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What is the knock against Gil Perreault?

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09-12-2009, 03:14 AM
  #1
VMBM
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What is the knock against Gil Perreault?

I would just like to hear why isn't Gilbert Perreault considered even a top 100 player by some - or is it even 'by many'? I do have to admit that I have a quite limited view (based on about 10 international games I've seen), but he is the Canadian that has made the biggest impression on me - save the obvious Gretzky and Lemieux etc. Clearly the reason lies there that I haven't seen him play that much, and I can sort of accept that... HOWEVER... ()

Maybe he wasn't as impressive in the NHL as internationally, but looking at his numbers, it's hard to see what's wrong. Numbers aren't everything, but in his case, it cannot be about skills either!

Regular Season: GP 1191 Pts 1326
Playoffs: GP 90 Pts 103

I'm just mentioning (not basing any arguments on it!) that his Playoff PPG is better than Dionne's, Espo's, Clarke's...

Peter Stastny said in an interview that even though Bobby Orr was brilliant, it was Gilbert Perreault who they feared the most when Czechoslovakia played against Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup. Denis Potvin said somewhere that Perreault was the guy "most likely to embarrass you" (i.e. a defenseman).

He was ARGUABLY the best Canadian forward in the 1976 Canada Cup, and was chosen to the all-star team in the 1981 CC, despite missing, was it the last 3 games?
One of the best in the Challenge Cup, also.

Anyway, my suggestions (why he 'sucks', that is ):

- He didn't win the Stanley Cup

Is it that Buffalo SHOULD have won the SC at least once, when Perreault was the leading forward? Was he poor in the 1975 finals? I remember Bobby Clarke saying somewhere that Rick MacLeish, due to his speed, was able to, how do you say it, cover him and make him ineffective.

- Defensive play

So he was one-dimensional, eh? I do have to admit that if a forward makes me go "WOW!" in the offensive zone, I do not care so much that he isn't doing much defensively. BTW, Perreault's regular season +/- is +42, and it maybe should be mentioned that his first two seasons were brutal (-39 and -40), for some reason or another. During his prime years, however, his +/- was at least ok IMO.

Try to explain it to me, 'cause I really want to know!


Last edited by VMBM: 09-12-2009 at 05:43 AM.
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09-12-2009, 03:23 AM
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seventieslord
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I'll talk about this tomorrow. Goodnight!

I'll just add that I don't think I am in the majority right now, but I will be eventually. As we come to better appreciate more and more players from the past, players like Perreault slowly slip further down the lists.

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09-12-2009, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I'll talk about this tomorrow. Goodnight!
Okeydokey. Good morning!

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09-12-2009, 06:04 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Gilbert Perreault

Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
I would just like to hear why isn't Gilbert Perreault considered even a top 100 player by some - or is it even 'by many'? I do have to admit that I have a quite limited view (based on about 10 international games I've seen), but he is the Canadian that has made the biggest impression on me - save the obvious Gretzky and Lemieux etc. Clearly the reason lies there that I haven't seen him play that much, and I can sort of accept that... HOWEVER... ()

Maybe he wasn't as impressive in the NHL as internationally, but looking at his numbers, it's hard to see what's wrong. Numbers aren't everything, but in his case, it cannot be about skills either!

Regular Season: GP 1191 Pts 1326
Playoffs: GP 90 Pts 103

I'm just mentioning (not basing any arguments on it!) that his Playoff PPG is better than Dionne's, Espo's, Clarke's...

Peter Stastny said in an interview that even though Bobby Orr was brilliant, it was Gilbert Perreault who they feared the most when Czechoslovakia played against Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup. Denis Potvin said somewhere that Perreault was the guy "most likely to embarrass you" (i.e. a defenseman).

He was ARGUABLY the best Canadian forward in the 1976 Canada Cup, and was chosen to the all-star team in the 1981 CC, despite missing, was it the last 3 games?
One of the best in the Challenge Cup, also.

Anyway, my suggestions (why he 'sucks', that is ):

- He didn't win the Stanley Cup

Is it that Buffalo SHOULD have won the SC at least once, when Perreault was the leading forward? Was he poor in the 1975 finals? I remember Bobby Clarke saying somewhere that Rick MacLeish, due to his speed, was able to, how do you say it, cover him and make him ineffective.

- Defensive play

So he was one-dimensional, eh? I do have to admit that if a forward makes me go "WOW!" in the offensive zone, I do not care so much that he isn't doing much defensively. BTW, Perreault's regular season +/- is +42, and it maybe should be mentioned that his first two seasons were brutal (-39 and -40), for some reason or another. During his prime years, however, his +/- was at least ok IMO.

Try to explain it to me, 'cause I really want to know!
Saw Gilbert Perreault play prior to junior. Highly skilled, great moves that could embarrass an NHL defenseman - J.C. Tremblay was totally undressed twice by Gilbert Perreault in Perreault's first game with the Sabres in Montreal. Sabres lost something like 11-2 with Perreault scoring two highlite reel goals.

