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Top 10 European defensemen

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Old
05-27-2011, 07:02 PM
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
Lidström, Salming and Fetisov are obvious the top 3. How they are ranked doesnt really matter.

After that it becomes trickier.

But Vasiliev and Konstantinov has strong merits to valid a top5 spot together with Jan Suchy, Kasatonov and Ragulin. Then we have Sologubov, Pospisil and Lutchenko.

After them there is a great mix of players like Svedberg, Chara, Davydov, Persson, Numminen etc etc.
Chara is easily ahead of Konstantinov.

Konstantinov was a fine player and had 2 seasons where he was a top-5 NHL defender ... but Chara is the best defender in the world right now and should win his 2nd Norris this season. Has been continuously a top-5 defender in the world since 2003.

At this point, I would have Chara up near Salming in the 3rd/4th all-time area, well ahead of guys like Zubov and Konstantinov. Guy is a lock for the HHOF.

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05-27-2011, 10:49 PM
  #27
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I'd take Fetisov over Lidstrom, and Salming has to be 3rd.
Really?

We saw what Fetisov was like in his NHL years, arguably never a top 10 Dman and maybe a top guy 1 or 2 times.

While he did look very impressive in tournament play he was part of a 5 man unit, and a system, which maybe hid his weaknesses somewhat.

Something that is hard to tell but IMO his NHL time sheds some light to perhaps he's not as great as some guys list him as (like 2nd of all time behind Orr for instance or ahead of Lidstrom).

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05-27-2011, 11:26 PM
  #28
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1. Lidstrom
2. Fetisov
3. Salming
4. Vasiliev
5. Chara
6. Ragulin
7. Suchy
8. Kasatonov
9/10. Konstantinov/Zubov/Pospisil

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05-28-2011, 12:18 AM
  #29
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According to the 2011 All-Time Draft:
http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=897805

1. Nicklas Lidstrom, 12th overall
2. Viacheslav Fetisov, 22nd
3. Borje Salming, 63rd
4. Valeri Vasiliev, 82nd
5. Vladimir Konstantinov, 124th

6a. Zdeno Chara, 152nd
6b. Alexei Kasatonov, 153rd
6c. Jan Suchy, 156th

9. Sergei Zubov, 166th
10. Alexander Ragulin, 179th
Leaving on the outside:

Frantisek Pospisil, 192nd,
Vladimir Lutchenko, 221st,
Sergei Gonchar, 249th,
Nikolai Sologubov, 265th,
Ulf Samuelsson, 327th,
Vitaly Davydov, 329th,
Lennart Svedberg, 344th,
Victor Kuzkin, 421st,
Frantisek Tikal, 538th

BOLDED are my choices. Konstantinov was a bit overhyped because of his big hits (and then was suddenly remembered ONLY fondly, no more criticisms, after his devastating injury). He played great for a couple of seasons, though took himself out of position for big hits. Ask any Russian: He is not clearly better than his more accomplished compatriots Lutchenko and Sologubov, not to mention the two Czechoslovakians Sucky and Pospisil. Chara will make the list eventually, is on the cusp.

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05-28-2011, 03:43 AM
  #30
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Nikolai Sologubov

Granted he was the best Soviet defenseman from the 1950's and should be honoured as one of the founders of International and Soviet Hockey but top 10 European All-time is a very generous stretch to say the least.

During his career Nikolai Sologubov faced Canadian teams 8 times per Chidlovski. The Soviets had 1W/7L while scoring 16 goals and giving up 37.The only win was in the 1956 Winter Olympics - gold medal game.

While playing against Canada the best forwards that he would have faced would have been a post NHL Sid Smith playing semi pro for the Whitby Dunlops and pre NHL Connie Broden, Charlie Burns, Cliff Pennington, Bobby Rousseau. Yet such players supported by semi pros or mid range EPHL players were good enough to score 37 goals in 8 games against a Soviet defense led by Nikolai Sologubov.

