Apparently the Gratton you saw and the Gratton I saw were not the same guy. No offense, but while that line was decent, I credit that more to Barnaby and Kono than I do Gratton. He looked lost for the most part when I saw him play against the Stars and Sharks.
Obviously they weren't the same guy. I watched the guy get up in Modano's face on almost every shift, and shut him down completely. If you call that looking like he was lost, than the guy has no shot at doing anything right in your book. Don't look at him as a top line player, just look at what he brings to the table as a 3rd line center. I think that's what most people's mistake is when they call Gratton useless. Kono and Barnaby were the major players on that line, but whenever someone else played in between them it was never the same. The center does so many little things to make a line work, and have chemistry that they can be the key to a line working or not, and his play in the middle of the ice is what allowed Kono and Barnaby to do their thing. He's not Holik, don't get me wrong, but I think a lot of people underrate him as a 3rd line center, because he has never been able to live up to his hype as a top line scorer.
I'd go with Gratton. The way it's worded is who we'll miss most, but I guess I am looking at it as who could we use the most this year from that list. Kariya also would be a good choice, as we could certainly use his offense (assuming he bounces back, and I think he's a good candidate to do so), especially on the PP. But overall, I like the idea of a large center for our 3rd line. I thought he did a pretty good job in the limited time we had him.
The thing about voting for Kariya, is that the poll is asking who will the Avs miss the most. That suggest to me that you are taking into consideration what the player did for you in the past. Kariya, while he could be great this year, didn't do much of anything for the Avs, due to his injuries. If you're voting for what Kariya could do for the Avs this year, you might as well vote for a guy like Ziggy Palffy, that also didn't do anything for us last year.
Yes, but it's who they'll miss THIS YEAR! If Kariya returns to being the player of old, we'll wish we still had him! There are two ways to look at the question; it all depends on whether you take what they may do this year or what they were last season as the measure of their value to the Avs!
Easily Kariya - this would be a great poll to look at after the season. Expect Kariya to have tons of points this season. He is totally healthy and with the new rules few players will benefit more.
Selanne should be second but everyone took Granato's view and thought he should be a third line checking forward. That's just Granato trying to get him to play more D and being frustrated with him when they played together. Let's see how many points he has this year!! Again great to see this poll come up at the end of the season.
How Granato handled Seanne is one of the reasons he is no longer the head coach. I believe the best addition the team made was Q.
I would have voted for Nikolishin as well. He took almost every defensive zone faceoff in the playoffs. Good call on Eric Lacroix though, where is he - out ending careers with cheap shots?
Can we just forget about Gratton, I wince every time I hear his name. That guy is a worthless pylon who did not play tough in the corners, stand in front of the net, or take any faceoffs - besides getting credit for faceoffs like he was Bryan Trottier.
Barnaby - almost as overrated as Michael Peca.
Hendrickson - ? - didn't see him get enough ice to gauge his game. Seemed defensively responsible at least.
Worrell - absolutely worthless. Couldn't skate and after the 5 minutes of shadow boxing he would land 3 punches. I'd rather have Lilja!
Kariya and Selanne - are out with the Tin Man looking for a heart. God riddance.
I voted for Riku Hahl, he never took a shift off, played good defense, and seemed to care. Ironically one of the few guys on this list we could still have.