The downside was that Perreault, like Marcel Dionne, tended to be pudgy, rarely looking like he was in perfect game shape. In a long or physical series he would wear down. Also he was not a warrior who came to play every night like a Dave Keon or a Doug Jarvis who did not have the same skills as Gilbert Perreault but gave everything every second of every shift.

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09-12-2009, 06:17 AM
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Gilbert Perreault Analogy

Gilbert Perreault helps explain why certain posters are very conservative when it comes to European hockey players who did not play in the NHL and/or who played a limited number of games against NHL competition.

Talented players can look great in a limited context. Every player who played in the NHL or on a top 5 - 10 European national team since WWII is obviously a very talented hockey player. The unanswered question is how great is that talent?

The flash that Perreault showed in a handful of international games that impressed you was not sustained throughout his NHL career. The same measure has to be applied to European players.

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09-12-2009, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Gilbert Perreault helps explain why certain posters are very conservative when it comes to European hockey players who did not play in the NHL and/or who played a limited number of games against NHL competition.

Talented players can look great in a limited context. Every player who played in the NHL or on a top 5 - 10 European national team since WWII is obviously a very talented hockey player. The unanswered question is how great is that talent?

The flash that Perreault showed in a handful of international games that impressed you was not sustained throughout his NHL career. The same measure has to be applied to European players.
Nice try.

The only thing that is wrong with your logic is that THOSE EUROPEAN PLAYERS DID NOT PLAY IN THE NHL (not in their primes, anyway), so we don't know for sure. HA!

Edit:

At best, Perreault can be used as an example of a 'reasonable doubt', or whatever...


Last edited by VMBM: 09-12-2009 at 06:42 AM. Reason: justwantedtoaddsomething
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09-12-2009, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
I would just like to hear why isn't Gilbert Perreault considered even a top 100 player by some - or is it even 'by many'? I do have to admit that I have a quite limited view (based on about 10 international games I've seen), but he is the Canadian that has made the biggest impression on me - save the obvious Gretzky and Lemieux etc. Clearly the reason lies there that I haven't seen him play that much, and I can sort of accept that... HOWEVER... ()

Maybe he wasn't as impressive in the NHL as internationally, but looking at his numbers, it's hard to see what's wrong. Numbers aren't everything, but in his case, it cannot be about skills either!

Regular Season: GP 1191 Pts 1326
Playoffs: GP 90 Pts 103

I'm just mentioning (not basing any arguments on it!) that his Playoff PPG is better than Dionne's, Espo's, Clarke's...

Peter Stastny said in an interview that even though Bobby Orr was brilliant, it was Gilbert Perreault who they feared the most when Czechoslovakia played against Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup. Denis Potvin said somewhere that Perreault was the guy "most likely to embarrass you" (i.e. a defenseman).

He was ARGUABLY the best Canadian forward in the 1976 Canada Cup, and was chosen to the all-star team in the 1981 CC, despite missing, was it the last 3 games?
One of the best in the Challenge Cup, also.

Anyway, my suggestions (why he 'sucks', that is ):

- He didn't win the Stanley Cup

Is it that Buffalo SHOULD have won the SC at least once, when Perreault was the leading forward? Was he poor in the 1975 finals? I remember Bobby Clarke saying somewhere that Rick MacLeish, due to his speed, was able to, how do you say it, cover him and make him ineffective.

- Defensive play

So he was one-dimensional, eh? I do have to admit that if a forward makes me go "WOW!" in the offensive zone, I do not care so much that he isn't doing much defensively. BTW, Perreault's regular season +/- is +42, and it maybe should be mentioned that his first two seasons were brutal (-39 and -40), for some reason or another. During his prime years, however, his +/- was at least ok IMO.

Try to explain it to me, 'cause I really want to know!
Being at the level of Jean Ratelle is pretty good, actually.

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09-12-2009, 09:06 AM
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Perrault easily fits into my top 100, maybe even my top 50 all-time. 1326 career points is certainly something that isn't easy to achieve. Perhaps the reason Perrault doesn't get noticed as much is because he played his entire career with Buffalo and never won a Cup. Still there weren't many better in the 70's than Gilbert Perrault.

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09-12-2009, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony d View Post
Perrault easily fits into my top 100, maybe even my top 50 all-time. 1326 career points is certainly something that isn't easy to achieve. Perhaps the reason Perrault doesn't get noticed as much is because he played his entire career with Buffalo and never won a Cup. Still there weren't many better in the 70's than Gilbert Perrault.
1326 points, hey, that's about the same number than Pierre Turgeon!

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09-12-2009, 09:52 PM
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Here is a quick list of Perreault's accomplishments:

- Stanley Cup Finalist (1975)
- Top-10 goals finishes: 6th, 7th, 7th, 9th (was also top-15 once and top-20 once more)
- Top-10 assists finishes: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th (was also top-15 three more times and top-20 once more)
- Top-10 points finishes: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th
- All-Star voting results: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 6th, 7th
- Hart Voting results: 5th, 7th, 7th, 10th, 13th

Also of note:

- Strong playoff production. His 1.14 playoff points-per-game average is better than his 1.11 regular season average. Not many players did this.

