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Teemu Selanne and Steve Yzerman offensively

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07-30-2013, 08:22 AM
  #1
TAnnala
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Teemu Selanne and Steve Yzerman offensively

Ok, I was browsing through some stats and came to realize that Selanne and Yzerman are both close to equal in terms of offensive finishes.

Both were great goal scorers Selanne having the edge there. Yzerman was probably better playmaker.

Which one do you consider the greater offensive player? Do they have any similarities in the way they created offense?

Top-10 Scoring finishes:

Points:


Yzerman
155pts. (3rd overall)
127pts. (3rd overall)
137pts. (5th overall)
108pts. (7th overall)
103pts. (7th overall)
79pts. (10th overall)



Selanne
109pts. (2nd overall)
107pts. (2nd overall)
132pts. (5th overall)
85pts. (5th overall)
108pts. (7th overall)
86pts. (8th overall)
80pts. (8th overall)

Goals:

Yzerman
62G (2nd overall)
51G (2nd overall)
65G (3rd overall)
58G (6th overall)
50G (6th overall)
45G (6th overall)


Selanne
76G (1st overall)
52G (1st overall)
47G (1st overall)
51G (2nd overall)
48G (3rd overall)
40G (10th overall)


Assists:


Yzerman
90A (3rd overall)
63A (3rd overall)
79A (7th overall)
59A (7th overall)
65A (10th overall)


Selanne
60A (4th overall)
52A (7th overall)
68A (9th overall)
58A (9th overall)
49A (10th overall)

They have produced amazingly comparable top-finishes. I realize that Yzerman had a bit tougher competition but Selanne was also against a lot of all-time greats.

Are these two equal offensively? How much do I need to look behind points/finishes?

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07-30-2013, 08:25 AM
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I'd take Yzerman without a second thought.

While Selanne has certainly aged better than almost anyone for offensive production, Yzerman peaked higher, and at one point in his career balanced out good enough to be top 10 in scoring while winning a Selke at the same time.

If the offense is close at first glance I'll take the center who won a Selke while providing it any day.

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07-30-2013, 08:28 AM
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TAnnala
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That's not really my point Brave. I don't think any sane person would try to argue Selanne as the better hockey player. Yzerman is clearly and comfortably ahead there.

I was just wondering their raw offensive talents, how close they were?

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07-30-2013, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
That's not really my point Brave. I don't think any sane person would try to argue Selanne as the better hockey player. Yzerman is clearly and comfortably ahead there.

I was just wondering their raw offensive talents, how close they were?
My point was only that producing the same offense while being better defensively obviously makes that offense more valuable.

Strictly looking at offense: At their very best (Pre-knee injury to both of them) I'd say they were close to neck and neck.

Yzerman was like a little waterbug out there before his knee problems and seemed to have the puck on a string. He was explosive. I think he was a slightly better playmaker, especially based on what he had to work with in his offensive prime.

Selanne has a bit more size and raw speed and probably a little better goal scorer.

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07-30-2013, 08:38 AM
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TAnnala
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
My point was only that producing the same offense while being better defensively obviously makes that offense more valuable.
Oh, you are right on that one. It is almost impossible to judge the offense only part on Yzerman, since he brought a lot more to the table. But in his offensive peak, he was not nearly the same defensive player he was later on his career. He was better than Selanne tough, who was at times more of a liability.

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07-30-2013, 09:56 AM
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I heard somewhere along the lines that Yzerman was requested by Bowman to play a more defensive role.

It is my understanding that Teemu was always asked to be an attacking winger. Score as many points as possible.

Take that into consideration when you talk about stats.

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07-30-2013, 10:55 AM
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I've always thought of them as on the same level offensively, scoring finishes illustrate that pretty well. I agree that Selanne is the slightly better goalscorer while Yzerman has the edge in playmaking.

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07-30-2013, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Thesensation19 View Post
I heard somewhere along the lines that Yzerman was requested by Bowman to play a more defensive role.

It is my understanding that Teemu was always asked to be an attacking winger. Score as many points as possible.

