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The 1991 Blues core

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Old
07-28-2013, 12:16 PM
  #26
tony d
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Those Blues teams where really solid during that time. They finished 4th in the Norris in 1993 but you have to wonder had they beat Toronto in Rd.2 if they would have gotten to the finals ahead of LA?

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07-28-2013, 04:52 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
If Jersey deals Shanahan for Pronger, they have a young Niedermayer and a young Pronger. Excellent pair of defensemen four years later, but they still need a better veteran leader and shutdown guy than Daneyko.
Good point and one I was going to add in my previous post. Stevens circa '94 was a finished product, with a decade of experience in the league. By that time, he had matured from the wild, hair-trigger tempered buck who hit/fought everyone to a much more steady, positional player and leader (who still punished, of course, but with more discretion).

At that same time period, Pronger was yet to hit his stride. He would not have been ready to lead NJD to a Cup in '94-95 from the backline.

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07-28-2013, 10:45 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
still, would have loved to see a young, raw pronger step into the league beside a bona-fade hall of famer, like bourque with park, stevens with langway, chelios and blake with robinson, etc.
What bona-fide HHOFer did the Devils have? Ken Daneyko? Tommy Albelin? Pronger was playing next to Al MacInnis by his third season; that's better company than Rod Langway. And MacInnis was still in his prime, unlike a washed up, end-of-career Park or Robinson (with Blake).

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whoa, never heard about a potential blues/whalers deal before. what a crushing blow, going from samuelsson and francis to... garth butcher and dan quinn. who would have gone the other way? i'd have to think, given the zalapski/cullen package that came from pittsburgh, that it's probably brind'amour and two or maybe three of jeff brown, paul cavallini, geoff courtnall, and sergio momesso with either brown or cavallini a must?
Ideally, the Blues can get the trade worked around Ronning/Cavallini or Ronning/Brown. If they make a Ronning/Cavallini/Momesso deal for Francis and Samuelsson, that gives them three excellent faceoff men as their top three centers, with Courtnall and Brind'Amour on the LW, plus Hull on the right side. There's no need for the Shanahan move because rookie Nelson Emerson can fill that second line RW spot the next season.

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Originally Posted by PhillyBluesFan View Post
I think the Blues would of beaten the Red Wings in 1995
Not a chance. The Blues with the retained core aren't better than the 1995 Chicago Blackhawks, and aren't better than the 1995 Detroit Red Wings. Oates was not better than Fedorov and it's hard to argue that he was better than Yzerman or even Primeau. Brind'Amour and Ronning were the two worst of those six. Geoff Courtnall was no better offensively than Slava Kozlov, and didn't hold a candle to him defensively. Brett Hull and Ray Sheppard were actually almost identical in offensive ability at that point. Sheppard scored more goals (30 to 29) that season in fewer games (43 to 48), but didn't get Hull's assist numbers (10 to 21). Including the previous season, it comes out to this:

Brett Hull: 129GP, 86-61-147
Ray Sheppard: 125GP, 82-51-133

Per-82 it looks like this:

Brett Hull: 55-39-93
Ray Sheppard: 54-33-87

Pretty close.

On to defense.

So to recap:
Oates<Fedorov
Brind'Amour<Yzerman
Ronning<Primeau
Hull>Sheppard
Courtnall<Kozlov

Dino Ciccarelli and Nelson Emerson were both still relevant scoring wingers

Emerson<Ciccarelli

Dave Lowry was a solid checking forward in 1995, but Darren McCarty was better.

Lowry<McCarty

Bob Bassen was a quality bottom-six center, but a better defensive player with quality offensive upside was Doug Brown.

Bassen<Brown

Sergio Momesso was basically a mid-grade checking forward with decent offense, while Bob Errey was still a high-quality defensive player who could contribute some offense.

Momesso<Errey

Need I continue?

On to defense.

Remember that we can't include Al MacInnis because he was acquired for Phil Housley; Housley was acquired for Nelson Emerson and Stephane Quintal, the latter of which was acquired with Craig Janney in the Oates trade. So we have a defense featuring prime Stevens (offensive styled), prime Jeff Brown, and a late-career Paul Cavallini. Stevens would have remained a primarily offensive defenseman if you go down the "retained core" route, and his comparable would have been Coffey. Coffey was a top-ten scorer and the Norris winner that season. Lidstrom was better than Brown (who was actually in Vancouver at that point due to the Nedved offer sheet/Janney trade). And Konstantinov was a heck of a lot better shut down defenseman at that point than Cavallini was, or ever had been in his career for that matter.