- He had style, flash and dash!


The negatives:

- Although his playoff production was there, just one SCF for a team that was 1st or 2nd in its division 8 times in his 17 seasons, with 6 100-point seasons, is not good. With that type of regular season team, having one cup and two more finals appearances would be closer to par for the course.

- He was not known as a physical player at all. This is the type of attribute that isn't hugely important with elite all-time players like this, but it certainly helps to break close ties between guys with similar offensive credentials.

- He had no two-way game. Punch Imlach says so in his book that I just finished, "Heaven & Hell In the NHL", even though he is clearly a huge fan of his talents, mentioning that it was a privilege to watch him play every night.

- His career adjusted +/- is -6. In other words, 0 over the course of his career. At even strength, his team had the same goal differential with him on the ice, as it did when he was off the ice. Looking at the career NHL point leaders, the other players with similar extremely low adjusted +/- figures are Messier (-10, his off-ice comparable was Gretzky), Hull (+16, known to be bad defensively most of his career), Federko (+18, not a great two-way guy), Brind'Amour (0, generally went against top lines and kept up with them), Bobby Smith (+19, see Federko), and Bellows (-12, known to be one-dimensional). This is the company Perreault is in. The only two players anywhere near the top-100 there are Messier, who has a legitimate excuse, and Hull, who was so good at scoring goals that his defense gets forgiven. Granted, Perreault has a huge scoring edge on the likes of Federko, Smith, Bellows, and Brind'Amour.

- There is a lot of evidence that the straw that really stirred the Sabres drink was their 2nd line - Craig Ramsay, Don Luce, Danny Gare. This line was matched up nightly against the opposition's top scorers, and outscored them more often than they didn't. This line was also almost as proficient offensively at even strength - From 1975-1980, the six seasons in which Gare, Ramsay, Luce, Perreault, Martin, and Robert were all on the same team, The French Connection, known as the greatest line in hockey, outscored Ramsay's line 459-419 with PP goals removed. That's 40 goals total, or 8 per year, or about 2-3 per player per year. This line was getting the job done offensively and defensively, while Perreault's line was giving up nearly as many as they scored. Ramsay's line averaged +198 over these six years, Perreault's line averaged +71; in other words, Ramsay's line outscored top lines by 33 goals per season, while Perreault's line outscored the checkers and second lines they were up against, by 12 goals per season. Note that during these six seasons that the Ramsay line was intact, the Sabres averaged 104 points per season. Five of these six seasons were the five finest seasons in Sabres history from a win% perspective (2006 and 2007 need OTL removed for a fair comparison, of course) There is solid numerical evidence that Perreault was not the key to his team's success.

But I'm not here to trash Perreault, an excellent player in his own right. I'm here to explain why I don't think he is a top-100 player. I ranked him 108th on my last submission for the 2009 list that we're currently working on. If I could do it again, I wouldn't put him on my top-120 at all. That is not due to his shortcomings, but due to the fact that a hell of a lot of centers have better accomplishments than him.

There are 34 centers on the top-100 list from last year if you include Messier, Abel, and Delvecchio. So let's assume that's about the "correct" proportion of all-time greats who were centers. I just have to show you that 34 centers were better than Perreault in an all-time context.


The obvious: The dominance that these players showed within their own era is well beyond that of Perreault and don't need to be discussed in detail. there are 21 of them, and if you disagree on any of them, speak up.

Wayne Gretzky
Mario Lemieux
Jean Beliveau
Howie Morenz
Stan Mikita
Mark Messier
Bobby Clarke
Phil Esposito
Bryan Trottier
Newsy Lalonde
Joe Sakic
Steve Yzerman
Milt Schmidt
Syl Apps
Joe Malone
Frank Boucher
Marcel Dionne
Henri Richard
Max Bentley
Nels Stewart
Frank Nighbor


Players who also don't have much of a two-way game but were offensively superior:

Peter Stastny
Bill Cowley

Stastny's accomplishments are as follows:

Top-10 in goals: none (was 11th three times, top-15 four times, top-20 twice more)
Top-10 in assists: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 6th, 9th (once more top-15)
Top-10 in points: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th
All-Star voting: 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th
Hart voting: 4th, 7th, 7th, 11th, 11th

Now, keep in mind that Stastny had to compete with a generational talent for his entire prime, and another one later on in his prime. Without Mario and Wayne, Stastny's goals finishes look more impressive as he breaks into the top-10 three times, he has an assists title (in total, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 6th, 7th), and a points title (in total, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 6th). His hart voting record becomes 3rd, 5th, 6th, 10th, 10th, and his all-star voting results become 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th.

Based on offensive accomplishments and awards, these two look fairly close until you look at the impact generational talents had on them. Then, it's not even close.

Cowley's accomplishments are as follows:

Top-10 in goals: 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 10th (top-15 another time)
Top-10 in assists: 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th (top-15 two more times)
Top-10 in points: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th.