Take that into consideration when you talk about stats.
Absolutely. But I think Yzerman had all his truly elite offensive season's before his defensive game developed as good as it eventually did.

In his early years he was pretty much a scoring center and his focus was basically all in scoring. So he definitely had time to show us his offensive abilities.

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07-30-2013, 12:10 PM
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Offensively they were close. Yzerman had a higher peak, but Selanne aged better. Yet Yzerman was never a real liability defensively even in his best offensive years, unlike Selanne. Add to that his Selke, his Conn Smythe, his Cups, and his leadership, and Selanne is in the dust.

And Eva Unit Zero is gonna be here in 3.. 2... 1...

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07-30-2013, 12:59 PM
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TAnnala
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Sentinel, I am fully aware that Selanne vs. Yzerman debate is pointless. Yzerman is clearly better hockey player, I was just surprised to see how similar their scoring feat's were.

It raised a question in my mind that maybe they had some similarities in their offensive games? They practically have identical scoring finishes. I never got to see Yzerman in his offensive peak, so it would be interesting to hear someone breaking down the possible similarities they had in their games. Of course they played different positions. But maybe there is something to compare?

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07-30-2013, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
Absolutely. But I think Yzerman had all his truly elite offensive season's before his defensive game developed as good as it eventually did.

In his early years he was pretty much a scoring center and his focus was basically all in scoring. So he definitely had time to show us his offensive abilities.
Yzerman was noted for his defensive abilities in the 1985 World Championships (shutting down Larionov) and in the 1987 Campbell Conference Finals (he was noted as the key in the Wings' defensive system that shut down Gretzky and therefore kept the series much closer than it "should have been"). He received Selke votes in three of his six prime offensive years playing 59+ games. So while he can't be argued as an "elite" defensive forward, he was certainly recognized by many for his ability in that area.

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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
That's not really my point Brave. I don't think any sane person would try to argue Selanne as the better hockey player. Yzerman is clearly and comfortably ahead there.

I was just wondering their raw offensive talents, how close they were?
In 1987-88 and 1988-89 combined, these were how the best scorers fared in PPG at ES and overall, arranged by ESPPG:

PlayerPPGESPPG
Gretzky2.231.35
Lemieux2.401.15
Yzerman1.781.13
Robitaille1.320.91
Nicholls1.580.89
Kurri1.270.86
R.Brown1.340.84
Messier1.380.79
Carson1.290.78
Hawerchuk1.400.72
Savard1.540.69
Stastny1.320.67
Coffey1.490.58

A couple pretty clear things stand out; third-place Yzerman is almost identical in ESPPG to prime Lemieux, and is as close to prime Gretzky as he is to fourth-place Luc Robitaille (0.22 PPG, or 17.6 points; or 19.5% of Yzerman's output). Yzerman was also 0.20 PPG overall (16 points, or 11% of Yzerman's output) above fourth-place Nicholls. Selanne never displayed that kind of offensive domination at any point in his career. Especially when you consider that his best seasons were influenced by the presence of Paul Kariya, who most considered the better player at both ends of the ice. Yzerman didn't have a linemate even close to that quality until the second half of 2001-02, when he played on a line with Sergei Fedorov.

Yzerman was generally the league's most dominant ES scorer during his prime after Lemieux and Gretzky, often by a wide margin. This is despite playing with poor offensive wingers and generally weak offensive defensemen until the very end of his prime. Had he continued playing the style of hockey he did during his prime after the Wings acquired more depth and skill, I have no doubt that he would have regularly been a top scorer throughout the 1990s even with the knee and back injuries that reduced his effectiveness. His appearance in the top-ten in 1999-2000 is support for my position. Despite the common belief, he was not Shanahan's most common center during the Cup years. Shanahan played on his wing in the 1999-2000 season and it was the first season in his career that he had an elite winger (unless you count Ray Sheppard, Gerard Gallant, or John Ogrodnick). And Shanahan still was never as good in his career (even peak) as peak/prime Kariya; he certainly wasn't at that level in 1999-2000.

