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Round 2, Vote 2 (HFNYR Top Centers)

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Old
05-23-2013, 06:39 AM
  #51
Crease
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Nice write-up CoD.

Adding Laprade to my top 10 is going to bump one of Gretzky, Espo, and O'Connor. I have Gretzky ever so slightly ahead of O'Connor. Does O'Connor have a case over Espo? Remember, Espo was a huge part of that 1978-79 team that lost the Cup Finals. T-1 for team scoring in the regular season and playoffs that year.

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05-23-2013, 06:44 AM
  #52
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Nice write-up CoD.

Adding Laprade to my top 10 is going to bump one of Gretzky, Espo, and O'Connor. I have Gretzky ever so slightly ahead of O'Connor. Does O'Connor have a case over Espo? Remember, Espo was a huge part of that 1978-79 team that lost the Cup Finals. T-1 for team scoring in the regular season and playoffs that year.
Thanks. I don't have a good answer to your question. Right now I have Walt, Laprade and Raleigh in my 6-8 slots. Then I am looking at which two of Espo, O'Connor or Gretzky round out my top 10 with a difficult decision and a lot of confusion. This decision I do not find easy at all and I will need to think on it a bit.

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05-23-2013, 07:02 AM
  #53
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Something else to consider: Rangers' MVP as voted by the Professional Hockeywriters Association, folks who had their eyeballs on the team the entire season. Bolded are the guys we are considering in Round 2 Vote 2.

Player Year
Lynn Patrick 1941-42
Lynn Patrick 1942-43
Ott Heller and Bryan Hextall 1943-44
Ab DeMarco 1944-45
Chuck Rayner 1945-46
Chuck Rayner 1946-47
Buddy O'Connor 1947-48
Edgar Laprade and Chuck Rayner 1948-49
Edgar Laprade 1949-50
Don Raleigh 1950-51
Hy Buller 1951-52
Paul Ronty 1952-53
Wally Hergesheimer 1953-54
Danny Lewicki 1954-55
Bill Gadsby 1955-56
Andy Bathgate 1956-57
Andy Bathgate 1957-58
Andy Bathgate 1958-59
Dean Prentice 1959-60
Lorne Worsley 1960-61
Andy Bathgate 1961-62
Lorne Worsley 1962-63
Harry Howell 1963-64
Don Marshall 1964-65
Bob Nevin 1965-66
Ed Giacomin 1966-67
Rod Gilbert 1967-68
Ed Giacomin 1968-69
Walter Tkaczuk 1969-70
Ed Giacomin 1970-71
Jean Ratelle 1971-72
Jean Ratelle 1972-73
Brad Park 1973-74
Rod Gilbert 1974-75
Rod Gilbert 1975-76
Dave Maloney 1976-77
Walter Tkaczuk 1977-78
Anders Hedberg 1978-79
Eddie Johnstone 1979-80
Barry Beck and Mike Rogers 1980-81
Mark Pavelich 1982-83
Barry Beck 1983-84
Tomas Sandstrom 1984-85
John Vanbiesbrouck 1985-86
Walt Poddubny 1986-87
James Patrick 1987-88
Brian Leetch 1988-89
John Ogrodnick 1989-90
Brian Leetch 1990-91
Mark Messier 1991-92
Adam Graves 1992-93
Adam Graves 1993-94
Mark Messier 1994-95
Mark Messier 1995-96
Brian Leetch 1996-97
Wayne Gretzky 1997-98
Brian Leetch 1998-99
Mike Richter 1999-00
Brian Leetch 2000-01
Mike Richter 2001-02
Brian Leetch 2002-03
Bobby Holik 2003-04
Jaromir Jagr 2005-06
Henrik Lundqvist 2006-07
Henrik Lundqvist 2007-08
Henrik Lundqvist 2008-09
Henrik Lundqvist 2009-10
Henrik Lundqvist 2010-11
Henrik Lundqvist 2011-12
Henrik Lundqvist 2012-13

Espo's best statistical season with the Rangers was 1977-78, yet Tkaczuk is considered more valuable to the team that year. The following year, the big Cup run year, Espo pops in 42 but the award goes to Anders Hedberg. Seems to support the notion that aside from his knack for scoring goals, he didn't provide much else to the club.