Stevens<Coffey
Brown<Lidstrom
Cavallini<Konstantinov
Dirk<Fetsov

Osgood was second in save percentage and tenth in Vezina votes. Vernon was fourth in Vezina voting and fifth in all-star voting. Joseph received zero votes.

Joseph<Osgood/Vernon

The Blues simply don't win this matchup. Or come close, honestly. The only spot they win among the top nine forwards, top four defensemen, and two goaltenders is a small victory of Brett Hull vs. Ray Sheppard (Hull was 3rd and Sheppard 6th in All-Star voting in both 1994 and 1995).

The Blues would have had to build on top of it and make the right moves. Given the trade history around the era (Oats for Janney/Quintal, Courtnall+etc. for Quinn/Butcher, reacquisition of Janney) and GM decisions (offer sheet to Shanahan without picks to compensate, offer sheet to Nedved) I'd have to say that wouldn't happen.

Not in a million years.

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07-28-2013, 11:01 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
What bona-fide HHOFer did the Devils have? Ken Daneyko? Tommy Albelin? Pronger was playing next to Al MacInnis by his third season; that's better company than Rod Langway. And MacInnis was still in his prime, unlike a washed up, end-of-career Park or Robinson (with Blake).
slava fetisov


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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Ideally, the Blues can get the trade worked around Ronning/Cavallini or Ronning/Brown. If they make a Ronning/Cavallini/Momesso deal for Francis and Samuelsson, that gives them three excellent faceoff men as their top three centers, with Courtnall and Brind'Amour on the LW, plus Hull on the right side. There's no need for the Shanahan move because rookie Nelson Emerson can fill that second line RW spot the next season.
i think you're wildly overrating cliff ronning's value in the butcher/quinn deal. he very much came to vancouver as a sideshow-ish little guy who can put up a few points on the second powerplay unit, and to hear pat quinn talk about it, he wouldn't have had any interest in cliffy as the throw-in/equalizer if he wasn't a local kid. obviously, cliffy became a lot more than that, but he was definitely the third most valuable piece coming back, after courtnall and momesso. so if it's ron francis and not garth butcher, i can't see any way they don't insist on rod brind'amour as the center. john cullen was a top five scorer in the league when he was traded to hartford.

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07-28-2013, 11:54 PM
  #30
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i think you're wildly overrating cliff ronning's value in the butcher/quinn deal. he very much came to vancouver as a sideshow-ish little guy who can put up a few points on the second powerplay unit, and to hear pat quinn talk about it, he wouldn't have had any interest in cliffy as the throw-in/equalizer if he wasn't a local kid. obviously, cliffy became a lot more than that, but he was definitely the third most valuable piece coming back, after courtnall and momesso. so if it's ron francis and not garth butcher, i can't see any way they don't insist on rod brind'amour as the center. john cullen was a top five scorer in the league when he was traded to hartford.
And Ronning had a higher PPG at ES and PP than Brind'Amour in 90-91 with the Blues despite less playing time. 1991 Brind'Amour wasn't the defensive juggernaut that people have the image of him as (and have revised him to be) so the argument that Brind'Amour was much more essential that Ronning is questionable. Brind'Amour certainly bring back more defense than Ronning; but Cullen brought no defense. Momesso/Ronning should be worth Francis at that point, and Cavallini/Samuelsson is basically an even swap of defensive defensemen.


Last edited by Trebek: 07-29-2013 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Flaming. I know what "derp" means.
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07-29-2013, 04:10 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Not a chance. The Blues with the retained core aren't better than the 1995 Chicago Blackhawks, and aren't better than the 1995 Detroit Red Wings. Oates was not better than Fedorov and it's hard to argue that he was better than Yzerman or even Primeau. Brind'Amour and Ronning were the two worst of those six. Geoff Courtnall was no better offensively than Slava Kozlov, and didn't hold a candle to him defensively. Brett Hull and Ray Sheppard were actually almost identical in offensive ability at that point. Sheppard scored more goals (30 to 29) that season in fewer games (43 to 48), but didn't get Hull's assist numbers (10 to 21). Including the previous season, it comes out to this:

Brett Hull: 129GP, 86-61-147
Ray Sheppard: 125GP, 82-51-133

Per-82 it looks like this:

Brett Hull: 55-39-93
Ray Sheppard: 54-33-87

Pretty close.

