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What if John LeClair was never traded to the Flyers?

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02-19-2013, 02:31 AM
  #1
Sticks and Pucks
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What if John LeClair was never traded to the Flyers?

And thus, would not have played with Lindros. Would he still have been a first line forward? Before the trade, he wasn't anything special in Montreal. He was sort of just a throw-in in the Recchi deal. Even in the beginning of the 94-95 season, he had 5 pts in 9 games, on pace for 45 points in a full season which would have been similar to what he had the previous two seasons. So do you guys think LeClair would have developed into a premier power forward had he not been traded to Philly?

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02-19-2013, 03:02 AM
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pdd
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Originally Posted by FirstOverallLine View Post
And thus, would not have played with Lindros. Would he still have been a first line forward? Before the trade, he wasn't anything special in Montreal. He was sort of just a throw-in in the Recchi deal. Even in the beginning of the 94-95 season, he had 5 pts in 9 games, on pace for 45 points in a full season which would have been similar to what he had the previous two seasons. So do you guys think LeClair would have developed into a premier power forward had he not been traded to Philly?
In 94-95, Leclair scored 37 ESP in 46 games. Splitting those totals up, it's 3 in 9 for Montreal and 34 in 37 for Philadelphia. His production at even strength is almost tripled. But there is a huge caveat; he was also playing considerably more time and was now doing it while being the go-to-guy for Eric Lindros, who had a ridiculous season in 94-95.

So the immediate thought is "no, of course not."

But then one must look at the fact that Philadelphia was still a threat and won games while Lindros was injured, which happened often.

In 97-98, Leclair outscored Lindros per-game at even strength while playing all 82 (Lindros missed 19). So I think it's hard to argue that Lindros was the reason for Leclair's success in that season.

Which brings us to the final point; Leclair obviously developed into a premier power forward whether he was playing with Lindros or not. The only question is whether he would have been allowed that opportunity, and I think the overall answer is yes.

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02-19-2013, 03:08 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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I think LeClair learned to use his size to his advantage largely because of playing with Lindros, but then became a star in his own right.

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02-19-2013, 03:16 AM
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I think LeClair learned to use his size to his advantage largely because of playing with Lindros, but then became a star in his own right.
Entirely possible.

But looking at alternate realities, if the Leclair trade never happens, and Montreal still trades for Pierre Turgeon, what then? Do they end up putting Leclair with Turgeon? How does that work out if they do? Does Leclair score 30? 40? 50?

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02-19-2013, 04:48 AM
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I think LeClair learned to use his size to his advantage largely because of playing with Lindros, but then became a star in his own right.
This. Many posters here have shown that LeClair's production stayed pretty much the same when Lindros was out of the lineup. He was definitely not just a product of Lindros, he was a superstar in his own right. But it is a good question as to whether he would have learned those skills and developed the same way had he not played with Lindros in the first place.

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02-19-2013, 06:42 AM
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Psycho Papa Joe
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He would never have developed into a 50 goal scorer on the Habs. I had hopes for him back then and you could see the talent, but IMO his upside with the habs was 70 pts.

Interesting tidbit though. In 1993 his coach, Demers, was calling him the next Kevin Stevens. Demers was laughed at. Demers obviously knew something we all didn't.

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02-19-2013, 12:54 PM
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Sticks and Pucks
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Interesting tidbit though. In 1993 his coach, Demers, was calling him the next Kevin Stevens. Demers was laughed at. Demers obviously knew something we all didn't.
That's pretty remarkable considering Stevens was also a late blooming American who didn't develop into the power forward that he was until he was in his mid 20s. Demers was quite right.

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02-19-2013, 01:07 PM
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I think we need to refine the question- and make sure we avoid that unmistakable aroma of freshly-picked-cherries...

I think we can divide LeClair's career profile into four relatively discrete categories:

A) LeClair of Montréal (not really comparable to any subsequent LeClair manifestations)
B) LeClair with Lindros
C) LeClair on Philly, with Lindros injured*
D) LeClair, post-Lindros departure.

Just sort of a thought- surely there's something LeClair himself has said at some time- something that's part of the public record, relative to his performance in the above circumstances. And if there is, perhaps we might take his word for it...

[I remember that when Keith Jones came to Philadelphia, he said that he felt more advantaged by playing alongside Lindros & LeClair than he did playing with Forsberg & Sakic. Perhaps he was just making nice with his new team-mates-- but if he had merely said it was comparable, that wouldn't have been received poorly.]