All-star voting: 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 5th (deeper results not known for most years)
Hart voting: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd (deeper results not known for most years)

with Cowley, another adjustment must be made, and that is that he did very well in the war-weakened seasons 1943, 1944, and 1945. They should not be completely discounted, but let's do that anyway:

Top-10 in goals: 10th, 10th (top-15 another time)
Top-10 in assists: 1st, 1st, 3rd, 7th (top-15 two more times)
Top-10 in points: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th.
All-star voting: 1st, 1st, 5th (deeper results not known for most years)
Hart voting: 1st (deeper results not known for most years)

Still looks better than Perreault. And neither has a two-way or physical game to bridge the gap.


Similar offensively, but other attributes place them ahead of Perreault:

Ted Kennedy
Peter Forsberg
Sergei Fedorov
Elmer Lach
Dave Keon
Doug Gilmour
Syd Howe
Ron Francis
Norm Ullman
Alex Delvecchio
Sid Abel
Mickey MacKay

These 11 names bring the total to 34 ahead of Perreault. Some of them keep up with him offensively, some don't - But they are all at least close offensively, and have many other aspects to their game that made them much more valuable than Perreault was overall.

I'll briefly go over these 11 names now. unfortunately I can't get into such intense detail as I did with Cowley and Stastny. But here are a couple of charts to get you started:

Leaderboard finishes in goalscoring, then playmaking: This is to show that perreault does not hold a significant offensive edge on any of these players.


Name Top-2 Top-5 Top-10 Top-15 Top-20 Top-2 Top-5 Top-10 Top-15 Top-20
Ullman 1 3 9 12 13 0 2 9 12 15
Delvecchio 0 1 5 7 10 2 5 10 14 18
MacKay 2 3 5 7 10 1 4 6 6 9
Lach 1 1 3 4 5 4 7 7 9 9
Francis 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 12 13 15
S.Howe 0 2 6 8 9 0 2 5 7 8
Abel 1 2 3 4 4 0 6 8 8 8
Kennedy 0 2 3 5 8 1 3 5 6 9
Perreault 0 0 4 5 6 0 3 5 8 9
Keon 0 0 3 7 9 0 0 0 5 8
Gilmour 0 0 1 1 1 2 3 5 9 9
Forsberg 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 7 8 8
Fedorov 0 1 1 2 4 0 0 1 2 3

Notes:

- Ullman was a hugely dominant offensive player compared to Perreault. He was top-5 in goals three times, and though he and Perreault have similar elite assists placements, his longevity overtakes Perreault (nine top-10s to five) - this is before we go into his excellent two-way game and corner work. (He was an adjusted +63 post-expansion, which covers his career from age 32-29)

- Delvecchio, Similarly to Ullman, was a very dominant offensive player with great longevity. He matches or exceeds Perreault in all offensive categories above. He was also a good, clean, checker and a well-rounded player. (He was an adjusted +82 post-expansion, which covers his career from age 35-41)

- MacKay, a forgotten PCHA star, was also a much more dominant offensive player than perreault - possibly the 4th-best offensive player of his generation after Lalonde, Taylor, and Malone. Keep in mind that the PCHA was more of a "half-league" and his placements on the leaderboard are adjusted to not over-reward him. He outdoes Perreault in almost every single category above. He was also possibly the third-best defensive forward of his time after Nighbor and Jack Walker.

- Lach is just a touch below Perreault in goal-scoring but is a vastly superior playmaker. He was noted for being a very determined defensive player and scrappy along the boards. Milt Schmidt said that he hated playing against Lach's line because they outscored them often.

- Francis is a poor goal-scorer in an all-time context, but is one of the best playmakers of all-time, finishing in the top-10 in assists more time than perreault was even in the top-20. Francis was, of course, an excellent defensive player, faceoff man, and leader. His career adjusted +/- is +263, sometimes helped by playing with Jagr, sometimes hurt by not playing with Lemieux.

- Syd Howe also has superior offensive credentials to Perreault, though ultimately similar. they are neck-in-neck in playmaking with Howe having the goal-scoring edge. Howe did have some fun in the war years, but his goals placements were 6th, 16th, and out of the top-20 in those three seasons. If you assume 4 players come back and outscore him, his 6th and 16th would be 10th and 20th, and his 0-2-6-8-9 score remains unchanged. Howe also was the league's leading playoff scorer over the course of his career and finished top-5 in playoff scoring three times, twice as a winner and once as a finalist. Howe was a very aggressive player and had a good two-way game. he filled in on defense occasionally, once being a major factor in a playoff shutout. He broke Cowley's jaw with a clean check.

- Abel has a playmaking edge and Perreault has a goalscoring edge on him. They are approximately even offensively. Abel, however, was a tough, gritty player who was good at both ends of the ice. Ol' Bootnose was his nickname because it had been broken so often that it resembled a boot, a testament to his willingness to play in the dirty areas. He simply brought more to the table than perreault.