On to defense.

So to recap:
Oates<Fedorov
Brind'Amour<Yzerman
Ronning<Primeau
Hull>Sheppard
Courtnall<Kozlov

Dino Ciccarelli and Nelson Emerson were both still relevant scoring wingers

Emerson<Ciccarelli

Dave Lowry was a solid checking forward in 1995, but Darren McCarty was better.

Lowry<McCarty

Bob Bassen was a quality bottom-six center, but a better defensive player with quality offensive upside was Doug Brown.

Bassen<Brown

Sergio Momesso was basically a mid-grade checking forward with decent offense, while Bob Errey was still a high-quality defensive player who could contribute some offense.

Momesso<Errey

Need I continue?

On to defense.

Remember that we can't include Al MacInnis because he was acquired for Phil Housley; Housley was acquired for Nelson Emerson and Stephane Quintal, the latter of which was acquired with Craig Janney in the Oates trade. So we have a defense featuring prime Stevens (offensive styled), prime Jeff Brown, and a late-career Paul Cavallini. Stevens would have remained a primarily offensive defenseman if you go down the "retained core" route, and his comparable would have been Coffey. Coffey was a top-ten scorer and the Norris winner that season. Lidstrom was better than Brown (who was actually in Vancouver at that point due to the Nedved offer sheet/Janney trade). And Konstantinov was a heck of a lot better shut down defenseman at that point than Cavallini was, or ever had been in his career for that matter.

Stevens<Coffey
Brown<Lidstrom
Cavallini<Konstantinov
Dirk<Fetsov

Osgood was second in save percentage and tenth in Vezina votes. Vernon was fourth in Vezina voting and fifth in all-star voting. Joseph received zero votes.

Joseph<Osgood/Vernon

The Blues simply don't win this matchup. Or come close, honestly. The only spot they win among the top nine forwards, top four defensemen, and two goaltenders is a small victory of Brett Hull vs. Ray Sheppard (Hull was 3rd and Sheppard 6th in All-Star voting in both 1994 and 1995).

The Blues would have had to build on top of it and make the right moves. Given the trade history around the era (Oats for Janney/Quintal, Courtnall+etc. for Quinn/Butcher, reacquisition of Janney) and GM decisions (offer sheet to Shanahan without picks to compensate, offer sheet to Nedved) I'd have to say that wouldn't happen.

Not in a million years.
You are looking at them all individually when the whole point is them being together in their 5th year no less. The sum of CuJo Hull Oates RBA and Stevens would be far greater than the parts.

Oh and if we do the whole forward A>forward B thing the Red Wing should of swept the devils. We know those Detroit teams were underachievers and a team led by Stevens, RBA and Joesph is the kind of team Detroit always crapped the bed against.


Last edited by PhillyBluesFan: 07-29-2013 at 04:16 AM.
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07-29-2013, 10:27 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
And Ronning had a higher PPG at ES and PP than Brind'Amour in 90-91 with the Blues despite less playing time. 1991 Brind'Amour wasn't the defensive juggernaut that people have the image of him as (and have revised him to be) so the argument that Brind'Amour was much more essential that Ronning is questionable. Brind'Amour certainly bring back more defense than Ronning; but Cullen brought no defense. Momesso/Ronning should be worth Francis at that point, and Cavallini/Samuelsson is basically an even swap of defensive defensemen.
rod brind'amour was a 20 year old recent top 10 pick in a very good draft who had just scored 25 goals as a teenager and made the all-rookie team. cliff ronning was a 25 year old powerplay specialist who had just played a year the italian league, and he was a guy that theo fleury had once said, "i'm not the shortest guy in the league anymore. cliff ronning-- i could eat my lunch off the top of his helmet."