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05-23-2013, 07:07 AM
  #54
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Something else to consider: Rangers' MVP as voted by the Professional Hockeywriters Association, folks who had their eyeballs on the team the entire season. Bolded are the guys we are considering in Round 2 Vote 2.
Damn dude, you dig up some great stuff and you are the exact perfect person to be leading this vote for us. I cannot say with enough energy how much I appreciate your efforts. That is a great post and will likely help my decision making a great deal. Thanks!

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05-23-2013, 11:02 AM
  #55
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By the way, Tkaczuk was 3rd AST (obviously that's not an official thing, but based off the voting records...) in 1970.

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05-23-2013, 05:10 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Crease View Post
Seems to support the notion that aside from his knack for scoring goals, he didn't provide much else to the club.
I think we're minimizing Esposito's importance to those Ranger teams by making it seem like scoring goals wasn't a very big deal. When opposing coaches faced the Rangers, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that they were more worried about Esposito's line than any other.

As for the sportswriter's MVP award. I don't know how much stock to put into that award. Should it mean more than the 3 All Star Teams Esposito made as a Ranger?

What I do know is that in the 78-79 playoffs. Hedberg scored 4 goals and 9 points in 18 games. Esposito scored 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games. Esposito's totals tied him with linemate Don Maloney for 1st on the team in playoff scoring. Hedberg's totals tied him for 8th place. (And I only mention Hedberg because he won the MVP award over Espo in 78-79.)

As for Tkaczuk, let me take the unpopular position that I think he's being too highly rated by some. In trying to compare his role on the team to a modern day player, I was thinking Patrice Bergeron. Would Patrice Bergeron warrant a high place on a list like this? Maybe. But if he did, you would bring up that Bergeron's strong two-way play helped earn the Bruins a Stanley Cup. Tkaczuk's efforts did not result in a Cup for the Rangers. You'd also probably mention that Bergeron has won a Selke Trophy. Tkaczuk never did. Granted, the Selke was only first awarded after the 77-78 season, which only gave Walt his last 4 seasons to compete for the award. In the end, I'm having a hard time placing Takczuk higher on my list than as one of the bottom of the top 10 spots.

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05-23-2013, 05:29 PM
  #57
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While tkazcuk did not win a cup, he did come damn close, and as I mentioned previously, he his credited as the main reason why Espo (Bruins version) was kept goalless in the finals.

I (over)value longevity, so 14 seasons, 5th all time in games and being a career ranger, along with the already documented 2 way play, still has him at the top of this set for mine

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05-23-2013, 06:43 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Chief View Post
I think we're minimizing Esposito's importance to those Ranger teams by making it seem like scoring goals wasn't a very big deal. When opposing coaches faced the Rangers, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that they were more worried about Esposito's line than any other.

As for the sportswriter's MVP award. I don't know how much stock to put into that award. Should it mean more than the 3 All Star Teams Esposito made as a Ranger?

What I do know is that in the 78-79 playoffs. Hedberg scored 4 goals and 9 points in 18 games. Esposito scored 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games. Esposito's totals tied him with linemate Don Maloney for 1st on the team in playoff scoring. Hedberg's totals tied him for 8th place. (And I only mention Hedberg because he won the MVP award over Espo in 78-79.)

As for Tkaczuk, let me take the unpopular position that I think he's being too highly rated by some. In trying to compare his role on the team to a modern day player, I was thinking Patrice Bergeron. Would Patrice Bergeron warrant a high place on a list like this? Maybe. But if he did, you would bring up that Bergeron's strong two-way play helped earn the Bruins a Stanley Cup. Tkaczuk's efforts did not result in a Cup for the Rangers. You'd also probably mention that Bergeron has won a Selke Trophy. Tkaczuk never did. Granted, the Selke was only first awarded after the 77-78 season, which only gave Walt his last 4 seasons to compete for the award. In the end, I'm having a hard time placing Takczuk higher on my list than as one of the bottom of the top 10 spots.
In the 3 or 4 seasons we really had chance to win, we got killed by Orr, the best player of all time, and a Canadians club that was like the '61 Yankees.