- Ted Kennedy is roughly as good as Perreault in both goalscoring and playmaking. Kennedy is pretty much The King Of Intangibles around here. He was gritty, tough, very good defensively, excellent on faceoffs, and possibly the best leader ever. Most importantly, though, his clutch scoring is the stuff of legend. He led the Leafs to 5 Stanley Cups and the HHOF named him the retroactive Smythe winner in three of those, thanks to the determination he showed, and his part in scoring and setting up an alarming number of game winning, game tying, and crucial first goals (I have seen the list before but don't have it handy) - if they are even offensively, Teeder easily gets the overall nod over Perreault.

- Keon is similar to Perreault offensively, but not as good. They were very similar in goalscoring, but Perreault was a better playmaker. Keon, however, was a frequent playoff hero who won a Conn Smythe trophy, and for a long time regarded as the game's best defensive forward - and he did it all cleanly. Easily a superior player to Perreault with all-around game considered. (He is a career adjusted -3; however, he was always matched up against top lines and his NHL career post-expansion was from age 28-41)

- Gilmour is not quite as good as Perreault offensively. Although he made the top-10 in goals once, he was never top-20 again. Perreault was the better goalscorer. Gilmour has a very, very similar playmaking record to Perreault, except for two things: he made the top-2 twice and Perreault didn't, and he had Gretzky and Lemieux to contend with. Regardless, Gilmour doesn't match up offensively. His intangibles make up the gap, though. This is Ted Kennedy, part 2! He played excellent defense his entire career, was always present in Selke voting, won the award once, was hart Runner-up to Mario Lemieux (in Lemieux's most dominant year), and had the two best playoffs of the 1990s by a player not in the top-14 on our list. He was a legendary clutch scorer, particularly in 1993 and 1994, but also in 1989, when he scored the cup-winning goal for Calgary, and 1986, when he led the playoffs in scoring even though he was only a semifinalist. He's one of a handful of players with 3 or more playoff OT goals. Gilmour's production in the playoffs went up 7% from the regular season, which is rare, but unlike Perreault, he made those numbers stand up - he really led his team somewhere! The guy was a beast with team-carrying capabilities and his worth ethic was contagious. Gilmour was an excellent adjusted +164 playing mostly against the opposition's top line.

-Forsberg's year-by-year finishes don't look as impressive as Perreault's. Although he was a far superior playmaker, he was not much of a goal-scorer. Fordberg's point placements of 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th (a better record than perreault) are deceptive because he frequently missed time with injuries. He was actually top-6 in points per game 7 times. He was an excellent defensive player, although many disagree about just how excellent. He was also outstanding in the playoffs, once leading the league in scoring despite not playing in the finals. He was also a legendary playoff producer throughout his career, with 171 points in 151 games. Forsberg finished his career with an excellent adjusted +363, helped by not always facing top checkers, but hurt because his off-ice comparable was usually Sakic. Forsberg easily bridges the small offensive gap with his other elements.

- Sergei Fedorov doesn't compare offensively, in either goal-scoring or playmaking when talking about elite finishes. He was no slouch offensively, though. he only had 4 seasons as a top-20 offensive player, but actually had 11 seasons with 70+ adjusted points, compared to 9 for Perreault. But Fedorov bridges the gap with his outstanding defensive play, and playoff production. Fedorov, like Gilmour, was always present in selke voting his whole career, and won the award twice. He is on a very small list of players with four straight 20-point playoffs. He was arguably the best all-around forward for three cup winners and a finalist, and if not best, then second-best for sure.

That is 35 names that should definitely be ahead of Perreault on an all-time list. There are some more debatable names, though:


The debatables:

Igor Larionov
Vladimir Petrov
Eric Lindros
Marty Barry
Jean Ratelle
Adam Oates
Dale Hawerchuk
Darryl Sittler
Hooley Smith
Joe Primeau

This is where it gets muddy. There are some excellent scorers and two-way players in this list, too. Perreault is better than these players in one or two respects, and not as good in some others. Assume he fits in somewhere in the middle of this group. That's about 40 centers ahead of him; therefore, he should not be a top-100 player unless your top-100 list includes 40 centers.

Since I've gone this far, I may as well present their offensive records for comparison to Perreault:

Leaderboard finishes in goalscoring, then playmaking:

Name Top-2 Top-5 Top-10 Top-15 Top-20 Top-2 Top-5 Top-10 Top-15 Top-20
Oates 0 0 0 0 1 5 10 12 13 13
Ratelle 0 1 3 5 7 0 3 6 10 11
Ho.Smith 0 1 3 5 6 1 3 7 9 10
Barry 1 3 7 7 8 1 2 3 5 6
Hawerchuk 0 0 3 5 6 0 3 5 8 10
Sittler 0 0 3 6 9 1 1 2 6 7
Lindros 0 0 4 5 6 0 1 3 3 3
J.Primeau 0 0 0 0 1 3 3 5 5 6
Perreault 0 0 4 5 6 0 3 5 8 9