'91 was a sophomore jinx year for brind'amour, as the blues were moving him from LW to C. as a point of comparison, dan quinn had a better offensive year in '91 than brind'amour and ronning, but i don't think any GM in the world would considered him interchangeable in a trade with brind'amour.

and i remember cullen as a pretty decent guy defensively, and unbelievable in the faceoff circle.

cliff ronning is one of my favourite players of all time. but believe me, we had no idea what we were getting when he came over in '91, and neither did pat quinn. that trade was sold to us as we're getting a speedy first line winger in courtnall and the power forward who helped give brett hull the space to score 70 goals in momesso... oh yeah and some pint-sized local legend who may or may not hold down the second line center spot until nedved's ready for it. not that we weren't all thrilled that cliffy came in, almost immediately became our first line center, and went point for point against gretzky in the playoffs, but i think only he and his mom saw that coming.

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Old
07-29-2013, 02:44 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by PhillyBluesFan View Post
You are looking at them all individually when the whole point is them being together in their 5th year no less. The sum of CuJo Hull Oates RBA and Stevens would be far greater than the parts.

Oh and if we do the whole forward A>forward B thing the Red Wing should of swept the devils. We know those Detroit teams were underachievers and a team led by Stevens, RBA and Joesph is the kind of team Detroit always crapped the bed against.
Stevens wouldn't have been the same "elite shutdown defenseman Stevens" that he became in New Jersey. He'd have continued being "Washington Stevens" into his later years.

Brind'Amour was a good but not great defensive forward. IMHO Oates was better than him defensively at the time.

The Wings lost to teams that could completely focus on shutting them down (see New Jersey 1995 or Anaheim 2003) and teams that could match them in power and depth (Colorado 1996, 1999).

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
rod brind'amour was a 20 year old recent top 10 pick in a very good draft who had just scored 25 goals as a teenager and made the all-rookie team. cliff ronning was a 25 year old powerplay specialist who had just played a year the italian league, and he was a guy that theo fleury had once said, "i'm not the shortest guy in the league anymore. cliff ronning-- i could eat my lunch off the top of his helmet."
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'91 was a sophomore jinx year for brind'amour, as the blues were moving him from LW to C. as a point of comparison, dan quinn had a better offensive year in '91 than brind'amour and ronning, but i don't think any GM in the world would considered him interchangeable in a trade with brind'amour.
Brind'Amour played a lot of center because Ronning missed games. Brind'Amour scored 110 points in 157 games in his first two seasons; Ronning's 32 in 48 with St. Louis in 90-91 paces out to 105 in 157 games. Ronning was older, but no weaker defensively at that point.

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and i remember cullen as a pretty decent guy defensively, and unbelievable in the faceoff circle.
He was decent for a top-line guy. But that's when top-line guys were typically players more like Gretzky, Carson, Lemieux, Savard, etc. You know, one-way players who made a name from their offense and carried that into the NHL. I often wonder if players who were "second-tier" in offensive production (due to opportunity) and great defensively couldn't have been top scorers while also being Selke contenders. Doug Gilmour's an example that backs this idea up; he had the opportunity to break out from under Bernie Federko, and was a top-five scorer in 1986. Later, Calgary had Nieuwendyk. Then he arrived in Toronto, which had no wingers. But then they acquired Andreychuk, and Borschevsky came in from Russia. Gilmour had the best two seasons (raw offense) of his career, and was a Hart contender.

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cliff ronning is one of my favourite players of all time. but believe me, we had no idea what we were getting when he came over in '91, and neither did pat quinn. that trade was sold to us as we're getting a speedy first line winger in courtnall and the power forward who helped give brett hull the space to score 70 goals in momesso...
Such a ridiculous way of putting it. As a Wings fan who saw the Blues regularly, I could have told you that Ronning was the best player going to Vancouver.

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07-29-2013, 06:32 PM
  #34
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Such a ridiculous way of putting it. As a Wings fan who saw the Blues regularly, I could have told you that Ronning was the best player going to Vancouver.
hey man, i'm only telling you what we were reading and hearing at the time of the trade. if you're a better judge of talent than all GMs and commentators of the time, more power to you i guess.


there's nothing conclusive here, but i just did a database search for newspaper articles from the day of that trade deadline. re: ronning's relative value at the time of the trade and his centrality to it:


brian burke on the trade (referring specifically to courtnall and momesso, ignoring ronning and dirk)--

Quote:
''That's the weakest position in the National Hockey League, and we've upgraded it,'' said Brian Burke, director of hockey operations. ''We're better for the trades we made today.''

from the globe & mail (toronto newspaper)--

Quote:
St. Louis Blues sent left winger Geoff Courtnall, right winger Sergio Momesso, defenceman Robert Dirk and centre Cliff Ronning to the Vancouver Canucks for centre Dan Quinn and defenceman Garth Butcher.

