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Adam Oates and Brett Hull

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Old
08-21-2011, 03:37 PM
  #1
matnor
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Adam Oates and Brett Hull

Only two players have ever broken the 70 goal barrier three times, Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull. While Gretzky holds numerous other scoring achievements, in Hull's case that's really what stands out from his career. The only three times he scored more than 60 goals, let alone 70, was the only three seasons one of the greatest playmakers of all time, Adam Oates, played on his team. This has lead a lot of people to conclude that Oates was instrumental to Hull's extraordinary achievement. Using some game-by-game scoring logs from the HSP I thought I'd take a closer look at this. Hopefully, people who saw them play together can comment on the conclusions I draw.

1989-90 season

In their first season together Hull scored 72 goals while Oates had 79 assists. Both played the full season, 80 games. Out of Hull's 72 goals, 45 was scored at even strength. However, Oates did only assist on 14 of them. More surprising is that that is the same amount of assists as the left-winger on Hull's line, Sergio Momesso, had. Momesso wasn't really a first-line caliber player so it is surprising that he had as many assists as Oates. One reason for this is that Oates wasn't Hull's center the entire season. Peter Zezel seems to have centered Hull for part of the season, he had 8 assists on Hull's goals at even strength. No other player had more than 5 ES assists.

Turning to the powerplay. Out of Hull's 27 PP goals, Oates assisted on 9 of them. That is actually fewer than Zezel's 13 assists. The only other player with more than 5 PP assists was Jeff Brown with 7.

So, in total, Oates assisted on 23 of Hull's goals, Zezel on 21 whereas Momesso assisted on 19. To me, that hardly suggests that Oates was crucial for Hull's success that season.

1990-91 season

Turning to Hull's Hart-winning season. He scored an astounding 86 goals in 78 games while Oates had a fantastic 90 assists in only 60 games. Out of Hull's 86 goals, 57 was scored at even strength. Unfortunately, HSP only includes 56 of those goals so that is what I can analyze. Of those 56 goals Oates assisted on 21 of them. Since Oates was out for a large part of the season this is a fairly high number. Of the other players Brind'amour had 12 assists and Gino Cavallini 9.

Hull scored 29 goals on the powerplay and here is where the chemistry between Hull and Oates really can be seen. Oates assisted on 20 of those 29 goals. Excluding the games Oates was injured that means he assisted on 80% (20/25) of Hull's PP goals. Other notable players with a high number of assists were the two defensemen, Scott Stevens (10) and Jeff Brown (8).

Another way of analyzing this season is to look at the 19 games which Oates missed. During these games Hull scored 18 goals and added 9 assists. This is lower than his pace with Oates (59 games, 68 goals and 36 assists) but still very good. Overall, I would say this is the season where the chemistry between these two players were most important.

1991-92 season

For this season there are no game-by-game data available from the HSP. However, since Oates was traded midway through the season we can compare their play before and after the trade. Overall, Hull scored 70 goals in 73 games this season, while Oates had 79 assists in 80 games. Breaking it down before and after the trade we get:

 GP G A Pts  
Hull before 54 54 26 80 
Hull after 19 16 12 28 
Oates before 54 10 59 69 
Oates after 26 10 20 30 

Overall, the difference is not that big. Hull scored points at the same rate after the trade as before but with slightly less goals and slightly more assists. Oates on the other hand increased his goal scoring but decreased his assists production after the trade.

Overall Conclusion

While Hull and Oates certainly benefited from playing with each other I think Oates' impact on Hull's goal scoring has been a little overstated thanks to the drop in Hull's goal scoring after Oates left. Without Oates I think it's still likely Hull scores 60+ goals all three seasons and likely over 70 in at least one or two of them.

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08-21-2011, 05:06 PM
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Hull's trigger was among the best I have ever seen and for sure one of the best of all time. It wouldn't matter who he played with, he would have scored a pile. His ability to float into space and his release were crazy.

Although the numbers don't seem to bear it out based on what you found here, I'm sure that they were better together than apart - they both claim that to be true - however they were also great players in their own right.

It may be one of those situations where the numbers together were "easier" for them than the numbers apart. ie. even if the numbers are similar they had to work harder to get them on their own or with other players.

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08-21-2011, 05:21 PM
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Well 1991 really is his legacy season and that season was clearly boosted by Oates. During the 19 games Oates missed, hull scored at a rate of 1.42 ppg, which is a huge drop off from 1.68.

Also in 1990, Oates assisted on 23 out of 72 goals, replace him with a lesser playmaker and hull probably ends up with 10 fewer goals. Hull himself says his chemistry with oates was huge.

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08-21-2011, 05:40 PM
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tombombadil
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Neely's best season (50 in 50) came with Oates. Hull's best seasons came with Oates. Without Oates, both were lucky to break 50. With Oates they were fortunate to score a GOAL PER GAME.