My work in showing that 35 centers are better than Perreault is done, but let me just say that Ratelle and Smith have vastly superior offensive records and need no further discussion. Oates, I would wager the same thing, based solely on his playmaking abilities. He was a top-5 playmaker more often than Perreault was in the top-20. He was also good defensively and valuable on faceoffs. Lindros, like Forsberg, was crippled often but was a much better per-game player with an excellent physical and defensive game (however he did it, he outscored his opponents massively), and Primeau was one of the game's two best playmakers during his short career, and was outstanding defensively. Larionov and Petrov don't show up here, for obvious reasons, but I bet you see them as being very close to Perreault. That leaves Barry, Hawerchuk and Sittler - three players who are quite similar to Perreault in offensive credentials and don't have much in the way of "auxiliary" skills. For what it's worth, Hawerchuk's career adjusted +/- was +72 and Sittler's was +48. Decent, but nothing special, yet ahead of Perreault. This is the company he's in - not top-100 company.

It doesn't matter how pretty he looked doing it; what matters is if he got the job done, and though he got the job done pretty well, 35-45 other centers in history got the job done even better.


Last edited by seventieslord: 09-14-2009 at 12:01 AM.
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09-13-2009, 07:47 PM
  #11
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Wow! That's an impressively thorough evaluation of Perreault's acomplishment, seventieslord.

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- His career adjusted +/- is -6. In other words, 0 over the course of his career. At even strength, his team had the same goal differential with him on the ice, as it did when he was off the ice. Looking at the career NHL point leaders, the other players with similar extremely low adjusted +/- figures are Messier (-10, his off-ice comparable was Gretzky), Hull (+16, known to be bad defensively most of his career), Federko (+18, not a great two-way guy), Brind'Amour (0, generally went against top lines and kept up with them), Bobby Smith (+19, see Federko), and Bellows (-12, known to be one-dimensional). This is the company Perreault is in. The only two players anywhere near the top-100 there are Messier, who has a legitimate excuse, and Hull, who was so good at scoring goals that his defense gets forgiven. Granted, Perreault has a huge scoring edge on the likes of Federko, Smith, Bellows, and Brind'Amour.
As the creator of this particular version of adjusted plus-minus, I'll add a little more detail on Perreault. Here is a breakdown of his adjusted plus-minus for the different periods of his career.

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Gilbert Perreault 71-74 3.68 0.87 1.06 0.82 0.82 -39 -57 -17 -5 6% 86% 0.49 0.61
Gilbert Perreault 75-80 5.83 1.02 0.79 1.28 1.39 99 107 8 1 4% 76% 0.48 0.79
Gilbert Perreault 81-84 3.35 0.90 0.77 1.17 1.15 23 36 13 4 24% 55% 0.28 0.67
Gilbert Perreault 85-87 2.13 0.74 0.74 1.00 1.08 7 0 -7 -3 27% 5% 0.25 0.56
Gilbert Perreault 71-87 14.98 0.92 0.84 1.08 1.12 89 86 -3 0 12% 66% 0.40 0.68

Perreault appears to have started off as a talented scorer and very productive on the power play. However, on a weak even-strength team, Perreault's on-ice results were identical to his off-ice results. This suggests that he wasn't playing a strong 200-foot game. His even-strength results would improve, however.

His prime from 1974-75 to 1979-80 is particularly interesting. This is the period of his career that makes his reputation. Perreault was a plus player during the 75-80 period, with a fine 1.28 GF/GA ratio. However, Buffalo had a 1.39 GF/GA ratio with him off the ice, meaning that his adjusted plus-minus is essentially zero.

If Buffalo had particularly strong goalies and defense corps*, this would be a fair rating. However, the truth isn't so simple. As seventieslord pointed out, Buffalo had a second line that was dominant at even-strength. Ramsay, Luce, and Gare drove Buffalo's success during those years at least as much as Perreault's line did, and probably more. Perreault's even-strength results suffer in comparison to theirs, but the question is whether that's a fair comparison.

Perreault's greatest contributions probably came on the power play. Here are the top power play scorers from 1974-75 to 1979-80. (Power play assists from 1975-76 on compiled from the Hockey Summary Project data, estimated for 1974-75.)

Player GP PPG PPA PPP PPP/G
Marcel Dionne 470 81 155 236 0.50
Guy Lafleur 462 90 136 226 0.49
Denis Potvin 421 55 149 204 0.48
Phil Esposito 472 109 113 222 0.47
Bryan Trottier 387 65 104 169 0.44
Gilbert Perreault 466 56 140 196 0.42
Darryl Sittler 447 81 96 177 0.40

He wasn't on the level of the top power play scorers, but was still among the best at his peak.

In his post-prime years in the '80s, Perreault was no longer an elite scorer. While he was still a solid contributor, he was not a difference maker - more like a second line center on a good team or a first line center on a weaker team. He wasn't an elite power play scorer anymore, and was basically even at even-strength as his scoring dropped off. He did start killing penalties - evidence that his defensive game improved as his offensive game declined.

*This topic merits further research, particularly since SV% results from these years are coming out.