So honour him for being a founder but let's be realistic when assessing actual talent.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 05-28-2011 at 03:45 AM. Reason: typo
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05-28-2011, 05:08 AM
  #31
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Numminen gets no love? He's not top-5, that's clear, but imo should get consideration here.

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05-28-2011, 01:15 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Granted he was the best Soviet defenseman from the 1950's and should be honoured as one of the founders of International and Soviet Hockey but top 10 European All-time is a very generous stretch to say the least.

During his career Nikolai Sologubov faced Canadian teams 8 times per Chidlovski. The Soviets had 1W/7L while scoring 16 goals and giving up 37.The only win was in the 1956 Winter Olympics - gold medal game.

While playing against Canada the best forwards that he would have faced would have been a post NHL Sid Smith playing semi pro for the Whitby Dunlops and pre NHL Connie Broden, Charlie Burns, Cliff Pennington, Bobby Rousseau. Yet such players supported by semi pros or mid range EPHL players were good enough to score 37 goals in 8 games against a Soviet defense led by Nikolai Sologubov.

So honour him for being a founder but let's be realistic when assessing actual talent.
Sologubov against the Whitby Dunlops.


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05-28-2011, 01:23 PM
  #33
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Fetisov in his prime was one of the best d-man ever. Probably second to Orr. But he didn't play in the NHL during that period so he is hard to grade. Around top-10 on my list with his current resume. That makes him the second best european all-time.


//Cheers
I have a hard time with claims like these.

The Krutov - Larionov - Makarov line was dominant in the RSL, YET, none of them came close to reaching a similar level in the NHL.

It's like assuming Hobey Baker would've been a leading scorer in the NHL.. come on now, he never played at this level!

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05-28-2011, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Passchendaele View Post
I have a hard time with claims like these.

The Krutov - Larionov - Makarov line was dominant in the RSL, YET, none of them came close to reaching a similar level in the NHL.

It's like assuming Hobey Baker would've been a leading scorer in the NHL.. come on now, he never played at this level!
Makarov was 31 when he came over, burnt out from the Soviet training regime, had to adjust to a totally new style of play, and was still arguably the best player of his age group in the NHL for a few years.

Edit: it was not called the RSL then.

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05-28-2011, 04:26 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Passchendaele View Post
I have a hard time with claims like these.

The Krutov - Larionov - Makarov line was dominant in the RSL, YET, none of them came close to reaching a similar level in the NHL.

It's like assuming Hobey Baker would've been a leading scorer in the NHL.. come on now, he never played at this level!

It's because they were old and run down by the time they reached the NHL; they were hardly the same players they were in their prime.
It would be similar to judging Kurri or Stastny based on their production during the twilight of their careers.


Think about it....it's not rocket science as to why KLM, Fetisov, Kasatonov were allowed to leave for the NHL, yet younger Soviet players had to defect.

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05-28-2011, 04:40 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Granted he was the best Soviet defenseman from the 1950's and should be honoured as one of the founders of International and Soviet Hockey but top 10 European All-time is a very generous stretch to say the least.

During his career Nikolai Sologubov faced Canadian teams 8 times per Chidlovski. The Soviets had 1W/7L while scoring 16 goals and giving up 37.The only win was in the 1956 Winter Olympics - gold medal game.

While playing against Canada the best forwards that he would have faced would have been a post NHL Sid Smith playing semi pro for the Whitby Dunlops and pre NHL Connie Broden, Charlie Burns, Cliff Pennington, Bobby Rousseau. Yet such players supported by semi pros or mid range EPHL players were good enough to score 37 goals in 8 games against a Soviet defense led by Nikolai Sologubov.

So honour him for being a founder but let's be realistic when assessing actual talent.
Absolutely right.

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05-28-2011, 04:55 PM
  #37
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Totally blanked on Chara, he's definitely top 5 at this point, and is really pushing Salming for the #3 spot.

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05-28-2011, 04:56 PM
  #38
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i can't speak to the non-NHL guys, because i never saw them. but who would be in the second tier of european defensemen?

