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Is Elias the best LW of the last 30 years?

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Old
04-30-2006, 12:32 AM
  #1
reckoning
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Is Elias the best LW of the last 30 years?

I`m not going to try to compare him to the guys whose prime were before my time like Hull or Lindsay, but of the last 30 years you could make a very strong case for Elias being the best. It`s tough to say because he`s still in his prime, and what happens this spring will add to his resume, but even just based on what he`s accomplished so far in his career, I`d put him in the top spot.

Top 10 LWs of the last 30 years: (the way I see it)

1. Patrik Elias: The most complete player in the game today. Consistently among the top scorers, very strong defensive play, turns it up a notch at playoff time and as this season showed is essential to the Devils success.

2. Brian Propp: Very underrated; everything I said about Elias applies to Propp as well, just not at quite the same level.

3. Bob Gainey: Generally accepted as the best defensive forward ever.

4. Brendan Shanahan: Consistently produced throughout his career, provided a valuable toughness element to Detroit`s late 90s Cup-winning seasons.

5. Steve Shutt: Great hands + impeccable positioning.

6. John Tonelli: Extremely underrated contributor to the Islander dynasty, brought them back almost singlehandedly against Pittsburgh in `82.

7. Luc Robitaille: Racked up a lot of regular season points year after year, but that`s it.

8. Craig Ramsay: If anything this ranking is too low; imagine Gainey with a better scoring touch but without all the Montreal HOF teammates.

9. Markus Naslund: Like Robitaille, somewhat overrated but still deserves to be on the list.

10. Bill Barber: More than just a talented diver.

Honourable mentions: Goulet, Gillies, Kariya, Tikkanen

Where would you guys rate Elias?

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04-30-2006, 12:35 AM
  #2
Nielson81
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Oh boy, Elias is good and all...but you are going to get ripped for this post.

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04-30-2006, 01:02 AM
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Hmmm, reckoning opens another thread in which he touts one of the players he selected in the all-time draft. Although he has assembled a pretty darn good team thus far....

First, let me preface this by saying I think Elias is the best all-round LW in the game today. Not only is he one of the top offensive players in the NHL, but he brings a strong defensive presence. He has shed the reputation for volatility, and he's a clutch playoff performer. On a year-in, year-out basis, he's likely been the left winger of the decade. If he continues to play at this level, he will one day be an HHOFer.

But No. 1 over the last 30 years? No. Not yet. And frankly, I don't see him surpassing Gainey, who may be the best defensive player ever, or Shanahan, who was such a dominant all-round LW for many years. I wouldn't rate him ahead of Goulet, Robitaille or Shutt, either, at least not yet. Where does Tkachuk rank on your list?

I do find it interesting that you have Tonelli ahead of Gillies, even though Gillies is the one who snuck into the HHOF, and that you have Propp rated No. 2. Poor Brian Propp. Such a quality playoff producer, yet 0-5 in the Stanley Cup final.

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04-30-2006, 01:24 AM
  #4
reckoning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by God Bless Canada
Hmmm, reckoning opens another thread in which he touts one of the players he selected in the all-time draft.
Don`t worry, I`m not going to do a Pat Stapleton thread next.

Quote:
But No. 1 over the last 30 years? No. Not yet. And frankly, I don't see him surpassing Gainey, who may be the best defensive player ever, or Shanahan, who was such a dominant all-round LW for many years. I wouldn't rate him ahead of Goulet, Robitaille or Shutt, either, at least not yet. Where does Tkachuk rank on your list?
I honestly don`t think it`s that wacky when you look at it. I don`t think any of those guys, great as they were, were the top forward on their team except for maybe Robitaille a couple of years, but when it comes to defence and playoff play Luc isn`t anywhere close to Elias. The only list I would put Keith Tkachuk on is the most overrated players of all-time list.