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But I'm not here to trash Perreault, an excellent player in his own right. I'm here to explain why I don't think he is a top-100 player. I ranked him 108th on my last submission for the 2009 list that we're currently working on. If I could do it again, I wouldn't put him on my top-120 at all. That is not due to his shortcomings, but due to the fact that a hell of a lot of centers have better accomplishments than him.

That leaves Barry, Hawerchuk and Sittler - three players who are quite similar to Perreault in offensive credentials and don't have much in the way of "auxiliary" skills. For what it's worth, Hawerchuk's career adjusted +/- was +72 and Sittler's was +48. Decent, but nothing special, yet ahead of Perreault. This is the company he's in - not top-100 company.
I think this is a fair assessment. Personally, I see him as comparable to Hawerchuk - centers who were very good to excellent but not elite scorers, were not distinguished on the defensive end, and brought much of their value on the power play.

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09-13-2009, 08:23 PM
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Stats, stats, Stats. seventies & overpass have done a hatchet job on Gilbert based on stats. In their opinion stats bring him down to the Sittler/ Hawerchuk level. I saw the entire career of these guys & perrault was way way above those guys. One of the most skilled players I have had the privelege of watching over the last 50 years. Sure when you haven't seen a guy play maybe you have to use stats as a rating although I tend to go more with written descriptions. I hope there are some others out there who actually saw these guys play will come to Perrault's defense.

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09-13-2009, 08:44 PM
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Stats, stats, Stats. seventies & overpass have done a hatchet job on Gilbert based on stats. In their opinion stats bring him down to the Sittler/ Hawerchuk level. I saw the entire career of these guys & perrault was way way above those guys. One of the most skilled players I have had the privelege of watching over the last 50 years. Sure when you haven't seen a guy play maybe you have to use stats as a rating although I tend to go more with written descriptions. I hope there are some others out there who actually saw these guys play will come to Perrault's defense.
... How would you compare him to Ratelle?

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09-13-2009, 08:46 PM
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Stats, stats, Stats. seventies & overpass have done a hatchet job on Gilbert based on stats. In their opinion stats bring him down to the Sittler/ Hawerchuk level. I saw the entire career of these guys & perrault was way way above those guys. One of the most skilled players I have had the privelege of watching over the last 50 years. Sure when you haven't seen a guy play maybe you have to use stats as a rating although I tend to go more with written descriptions. I hope there are some others out there who actually saw these guys play will come to Perrault's defense.
I don't doubt the skills. Everything I've ever read and the little I've seen agrees that he was enormously talented and a joy to watch. The problem for me is that his results don't seem to match up to his reputation. If you or anyone else wants to defend Perreault's effectiveness, I'm all ears.

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The downside was that Perreault, like Marcel Dionne, tended to be pudgy, rarely looking like he was in perfect game shape. In a long or physical series he would wear down.
This makes sense to me as an explanation for a gap in skills and results. In my experience, players who aren't in top shape quickly lose effectiveness off the puck before their game with the puck declines. They can still summon the energy to explode with the puck when they have it. The thing they lose is the ability to consistently pressure the puck, win it, and keep the puck moving in the right direction and in the right end of the rink.

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09-13-2009, 08:48 PM
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... How would you compare him to Ratelle?
Ratelle was great but Perrault IMO was significantly better.

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09-13-2009, 08:53 PM
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I don't doubt the skills. Everything I've ever read and the little I've seen agrees that he was enormously talented and a joy to watch. The problem for me is that his results don't seem to match up to his reputation. If you or anyone else wants to defend Perreault's effectiveness, I'm all ears.
I guess you had to be there to see it for yourself. But you putting him down with guys like Sittler & Hawerchuk is nonsense.

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09-13-2009, 08:56 PM
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Stats, stats, Stats. seventies & overpass have done a hatchet job on Gilbert based on stats. In their opinion stats bring him down to the Sittler/ Hawerchuk level. I saw the entire career of these guys & perrault was way way above those guys. One of the most skilled players I have had the privelege of watching over the last 50 years. Sure when you haven't seen a guy play maybe you have to use stats as a rating although I tend to go more with written descriptions. I hope there are some others out there who actually saw these guys play will come to Perrault's defense.
As I said, pappy, It doesn't matter how pretty he looked doing it.

If other players dominated the league statistically better than he did, they're better than him. It doesn't matter if he can skate better, shoot better, and stickhandle in a phone booth if the results aren't there. the results are there, but 35-45 other centers just have better results.

You can dismiss the word "stats" all you like. But it is a FACT that Perreault's Sabres, over the course of his career, had the same goal differential with him on the ice, as they did without him. Every other 1000+ point player made a very positive impact on his team's goal differential except Perreault and the six others. How do you explain this if he is so dominant?

How do you explain Hawerchuk and Sittler having basically the same offensive record (similar career totals, similar top-10, top-20 finishes, how they were regarded in award voting, etc) if he's way, way better? What did they do to achieve the same results as him? What didn't Perreault do?

