring centers (I know Primeau was drafted the year before Lindros, but 88 was the measuring stick throughout his career). Both showed early promise, both needed a trade from the team that drafted them to really find success, both continued to have some up's and down's throughout their career.

So who would you take?

Keith Primeau

Career Totals: 909 games- 266 goals- 353 assists- 619 points. 0.68 PPG
Playoffs: 128 games- 18 goals- 39 assists- 57 points. 0.44 PPG

Jason Arnott

Career Totals: 1244 games- 417 goals- 521 assists- 938 points. 0.75 PPG
Playoffs: 122 games- 32 goals- 41 assists- 73 points. 0.59 PPG

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03-08-2013, 10:04 AM
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pdd
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It's important to note that Arnott was given the chance at top-six time from day one, while Primeau started off on the fourth line in a checking role and didn't even get a shot in the top-six until his fourth season, after Jimmy Carson had been traded and Yzerman had been injured.

If we are to exclude their first three seasons each to account for, it looks like this for career numbers:

Arnott: 914GP, 306-376-682, 0.34-0.41-0.75
Primeau: 743GP, 242-314-556, 0.33-0.42-0.75

It's much more interesting if you compare them when they were in similar roles; they were practically the same player. Primeau definitely has the defensive advantage; both became very good defensive players over the course of their careers after starting out rather "meh" in that department. But Primeau got there much sooner, likely due to (and possibly the cause of) his placement on checking lines early on. In contrast, Arnott has the advantage in the playoffs, although Primeau played 31 playoff games with Philly in his last three years (post-prime) and spent another 41 in his last three years with Detroit playing the left wing. He scored 19 points in 28 games in three playoff runs at center during his prime; he did not go to the playoffs in 1997 or 1998. He was easily Carolina's best forward in 1997-98 and 1998-99, and arguably their best (despite finishing third in scoring) in 1996-97.

All of that said... I'd place them basically even. If I had to choose one for one game or series, I'd as much have to know what the makeup of my team was as they were; Arnott is like the right-handed version of Primeau. He spent occasional time on the RW in Dallas and (IIRC) New Jersey, both are power centers who are excellent on faceoffs, and their scoring lines per-game (as top-six players) are virtually identical.

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03-08-2013, 10:13 AM
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Stephen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
It's important to note that Arnott was given the chance at top-six time from day one, while Primeau started off on the fourth line in a checking role and didn't even get a shot in the top-six until his fourth season, after Jimmy Carson had been traded and Yzerman had been injured.

If we are to exclude their first three seasons each to account for, it looks like this for career numbers:

Arnott: 914GP, 306-376-682, 0.34-0.41-0.75
Primeau: 743GP, 242-314-556, 0.33-0.42-0.75

It's much more interesting if you compare them when they were in similar roles; they were practically the same player. Primeau definitely has the defensive advantage; both became very good defensive players over the course of their careers after starting out rather "meh" in that department. But Primeau got there much sooner, likely due to (and possibly the cause of) his placement on checking lines early on. In contrast, Arnott has the advantage in the playoffs, although Primeau played 31 playoff games with Philly in his last three years (post-prime) and spent another 41 in his last three years with Detroit playing the left wing. He scored 19 points in 28 games in three playoff runs at center during his prime; he did not go to the playoffs in 1997 or 1998. He was easily Carolina's best forward in 1997-98 and 1998-99, and arguably their best (despite finishing third in scoring) in 1996-97.

All of that said... I'd place them basically even. If I had to choose one for one game or series, I'd as much have to know what the makeup of my team was as they were; Arnott is like the right-handed version of Primeau. He spent occasional time on the RW in Dallas and (IIRC) New Jersey, both are power centers who are excellent on faceoffs, and their scoring lines per-game (as top-six players) are virtually identical.
Arnott has a major advantage in terms of playoff performances, notably the 2000 cup run and the 2001 finals run where he formed the Ace Line with Sykora and Elias. Primeau had the reputation as captain everything for Philadelphia on the basis of his 2004 run to the conference finals, but that hype is also a function of playing for more of a marquee franchise.

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03-08-2013, 12:08 PM
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begbeee
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Arnott is clearly better. Primeau was my favourite player though.

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03-09-2013, 08:49 AM
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overg
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
Arnott is clearly better. Primeau was my favourite player though.
Heh. Interesting. Primeau may be my *least* favorite player. When he played for the Wings, his name might as well have been "Keith the puck rolls off his stick Primeau." Insanely frustrating guy to watch. Big, pretty decent skater, and he looked like he had the talent to make a pass or score a goal. And yet when the puck ended up on his stick, you were pretty sure the other team would soon be in possession of it.