I again refer you to an earlier post where Orr singlehandedly beat us TWICE by shooting the puck SIDEWAYS, friggin SIDEWAYS, to beat Villemure (only way he gets beat on those shots). Once each to different sides. Same playoff game.

No, Ratelle and Tkaczuk more than pulled their share of the weight.

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05-23-2013, 07:05 PM
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I think we're minimizing Esposito's importance to those Ranger teams by making it seem like scoring goals wasn't a very big deal. When opposing coaches faced the Rangers, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that they were more worried about Esposito's line than any other.

As for the sportswriter's MVP award. I don't know how much stock to put into that award. Should it mean more than the 3 All Star Teams Esposito made as a Ranger?

What I do know is that in the 78-79 playoffs. Hedberg scored 4 goals and 9 points in 18 games. Esposito scored 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games. Esposito's totals tied him with linemate Don Maloney for 1st on the team in playoff scoring. Hedberg's totals tied him for 8th place. (And I only mention Hedberg because he won the MVP award over Espo in 78-79.)

As for Tkaczuk, let me take the unpopular position that I think he's being too highly rated by some. In trying to compare his role on the team to a modern day player, I was thinking Patrice Bergeron. Would Patrice Bergeron warrant a high place on a list like this? Maybe. But if he did, you would bring up that Bergeron's strong two-way play helped earn the Bruins a Stanley Cup. Tkaczuk's efforts did not result in a Cup for the Rangers. You'd also probably mention that Bergeron has won a Selke Trophy. Tkaczuk never did. Granted, the Selke was only first awarded after the 77-78 season, which only gave Walt his last 4 seasons to compete for the award. In the end, I'm having a hard time placing Takczuk higher on my list than as one of the bottom of the top 10 spots.
I would personally place the sportswriter's MVP award way over a guy being in an all star game. The bottom line is, you compare a guy like Esposito's 6 seasons here to, say, Gretzky's three and Gretzky did vastly more in half the seasons. Gretzky posts two 2nd All Star Teams to Espo's none, Gretzky leads the league in assists twice, wins a Lady Byng, has two top 5 point finishes to Espo's none, and Gretzky has the highest playoff scoring PPG increase of anyone on the initial list.

Or compare Espo to O'Connor. O'Connor plays two seasons less than Espo, but once finishes second in the league in points, wins a Lady Byng, nothces a 2nd All Star Team selection, wins one of only two Harts of any center on our initial list, and like Espo, O'Connor went to the finals too, losing in double OT of game 7.

In less seasons both Gretzky and O'Connor won hardware, 2nd AST selections, top 5 points finishes, and solid playoff performances. Espo has no AST selections, good playoff performance, no hardware, and finished 8th in goals one year. Not saying Espo sucked, but the other two players did do a lot more.

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05-23-2013, 09:51 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Cake or Death View Post
I would personally place the sportswriter's MVP award way over a guy being in an all star game. The bottom line is, you compare a guy like Esposito's 6 seasons here to, say, Gretzky's three and Gretzky did vastly more in half the seasons. Gretzky posts two 2nd All Star Teams to Espo's none, Gretzky leads the league in assists twice, wins a Lady Byng, has two top 5 point finishes to Espo's none, and Gretzky has the highest playoff scoring PPG increase of anyone on the initial list.

Or compare Espo to O'Connor. O'Connor plays two seasons less than Espo, but once finishes second in the league in points, wins a Lady Byng, nothces a 2nd All Star Team selection, wins one of only two Harts of any center on our initial list, and like Espo, O'Connor went to the finals too, losing in double OT of game 7.

In less seasons both Gretzky and O'Connor won hardware, 2nd AST selections, top 5 points finishes, and solid playoff performances. Espo has no AST selections, good playoff performance, no hardware, and finished 8th in goals one year. Not saying Espo sucked, but the other two players did do a lot more.
110% agree, well said.

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05-23-2013, 09:58 PM
  #61
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I will make a quick comment. Feel free to agree, disagree, whatever, then please let it go, cause we don't want thread hijacking, etc.