*Keep in mind that when Lindros was inujred, LeClair's line-mate became an at-or-near-peak Brind'Amour. Not really equivalent to a healthy Lindros, but not exactly chopped-liver, either.

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02-19-2013, 03:30 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Two things:

The defensive system Montreal played at the time was very constraining and its highly unlikely he would have exceeded 30 goals. Despite winning the cup in 93, this was a darker era in Habs history as they made poor draft picks, worse trades (including Leclair) and had little patience for developing players. In essence, it was in the cards that he would be moved unless he exceeded expectations right from the beginning.

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02-19-2013, 05:33 PM
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He doesn't score 50 goals three years in a row I can tell you that for sure. Lindros brought out a lot of good in Leclair and while you can pin it on Lindros for bringing this side out, you have to give Leclair for maintaining it through thick and thin times in Philly. I think he always had the tools but he just never had the toolbox until Lindros came around.

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02-19-2013, 06:09 PM
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He's another example of trading a power forward before he has reached his full potential (or fearing that he won't).

Montreal is not the only team which made that mistake.

Two other examples which are still fresh in my mind: Vancouver with Neely, the Islanders with Bertuzzi.

It's the nature of the beast.

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02-19-2013, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by beauchamp View Post
He's another example of trading a power forward before he has reached his full potential (or fearing that he won't).

Montreal is not the only team which made that mistake.

Two other examples which are still fresh in my mind: Vancouver with Neely, the Islanders with Bertuzzi.

It's the nature of the beast.
New Jersey with Shanahan. Although they were forced to do it.

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02-19-2013, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiTownPhilly View Post

*Keep in mind that when Lindros was inujred, LeClair's line-mate became an at-or-near-peak Brind'Amour. Not really equivalent to a healthy Lindros, but not exactly chopped-liver, either.
The major difference is that Leclair was visibly better than Brind'Amour. Unlike Kevin Stevens or prime Keith Tkachuk, John Leclair was completely capable defensively; he had played in a defensive role with Montreal before the trade.

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New Jersey with Shanahan. Although they were forced to do it.
That was different. Shanahan was an RFA signed by the Blues, not traded away by the Devils. New Jersey simply received Stevens (arbitration decision) as compensation as St. Louis didn't have the requisite first-round picks to compensate New Jersey. That i why we now have the rule about a team must have the necessary picks before signing an RFA to an offer sheet.

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02-19-2013, 10:32 PM
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That was different. Shanahan was an RFA signed by the Blues, not traded away by the Devils. New Jersey simply received Stevens (arbitration decision) as compensation as St. Louis didn't have the requisite first-round picks to compensate New Jersey. That i why we now have the rule about a team must have the necessary picks before signing an RFA to an offer sheet.
Right, but they still let him go before he developed properly

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02-19-2013, 10:58 PM
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Right, but they still let him go before he developed properly
For sure. On the other end, they did get Stevens.

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02-19-2013, 11:06 PM
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pdd
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Right, but they still let him go before he developed properly
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
For sure. On the other end, they did get Stevens.
Yeah, it's not like they traded him off for nothing, such as Cam Neely for Barry Pederson, or Leclair and Gilbert Dionne as throw ins in ADDITION to Eric Desjardins for Mark Recchi, or even Chicago when they traded Phil Esposito to Boston for Pit Martin (other lesser players also involved on both sides).

Chicago trading Byfuglien also sort of falls into this category, because they were trying to make him a power forward and he was somewhat effective in that role but not as effective as his skills suggested he could be.

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02-20-2013, 12:58 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Entirely possible.

But looking at alternate realities, if the Leclair trade never happens, and Montreal still trades for Pierre Turgeon, what then? Do they end up putting Leclair with Turgeon? How does that work out if they do? Does Leclair score 30? 40? 50?
i can see leclair peaking with 45, maybe even 50 goals in a career year in montreal if you played him with turgeon, maybe even koivu if recchi was also on that line. but i think he'd be seen as a cheechoo or secord (or, say, erik cole) and not the consistent goal scoring beast he became once he learned how to most efficiently use his size with the extra room he got on lindros' line. don't discount renberg either. young renberg was a beast on the cycle, and him and lindros gave leclair as much room as anyone could reasonably expect to gain from two linemates.