Selanne was an amazing offensive player, but Yzerman is among the absolute best offensive players of all-time. His offensive peak is matched by few, and his prime was extremely good; compare him to the rest of the league, aside from Gretzky and Lemieux, during his prime. He's simply way ahead. Few players managed to have raw seasons even close to Yzerman's top few, and they generally did it with another top scorer (Oates/Hull, LaFontaine/Mogilny, Nicholls/Gretzky, Bossy/Trottier). Probably the closest to Yzerman's best offensive seasons in output+lack of support during Yzerman's prime was perhaps LaFontaine in 1991-92, followed by maybe Turgeon in 1992-93. Messier in 1989-90 is fairly high on the list but behind at least Yzerman's 87-88 through 89-90, and arguably his 92-93 when speaking strictly about offensive output+support from team.


Last edited by pdd: 07-30-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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07-30-2013, 01:57 PM
  #12
TAnnala
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
In 1987-88 and 1988-89 combined, these were how the best scorers fared in PPG at ES and overall, arranged by ESPPG:

Overall:
PlayerPPGESPPG
Gretzky2.231.35
Lemieux2.401.15
Yzerman1.781.13
Robitaille1.320.91
Nicholls1.580.89
Kurri1.270.86
R.Brown1.340.84
Messier1.380.79
Carson1.290.78
Hawerchuk1.400.72
Savard1.540.69
Stastny1.320.67
Coffey1.490.58

A couple pretty clear things stand out; third-place Yzerman is almost identical in ESPPG to prime Lemieux, and is as close to prime Gretzky as he is to fourth-place Luc Robitaille (0.22 PPG, or 17.6 points; or 19.5% of Yzerman's output). Yzerman was also 0.20 PPG overall (16 points, or 11% of Yzerman's output) above fourth-place Nicholls. Selanne never displayed that kind of offensive domination at any point in his career. Especially when you consider that his best seasons were influenced by the presence of Paul Kariya, who most considered the better player at both ends of the ice. Yzerman didn't have a linemate even close to that quality until the second half of 2001-02, when he played on a line with Sergei Fedorov.
Good points.

I am not sure how much weight should we put on even strength scoring vs. PP scoring. I personally never really got the handle of the idea why ES goal is worth more than PP goal. Like, if we would touch the Lemieux scoring roughly the same amount on ES than Yzerman. Why is it any sort of indicator that Yzerman was on par with Lemieux? In the end Lemieux vastly outperformed Yzerman, he just did it on PP. Why does it matter where the points are scored?

But not to derail this. I obviously am a great fan of Selanne. That is the main reason why I came up with these similar offensive finishes.
Frankly, I was a bit surprised. Positively. I usually just automatically think Yzerman is clearly above Selanne in every single aspect of the game. But those scoring finishes suggest that they actually have somewhat of comparable offensive prime.

I know Yzerman pulls ahead in career value and his overall game. But I was genuinely surprised to see Selanne matching fairly well against Yzerman.

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07-30-2013, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
Good points.

I am not sure how much weight should we put on even strength scoring vs. PP scoring. I personally never really got the handle of the idea why ES goal is worth more than PP goal. Like, if we would touch the Lemieux scoring roughly the same amount on ES than Yzerman. Why is it any sort of indicator that Yzerman was on par with Lemieux? In the end Lemieux vastly outperformed Yzerman, he just did it on PP. Why does it matter where the points are scored?
One reason is because of the massive difference in PP opportunities that teams get.

In 1987-88, Pittsburgh received 500 PPO while Detroit saw 383.
In 1988-89, Pittsburgh received 491 to Detroit's 352.

So breaking it down to a per-game basis, that's:

87-88: Pittsburgh 6.25, Detroit 4.79
88-89: Pittsburgh 6.14, Detroit 4.40

So if we take this and project the amount based on the player's GP each season, assuming the PPO average remained constant during their games played (Yzerman saw 80 in 88-89, it's fact there) and that each player played on every PPO in the games they played, then we get these numbers for "individual" PPO (which are likely close to the actual numbers):


87-88: Lemieux 481, Yzerman 306
88-89: Lemieux 466, Yzerman 352

So Lemieux saw a total of ~947 PPO in those two years, compared to Yzerman's ~658.