Chris Kreider can be a great W. But I also think he's got more than enough to be a terrific C.

If he gets his shifts there, particularly w/speedly linemates like Hagelin, Callahan, Miller (as W), he could be a dominant force.

A dominant force to such extent he easily cracks our top 10 after his career (barring injury).

Brief comments only, and back to the group we are voting on, please.

Thanks.

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05-23-2013, 10:34 PM
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Kreider's skill set is high, he has great speed and is a big guy at 225-230 pounds. But I don't think he has the general hockey sense or defensive zone awareness to be a C. He's a guy that has a potentially excellent north south game. For all these reasons I like him at wing. Especially sings wings player higher in the defensive zone and with him up high there is more threat of him moving up the ice more immediately and causing the opposition havoc. Plus, I can see him working well with good passers like Stepan and Brassard as his centers. My two cents.

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05-24-2013, 07:16 AM
  #63
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Friendly reminder that Round 2 Vote 2 ballots are due tomorrow, Saturday May 25 at 5PM EST. I know its a holiday weekend, so if you need an extension, let me know. Thanks again for all the excellent work done on this project. We are nearing the finish!

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05-24-2013, 11:29 AM
  #64
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As for Tkaczuk, let me take the unpopular position that I think he's being too highly rated by some. In trying to compare his role on the team to a modern day player, I was thinking Patrice Bergeron. Would Patrice Bergeron warrant a high place on a list like this? Maybe. But if he did, you would bring up that Bergeron's strong two-way play helped earn the Bruins a Stanley Cup. Tkaczuk's efforts did not result in a Cup for the Rangers. You'd also probably mention that Bergeron has won a Selke Trophy. Tkaczuk never did. Granted, the Selke was only first awarded after the 77-78 season, which only gave Walt his last 4 seasons to compete for the award. In the end, I'm having a hard time placing Takczuk higher on my list than as one of the bottom of the top 10 spots.
Value Tkaczuk where you see fit, of course. For me, I place a lot of value on a guy who was with the organization so long and was not just solid offensively, but was also one of the best in the league defensively in his day. If you look at the 72 playoffs against Boston, Esposito said, "I don't think I scored a goal in that series, Walter Tkaczuk was all over me."

Holding Espo to zero goals in 6 games is no small feat. Espo entered that series averaging a goal a game in the playoffs (9 gls and 17 pts in 9 games). He led the league with 66 goals and 133 points that season, was in the middle of his peak where he led the league in scoring 4 times in a row, averaging 65 gls and 137 pts per season over a 5 season span. To shadow him and hold him without a goal for 6 games was almost super human. For similar reasons I gave Laprade a very high placement, as well. He and Tkaczuk are consistently mentioned by contemporaries, fellow players, and people that have seen them as among the very best defensive players in the league in their careers.


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05-24-2013, 12:12 PM
  #65
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Just for context when reading my perspective on some of these things – since we all probably emphasize slightly different things when looking at the players…

For me, the things that factored into my own thought process in how to rank players (and especially those who I have been having trouble placing) are, in order of emphasis:

- Overall contribution to the organization
- Playoff performance (ties in with the first point in my mind)
- Whether removing the player from the equation was likely to eliminate some major accomplishment of this franchise – or, looking at it another way, whether they were “replaceable”
- Regular season stats/performance
- Longevity
- Quality of competition
- Quality of team surrounding them


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Great, you guys are right. Definitely have Gretzky too low.

Considering how much I've valued playoff performance and AST selections, I definitely need Gretzky above Clint Smith and Phil Goyette. I think I really don't want him in our top 10, though, because it's kind of pathetic.

I need to carefully make decisions between Gretzky/O'Connor/Esposito to decide how to rank them. I have all three behind Laprade and Tkaczuk, still.
No Don Raleigh? His regular seasons certainly weren’t as explosive as O’Connor’s were, but he was consistently solid, is one of the few guys left on the list after Laprade and Tkaczuk who has some semblance of longevity (9.5 seasons – and would have been more if not for the war), and he was an arguably bigger part of the Rangers’ playoff run in 49-50 than O’Connor was (scored back to back OT goals in the SC finals to get it to 7 games).