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02-20-2013, 01:08 AM
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i can see leclair peaking with 45, maybe even 50 goals in a career year in montreal if you played him with turgeon, maybe even koivu if recchi was also on that line.
How does Recchi get to Montreal if Leclair isn't traded for him?

Oh, also. If that trade never happens, it means Eric Desjardins is still in Montreal also. Desjardins was one of the best defensemen of the 90s, especially if you look at the 90s from 94 on (post-trade).

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but i think he'd be seen as a cheechoo or secord (or, say, erik cole) and not the consistent goal scoring beast he became once he learned how to most efficiently use his size with the extra room he got on lindros' line. don't discount renberg either. young renberg was a beast on the cycle, and him and lindros gave leclair as much room as anyone could reasonably expect to gain from two linemates.
He might end up as more of a Jagr/Lemieux type than a Lindros/Messier type if he stays in Montreal, given the finesse feel that they had going. But maybe not.

Imagine how it would have changed Turgeon's career, to have a prime Leclair (as he was) on his wing in Montreal? Maybe people actually take PT seriously at that point.

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02-20-2013, 09:31 AM
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Imagine how it would have changed Turgeon's career, to have a prime Leclair (as he was) on his wing in Montreal? Maybe people actually take PT seriously at that point.
Well, he did play with Recchi on his wing in Montreal. While he wasn’t worth what Montreal gave up, he wasn’t exactly chopped liver either.

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02-20-2013, 11:17 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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How does Recchi get to Montreal if Leclair isn't traded for him?

Oh, also. If that trade never happens, it means Eric Desjardins is still in Montreal also. Desjardins was one of the best defensemen of the 90s, especially if you look at the 90s from 94 on (post-trade).



He might end up as more of a Jagr/Lemieux type than a Lindros/Messier type if he stays in Montreal, given the finesse feel that they had going. But maybe not.

Imagine how it would have changed Turgeon's career, to have a prime Leclair (as he was) on his wing in Montreal? Maybe people actually take PT seriously at that point.
oh right, of course recchi isn't there if leclair isn't traded. turgeon did play with andreychuk on his wing in buffalo and helped him hit 40 goals, which is the best andreychuk ever did without lafontaine or gilmour. maybe that's how turgeon/leclair would have looked? desjardins certainly would have helped too; i'm thinking leclair would have been part of a high powered montreal PP. as it stands, turgeon, recchi, and damphousse all hit double digit PP goals with malakhov and breezy on the PP after he got to montreal.

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02-20-2013, 03:50 PM
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So basically all of you tend to agree his peak would be smaller, but he still would reach star status and maybe even few 40+ goals seasons?

If yes, what would be even better situation for him than Philadelphia..? He would great on Lemieux's wing, maybe even better than on Lindros' one.

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02-20-2013, 04:01 PM
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So basically all of you tend to agree his peak would be smaller, but he still would reach star status and maybe even few 40+ goals seasons?

If yes, what would be even better situation for him than Philadelphia..? He would great on Lemieux's wing, maybe even better than on Lindros' one.
Pittsburgh - playing on a line with Lemieux and Jagr would have been sick. Also, Colorado - he could have complimented guys like Sakic and Forsberg pretty well and won a couple more championships too. Playing with either of those teams could have potentially made LeClair Hall of Fame worthy.

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02-20-2013, 04:47 PM
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Big Phil
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So basically all of you tend to agree his peak would be smaller, but he still would reach star status and maybe even few 40+ goals seasons?

If yes, what would be even better situation for him than Philadelphia..? He would great on Lemieux's wing, maybe even better than on Lindros' one.
Maybe he hits 40 goals once, but I don't fall into the group that thinks he would have been a star either way. Leclair turned out just fine, but I don't think he gets the room to grow and realize his potential without Lindros. This was his PPG before the trade:

1992-'93 - 0.61
1993-'94 - 0.58
1994-'95 - 0.56 (with Montreal)
1994-'95 - 1.32 (with Philly)

Leclair was 25 at the time of the trade and without that trade it looks like he is more or less going to have the same type of year in 1995. Immediately his PPG more than doubles, in midseason.

I know that power forwards take longer to develop, but there wasn't a sign pointing that Leclair was ready to burst out. His closest contemporary on this issue would be Bertuzzi, who took till about the same age before he burst out. There were more signs he was going to do it though and his production was at least steadily rising. Leclair's wasn't.

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