Quote:
I do find it interesting that you have Tonelli ahead of Gillies, even though Gillies is the one who snuck into the HHOF, and that you have Propp rated No. 2. Poor Brian Propp. Such a quality playoff producer, yet 0-5 in the Stanley Cup final.
Tonelli vs. Gillies is an interesting argument in itself. I admired both players, but Tonelli impressed me more. Brian Propp had the misfortune to have his prime coincide with the Islander and Edmonton dynasty, but as you mentioned he was a quality playoff performer. Yes, he was on the losing end of the Final 5 times, but that`s better than all the HOFers were never made the Final (i.e. Sittler, Stastny, Dionne, Hawerchuk)

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04-30-2006, 08:59 AM
  #5
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I would say Markus Naslund and Paul Kariya are the best two LWs of the last 30 years. Patrik Elias certainly has the talent to usurp the both of them and I hope the Devils allow him to perform the way he is certainly capable of.


Is Forsberg a LW? If so, he is the best.


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Old
04-30-2006, 09:59 AM
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Peter25
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Soviet Union had at least two better left wingers than Elias, namely Vladimir Krutov and Valery Kharlamov. Valery Kamensky could also have been better than Elias in his very prime. I would also say Sergei Kapustin and Alexander Yakushev were very, very good. Maybe better than Elias, but that is debatable.

But I think Elias is the best left winger in the game right now. Even better than Ovechkin, and that is saying a lot.

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04-30-2006, 02:45 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter25
Soviet Union had at least two better left wingers than Elias, namely Vladimir Krutov and Valery Kharlamov. Valery Kamensky could also have been better than Elias in his very prime. I would also say Sergei Kapustin and Alexander Yakushev were very, very good. Maybe better than Elias, but that is debatable.

But I think Elias is the best left winger in the game right now. Even better than Ovechkin, and that is saying a lot.
Unfortunately, without testing their skills against the best competiton in the world, no case can be made for those Russians. Krutov came over and failed miserably so, I would count him out of this discussion.

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04-30-2006, 03:20 PM
  #8
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A great case could be made for Elias being one of the best (and certainly most consistent) LWs of the new millenium, however at this point its far too early to put him ahead of the likes of Gainey, Goulet, etc. Of currently active players I think Kariya, Shanahan and Robitaille (well not active any more, but you know...) are more deserving.

I'd put Elias in the same category as Naslund: certainly one of the best currently, and maybe even underrated vis-a-vis how well they stack up historically, but not yet deserving of a title so ostentatious as "best of the last 30 years". IMO.

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Old
04-30-2006, 04:05 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Unfortunately, without testing their skills against the best competiton in the world, no case can be made for those Russians. Krutov came over and failed miserably so, I would count him out of this discussion.
Enough Soviets have come over recently and proven their superior skills to know that those who werent allowed to play here would have dominated. Maybe it doesnt work for your 7 point lists...


btw - Goulet in the mid 80's was the best forward after Stastny, Trottier and Lemieux.

Gainey was a great skater and hitter, but he couldnt hit the side of a barn with his shot and was a klutz with the puck.

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04-30-2006, 06:41 PM
  #10
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I agree that Elias is the best left-winger currently in the league and heís probably surpassed Forsberg and Fedorov as the NHLís most well-rounded forward.

I have a system called GVA 2.0 that ranks players each year based on offense, defense, goaltending and penalty taking/avoiding. Obvious limitations are that itís entirely stats-based and looks only at regular season performance. Anyway, hereís how Elias ranks:

2004: second best forward in the league (after St. Louis); best left-winger; a top 25 purely defensive forward
2003: sixth best forward; second best left-winger (after Naslund); second best defensive forward (after Lehtinen)
2002: 34th best forward; 9th best left-winger
2001: second best forward (behind only Sakicóyes, even ahead of Jagr due to their respective defensive performances); third best defensive forward (after Draper and Maltby)
2000: 12th best forward; third best left-winger (after Shanahan and Kariya)

Obviously Eliasís performance goes well beyond statistics (even though his stats are excellent!). Out of the players Reckoning listed, not one is clearly better in their prime (though you could make an argument for Shanahan). I'd also include Goulet somewhere on the top ten, probably over Shutt and Robitaille and possibly over Naslund.

