For me (Slovak fan) is the biggest "what if" Marian Gaborik.
Maybe also "what if" Igor Liba was not so stupid and stayed in NHL instead of leaving to Germany. BTW he speaks about it as about his lifetime mistake.
The biggest "what if" has to be Lindros. Even with big injuries, Orr and Lemieux are established as 2 of the top 4 players in NHL history. Many people even rank Orr #1. So, in that case, if we had a healthy Orr, he would have simply been as great as he was just longer. The same with Lemieux.
But when it comes to Lindros, we're looking at a player who could have possibly been one of the 5 best players of all-time IF things went differently.
What if Lindros never let his parents interfere with his career?
What if Lindros played his entire career with Quebec/Colorado just as they were reaching their peak?
What if Lindros learned early to keep his head up in the NHL and was healthy his entire career?
If all three of those "what ifs" panned out in his favor, Lindros could have been one of the all-time greats. No other player in this poll would have seen his legacy jump as drastic as Lindros if we're playing the "what if" game.
Jagr is the highest european in NHL career points, and goals. I think had he stayed here and not gone to the KHL, and had no injuries, and played with a healthier Mario, he would have been a top 5 player maybe in the all time stats.
what if the Jet's had stayed in Winnipeg? Selanne would have stayed a Jet, could have very well become their all time leading franchise scorer, and led Winnipeg to its first cup. He had and injury plagued season after his insane rookie season... had he been healthy for 93/94, he could have rivalled Gretzky for the Art Ross that season, had he played another full 84 games in Winnipeg. This is the biggest Selanne "what if" for me, he could have got the art ross he came close to only twice. There was no Mario in the 93/94 season... every single time he was anywhere close to winning the Art Ross, either Mario or Jagr won it... 93/94 was the only year up until 2001, that neither Jagr or Mario won the Art Ross Jet's stay in Winnipeg, Selanne would have never been traded, and I think we could have very well won the Cup by now, also, I think Selanne would have had even better career stats. His last year in Winnipeg, combined with his first 28 games in Anaheim he had 48 assists in Winnipeg and another 20 in Anaheim for a combined 68 in the 1995/1996 season... which was by far the highest in his career. Selanne played the best on the Jets, and had they stayed the Jets, I think he'd have more career goals than Jagr, just not as many assists, because Jagr had massive assists totals, a lot.
The league didn't change completely after 92/93 as someone people would like to say it did, and Selanne dominated the previous season. What if he never got traded to the ducks, or just got drafted by another team in the first place, and had the chance to play with better teams, and players. he probably wouldn't have scored 76 goals, and would have started his NHL career a lot closer to 18/19 years old. might have had better success in the playoffs/ made the playoffs, had he played on better teams... may have even had more 50 goal seasons than he did with Jets/Mighty Ducks. and what if there was no lock out? he might not have had his comeback year in 2006, or his second amazing season to score 48 goals and 46 assists at age 36. So that's why I think Selanne deserves to be as an option on this what if list. but I can agree that he is one that might be on the bubble of a list like this, and that there is probably an older player that could go ahead of him, but hey I'm only 21 man, so I don't have the same knowledge of hockey as an old man like you does
Selanne only scored a point per game in 93-94 before he got injured. Nice try though.
- Orr isn't so injury prone
- Jets getting Gretzky
- Tretiak fleeing overseas to play for the Habs (O_O)
- healthy Lemieux
- Bryan Fogarty sorts out his alcohol issues
- Daigle mellows out or is never such a ******
- Lindros never concussed, Quebec trades him to New York instead..
- Gretzky signs with the 'Nucks in '96 (we'd still probably lose but man that would've been sweet)
- Goal ruled no goal in Buffalo vs. Dallas
- no Moore on Naslund
- Alternate expansion (Houston given a team?)
- Ottawa goes with Chara instead of Redden
- Roloson not injured in the playoffs in '05-'06.
- Bourdon.. Cherepenov (greatest what ifs? No, but it would change a lot)
- Nonis given the vote of confidence (I'm a nuck fan)
- Earlier merger between NHL/WHA (two more teams would've been likely added)
- NHL doesn't screw over the Americans, perhaps the Barons get in (much earlier NHL expansion?)
- Campbell never suspends Richard
What if the Devils didn't win the Cup in 1995? (Triggering the dead puck era)
What if Vladimir Konstantinov didn't get into a car accident?
For the Canucks, add in Bure not getting injured with the whiplash and ACL and him wanting to stay with the Canucks.
For the NHL:
Gretzky not getting traded and the Oilers keeping their core together - it would have been awesome to see the 91/92 Pens go head to head with the Oiler's greats from their run in the 80's. Not to mention, Wayne's numbers probably would be higher.
Injuries for the following guys: Orr, Bure, Lindros, Forsberg (end of career), Lafontaine, etc.
Lemieux - if his love for the game was equal to his pure skill, he would likely have been the best player of all time. Couple with good health.
Unfortuante fates to guys like Konstantinov, Lindberg, Bourdon, Cherepanov, the young DRW prospect, Igor Grigrenko. What could have been. Bryan Fogerty and his abuse, if he could have gotten his demons under control.
I also think back to expansion, if the NHL didn't grow so fast and did things the smart way. If the Seattle bid in the early 90's wasn't foiled by their NBA partner at the time, there likely would be a team in Seattle, and maybe Portland as well, if Seattle did well.