I was a young kid when he broke in as a rookie and he was an instant phenom. Everyone from that era remembers how electrifyimg he was on the rush but the thing some might forget is how good he was defensively. He had a similar balance to his game of the Lidstrom, Bourque, or Neidermayer type it was just that Orr was much more of a game breaker.
Yup. And though I didn't understand it then, and even now I understand that +/- isn't necessarily representative, I think in Orr's case at least it is illustrative.
Highest season +/- +124
Career +/- +597
Yeah, it wasn't the same era that Gretzky played in in terms of scoring, but it wasn't all 1-0 or 2-1 games either. The expansion franchises did come in, but some of them (St. Louis) were pretty darn good teams too.
I can't imagine what his career numbers would have been if he'd had a less injury filled career. Even if you just projected his third season as the norm for post 75-76 he'd have been putting up 21-43-64 and probably could have played for another 4-5 years. That would have been insane.