NHL careers only, i am thinking ulf samuelsson, tomas jonsson, stefan persson, teppo numminen, sergei gonchar, sergei zubov (i agree zubov is overrated-- i have chara and vlady ahead of him and i'm not sure he is that far ahead of gonchar), calle johansson, alexei zhitnik, reijo ruotsalainen, mattias ohlund, sandis ozolinsh, kenny jonsson, roman hamrlik?

and in the third tier guys like kjell samuelsson, petr svoboda, tomas kaberle, dmitri yushkevich, darius kasparaitis, fredrik olausson, andrei markov (who might still have time to move up), danny markov, jyrki lumme, mattias norstrom, kimmo timonen, igor kravchuk, sami salo, oleg tverdovsky, robert svehla?

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05-28-2011, 05:01 PM
  #39
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Evaluating Players

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It's because they were old and run down by the time they reached the NHL; they were hardly the same players they were in their prime.
It would be similar to judging Kurri or Stastny based on their production during the twilight of their careers.


Think about it....it's not rocket science as to why KLM, Fetisov, Kasatonov were allowed to leave for the NHL, yet younger Soviet players had to defect.
But that is not the proper way to judge players.

Let's look at the the five Soviets in context.

Fetisov and Kasatonov. The two best defensemen. Came to North America at the same time. Watching Fetisov in the NHL you could see the same level of greatness that you saw in great NHL defensemen - the vision, on ice geometry, timing, knowledge,leadership and all the other attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats that played before him like Harvey, Park, Pilote, Potvin, Salming, Robinson, Savard and others.Orr was prevented from aging into a mature NHL defenseman by injuries. You did not see the same traits with Kasatonov.

KLM. Makarov you saw fading talent not even at the level of a post 1980 Lafleur (playoff knee injury). Krutov - his issues were documented previously by others. Larionov you saw the same attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats like Henri Richard, Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, and other centers who knew how to play the inside game. had all the requisite hockey knowledge, leadership and experience.

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05-28-2011, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
But that is not the proper way to judge players.

Let's look at the the five Soviets in context.

Fetisov and Kasatonov. The two best defensemen. Came to North America at the same time. Watching Fetisov in the NHL you could see the same level of greatness that you saw in great NHL defensemen - the vision, on ice geometry, timing, knowledge,leadership and all the other attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats that played before him like Harvey, Park, Pilote, Potvin, Salming, Robinson, Savard and others.Orr was prevented from aging into a mature NHL defenseman by injuries. You did not see the same traits with Kasatonov.

KLM. Makarov you saw fading talent not even at the level of a post 1980 Lafleur (playoff knee injury). Krutov - his issues were documented previously by others. Larionov you saw the same attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats like Henri Richard, Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, and other centers who knew how to play the inside game. had all the requisite hockey knowledge, leadership and experience.
Agreed.

Re: Kasatonov. Was a cut below the 'greats', but certainly NHL all-star level in his prime.
Kasatonov played a conservative game, but had immense physical ability. You'd be hard pressed to find a stronger player in his day. Great in the corners and in front of the net...a rocket shot, great defensive awareness.
However, once he started losing his speed and strength, it's no surprise that he (next to Krutov) declined the fastest.

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05-28-2011, 06:39 PM
  #41
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Numminen gets no love? He's not top-5, that's clear, but imo should get consideration here.
I mentioned him as being just below the top 10.

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05-28-2011, 06:41 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
But that is not the proper way to judge players.

Let's look at the the five Soviets in context.

Fetisov and Kasatonov. The two best defensemen. Came to North America at the same time. Watching Fetisov in the NHL you could see the same level of greatness that you saw in great NHL defensemen - the vision, on ice geometry, timing, knowledge,leadership and all the other attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats that played before him like Harvey, Park, Pilote, Potvin, Salming, Robinson, Savard and others.Orr was prevented from aging into a mature NHL defenseman by injuries. You did not see the same traits with Kasatonov.