Oates' best season? He played with Joe Juneau. He nearly managed 50 that year, as he didn't have a triggerman. Think he nearly nabbed 140 points.

Interesting to see your findings, though. I will have to look through game by game stuff to see how your findings are possible.

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08-21-2011, 05:50 PM
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Without reading your analysis, good work by the way, I know that Oates didn't have a heckuva lot to do with Hull's first 70 goal season. They spent a lot of time apart as a matter of fact. Hull was able to put the puck in the net no matter.

ushvinder says above that Hull "probably" ends up with 10 fewer goals in his 72 goal season. That's possible. Probable ? Impossible to say. Not unrealistic to state though.

Either way, Hull and Oates had great chemistry and helped each other out. I'm sure there was times when they both had a hand in a goal, yet only one received a point. And as BraveCanadian says, the goals may have just came "easier" when they were together.

Hull was likely scoring at least 90% of those goals regardless I would say. The guy just simply hit his stride and he fired the puck in the net at will.

I think one thing we should take into account is that while very close, Hull's ppg average while in St.Louis was higher than Oates's. Matter of fact it was before they went to St.Louis as well as over their careers.

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08-21-2011, 05:55 PM
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From 89-99, Gretzky led NHL scoring with 1,020 points, Oates was second with 927. Fair to say he knew what he was doing wherever he played.

End of a shift when Oates/Hull were together in St. Louis, the other winger lamented not getting a pass. He said to Oates on the bench, "You know, I was open on that play." Oates answered, "Yeah, I know."

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08-21-2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
Neely's best season (50 in 50) came with Oates. Hull's best seasons came with Oates. Without Oates, both were lucky to break 50. With Oates they were fortunate to score a GOAL PER GAME.

Oates' best season? He played with Joe Juneau. He nearly managed 50 that year, as he didn't have a triggerman. Think he nearly nabbed 140 points.

Interesting to see your findings, though. I will have to look through game by game stuff to see how your findings are possible.
Hull had seasons of 54 and 57 goals after Oates, as well as a season where he had 43 in 70 games. So to say he was "lucky" to hit 50 is a stretch.

Besides, the analyisis above suggests otherwise as well.

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08-21-2011, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tjcurrie View Post
Hull had seasons of 54 and 57 goals after Oates, as well as a season where he had 43 in 70 games. So to say he was "lucky" to hit 50 is a stretch.

Besides, the analyisis above suggests otherwise as well.
maybe the word 'lucky' was the wrong one to use. But to go over 70 twice, and 80 once out of 3 seasons, compared to 2 seasons over 50 out of .... 14 seasons...

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08-21-2011, 08:32 PM
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edited


Last edited by tombombadil: 08-21-2011 at 09:39 PM.
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08-21-2011, 09:40 PM
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maybe the word 'lucky' was the wrong one to use. But to go over 70 twice, and 80 once out of 3 seasons, compared to 2 seasons over 50 out of .... 14 seasons...
Without a doubt he and Oates had chemistry, but clearly the numbers show that Oates wasnt as responsible for Hull's success as some like to believe. Like I said, Hull just hit his stride in those years. He scored a lot of his goals playing with guys like Sutter, Momesso, Zezel, and Meagher.

If someone wanted to take 5 to 10 goals per year in those 3 seasons away from Hull, that may not even be fair to him but it could be the case. But any more than that would be an injustice to Hull.

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08-22-2011, 10:01 AM
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ya, if those stats are accurate, then Oates is a complete zero, as far as usefullness to that team. I'm going to have to get a yahoo account so that I can check them for myself. I would also like to see who he was actually assisting on.

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08-22-2011, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
ya, if those stats are accurate, then Oates is a complete zero, as far as usefullness to that team. I'm going to have to get a yahoo account so that I can check them for myself. I would also like to see who he was actually assisting on.
I would definately not say Oates was useless, he was a very good player who definately helped Hull, especially during the 90/91 season. All I'm saying is that I think people have overstated Oates' impact on Hull's goal scoring.

Here's the goal scorers Oates assisted on:

1989-90 Season

Player Goals
Brett Hull 23
Paul MacLean 20
Rod Brind'Amour 13
Sergio Momesso 6
Jeff Brown 5
Gino Cavallini 3
Paul Cavallini 2
Peter Zezel 2
Steve Tuttle 2
Gordie Roberts 1
Ron Wilson 1
Dominic Lavoie 1

1990-91 Season

Player Goals
Brett Hull 41
Geoff Courtnall 9
Rod Brind'Amour 8
Dave Lowry 7
Paul Cavallini 5
Paul MacLean 4
Jeff Brown 4
Cliff Ronning 3
Mario Marois 1
Sergio Momesso 1
Rich Sutter 1
Dan Quinn 1
Glen Featherstone 1
Gino Cavallini 1
Tom Tilley 1
Scott Stevens 1


Last edited by matnor: 08-22-2011 at 11:39 AM.
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08-22-2011, 11:24 AM
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Context would help a lot here. Is there any pair we can compare these guys to?

