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Why is LeClair underrated?

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12-20-2013, 06:20 PM
  #26
Sens Rule
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Originally Posted by Pat Paeplow View Post
At first glance, I don't think LeClair quite makes the HOF cut either but then there's the curious case of Cam Neely. His numbers weren't quite at Neely's level but they're close enough to get him in the conversation.

It will be interesting to see if Lindros wiggles into the Hall. That would probably bolster LeClair's case even further.
Lindros and Neely aren't there (or going to be there for Lindros) because of the numbers.

Rick Martin at a high and Tim Kerr at the lower tier is where he is at.... Not in. Of course it could be argued that Martin and Leclair were both better then Steve Shutt who is in, but had the benefit of winning many Cups on a dynasty.

Lindros should be in easily... He was one of, if not the best player in the world for awhile. Neely is the first real modern Power Forward. He was a lot "greater" then any of the others I am mentioning.

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12-20-2013, 06:24 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by mrhockey193195 View Post
I am personally very partial to LeClair. One of my all-time favorite players - as a Rangers fan, no less - and I think he gets criminally underrated on HF. That being said, cracking the top 10 US born players is very difficult. The "automatics", off the top of my head, are:

Leetch
Langway
Howe
Chelios
Brimsek
Modano
LaFontaine

To me, that leaves three spots (unless I'm forgetting someone obvious...don't kill me if I did!) for Roenick, Mullen, Broten, LeClair, Richter, Barrasso, Vanbiesbrouck, Amonte, Tkachuk, Housley, Suter, Hatcher, etc.

Does LeClair make it out of that list? Potentially, but for sure I would call him a borderline top-10 US born player at best. And that's nothing to scoff at.
10 of those you mention are forwards. So he is top 10 in US for forwards. Interesting how few forwards vs D and goalies.

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12-20-2013, 09:22 PM
  #28
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LeClair is underrated and saying Lindros is a poor argument.

His decline had far more to do with injuries than Lindros. Also, saying that he was the 2nd best player on the team to Lindros is a poor argument, you can say that Forsberg was 2nd best to Sakic or Fedorov was 2nd best to Yzerman or Nieuwendyk was 2nd best to Modano....they were all still excellent players. He was an excellent goal scorer imo, probably could've been a HOFer if he had a longer peak career and didn't play in the underrated 90s.

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12-20-2013, 09:39 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
We all know he has an outside chance, borderline/fringe HOFer, but again. Is he that bad that he doesnt make a TOP 10 of USA players/forwards?

EDIT: I brought the comparision to Roenick, but Tkachuk may be the better one. Despite all that bad rap Tkachuk is getting, he is always mentioned in TOP 10 american players/forwards and Leclair is not. I don't get it. Yet, has he anything, but his retrospective Richard T. on Leclair?
132 more goals is the big one.

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12-20-2013, 09:41 PM
  #30
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Paul Kariya and John LeClair are the only eligible 5-time postseason All-Stars at any position in NHL history not to be enshrined in the HHOF.

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12-20-2013, 10:46 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Pat Paeplow View Post
I've heard that in the 1989 WJC, Team USA rolled out a first line of LeClair-Modano-Roenick. I've never gotten reputable confirmation but, if true, that's a surprisingly dynamic line given where USA hockey was at back then.
That US team also included Amonte and Guerin, but after that the skill level dropped off quite a bit.

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12-20-2013, 11:57 PM
  #32
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I think the question of why Leclair is underrated has a fairly simple answer. The Flyers underachieved annually in the playoffs, and Leclair never had a big playoff year (or even playoff series) where it could be perceived that the team lost in spite of his efforts. He never led the team in playoff points, and tied for the team lead in playoff goals twice (6 in 1995-96 and in 1999-00).

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He's probably underrated because he didn't take enough penalties. Like Tkachuk & Roenick. You know there must be something wrong if a so called power forward doesn't spend at least half his career in the penalty box. You know, he could be, fear the word, soft.
What's interesting is that among American-born forwards of that era, Leclair was actually penalized at a lower rate than not only Tkachuk and Roenick and Guerin, but also Modano and Amonte as well.