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04-30-2006, 06:46 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider
I agree that Elias is the best left-winger currently in the league and heís probably surpassed Forsberg and Fedorov as the NHLís most well-rounded forward.

I have a system called GVA 2.0 that ranks players each year based on offense, defense, goaltending and penalty taking/avoiding. Obvious limitations are that itís entirely stats-based and looks only at regular season performance. Anyway, hereís how Elias ranks:

2004: second best forward in the league (after St. Louis); best left-winger; a top 25 purely defensive forward
2003: sixth best forward; second best left-winger (after Naslund); second best defensive forward (after Lehtinen)
2002: 34th best forward; 9th best left-winger
2001: second best forward (behind only Sakicóyes, even ahead of Jagr due to their respective defensive performances); third best defensive forward (after Draper and Maltby)
2000: 12th best forward; third best left-winger (after Shanahan and Kariya)

Obviously Eliasís performance goes well beyond statistics (even though his stats are excellent!). Out of the players Reckoning listed, not one is clearly better in their prime (though you could make an argument for Shanahan). I'd also include Goulet somewhere on the top ten, probably over Shutt and Robitaille and possibly over Naslund.
Off topic but I am curious where Alfredsson rates in your system over the past 5 or 6 seasons.

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04-30-2006, 06:48 PM
  #12
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I don't think its a reach to say that Ovechkin is already better than Elias. I think that in itself kills the notion.

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04-30-2006, 07:03 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cup2006sensrule
Off topic but I am curious where Alfredsson rates in your system over the past 5 or 6 seasons.
Sure, here's how Alfredsson ranks:

2004: 5th best forward, 3rd best RW

2003: 11th best forward, 5th best RW; excellent (border Selke-caliber) defense

2002: 23rd best forward, 10th best RW

2001: 30th best forward, 11th best RW

2000: 27th best forward, 11th best RW

Basically, Alfredsson was seen as an above-average #1 RW for 2001, 02 and 03 before improving to a top-10 talent overall. I haven't done the work for 2006 yet but I'm almost positive he'll be in the top ten again.

His improvement from '00/'01/'02 to '03/'04/'06 was due to an improvement in basically all aspects of his game: offensive production (relative to his ice time by situation), defensive, and staying out of the penalty box.

The other really impressive thing about Alfredsson (and Hossa and Havlat, who all rank highly) is that they produced a ton of offense in a relatively small amount of PP and ES ice time.

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04-30-2006, 07:03 PM
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How about Lucky Luc?

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04-30-2006, 07:23 PM
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Classic case of HFboards flavor of the week syndrome.

I'm sorry, but a guy who isn't even over a PPG clip doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the top 5 LW list of the last 30 years.

Elias is great, but jesus christ...

I'm waiting for the "Is Havlat the best LW of the last 30 years" post

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04-30-2006, 08:07 PM
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reckoning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassius
Classic case of HFboards flavor of the week syndrome.

I'm sorry, but a guy who isn't even over a PPG clip doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the top 5 LW list of the last 30 years.
Flavour of the week? He`s already been a key contributor on two Cup winners. I think it`s more a case of him finally getting some recognition. I`ve been touting him as the most underrated player around for a long time.

The PPG stuff doesn`t take into account that this has been the dead puck era. Despite playing in this era on one of the most defensive-minded teams, he has finished 3rd in scoring (2001) and 6th (2004); among LWs over the last 30 years only Naslund did better in his two best years. But Elias is far better than him both defensively and at producing in the playoffs.

Elias has 2 top five finishes in playoff scoring in his career, by comparison Goulet had zero and Robitaille had one (on a line with Gretzky). Anyone who doubts Elias`s clutch play should seek out a copy of Game 7 against Philadelphia in the 2000 Eastern Final.

It sounds ridiculous at first, but if you compare him one-on-one with any other LW from that time period he comes out ahead.