That's a difference of 289 PPO, which is almost as many as Yzerman saw in 1987-88.

Now let's use these numbers to make a projection. What does it look like if they score at the same pace per-PPO, and Yzerman sees the same number as Lemieux per-game? That would be 400 in 87-88 and 491 in 88-89, for reference; we're not changing Yzerman's actual GP, just his PPO per-game.

Actual PP numbers:
1987-88 Yzerman 10-24-34
1988-89 Yzerman 17-29-46

Adjusted PP numbers:
1987-88 Yzerman 13-31-44
1988-89 Yzerman 24-40-64

So just making those changes (and therefore puffing Yzerman's offensive stats), we would see these total numbers for Yzerman:

64GP, 53-59-112 (pace for 66-74-140)
80GP, 76-99-175

So Lemieux clearly has the better PP success. He obviously also had the better teammates (most notably Coffey) assisting him on that PP. Yzerman won the Pearson in 88-89 with his 155-point season. He was a heavy Hart favorite as late as March (before the Wings had a major slide). I think a 175-point season from Yzerman likely takes home the Pearson, Hart, and 1C in significant landslides.

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07-30-2013, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
I am not sure how much weight should we put on even strength scoring vs. PP scoring. I personally never really got the handle of the idea why ES goal is worth more than PP goal.
Well... it's harder in a way, but it's not necessarily worth more. And it's clear that as good as Selanne was in his comeback, he was more reliant on registering goals with shooting skill and body positioning than with speed, hence the disparity in ES and PP goal ratios in 2006 and 2007 compared to, say, 1997 and 1998.

But as much as he has built a reputation in the past eight years or so for being primarily a PP scorer, it's not like he wasn't a fairly good ES scorer at his peak. In 1996-97, he finished just three ES points behind Mario Lemieux. In 1997-98, he outright led the league in ES goals and ES points despite missing 9 games.

Offensively, a fair comparison.

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07-30-2013, 06:55 PM
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I'm biased, but I will say that Yzerman's best offensive numbers came in the 80's, when the Wings weren't exactly loaded with All stars, like they became in the 90's. Yzerman had to carry the Wings offensively for about a decade. I don't remember Selanne having to carry a team for that long.

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07-30-2013, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
My point was only that producing the same offense while being better defensively obviously makes that offense more valuable.

Strictly looking at offense: At their very best (Pre-knee injury to both of them) I'd say they were close to neck and neck.

Yzerman was like a little waterbug out there before his knee problems and seemed to have the puck on a string. He was explosive. I think he was a slightly better playmaker, especially based on what he had to work with in his offensive prime.

Selanne has a bit more size and raw speed and probably a little better goal scorer.
Seconded. I would take Yzerman in this case without blinking an eye.

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Originally Posted by Thesensation19 View Post
I heard somewhere along the lines that Yzerman was requested by Bowman to play a more defensive role.

It is my understanding that Teemu was always asked to be an attacking winger. Score as many points as possible.

Take that into consideration when you talk about stats.
When Bowman took over the team, they had been playing a more offensive style than he liked. He had a talk with the team and implied if they did not start making defense their focus, they would not play.

They did, but often would start lapsing back into their run and gun habits. Clashing with his decisions and arguing that he should let them run and gun when they were having problems with the Sharks and Devils in his first few coaching years. Eventually, trade talks started for several of the people arguing that, and some were shipped. Yzerman stayed and became an elite defensive center who could still put up great offensive numbers.

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07-30-2013, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
One reason is because of the massive difference in PP opportunities that teams get.

In 1987-88, Pittsburgh received 500 PPO while Detroit saw 383.
In 1988-89, Pittsburgh received 491 to Detroit's 352.

So breaking it down to a per-game basis, that's:

87-88: Pittsburgh 6.25, Detroit 4.79
88-89: Pittsburgh 6.14, Detroit 4.40

So if we take this and project the amount based on the player's GP each season, assuming the PPO average remained constant during their games played (Yzerman saw 80 in 88-89, it's fact there) and that each player played on every PPO in the games they played, then we get these numbers for "individual" PPO (which are likely close to the actual numbers):


87-88: Lemieux 481, Yzerman 306
88-89: Lemieux 466, Yzerman 352

So Lemieux saw a total of ~947 PPO in those two years, compared to Yzerman's ~658.