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12-21-2013, 05:15 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Paul Kariya and John LeClair are the only eligible 5-time postseason All-Stars at any position in NHL history not to be enshrined in the HHOF.
People can point to LW being a weak position all they want, but being a 5-time postseason All Star is an amazing accomplishment any way you look at it. I think a lot of people forget how damn good both Kariya and LeClair were in the second half of the 90s, and the early 00s.

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12-21-2013, 10:22 AM
  #34
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It's because of bitter Habs fans like me!

Not only did he explode when he left Montreal, he also proceeded to torch them for the rest of his career!
Something to be said for that. Habs fans like us did see him score at a 20 goal/50 point pace for consecutive years, on decently offensive teams and a Cup winning squad no less (despite being a 3rd liner for the most part), but the Lindros effect was pretty obvious when he went on to immediately score 25 in his first 37 games with the Flyers (after 1 goal and 5 points in 9 games with the Habs to start that season). Yeah, maybe he was just coming into his own, but yeah, he was basically Andreychuk beside Lafontaine/Gilmour v.2, only a couple years later (in a time when an Andreychuk beside a Lafontaine/Gilmour, or Tkachuk beside a Roenick/Janney, or Shanahan beside Yzerman/Fedorov was more effective than ever). As prolific as some of those big men with hands were beside some of those centres, they're all still seen (Shanahan aside, I guess) as having uphill roads toward the HoF for good reason, imo.

And basically, you can't underestimate the impact of chemistry with an all-time great. Leclair, "in a vacuum", is a top 10 American in my books just as much as Chris Kunitz is a top 12 Canadian forward right now. Can't take what they have actually produced away from them, but it's easy to look back at their work without being overly impressed by them as individuals, imo.

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12-21-2013, 10:28 AM
  #35
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I think what is underestimated by history are those 50 goal seasons (especially the last 2) and even the 40 goal seasons that followed. 50 goals was very hard to come by back then and in the context of USA Hockey, 3 50 goal season was unprecedented.

I don't think that JR's 100 point seasons early in his career equal that degree of difficulty.

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12-21-2013, 10:38 AM
  #36
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Something to be said for that. Habs fans like us did see him score at a 20 goal/50 point pace for consecutive years, on decently offensive teams and a Cup winning squad no less (despite being a 3rd liner for the most part), but the Lindros effect was pretty obvious when he went on to immediately score 25 in his first 37 games with the Flyers (after 1 goal and 5 points in 9 games with the Habs to start that season). Yeah, maybe he was just coming into his own, but yeah, he was basically Andreychuk beside Lafontaine/Gilmour v.2, only a couple years later (in a time when an Andreychuk beside a Lafontaine/Gilmour, or Tkachuk beside a Roenick/Janney, or Shanahan beside Yzerman/Fedorov was more effective than ever). As prolific as some of those big men with hands were beside some of those centres, they're all still seen (Shanahan aside, I guess) as having uphill roads toward the HoF for good reason, imo.

And basically, you can't underestimate the impact of chemistry with an all-time great. Leclair, "in a vacuum", is a top 10 American in my books just as much as Chris Kunitz is a top 12 Canadian forward right now. Can't take what they have actually produced away from them, but it's easy to look back at their work without being overly impressed by them as individuals, imo.
Another way to look at this is that the Habs never gave LeClair a real shot on a scoring line. His first real opportunity was when Bobby Clarke hand-picked him (trading away Recchi in the process) to play with Lindros. LeClair delivered.

If Chris Kunitz has a dream about being in the same class as LeClair he should wake up and apologize.

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12-21-2013, 12:19 PM
  #37
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I think it comes down to a few things.

He was drafted in 1987 (2nd round) and never made his debut until 1991. Never really got going until 93 or 94. So he kind of flew under the radar.