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04-30-2006, 09:36 PM
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No.

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04-30-2006, 09:41 PM
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Michel Goulet was good, but I dont see no rings on his fingers!

Robitalle was good too, but he wasnt a clutch playoff performer.

Shanahan has 3 rings, can fight, is a leader, and gets my vote.

Elias is great, but has 2 rings. period.

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04-30-2006, 09:41 PM
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Don't think I'd rate him the best, but it isn't out of the question. He is among only a handfull of LWers to lead his team in scoring 5 times over the last 30 or so years. Naslund has done it 7 times, but I'd take Elias over Naslund.

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04-30-2006, 11:37 PM
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Pff, what kinda crap is this...just because the guy has had a great 2-3 years now you are labeling him the best LW in the last 30 years

If that's the case, DANY HEATLEY is the best LW I have seen in the last 30 years.

If you actually look at the stats, Heatley has a better future in terms of goals/points in his career than Elias.

Elias is a great player, but the best in 30 years? lol, no way, Heatley over Elias anyday...

Heatley for his size is a great passer and a has great control of the puck, 50 goals this season wasn't a fluke, neither was the 103 points he capped in his 4th year only...

I'll take 103 points/per season+healthy player(heatley) over Elias anyday.

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05-01-2006, 12:04 AM
  #21
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Is this thread a joke?

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05-01-2006, 12:06 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chooch
Maybe it doesnt work for your 7 point lists...
This is key to why so many people mock the lists. They're great fun and all, but when your decisions about the game are heavily based on something you created to the point that you discount entire countries from your analysis, something is a tad off.

And Elias VS. Gainey? While a certain coach's comments that Gainey was the best player in the world at that time might've been a bit much, that doesn't mean Elias is anywhere near Gainey's ballpark.

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05-01-2006, 12:31 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Block
Pff, what kinda crap is this...just because the guy has had a great 2-3 years now you are labeling him the best LW in the last 30 years

If that's the case, DANY HEATLEY is the best LW I have seen in the last 30 years.

If you actually look at the stats, Heatley has a better future in terms of goals/points in his career than Elias.

Elias is a great player, but the best in 30 years? lol, no way, Heatley over Elias anyday...

Heatley for his size is a great passer and a has great control of the puck, 50 goals this season wasn't a fluke, neither was the 103 points he capped in his 4th year only...

I'll take 103 points/per season+healthy player(heatley) over Elias anyday.
Heatley's actually spent most of his NHL career at RW. And people have been hyping Elias as the best LW in the game since the 2000-01 season, when he was top five in league scoring and came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup. (The year before, he was a point-per-game player and was a top player on a Cup champ).

Heatley was great this year, and has enjoyed a fine start to his career, but Elias is still, as of right now the better player. Those all-star team births and two Cup rings make a world of difference.

Reckoning is a very knowledgeable poster, but I'll respectfully disagree with him here. Gainey and Shanahan were both better. In 10 years, I could see Elias being ahead of Shutt, Robitaille and Goulet. But not now. And, as I stated before, he'd really have to do something special to surpass Gainey.

One name that hasn't been mentioned yet: Glenn Anderson. An abrasive scoring winger who won six Cups. I'd rate him ahead of some of reckoning's HMs.

One thing that I think does warrant mentioning: The fact that we're even having this conversation should be a testament to the lack of depth and quality at the left wing position over the last 30 years. As hard as it is to believe, there are more players listed as LWs than RWs in the HHOF. (Some LWs are listed at other positions. Sid Abel, for example, is also listed as a centre).

But for whatever reason, there has been a derth of elite LWs in the post-expansion era. All of the consensus all-time great LWs (Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore, Johnny Bucyk, Busher Jackson, Toe Blake, etc.) entered the league before the first wave of expansion in 1967.

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Old
05-01-2006, 12:45 AM
  #24
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I think Glenn Anderson was a RW

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05-01-2006, 03:13 AM
  #25
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Why not throw in Tanguay he plays some left wing too

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