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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Players who were better during the second half of their career.

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Old
03-10-2017, 07:13 PM
  #1
Apanther
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Players who were better during the second half of their career.

Players who were better during the second half of their career than their first?

I'll throw a name out there that is certainly debatable.

Modano?

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Old
03-10-2017, 07:32 PM
  #2
bobholly39
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Lidstrom is an obvious one

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Old
03-10-2017, 07:38 PM
  #3
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Jean Ratelle, depending where the "half" starts.

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Old
03-10-2017, 07:48 PM
  #4
Sens Rule
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Alfredsson
Bucyk

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Old
03-10-2017, 07:51 PM
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Big Phil
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Johnny Bucyk is the first name I thought about. Definitely had more opportunities. Lidstrom is the most obvious choice. The Sedins both come to mind as well. Daniel Alfredsson. Any reason why I am naming a bunch of Swedes?

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Old
03-10-2017, 08:14 PM
  #6
BenchBrawl
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Zdeno Chara

It must be rarer for forwards, here's a suggestion: Rod Brind'Amour.

He probably doesn't qualify because as a whole, his first-half looks better, but his peak happened late in his career.

Martin St. Louis is another debatable case.

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Old
03-10-2017, 09:43 PM
  #7
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Ray Whitney was the first player that came to mind for me.

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Old
03-10-2017, 09:52 PM
  #8
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Lidstrom for sure.

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Old
03-10-2017, 10:11 PM
  #9
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Tomas Holmstrom's best work came in his 30s, pacing nearly 30 goals a season from age 33 to 35, added 25 in 68 games at 37, his 38 year old self even out-performed (in simple stats anyway) all but one of his pre-30 seasons.

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Old
03-11-2017, 01:24 AM
  #10
I Hate Chris Butler
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Jarome Iginla, arguably.

Had his peak in the first half but the second half of his career is when he became a Hall of Famer.

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Old
03-11-2017, 03:20 AM
  #11
Moose Head
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Johnny Bucyk is the first name I thought about. Definitely had more opportunities. Lidstrom is the most obvious choice. The Sedins both come to mind as well. Daniel Alfredsson. Any reason why I am naming a bunch of Swedes?
IMO Bucyk was a franchise player the first half of his career and a guy riding the pony the second half. One of those cases where the numbers don't come close to telling the story IMO.

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Old
03-11-2017, 08:35 AM
  #12
Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose Head View Post
IMO Bucyk was a franchise player the first half of his career and a guy riding the pony the second half. One of those cases where the numbers don't come close to telling the story IMO.
Oh yeah, Bucyk was still a fine player in the first half of his career and I know the Orr/Espo factor helped him a lot in the second half but the thing is, he is far more decorated in the second half. The all-star nods, the Cup wins, the higher finishes in the scoring race, etc.

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03-11-2017, 10:56 AM
  #13
Crosbyfan
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As a player, I thought Don Cherry had a better second half to his NHL career.


Wasn't enough to get a second game though...

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Old
03-11-2017, 11:04 AM
  #14
OilTastic
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Dave Gagner.

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Old
03-11-2017, 11:07 AM
  #15
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Joe Thornton?

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Old
03-11-2017, 11:37 AM
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trentmccleary
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Tim Thomas was a minor leaguer / FEL player through his 20’s.
31yo – split duty
32 – decent starter season
33 – 9th for Vezina
34 – Vezina
36 – Vezina, Cup, Smythe

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Old
03-11-2017, 12:17 PM
  #17
Dissonance
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Scott Niedermayer for sure.

Most of Tim Horton's postseason all star nods came in the second half of his career.

Ron Francis had his best seasons after 30 though playing with the Penguins obviously helped.

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03-11-2017, 12:22 PM
  #18
Crosbyfan
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Doug Harvey was 30 before his first Norris win, then proceeded to get 6 more in the next 7 years.

Johnny Bower was 33 before he ever wore a Leaf uniform and won his two Vezinas at 35 and 39.


Last edited by Crosbyfan: 03-11-2017 at 12:30 PM.
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Old
03-11-2017, 04:02 PM
  #19
Eazy for Kuzy
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Datsyuk

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Old
03-11-2017, 04:47 PM
  #20
Neutrinos
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Markus Naslund

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Old
03-11-2017, 05:02 PM
  #21
silkyjohnson50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eazy for Kuzy View Post
Datsyuk
That's certainly an interesting one if we're only looking at his NHL career.

14 years in the NHL. His 2 best seasons were during the first half of his career. With that being said, he was playing at a similar level prior to injuries in later seasons.

If I had quickly to rank his seasons based on how well he was playing:

08-09
07-08
10-11 (was playing at peak level before injury)
11-12 (same as above season)
14-15
12-13
06-07
09-10
05-06
13-14
03-04
15-16
02-03
01-02

Pretty much split in terms of first half vs second half when you consider everything.