Second, if you look, he has about a 5 year window where he was elite. The other seasons he was just good, or decent. People kind of correlate those few elite seasons with Eric Lindros, whether fair or not.

Third, he wasn't flashy or anything. Never really stood out, just produced.

I think those things are why he gets overlooked. Perception is reality I guess.

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12-21-2013, 12:38 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
Given recent threads about american players, LeClair is rarely cracking TOP 10, altough his accomplishments are often bigger than his country-mates, i.e. Roenick.
How was Leclair ahead of Roenick? Roenick was an absolute beast in Chicago before his knee injury.

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12-21-2013, 12:56 PM
  #39
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Leclair had his breakthrough as a Kunitz/Moulson/Parenteau type guy who had success playing with a young superstar. He eventually did it on his own, but I guess he doesn't look like a standalone superstar.

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12-21-2013, 01:20 PM
  #40
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How was Leclair ahead of Roenick? Roenick was an absolute beast in Chicago before his knee injury.
It's actually a pretty fair comparable. They produced at similar rates throughout their NHL careers. You have to give a nod to JR because of his longevity and Center is a more demanding position. However, What really needs to be discussed with LeClair was him being an absolute beast in international play. Lindros wasn't holding his hand in 96 or 02 and he still managed, against the highest level of competition to boot. Add in that he was a big man that should have been at a disadvantage on big ice under international rules and that seems like a real feather in his cap.

Wherever he falls among the great American players, you have to give him his due. He was much more than Lindros' garbage man.

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12-21-2013, 01:56 PM
  #41
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Leclair had his breakthrough as a Kunitz/Moulson/Parenteau type guy who had success playing with a young superstar. He eventually did it on his own, but I guess he doesn't look like a standalone superstar.
Yeah except he was much better then those guys and was an end of the year all star, 5 times. A lot closer to a Goulet to Statsny then Kunitz of Moulson or something. Just Goulet did it for longer, and also in an era where more goals were scored.

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12-21-2013, 07:17 PM
  #42
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Well, let's see would he be a top 10 American?

Chelios, Brimsek, Modano, Lafontaine, Leetch, Langway.....................it gets a little hairy after this one. Most would take Tkachuk over Leclair. Roenick was better as well. It is almost getting to the Weight/Amonte category when comparing Leclair. Patrick Kane will eventually surpass him, or maybe even every American other than Chelios. Mullen is ahead of him. Guerin is behind him.

Then there are the goalies. I wouldn't call Leclair better than Barrasso, Richter or Beezer. Even someone like Suter or Housley are ahead of him.

Yeah, not a top 10 American.

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12-21-2013, 10:15 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Pat Paeplow View Post
Another way to look at this is that the Habs never gave LeClair a real shot on a scoring line. His first real opportunity was when Bobby Clarke hand-picked him (trading away Recchi in the process) to play with Lindros. LeClair delivered.

If Chris Kunitz has a dream about being in the same class as LeClair he should wake up and apologize.
sure John is better than Chris but the guys point was extremely valid and Jeremy drove the bus, john was always a passenger until and even after Eric picked him up.

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12-21-2013, 10:28 PM
  #44
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Well, let's see would he be a top 10 American?

Chelios, Brimsek, Modano, Lafontaine, Leetch, Langway.....................it gets a little hairy after this one. Most would take Tkachuk over Leclair. Roenick was better as well. It is almost getting to the Weight/Amonte category when comparing Leclair. Patrick Kane will eventually surpass him, or maybe even every American other than Chelios. Mullen is ahead of him. Guerin is behind him.

Then there are the goalies. I wouldn't call Leclair better than Barrasso, Richter or Beezer. Even someone like Suter or Housley are ahead of him.

Yeah, not a top 10 American.
Why would most take Tkachuk over LeClair? They played at the same time and LeClair was clearly better.