He had *one* good playoff series with Detroit, which was against Chicago a year or two before he was traded. Other than that, he was a god awful playoff performer who people thought was a lot better than he actually was simply because he was big. Ugh. The fact that he actually sulked about his ice time, playing behind Yzerman and Fedorov, was just laughable.

I doubt I will ever be as happy about hockey as the day I learned that the Wings no longer had Primeau, and instead had Shanahan (and I liked Coffey).

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03-09-2013, 08:59 AM
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I'll go with Arnott here. Although I waited for both of these guys to develop and turn into stars it never happened. It is interesting to note that Primeau was on the 1996 World Cup team and the 1998 Olympic team. Arnott was only a substitute on the 1996 team and never played. Not sure how much that matters but at one time people considered Primeau to be more valuable.

However, Primeau was generally awful in the postseason. There aren't many worse playoff performers in contrast to their regular season performances. Both players were on very good teams at one time too so at least Arnott helped carry his team somewhere good.

Plus give the longevity edge to Arnott.

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03-09-2013, 08:50 PM
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tony d
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I like both but I'll give a slight edge to Arnott.

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03-10-2013, 01:10 AM
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seventieslord
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I'm going to go with Primeau. Does everyone forget how physically dominant the guy was in his prime? I saw him as a poor man's Lindros physically, and Lindros was the most physically dominant player I've seen. Primeau was also miles ahead defensively. He was always good, but got really good towards the end.

His offense is underrated as well, because he was not used on the PP as much, and because he didn't have many games in the seasons before and after the DPE to boost his totals. He was a very underrated ES scorer.

If you're drafting all-time teams with scorers and role players, you'll think about Primeau as a checker long before you'll think about Arnott as a scorer or checker.

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03-10-2013, 03:14 AM
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Starchild74
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To me it is Arnott and it's not that close really.

It's not so much what Arnott did but more what Primeau didn't. Primeau had all the tools to succeed in the NHL. Like one poster said he was a poor man's Lindros, and seeing him play in juniors i thought he was going to be almost as good as Lindros boy was I wrong. H e just was never able to put it all together. When the game got more important or pressure was on he was no where to be found. It is funny how some players seem to perform when needed and others don't but Primeau was definitely one of those that couldn't perform in the big games.

Arnott had that good rookie season and the rest of of his career was just average really nothing too special but those 2 years with the Devils in the playoffs he really performed. Arnott was more consistent and was part of a really good number 1 line in the NHL with the Devils

I understand how you could compare the two and if a big if you could get Primeau to play with passion and be that big power centre he was good and in some ways the same could be said about Arnott it seemed both kind of had that motivation problem at times but in the end if the game was on the line I would have Arnott out there.

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03-11-2013, 08:55 PM
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DisgruntledGoat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starchild74 View Post
To me it is Arnott and it's not that close really.

It's not so much what Arnott did but more what Primeau didn't. Primeau had all the tools to succeed in the NHL. Like one poster said he was a poor man's Lindros, and seeing him play in juniors i thought he was going to be almost as good as Lindros boy was I wrong. H e just was never able to put it all together. When the game got more important or pressure was on he was no where to be found. It is funny how some players seem to perform when needed and others don't but Primeau was definitely one of those that couldn't perform in the big games.

Arnott had that good rookie season and the rest of of his career was just average really nothing too special but those 2 years with the Devils in the playoffs he really performed. Arnott was more consistent and was part of a really good number 1 line in the NHL with the Devils

I understand how you could compare the two and if a big if you could get Primeau to play with passion and be that big power centre he was good and in some ways the same could be said about Arnott it seemed both kind of had that motivation problem at times but in the end if the game was on the line I would have Arnott out there.
Its an interesting perspective. . .but do you think your views are coloured by your expectations coming out of junior? I ask because I, as an Oiler fan, still see Arnott as the bigger disappointment. Even when he eventually rounded into being a pretty decent player, I never felt he was as physically dominant or as nasty as he could have been. Primeau wasn't either, but I feel like Primeau at his very best (say, the 2001 regular season and 2004 playoff run) was closer to being that player than Arnott ever was.

Also, although Arnott was certainly the better playoff performer, he was no Joe Sakic either. Outside of 2001, and to a lesser extent, 2002, he never did anything of note in the post-season.

For me, I think Primeau had a few seasons where he was pretty dominant in all aspects of the game, and was clearly the guy driving the bus for his team. Arnott never did that. Even on the A-line, Elias was the straw that stirred the drink. That, and Primeau's defensive edge, IMO, overcomes the post-season blemishes.

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