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05-24-2013, 12:13 PM
  #66
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Crease, I had a very similar thought last night but you've articulated it far better than I would have. Outside of the Hart it's tough to make a big case for O'Connor over Gretz. The three reasons I think I have him down so low are:

1. he wasn't on the original list. Due to the "4 season" rule, we made a special case for Gretz to be added, which, subconsciously said to me that he shouldn't be here (silly, but a reason no less).



3. His last 2 years were the start of the "dark era" which has left a large scar on the fanbase. No good came from the years 1998-2004. Yeah, this franchise has been through some horrid patches, but most of us don't go back that far so the most recent one holds a special place of horror.
Agreed on the first point. Not sure you can blame him for the third point. Not like he was responsible for the poor decisions that Neil Smith and then Glen Sather made. Though I can understand how that might color your perception of him looking back on it, since his time here overlaps with it.

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I may have been a bit against the norm then. On the initial top 20 vote I submitted to you, I had Gretzky in the top 10 already (O'Connor 7th and Gretzky 8th). Still have Gretz top 10. Currently I have Gretzky and O'Connor sitting respectively at 8 and 9. Bottom line, to me, is there are a lot of guys behind them who do not have the greatest career span. If a guy had a good 6 or 7 years, but Gretz and O'Connor did much more in 3 and 4 seasons, the 6 season span simply isn't enough to give it to a guy on longevity. But for me I've had Gretzky and O'Connor top 10 since the get go and still do.
I was looking forward to the Gretzky discussion, since I’m torn between these two lines of thought. On the one hand, I don’t consider Gretzky a “Ranger,” since he was only here for three seasons, and the majority of his career was spent elsewhere. So it bothers me to have him listed on a top 10 list of all-time Rangers centers. The way I got around this originally was putting him at 11 on my original list.

Now that a real decision needs to be made, however, the problem I keep running up against is that when you look at what he did while he was here, he did more for the organization than many of the other players we have considered throughout this process.

Gretzky absolutely dragged his team, kicking and screaming, into the third round of the playoffs in 96-97. Despite the 4-1 wins in the first and second round, those were both very close series that could have easily gone either way – and were both series that the Rangers started off poorly. Games 2 and Games 4 of the Florida series, he put the Rangers on his back. In the entire playoffs that year for the Rangers, Gretzky was held pointless in just three games (all in the first two rounds). They lost two out of those three games – and the two they lost they were shutout. What people also forget, is that despite Gretzky putting up a monster performance in the third round (9 points in 5 games), the only game that the Rangers managed to win was yet another in which he dragged them kicking and screaming to victory (and got his second hat trick of the playoffs).

And I can predict some of you will look at that roster and say that he wasn’t exactly playing with a bunch of slouches – and that is certainly true, since that team had the likes of Messier, Robitaille, Graves, Courtnall, Tikkanen, Leetch, Beukeboom, Samuelsson, etc – but even though there were some big names on that roster, many of them were on the decline, and they were, in my opinion, far from one of the best teams in the league at that point. Without Gretzky on that roster, I’m not even sure you can say that team makes the playoffs that year, much less to the 3rd round. Not sure you can say the same about a bunch of the other centers that we’re looking at.


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05-24-2013, 12:14 PM
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O'Connor was pretty much a given for the top 10 when this project started. Gretzky not. So do we have O'Connor too high? Or Gretzky too low?
Don't know that I would agree with that first sentence. He wasn't top-10 on my list until the last round of voting. And I'm starting to think I over-corrected in the last round of voting for ranking him so low on our original top 20 vote (I had him at 17).

With both him, and Gretzky, you’re looking at very small times with the Rangers – and players who spent the majority of their careers with other teams. So I’m not sure it is fair to ding Gretzky for that and not ding O’Connor for the same thing.

If you’re looking at regular season performance, I think it is pretty even. O’Connor has one extra season, but Gretzky performed better (albeit only slightly better in my mind). That said, O’Connor had one of his best seasons of his career while with the Rangers – Gretzky, not so much. This isn’t to say Gretzky’s seasons here were bad – they were pretty damn good; but certainly far below the sky-high Gretzky seasons of years past.