I also don't see how Suter and Housley are ahead of him

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12-22-2013, 02:51 AM
  #45
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sure John is better than Chris but the guys point was extremely valid and Jeremy drove the bus, john was always a passenger until and even after Eric picked him up.
It's still far-fetched. I could compare LeClair to Jari Kurri because they both benefitted from playing with generational talents but I'm not gonna do it because it's too much of a stretch just like the Kunitz comparison.

LeClair earned the privilege of playing LW on Lindros line. He didn't win the lottery. He wasn't Bobby Clarke's nephew. If he had been a passenger, they would have acquired someone more committed. You can't diminish his accomplishments because of his linemate.


Last edited by Pat Paeplow: 12-22-2013 at 02:54 AM. Reason: Punctuation
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12-22-2013, 03:40 AM
  #46
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Leclair had his breakthrough as a Kunitz/Moulson/Parenteau type guy who had success playing with a young superstar. He eventually did it on his own, but I guess he doesn't look like a standalone superstar.
Kuntiz benefiting from a young superstar? Andy McDonald is a superstar? Teemu Selanne young?

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12-22-2013, 04:06 AM
  #47
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Lot of great inputs, thanks.

It has been proven that LeClair did things on his own in Philly, so being attached to Lindros' ankle is not the case. Sure he benefited from him to certain extent, but who would not? Even Wayne would be glad to have him on his line.
What is forgotten is how good he was during best-on-best tournaments, where there was no Eric on the line.

As has been mentioned, 5 consecutive All-star team selections is something special no matter how you screw it.

On his longevity: he scored 400 goals before he reached 1000 game treshold, along with very clear and quite a long prime. Would it really matter that he floated around in next XY games and scores another XY like Roenick did late in his career?

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12-22-2013, 07:46 AM
  #48
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Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
It's because of bitter Habs fans like me!

Not only did he explode when he left Montreal, he also proceeded to torch them for the rest of his career!
Johnny Vermont had a 4 Goal game and several Hat Tricks if I recall. I remember the game in Montreal that after His 4th Goal, the Habs fans gave Him a standing ovation.

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12-22-2013, 08:22 AM
  #49
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Originally Posted by Pat Paeplow View Post
I think what is underestimated by history are those 50 goal seasons (especially the last 2) and even the 40 goal seasons that followed. 50 goals was very hard to come by back then and in the context of USA Hockey, 3 50 goal season was unprecedented.

I don't think that JR's 100 point seasons early in his career equal that degree of difficulty.
Leclair's numbers are more impressive to Me then Roenick's because Leclair played in the clutch & grab era. In Leclair's best season ( 1995-96), the league average for GPG was 6.29. In Roenick's best season ( 1991-92), the league average for GPG was 6.96. If You average out both players top 5 seasons, They would be.

playerYEARGPGPTS 
Jeremy Roenick1999-005.4978 
1993-94 6.48107 
1990-91 6.9194 
1991-92 6.96103 
1992-93 7.25107 

playerYEARGPGPTS 
John Leclair1998-995.2790 
1997-985.2887 
1999-005.4977 
1996-975.8397 
1995-966.2997 

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12-22-2013, 11:13 AM
  #50
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Leclair's numbers are more impressive to Me then Roenick's because Leclair played in the clutch & grab era. In Leclair's best season ( 1995-96), the league average for GPG was 6.29. In Roenick's best season ( 1991-92), the league average for GPG was 6.96. If You average out both players top 5 seasons, They would be.

playerYEARGPGPTS 
Jeremy Roenick1999-005.4978 
1993-94 6.48107 
1990-91 6.9194 
1991-92 6.96103 
1992-93 7.25107 

playerYEARGPGPTS 
John Leclair1998-995.2790 
1997-985.2887 
1999-005.4977 
1996-975.8397 
1995-966.2997 
tbh, roenicks '93 season is more impressive as he did for a team that pretty much underwhelming offensively while LeClair played for one of the best offensive teams in the league. Roenick dominated the internal scoring race in the early 90s. Not that LeClair is a slouch and he was without a doubt his teams best player too.

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