KLM. Makarov you saw fading talent not even at the level of a post 1980 Lafleur (playoff knee injury). Krutov - his issues were documented previously by others. Larionov you saw the same attributes that you saw in aging NHL greats like Henri Richard, Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, and other centers who knew how to play the inside game. had all the requisite hockey knowledge, leadership and experience.
Kasatonov only reminds me of the the laughable and fatal mistake the Devils made when bringing him over.

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05-28-2011, 07:12 PM
  #43
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Kasatonov only reminds me of the the laughable and fatal mistake the Devils made when bringing him over.
Kasatonov was better than Fetisov in NJ. For whatever reason, Fetisov really struggled to adjust.

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05-28-2011, 07:24 PM
  #44
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The Mental Game

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Agreed.

Re: Kasatonov. Was a cut below the 'greats', but certainly NHL all-star level in his prime.
Kasatonov played a conservative game, but had immense physical ability. You'd be hard pressed to find a stronger player in his day. Great in the corners and in front of the net...a rocket shot, great defensive awareness.
However, once he started losing his speed and strength, it's no surprise that he (next to Krutov) declined the fastest.
The biggest difference between Fetisov and Kasatonov when they arrived in the NHL was their ability to learn and adapt to the nuances of the NHL game. Fetisov was like a sponge learning the styles of the various teams, adapting to the rigors of the schedule and travel. Kasatonov never had a smooth learning or adaptation curve.You are correct that the decline was very quick, almost like Krutov.

All-Star? Fetisov had perennial All-Star capabilities - Bourque, Lidstrom, etc Kasatonov, was not at the same level. If circumstamces aligned then like a Brian Engblom. Randy Carlyle, Doug Wilson he might get an honour or two.

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05-28-2011, 09:37 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The biggest difference between Fetisov and Kasatonov when they arrived in the NHL was their ability to learn and adapt to the nuances of the NHL game. Fetisov was like a sponge learning the styles of the various teams, adapting to the rigors of the schedule and travel. Kasatonov never had a smooth learning or adaptation curve.You are correct that the decline was very quick, almost like Krutov.

All-Star? Fetisov had perennial All-Star capabilities - Bourque, Lidstrom, etc Kasatonov, was not at the same level. If circumstamces aligned then like a Brian Engblom. Randy Carlyle, Doug Wilson he might get an honour or two.
Not sure exactly what you were saying in the last part but Fetisov was never close to an allstar spot and I have yet to hear a plausible argument that he ever had a top 10 season as Dman in the NHL and maybe had 2 borderline top 20 seasons at a1st glance but I have yet to break it down completely.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that maybe the system and his situation in the 5man unit makes him look better than he might have been. Once again we will never know but his NHL days shed some consideration to this argument IMO. Still a great Dman and one of the top 5 from Europe.

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05-28-2011, 09:53 PM
  #46
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^ i think his point was that fetisov later in his career displayed characteristics similar to the post-all-star later careers of harvey, et al.

i would add though that perhaps fetisov and larionov, who had more of a "cerebral" aspect to their games, were more predisposed to stick around and have success in their 30s than kasatonov and krutov, whose games relied more on sheer physical ability.

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05-28-2011, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The biggest difference between Fetisov and Kasatonov when they arrived in the NHL was their ability to learn and adapt to the nuances of the NHL game. Fetisov was like a sponge learning the styles of the various teams, adapting to the rigors of the schedule and travel. Kasatonov never had a smooth learning or adaptation curve.You are correct that the decline was very quick, almost like Krutov.