The thing that separates the two players in my mind – as you may have figured out with my comments above about the 96-97 playoff run – is their playoff performance. O’Connor certainly was a big part of the team that lost in game 7 of the finals, but I’m not so sure he had quite as big of an impact as Gretzky did.

In the 96-97 playoffs, Gretzky scored or got an assist on 20 of 36 total goals the Rangers scored. That means he was involved in 56 percent of the Rangers goals scored in those playoffs. That is pretty amazing. By comparison, in the 49-50 playoffs, O’Connor was involved in 6 of 32 goals scored. A similar amount of total goals scored by the team, and he was involved in just 18.5 % of them. It was still a solid playoff performance, but not nearly as dominant.

The one thing I think O’Connor does have over Gretzky – just anecdotally from reading up on him – is the leadership factor. O’Connor came in, was made a captain, and by all accounts helped to turn the team around from some pretty poor seasons. Yea, Gretz wore the A for some of his time here, but the heart and soul of that team was still certainly Mess, Leetch, Richter. And even after Mess left, they chose Leetch over Gretzky for the ‘C’. On one hand, his time with the Rangers was the first time in Gretzky’s career that he wasn’t named the captain of a team – and that might say something… but on the other I’m not sure you can draw too much from that – as it is certainly a compliment to Leetch and Messier. But interesting none the less.

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05-24-2013, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Richter Scale View Post
I was looking forward to the Gretzky discussion, since I’m torn between these two lines of thought. On the one hand, I don’t consider Gretzky a “Ranger,” since he was only here for three seasons, and the majority of his career was spent elsewhere. So it bothers me to have him listed on a top 10 list of all-time Rangers centers. The way I got around this originally was putting him at 11 on my original list.

Now that a real decision needs to be made, however, the problem I keep running up against is that when you look at what he did while he was here, he did more for the organization than many of the other players we have considered throughout this process.
The feelings you describe here are exactly what I felt, and what I suspect at least a couple of participants have felt, in the past week or so.

What I've basically done is put O'Connor, Gretzky, and Esposito into a "hired gun" category and compared their relative value.

I have Tkaczuk, Raleigh, and Laprade in. The hired guns duking it out for the final two spots. And Smith, Goyette and Duguay on the outside looking in. Ultimately what it is going to come down to for individual participants is how much they value longevity vs peak as a Ranger. There's no right or wrong answer here. I can see arguments for everyone of these guys to being in the top 10, aside from Duguay.


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05-24-2013, 02:34 PM
  #69
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I've been so busy lately that I haven't been able to post as much as I like. I do want to say that a lot of the time I'm playing devil's advocate when I post, in order to explore different conversations. My final top 10 is going to wind up very different than my initial top 10 and I owe that to a lot of the info different posters have posted in these threads. I'm hoping to post more later today but for now, I leave you with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cake or Death View Post
Holding Espo to zero goals in 6 games is no small feat.
Tkaczuk stopping Esposito from scoring can only be a big deal if Esposito's goal scoring was a big deal. And if that's the case, then why isn't it a big deal that Esposito led the Rangers in goal scoring in 3 seasons out of the 5.5 that he was here - and was 2nd in 2 other seasons? (he was 2 goals short from leading the team in 77-78 and was 7 goals short in 75-76, having played 18 less games than the leader.) Not to mention his 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games in the 78-79 Cup run.

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05-24-2013, 02:50 PM
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I've been so busy lately that I haven't been able to post as much as I like. I do want to say that a lot of the time I'm playing devil's advocate when I post, in order to explore different conversations.
I like that approach too. Also, at least one participant has requested an extension in order to absorb any last minute arguments, so we are going to extend the deadline to end-of-day Monday 5/27. If you have submitted a ballot already, and would like to make a revision before the deadline, just PM me.

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My final top 10 is going to wind up very different than my initial top 10 and I owe that to a lot of the info different posters have posted in these threads.
Me too. And when this project is over, I'm going to ask the participants if they are willing to allow me to make their preliminary list and voting records public. I think it will be fun to see and discuss how much our opinions evolved, if at all, over the course of the project.

