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The worst player in the 500 goal club?

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01-18-2007, 01:46 PM
Hockey Outsider
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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
Gartner is sixth all time in goals. He has over 700 goals and folks are talking about him like it's easy to say he's worse than guys who are right at 500. That's like saying guys with 350 goals are clearly better than the ones with 500.
I think the purpose of the thread is to discuss which players with at least 500 goals were the worst "overall" players. So, we're taking all factors into account, like playmaking, defense, playoff success, etc., as opposed to just goal-scoring. (Gartner is weak in most of these categories, compared to the others on this list).

I definitely agree that if we were talking about who's the worst goal-scorer, it would be foolish to choose Gartner or Robitaille. (The worst goal-scorer on this list is Ron Francis).

However, the worst overall player is debatable. You could make a case for Gartner, but Bondra, Andreychuk or Turgeon (and a few others) are probably worse. It's not ridiculous to say that a 350-goal player with excellent playmaking, defense, physical play and playoff performances is better than a one-dimensional 500- or 600-goal-scorer. For example, everyone would agree that Bobby Clarke (358 goals) and Andy Bathgate (349) are better overall players than Dino Ciccarelli (608) or Andreychuk (640), or Robitaille (668), and many other players on this list.

The other point I'd like to make is that, when discussing the best players of all time, most people emphasize "peak value" rather than "career value". Peak value is how good the player was in his prime; career value looks at longevity and consistency. Depending on which of these approaches you prefer (and, of course, there's no completely right answer), you'll get a different answer. For example, Ciccarelli had a longer and more productive career than Bossy if you just look at the numbers. It's true that he was productive for more years. However, Bossy was so much better in his prime than Ciccarelli that people consider Bossy the better player (and rightly so), because the sign of a great player is dominance.

That's why Gartner is sometimes considered one of the weaker players on this list. He might be 6th all-time in goals, but how many times was he the best goal-scorer in the league? Never. Whether you go by stats, or by memories of his career, he was a top ten goal-scorer in only a few years. Conversely, many players with less goals were far more dominant (Bossy, Richard, Lemieux, Beliveau, just to name a few obvious ones).

In short, whether Gartner (or Andreychuk) is one of the worst players on this list depends on how you frame the question. For a discussion like this, everyone should make their assumptions/framework clear so that we can see where everybody is coming from.

Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 01-18-2007 at 01:54 PM.
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