To get the better of the trade, the Blues must make Quinn (-28) aware of defensive game. Vancouver could not. Courtnall, a 30-goal scorer, plays well both ways. Butcher is aggressive and competent, Momesso is a 20-goal scorer and checker. Others were throw-ins. Slight edge to Canucks.

al strachan--

Quote:
Butcher is a solid, hard-working highly respected defenceman who consistently clears out the traffic in front of his net and always sticks his nose in if teammates are being pushed around. In addition, the Blues get Dan Quinn who, although he plays a soft game, has the ability to go on scoring tears.

The cost to St. Louis was minimal - four players they've been trying to unload for some time. They evacuated the doghouse to find Sergio Momesso and Cliff Ronning, tossed in Geoff Courtnall, whose play has tailed off considerably in the second half of the season, and added lumbering defenceman Robert Dirk to the package.

Ronning and Courtnall were recently offered to the Calgary Flames in a proposal that was quickly nixed by Flames general manager Cliff Fletcher.

damien cox--

Quote:
The Blues addressed two large areas of concern with the acquisition of hard-nosed rearguard Garth Butcher and power-play specialist Dan Quinn from Vancouver. The Canucks received four players: left wingers Geoff Courtnall and Sergio Momesso, centre Cliff Ronning and defenceman Robert Dirk. Only Courtnall was a front-line player for the Blues.

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07-29-2013, 11:38 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Brett Hull and Ray Sheppard were actually almost identical in offensive ability at that point. Sheppard scored more goals (30 to 29) that season in fewer games (43 to 48), but didn't get Hull's assist numbers (10 to 21). Including the previous season, it comes out to this:

Brett Hull: 129GP, 86-61-147
Ray Sheppard: 125GP, 82-51-133

Per-82 it looks like this:

Brett Hull: 55-39-93
Ray Sheppard: 54-33-87

Pretty close.
.
Come on, you can't really believe this, can you? It's revisionism at its finest. Sheppard had Fedorov and Yzerman for centers; Hull had Janney (good but not those two) and in 1995 he had Adam freaking Creighton.

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07-30-2013, 12:27 AM
  #36
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Come on, you can't really believe this, can you? It's revisionism at its finest. Sheppard had Fedorov and Yzerman for centers; Hull had Janney (good but not those two) and in 1995 he had Adam freaking Creighton.
Sheppard didn't play much with Fedorov. Saying he did is revisionism. And Yzerman placed an additional emphasis on defense that year beyond what we would see later n his career, so his offensive production was diminished. Yzerman scored 38 points, only four more than Creighton. Sheppard outscored Hull at ES and on the PP.

I didn't say Sheppard was better than Hull. In fact, I said the opposite. But if you are trying to use that to refute my statement that their offensive numbers were close when I put the offensive numbers right there for you... well...

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07-30-2013, 12:55 AM
  #37
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Stevens wouldn't have been the same "elite shutdown defenseman Stevens" that he became in New Jersey. He'd have continued being "Washington Stevens" into his later years.

Brind'Amour was a good but not great defensive forward. IMHO Oates was better than him defensively at the time.

The Wings lost to teams that could completely focus on shutting them down (see New Jersey 1995 or Anaheim 2003) and teams that could match them in power and depth (Colorado 1996, 1999).
Stevens became a "elite shutdown defenseman" in 91 before ever getting to the Devils. Why would that have changed going forward?

The only defensive forwards better than RBA the last 30 years are Gainey, Madden, Carbo, Federov, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lehtinen and Pahlsson


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07-30-2013, 01:23 AM
  #38
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Sheppard didn't play much with Fedorov. Saying he did is revisionism.
I wasn't sure which one he played with, but I knew it was one or the other. What's the problem?

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And Yzerman placed an additional emphasis on defense that year beyond what we would see later n his career, so his offensive production was diminished. Yzerman scored 38 points, only four more than Creighton. Sheppard outscored Hull at ES and on the PP.