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05-24-2013, 09:58 PM
  #71
mike14
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Ah, more time just means more opportunities for me to change my mind! I think it's a great idea to post all the lists (assuming everyone else is cool with it), I was going to post mine so anyway so people could see how much my opinion changed as more info was gathered.

To provide some info on our guys, the book (which I don't have a copy of) 100 Ranger Greats lists them as follows:

Tkaczuk - 14
Espo - 23
Laprade - 24
Raleigh - 32
Smith - 35
O'Connor - 38
Duguay - 49
Goyette - 59

I can't find a ranking for Gretz. Now, this is only 1 guys opinion, and I have no idea how he came to decide on his list, but it does give another perspective on how others see them.

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05-25-2013, 01:08 AM
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Tkaczuk stopping Esposito from scoring can only be a big deal if Esposito's goal scoring was a big deal. And if that's the case, then why isn't it a big deal that Esposito led the Rangers in goal scoring in 3 seasons out of the 5.5 that he was here - and was 2nd in 2 other seasons? (he was 2 goals short from leading the team in 77-78 and was 7 goals short in 75-76, having played 18 less games than the leader.) Not to mention his 8 goals and 20 points in 18 games in the 78-79 Cup run.
That is a valid argument for Espo and why he places so high. The question is, how high does a good playoff run and leading the team in goals cause a person place him? Does that outrank Gretzky leading the league in assists twice and finishing 3rd and 4th in the league in points? Or Gretzky's 20 pts in 15 games? Or that Gretzky won a major award and was twice named 2nd Team All Star?

Espo had some very good seasons here and was one of the best players on the team. But there are guys who had seasons where they were among the best players in the league or had much longer careers in NY where they were excellent two way players. In the end, it all depends on what factors different people feel are important.

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05-25-2013, 04:20 PM
  #73
bernmeister
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Originally Posted by mike14 View Post
Ah, more time just means more opportunities for me to change my mind! I think it's a great idea to post all the lists (assuming everyone else is cool with it), I was going to post mine so anyway so people could see how much my opinion changed as more info was gathered.

To provide some info on our guys, the book (which I don't have a copy of) 100 Ranger Greats lists them as follows:

Tkaczuk - 14
Espo - 23
Laprade - 24
Raleigh - 32
Smith - 35
O'Connor - 38
Duguay - 49
Goyette - 59

I can't find a ranking for Gretz. Now, this is only 1 guys opinion, and I have no idea how he came to decide on his list, but it does give another perspective on how others see them.

I gotta believe I can come up with more than 22 Rangers who were greater Blueshirts than Espo.

That said, thanks for the contribution/hard work of this research. Every yardstick is helpful.

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05-25-2013, 11:00 PM
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Chief
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Gretzky was originally #11 on my list and I've gone back and forth on whether or not he deserves to be up higher. I was looking at some youtube clips of him in his first Ranger season and he was still special that season...but his last season - 53 assists notwithstanding - was not a great season. You can say he was a playmaker all you want but he scored 9 goals that last season. Nine! Sorry, that was not a great season.

He had that one truly great playoff run but the team did not reach the Finals and I don't think his body of work merits being in the Top 10 all time for the Rangers.

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05-26-2013, 08:48 AM
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Gretzky was originally #11 on my list and I've gone back and forth on whether or not he deserves to be up higher. I was looking at some youtube clips of him in his first Ranger season and he was still special that season...but his last season - 53 assists notwithstanding - was not a great season. You can say he was a playmaker all you want but he scored 9 goals that last season. Nine! Sorry, that was not a great season.

He had that one truly great playoff run but the team did not reach the Finals and I don't think his body of work merits being in the Top 10 all time for the Rangers.
Fair enough. And yes, Gretzky was .13 GPG his final season, which is pretty bad. Though he was 38 and had played 1695 career regular season and playoff games by the time he retired. Then again, Espo, who was also 38 in his final season and played close to 300 fewer career games than Gretzky, was only .17 GPG his final season. Though Gretz did kill him in PPG at .89 to .49 in their respective final seasons.

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