Mikhail Grabovski looks pretty special when I watch him play, too. But when the season was all said and done, he was just a 48-point player, and many other players who didn't "look" as good achieved far more this season than he did.

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09-13-2009, 08:59 PM
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Mikhail Grabovski looks pretty special when I watch him play, too. But when the season was all said and done, he was just a 48-point player, and many other players who didn't "look" as good achieved far more this season than he did.
Man, you just lost 90% of your credibility on this one !!!!

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09-13-2009, 09:03 PM
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Perreault's downside was that he wasn't a complete player. The French Connection line didn't match up against the other team's best during their heyday. Rather, it was Don Luce with wingers Craig Ramsay and Danny Gare that did most of the heavy lifting.

Perreault was an exceptional, breath taking talent and he'd make any HOF worth stepping into, but he did not have a wide range of skills (meaning he didn't play well away from the puck) and was indifferent defensively.

Which I think may well have been the right idea. Asking him to check would have been like driving the kids to school in a Corvette: you can do it, but there are better uses for the car.

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09-13-2009, 09:05 PM
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As I said, pappy, It doesn't matter how pretty he looked doing it.

If other players dominated the league statistically better than he did, they're better than him. It doesn't matter if he can skate better, shoot better, and stickhandle in a phone booth if the results aren't there. the results are there, but 35-45 other centers just have better results.

You can dismiss the word "stats" all you like. But it is a FACT that Perreault's Sabres, over the course of his career, had the same goal differential with him on the ice, as they did without him. Every other 1000+ point player made a very positive impact on his team's goal differential except Perreault and the six others. How do you explain this if he is so dominant?

How do you explain Hawerchuk and Sittler having basically the same offensive record (similar career totals, similar top-10, top-20 finishes, how they were regarded in award voting, etc) if he's way, way better? What did they do to achieve the same results as him? What didn't Perreault do?

Mikhail Grabovski looks pretty special when I watch him play, too. But when the season was all said and done, he was just a 48-point player, and many other players who didn't "look" as good achieved far more this season than he did.
If I saw them play than that is what I base my rankings on. you can throw out all the statistics you want but there is no way in hell that Hawerchuk & Sittler were as skilled as Perrault. I saw them play & Perrault was significantly better. Of course, I can't prove it statistically but you can't rate players only on statistics. Unfortunately you can't accept this.

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09-13-2009, 09:13 PM
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I guess you had to be there to see it for yourself. But you putting him down with guys like Sittler & Hawerchuk is nonsense.
How do you think he compared to Pat Lafontaine? Obviously Lafontaine didn't match Perreault's career. But at their best, Lafontaine was also a dynamic offensive player and a great power play producer who wasn't known for his defensive play.

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09-13-2009, 09:15 PM
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If I saw them play than that is what I base my rankings on. you can throw out all the statistics you want but there is no way in hell that Hawerchuk & Sittler were as skilled as Perrault. I saw them play & Perrault was significantly better. Of course, I can't prove it statistically but you can't rate players only on statistics. Unfortunately you can't accept this.
I can accept this, but the fact is, these players achieved results very similar to Perreault's results, and in Hawerchuk's case, usually did so with far inferior linemates to what Perreault had.

How do you explain that he is one of seven 1000+ point scorers who didn't really help his team's goal differential?

How do you explain Hawerchuk and Sittler having basically the same offensive record (similar career totals, similar top-10, top-20 finishes, how they were regarded in award voting, etc) if he's way, way better? What did they do to achieve the same results as him? What didn't Perreault do?

I understand that you watched him and he looked great, but just looking better on the ice doesn't make you better.... does it?

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09-13-2009, 09:18 PM
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I can accept this, but the fact is, these players achieved results very similar to Perreault's results, and in Hawerchuk's case, usually did so with far inferior linemates to what Perreault had.

How do you explain that he is one of seven 1000+ point scorers who didn't really help his team's goal differential?

How do you explain Hawerchuk and Sittler having basically the same offensive record (similar career totals, similar top-10, top-20 finishes, how they were regarded in award voting, etc) if he's way, way better? What did they do to achieve the same results as him? What didn't Perreault do?

I understand that you watched him and he looked great, but just looking better on the ice doesn't make you better.... does it?
My eyes tell me he was significantly better. Simple as that

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09-13-2009, 09:20 PM
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Ratelle was great but Perrault IMO was significantly better.
I am in complete agreement with your thoughts on Perreault. Perreault = Sittler? Perreault had more talent in his big toe than Sittler had in his whole body.
C1958's pudgy comment is also correct though.
I've always felt Savard belongs right there with Perreault as well. These guys with natural talent need to be recognized. They are the special players.
The stat game is so very frustrating isn't it.

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09-13-2009, 09:25 PM
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How do you think he compared to Pat Lafontaine? Obviously Lafontaine didn't match Perreault's career. But at their best, Lafontaine was also a dynamic offensive player and a great power play producer who wasn't known for his defensive play.
Not even close to Perrault. Why bring another name in who won't even sniff the top 100.

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