I didn't say Sheppard was better than Hull. In fact, I said the opposite. But if you are trying to use that to refute my statement that their offensive numbers were close when I put the offensive numbers right there for you... well...
You said they were "almost identical in offensive ability" which is much different from simply saying their offensive numbers were close.

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07-30-2013, 10:17 AM
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The Blues should have won some Championships, Detroit really had their number and hurt their legacy. Keep them together and they still have problems with the Wings. The Dallas Stars had a similar problem but benefited from having Colorado knock off the Wings a couple times. Sometimes it is about matchups, the Blues needed to get away from the Wings and unfortunately for them kept running into them.
The only time the Blues ran in to the Wings with all those guys mentioned as their core, they won (1991 round 1). They lost to Minnesota in round 2. They didn't meet up in the playoffs again until 1996 when only Hull remained. So no, Detroit wasn't a factor.

And I wouldn't say the Stars had problems with the Wings or benefited from the Avs knocking them off. The only time they ran in to the Wings when they were actually good was 1998 - when Nieuwendyk was out for the playoffs and they didn't have Hull yet. Other than that it was 92 and 95 - when the Stars werent good. So Detroit wasn't a factor here either.

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07-30-2013, 11:06 AM
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Stevens became a "elite shutdown defenseman" in 91 before ever getting to the Devils. Why would that have changed going forward?
Stevens' defense with New Jersey as of the mid 90s was at a higher level than his defense with St. Louis by a very large margin, and that was due to coaching.

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The only defensive forwards better than RBA the last 30 years are Gainey, Madden, Carbo, Federov, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lehtinen and Pahlsson
Why, because Brind'Amour won two "thanks for playing" Selkes at the end of his career?

Let's look at his career top ten Selke finishes, and see which guys are ahead of him (and how many guys are repeaters that you didn't mention):

YearRankAheadTied
19999thLehtinen, Arvedson, Peca, Yzerman, Brown, Conroy, Rucchin, Forsbergnone
20061stnonenone
20071stnonenone

Now that we've shown his sad Selke record outside of two years, let's look at the top-ten record of those eight guys who finished ahead of him in 1999, using only years they finished ahead of Brind'Amour (obviously, this would count all of their top-ten finishes).

PlayerRanks
Lehtinen1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 6th, 6th, 10th
Arvedson2nd, 10th
Peca1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 5th
Yzerman1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th
Brown5th
Conroy2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th
Rucchin7th,
Forsberg2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th

So Lehtinen, Peca, and Yzerman were pretty clearly better than Brind'Amour defensively. Forsberg and Conroy are arguable as well. And that's just of guys who beat him in Selke voting in his third-best defensive season ever. It doesn't count excellent defensive guys like Carbonneau, Gilmour, Jarvis, Kasper, Gainey, Graham, Murray, Fedorov, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Toews, Bergeron, M.Richards, Kopitar, Holik, Primeau, Francis, Kurri, Tikkanen, Otto, Skrudland, etc. who peaked at different times than Brind'Amour (and wouldn't have been mentioned during his best seasons) but were definitely MUCH better defensively than Brind'Amour was.

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I wasn't sure which one he played with, but I knew it was one or the other. What's the problem?
Mostly the general perception of "Sheppard's scoring is invalid, he played with Fedorov during Fedorov's ridiculous peak years!", which is basically similar to the Nicholls/Gretzky stuff or even the way Robitaille gets treated despite the fact he generally didn't play with Gretzky and didn't have great chemistry with him (see 88-89, when he split the year between Nicholls and Gretzky at ES).

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You said they were "almost identical in offensive ability" which is much different from simply saying their offensive numbers were close.
True, I guess "equal in offensive production" would probably have been more accurate. Although Sheppard played much of the season with Yzerman and Errey, while the LW on Hull's line was typically Shanahan. That's a pretty huge difference.

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07-30-2013, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Stevens' defense with New Jersey as of the mid 90s was at a higher level than his defense with St. Louis by a very large margin, and that was due to coaching.
He played the same style of hockey(shutdown defense first) in 91 as he did his entire time in with the Devils

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Why, because Brind'Amour won two "thanks for playing" Selkes at the end of his career?
RBA was one of the greatest defensive forwards ever long before he ever won the award. Award voting is a silly way to compare players IMO.