All-Star? Fetisov had perennial All-Star capabilities - Bourque, Lidstrom, etc Kasatonov, was not at the same level. If circumstamces aligned then like a Brian Engblom. Randy Carlyle, Doug Wilson he might get an honour or two.
Again, when the two were in NJ, Kasatonov was better. Maybe his simple game made it easier to adapt. Fetisov had staying power, but really wasn't an effective defenseman in the NHL until Bowman really started incorporating European elements into his system in Detroit

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05-28-2011, 10:45 PM
  #48
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Perspective

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Not sure exactly what you were saying in the last part but Fetisov was never close to an allstar spot and I have yet to hear a plausible argument that he ever had a top 10 season as Dman in the NHL and maybe had 2 borderline top 20 seasons at a1st glance but I have yet to break it down completely.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that maybe the system and his situation in the 5man unit makes him look better than he might have been. Once again we will never know but his NHL days shed some consideration to this argument IMO. Still a great Dman and one of the top 5 from Europe.
VS has the general idea but I'll fill in a better part of the skeleton for you. First saw Viacheslav Fetisov play during the 1977-78 WJC held at the Forum in Montreal where the Soviets won beating Canada with the likes of Wayne Gretzky etc, At the same time Say Ray Bourque play in the Q. As juniors the talent gap between Bourque and Fetisov was paper thin. Thru the 1985 both sustained their level of excellence with Fetisov clearly showing that he could attain the same level in the NHL as Ray Bourque. The post 1985
car accident Fetisov was slightly below the the previous levels that he had attained but still a great defenseman:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viacheslav_Fetisov


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 05-28-2011 at 10:47 PM. Reason: typo
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05-28-2011, 10:51 PM
  #49
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Again, when the two were in NJ, Kasatonov was better. Maybe his simple game made it easier to adapt. Fetisov had staying power, but really wasn't an effective defenseman in the NHL until Bowman really started incorporating European elements into his system in Detroit
i didn't see much, if anything, of the devils pre-stevens. in what ways was kasatonov better?

as a canucks fan, i saw larionov and krutov, and i saw my share of makarov because we played calgary a lot. but all i remember hearing was the standard "all the russians except makarov are disappointments." never any comparison of kasatonov with fetisov.

i remember later on kasatonov had a brief but passable stint as a PMD on the pre-kariya ducks.

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05-28-2011, 11:20 PM
  #50
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Granted he was the best Soviet defenseman from the 1950's and should be honoured as one of the founders of International and Soviet Hockey but top 10 European All-time is a very generous stretch to say the least.

During his career Nikolai Sologubov faced Canadian teams 8 times per Chidlovski. The Soviets had 1W/7L while scoring 16 goals and giving up 37.The only win was in the 1956 Winter Olympics - gold medal game.

While playing against Canada the best forwards that he would have faced would have been a post NHL Sid Smith playing semi pro for the Whitby Dunlops and pre NHL Connie Broden, Charlie Burns, Cliff Pennington, Bobby Rousseau. Yet such players supported by semi pros or mid range EPHL players were good enough to score 37 goals in 8 games against a Soviet defense led by Nikolai Sologubov.

So honour him for being a founder but let's be realistic when assessing actual talent.
We don't agree often but I'm 100% in agreement on this one.

I think a lot of the pre-1970 European players get hopelessly over-rated by virtue of being the biggest fish in a very small pond during the embryonic stages of European hockey.

While these players are extremely important in the growth of hockey in those countries, they just aren't of the level that you could call them 'all-time greats'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Passchendaele View Post
I have a hard time with claims like these.

The Krutov - Larionov - Makarov line was dominant in the RSL, YET, none of them came close to reaching a similar level in the NHL.

It's like assuming Hobey Baker would've been a leading scorer in the NHL.. come on now, he never played at this level!
Here are the numbers for players aged 31+ in Makarov's first year in the NHL :

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

Makarov is easily the best offensive player in his age group.

Players of that generation simply didn't maintain their level of play past age 30 in most cases. Take a look at what Peter Stastny, Denis Savard, Jari Kurri, Dale Hawerchuk, Bryan Trottier, Michel Goulet, and so on did after age 30 - next to nothing, and again Makarov is better than any of them.

We saw plenty of Makarov against stacked Canadian teams in the 1980s and he was a standout on nearly every occasion, and clearly one of the top 5 players in the world.

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