That's a difference of 289 PPO, which is almost as many as Yzerman saw in 1987-88.

Now let's use these numbers to make a projection. What does it look like if they score at the same pace per-PPO, and Yzerman sees the same number as Lemieux per-game? That would be 400 in 87-88 and 491 in 88-89, for reference; we're not changing Yzerman's actual GP, just his PPO per-game.

Actual PP numbers:
1987-88 Yzerman 10-24-34
1988-89 Yzerman 17-29-46

Adjusted PP numbers:
1987-88 Yzerman 13-31-44
1988-89 Yzerman 24-40-64

So just making those changes (and therefore puffing Yzerman's offensive stats), we would see these total numbers for Yzerman:

64GP, 53-59-112 (pace for 66-74-140)
80GP, 76-99-175

So Lemieux clearly has the better PP success. He obviously also had the better teammates (most notably Coffey) assisting him on that PP. Yzerman won the Pearson in 88-89 with his 155-point season. He was a heavy Hart favorite as late as March (before the Wings had a major slide). I think a 175-point season from Yzerman likely takes home the Pearson, Hart, and 1C in significant landslides.
That's a bit of a pickle. A big reason The Pens saw so many PP opportunities was that players had to resort to taking penalties to try to stop Lemieux. The amount of penalties Lemieux could draw was staggering.

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07-30-2013, 08:23 PM
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That's a bit of a pickle. A big reason The Pens saw so many PP opportunities was that players had to resort to taking penalties to try to stop Lemieux. The amount of penalties Lemieux could draw was staggering.
Agreed. Mario could draw penalties like no other, and he made you pay better than anyone.

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07-30-2013, 08:39 PM
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That's a bit of a pickle. A big reason The Pens saw so many PP opportunities was that players had to resort to taking penalties to try to stop Lemieux. The amount of penalties Lemieux could draw was staggering.
It also had to do with his teammates; Coffey drew a fair number as well, which is a reason why you see the correlation between Coffey's presence and high numbers from Gretzky, Lemieux, Fedorov, and even Lindros. And the fact that Lemieux and Coffey were so much more effective offensively on the PP than at ES (as compared to their peers) makes the difference that much greater. Put two guys in comparable ES situations linemate-wise where they produce similar ES offense. Now give one of them a bunch of PP specialists to tune up his line with with while the other gets nothing. The former will certainly produce better PP numbers. And finally, let's say the first player is himself a defensive liability/PP specialist while the latter is solid defensively and excellent on the PK.

We'll get better offensive numbers from the PP guy on the stacked PP, but is he the better player? And now all of this Lemieux talk has gotten me away from Selanne, although the "good defensively vs. defensive liability" is still valid against Selanne in an overall ability context.

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07-30-2013, 09:23 PM
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Strictly from an offensive standpoint, it's still Yzerman. Just the way he could control the pace of the game with his offense alone is astounding. Selanne never reached an Yzerman 1989 level. A scarce amount of players in NHL history did.

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07-30-2013, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
It also had to do with his teammates; Coffey drew a fair number as well, which is a reason why you see the correlation between Coffey's presence and high numbers from Gretzky, Lemieux, Fedorov, and even Lindros. And the fact that Lemieux and Coffey were so much more effective offensively on the PP than at ES (as compared to their peers) makes the difference that much greater. Put two guys in comparable ES situations linemate-wise where they produce similar ES offense. Now give one of them a bunch of PP specialists to tune up his line with with while the other gets nothing. The former will certainly produce better PP numbers. And finally, let's say the first player is himself a defensive liability/PP specialist while the latter is solid defensively and excellent on the PK.
That's news to me. The oilers typically had among the lowest amount of power play opportunities in the league. While the Penguins even before Coffey arrives, were among the highest once Lemieux arrived. Lemieux really never got going until after playing with Gretzky in the Canada cup. He lists that event as the one that taught him he cannot coast on his talent, but also has to work hard. Before that, he drew a lot of penalties. After that, he drew ridiculous amounts.