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07-31-2013, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
True, I guess "equal in offensive production" would probably have been more accurate. Although Sheppard played much of the season with Yzerman and Errey, while the LW on Hull's line was typically Shanahan. That's a pretty huge difference.
As I understand it, hull and sandbags shanny were on different lines.

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07-31-2013, 10:32 AM
  #43
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The real interesting thing is how many long-term NHLers they had up front.

Brind'Amour, Courtnall, Lowry, Oates, Ronning, Bassen, Emerson, Hull and Chase would all play at least some games in the 1999-00 season (Courtnall's the only one of them who didn't play at least 1 game after the turn of the century).

But the back end was much weaker. Stevens is the only one to play a game after 1997-98 (Jeff Brown would play 60 games that year before retiring due to injuries). And it wasn't that the blueline was even that old. On Jan 1, 2000, the only players to finish the 90-91 season with St Louis who would have been over 36 would have been Mario Marois (43) and Garth Butcher (37). Scott Stevens would turn 37 on April 1, 2000, while the next oldest defenseman was Tom Tilly, who turned 26 in 1991.

With Butcher and Jeff Brown, injuries shortened what were otherwise solid careers, but they had mostly AHL journeymen otherwise: guys like Glen Featherstone and Tilley.

Even in the system, they basically had Jason Marshall and Bret Hedican and that was it, and neither of them are even all that great, even if they did have lengthy and successful careers. And then there's the fact that their drafting on the blueline from 1991-1998 was horrific: Steve Staios, J-L Grand-Pierre (neither ever played a game for St Louis), Jamie Rivers, Matt Walker and Christian Backman (the latter two were 1998 picks and wouldn't play their first NHL games until 2002-03) would be the only selections to play more than 100 games in the NHL.

As the old saying goes, defense wins championships, so while I think they would have been a force in the regular season, I would think they'd have been known as the Atlanta Braves of hockey: constantly winning division titles, but choking in the playoffs. Even with Stevens, that blueline is just too weak to do anything had it stayed in tact.

In the end, that's more or less what their reputation ended up being in the 1997-2004 period, even with 5 series wins and a Conference Finals appearance.

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07-31-2013, 11:45 AM
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Great thread. And some great replies describing the Blues loss of depth in two transactions. Between that late '91 deal with Vancouver and, September '91 deal with Philly they essentially dealt:
Brind'Amour
Courtnall
Ronning
Momesso
Dirk

for

Sutter
Butcher
Baron

Clearly they wanted help on defense, as their blueline was pretty thin behind Stevens and Jeff Brown. Perhaps they were obsessed with winning a Norris division based on the 1980s style of physical punishment. But it cost them a lot of secondary scoring.

Hard to imagine how they could have looked retaining Stevens. In the only season with him, they finished second with 105 points- that was before OT loss points, or shootouts. After that year, they returned to being an average team in the low 80 point totals.
Had they not made the trades mentioned above to retain some depth, and not chased Shanahan, could they have maintained that 100-point dominance? Or was the emergence of Detroit, and Toronto a bigger factor in their downfall?

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07-31-2013, 05:51 PM
  #45
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Hard to imagine how they could have looked retaining Stevens. In the only season with him, they finished second with 105 points- that was before OT loss points, or shootouts. After that year, they returned to being an average team in the low 80 point totals.

Had they not made the trades mentioned above to retain some depth, and not chased Shanahan, could they have maintained that 100-point dominance? Or was the emergence of Detroit, and Toronto a bigger factor in their downfall?
To your question: Impossible to ascertain, but it is no coincidence, IMO, that the Blues point total (place in the standings) escalated that one season Stevens was in town...and likewise, NJD went from "a playoff team" to an annual contender soon after he arrived. Of course, there were other factors, e.g., Brodeur, as there are always multiple ingredients to team success.

But Steven's impact on his team and the league through the 90s and up to his retirement should never be underestimated (and sometimes is, by some, it seems). A very strong case can be made that the guy was the single most valuable playoff performer, period, circa 1995-2003.

Had he remained in St. Louis, controlling their blueline, the dynamics (and fortunes) of that team moving forward are significantly different, IMO.

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