Injuries get talked about for a lot of players, but the 2nd half of Datsyuk's career was really impacted by them. Imagine his resume if 10-11 and 11-12 were fully on par with 07-09, not to mention the constant injuries the final few seasons.

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Old
03-11-2017, 05:13 PM
  #22
Soundgarden
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A controversial one, but what about Steve Yzerman?

Had some really high point totals in the late 80's early 90's, but really came into his own defensively and as a leader after being labeled a "playoff choker" when he couldn't get the wings over the hump.

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Old
03-11-2017, 05:18 PM
  #23
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Hasek

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Old
03-11-2017, 10:00 PM
  #24
Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundgarden View Post
A controversial one, but what about Steve Yzerman?

Had some really high point totals in the late 80's early 90's, but really came into his own defensively and as a leader after being labeled a "playoff choker" when he couldn't get the wings over the hump.
I know a lot of people like to prefer the post mid-1990s version of Yzerman and point to all of the team success and I will give him a lot of credit, when his offense started to wane a bit he transformed himself into a formidable player, but let's be honest here, is a 1989 Yzerman more of a liability or an asset on those championship Wings teams? I think the answer is obvious. Love the second half of his career but that string of offensive production in his prime is just too rare to pass up.

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Old
03-11-2017, 11:49 PM
  #25
The Panther
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I have to say, I disagree with several of the selections on this thread so far. I don't know if it's 'recency bias', but I think there's a tendency to think a player having a higher profile makes them better (it doesn't).

Let me break it down, as I see it:

Modano -- Was he better starting from c.2000 than before? I don't think so. His 50 goal season, and six (or seven, depending on math) of his nine 30-goal seasons are in his first half. His Cup is in his first half. Granted, his three top-10 points' finishes are around his middle to latter-half of career, but these aren't overwhelming anyway (8th, 9th, 10th are his best-ever finishes) and are more to do with relatively less talent at forward in the early 2000s. I say first half is clearly better.

Lidstrom -- He's so consistent over 20 seasons that I'd call his 1st and 2nd-halves about even. So he's a 'maybe'. (Yes, I know most of Norris trophies are in his second half, but I don't necessarily think that's because he was better. Anyway, in six of his first ten seasons he was already in the top-six Norris finalists. It just takes some time for D-men to be recognized outside their home cities.)

Ratelle -- Okay, I can see this one. Agree.

Bucyck -- The reason his stats go way up is because of Expansion, but, since his two All-Star nods and Cups are in the second half, yes I can agree with this one.

Alfredsson -- Maybe. His best season was just into the second half of his career, so there's that. Otherwise, he had five 70-point seasons in the first half, and five in the second half. Then, when you factor in his awesome rookie year, and the fact that three of his last four seasons were mediocre to poor, I'm not sure about this one either. I'd personally take first-half Alfie.

Sedins (they are actually one person, of course): Daniel = four 70-point seasons in first half; two in second half. Henrik has been notably more productive, however, in his second half so far. So again, I'm on the fence. But here's the rub -- they're not finished! Assuming they play one or two more seasons, 2009-10 (and maybe even 2010-11) are going to end up in their first-half of career.

Martin St.Louis -- his two best seasons (probably) are in the first half of his career. Otherwise, he did have more of his productive years in the latter half. I can see this one.

Brind'amour -- not seeing it. He had six 70-point seasons in his first half, and two (barely) in his second half. First half was better.

Chara -- right now, it's about even. If he plays another couple of years, I'll go for first half.

Whitney -- Okay.

Holmstrom -- Sure.

Iginla -- Close, but his 2 Richard seasons and his Cup-run are in his first half. Dude has been around forever.

Dave Gagner -- What? No. He didn't even have a full season until 1987-88. First half better.

Thornton -- No, first half is better, especially if he plays one more season next year.

Tim Thomas -- too short to count.

Horton -- seems fair.

Niedermayer -- based on hardware, I guess so.

Ron Francis -- first half of career is up to somewhere in the 1992-93 season. Was he really better after that than before? I say no. He also had to bear the brunt of his team for about 10 years in Hartford as the top guy. I say first half.

Harvey -- maybe yes.

Bower -- Naw.

Markus Naslund -- Sure.

Datsyuk -- No. Two of three Selkes, peak seasons, all Cups, in first half.

Yzerman -- Absolutely not.

Hasek -- Not seeing it. Dismissing the 5 games with Chicago in 1990-91, he played 15 NHL seasons. That makes 1998-99 his 'middle' NHL season. He wasn't better after that. Of course, if you factor in his entire career from age 18 or whatever, it's a different story.


In sum, I agree with: Ratelle, Bucyk, St.Louis, Whitney, Holmstrom, Horton, Niedermayer, Harvey, Naslund.

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