It showed too. Even before Coffey arrived and when Coffey was out of the lineup.
I looked up Mario's numbers before Coffey arrived not long ago, and just today, looked up Mario's numbers for games Coffey missed that I could verify as well. Coffey missed the start of the season as well as some time in Dec/Jan busting his knees up. I am checking this quick so bear with me.

In 31 games without Coffey, Mario scored 32 goals and 35 assists, 67 points. Fairly ridiculous pace. (There were 3 more games Coffey missed, but I cannot find them tonight without a lot of digging. I only know from records that he bruised his knee up on Dec 11th vs the Isles and missed 3 games, and tore ligaments Dec 23rd running into Koharski and missed 10 games) He played his first game on Nov 25th, missing most of that month and Oct(18 games)


In any case, Mario Lemieux is arguably the best PP player ever, able to draw penalties and exploit people on Powerplays. He played with a bunch of nobodies and out up those points even before Coffey arrived.


Quote:
We'll get better offensive numbers from the PP guy on the stacked PP, but is he the better player? And now all of this Lemieux talk has gotten me away from Selanne, although the "good defensively vs. defensive liability" is still valid against Selanne in an overall ability context.
Looking from 1995 on, yes.

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07-31-2013, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
While the Penguins even before Coffey arrives, were among the highest once Lemieux arrived.
In Lemieux's first nine seasons, this is where the Pens ranked in PPO:
1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 14

Average rank: 4.33

In the four years before Lemieux was drafted, here is where they ranked:
1, 2, 2, 11

Average rank: 4

Not sure where the difference is?

Quote:
In any case, Mario Lemieux is arguably the best PP player ever, able to draw penalties and exploit people on Powerplays. He played with a bunch of nobodies and out up those points even before Coffey arrived.
TBH, I'd say it's not arguable; there's too much evidence in favor of Lemieux. So can we get back to Yzerman vs. Selanne?

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07-31-2013, 09:32 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
In Lemieux's first nine seasons, this is where the Pens ranked in PPO:
1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 14

Average rank: 4.33

In the four years before Lemieux was drafted, here is where they ranked:
1, 2, 2, 11

Average rank: 4

Not sure where the difference is?
Well, In In 82-83, they were 2nd in PPO with 358. 83-84, Carlyle and a few others left, before Mario, the pens were 11th in PPO with 340, They jumped up to 2nd his first year with 363. Mind you Mario still looked like an ordinary mortal his rookie year, but a very talented one who helped Warren Young reach 40 goals as a 29 year old rookie

Overall, the real difference is how many. By Mario's second year, he was still coasting on his talent, and a bit lazy, but his talent alone was enough to get him 141 points and the team drew 425 PPO.

Quote:
TBH, I'd say it's not arguable; there's too much evidence in favor of Lemieux. So can we get back to Yzerman vs. Selanne?
Haha. Definitely. Although it should be a pretty decisive win for Yzerman.

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Old
07-31-2013, 10:21 AM
  #24
VanIslander
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Yzerman backchecked and caused turnovers,....

Yzerman skated through traffic and took shots on one leg,...

Selanne disappeared for stretches and was booed because of it...

Do stats reflect that?

To reduce offensive contribution to stats is narrow sighted...

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Old
07-31-2013, 10:29 AM
  #25
TAnnala
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Yzerman backchecked and caused turnovers,....

Yzerman skated through traffic and took shots on one leg,...

Selanne disappeared for stretches and was booed because of it...

Do stats reflect that?

To reduce offensive contribution to stats is narrow sighted...
Who here is doing that? I provided their scoring finishes with raw stats just to start this thread. I clearly asked about other people's opinions about the similarities and differences in their offensive games.

The fact that they have nearly identical offensive numbers compared to their peers was interesting, since I believe most of us are easily throwing Yzerman in a class above Selanne. Why is that?

BTW, when has Selanne disappeared? He had reconstructive knee surgery in the -05 lockout. He wasn't contributin few years prior to that cause he just simply should have not been playing. To act like Yzerman was the only one injured is ********.

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