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08-22-2011, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Context would help a lot here. Is there any pair we can compare these guys to?
Definately, I'll post some comparisons later when I have time.

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08-22-2011, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
ya, if those stats are accurate, then Oates is a complete zero, as far as usefullness to that team. I'm going to have to get a yahoo account so that I can check them for myself. I would also like to see who he was actually assisting on.
Useless ? No. That's not what the numbers mean. He helped anyone he played with, ever, it's just that the argument is Hull would have scored x amount anyways. The both of them together made St.Louis a much better team than what they previously were.

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08-22-2011, 12:34 PM
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Useless ? No. That's not what the numbers mean. He helped anyone he played with, ever, it's just that the argument is Hull would have scored x amount anyways. The both of them together made St.Louis a much better team than what they previously were.
You also can't understate the indirect impact Oates being on the team would have had for Hull's scoring. If Hull is on the first line, and Oates on the second, the opposition has to split their best defenders to cover both lines. This would give each player more space. This is most evident during the 89-90 season when they didn't spend much time together. More research would have to go into this to justify it though.

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08-22-2011, 02:28 PM
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matnor
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Ok, so I have looked at some comparables. Oates 41 assist to Hull in 90/91 is the 5th most assist to one player in a single season. That in itself is not surprising since Hull's 86 goals is the 3rd highest scoring season but that they only played 59 games together makes it remarkable. Here's the top-10 list:


Goal scorer Playmaker Goals Total Goals
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 69
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 71
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 43 69
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 43 54
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 41 52
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 41 68
Brett Hull Adam Oates 41 85
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 40 64
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 40 45
Jonathan Cheechoo Joe Thornton 39 56

The "Total Goals" column shows how many goals the goals scorer scored in total that season. Not surprisingly, this list is dominated by Kurri-Gretzky and Bossy-Trottier.

A perhaps more interesting comparable would be the share of goals that the playmaker assisted on. In Oates case he assisted on 41/86=48%* of Hull's goals. However, excluding the games Oates missed the share is 41/68=60%. The following table lists all 50+ goal scorer in the HSP data with on playmaker with at least a 60% assist share:


Goal scorer Playmaker Goals Total Goals Share
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 69 81.2%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 43 54 79.6%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 71 78.9%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 41 52 78.8%
Bryan Trottier Mike Bossy 38 50 76.0%
Jonathan Cheechoo Joe Thornton 39 56 69.6%
Al Secord Denis Savard 36 54 66.7%
Bernie Geoffrion Jean Beliveau 32 50 64.0%
Gary Leeman Ed Olczyk 32 51 62.7%
Peter Bondra Michal Pivonka 32 51 62.7%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 40 64 62.5%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 43 69 62.3%
Dave Andreychuk Doug Gilmour 33 53 62.3%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 33 53 62.3%
Bill Barber Bobby Clarke 31 50 62.0%
Danny Grant Marcel Dionne 31 50 62.0%
Reggie Leach Bobby Clarke 31 50 62.0%
Steve Shutt Guy Lafleur 37 60 61.7%
Rick Vaive Bill Derlago 33 54 61.1%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 41 68 60.3%
Dany Heatley Jason Spezza 30 50 60.0%
Milan Hejduk Peter Forsberg 30 50 60.0%

As can be seen, while a 60% assist share is high it's not a unique occurence. As a sidenote, in 82/83 Gretzky assisted on 40 of Kurri's 45 goals for a 89% assist share, the highest share for any 20+ goal scorer.

*While HSP only lists 85 goals for Hull, the missing goal seems to have been scored in a game when Oates was not in the lineup.


Last edited by matnor: 08-22-2011 at 02:34 PM.
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08-22-2011, 02:34 PM
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cool, thanks for the stats

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08-22-2011, 02:39 PM
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You also can't understate the indirect impact Oates being on the team would have had for Hull's scoring. If Hull is on the first line, and Oates on the second, the opposition has to split their best defenders to cover both lines. This would give each player more space. This is most evident during the 89-90 season when they didn't spend much time together. More research would have to go into this to justify it though.
That's certainly true, but it's no difference from other cases with two high-scoring players on different lines such as Hull-Mikita, Gretzky-Messier, Lemieux-Jagr, Yzerman-Fedorov, Sakic-Forsberg etc. And in some cases (maybe Messier?) it can hurt the player because of decreasing ice time rather than more favourable matchups.

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08-22-2011, 03:00 PM
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tombombadil
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Ok, so I have looked at some comparables. Oates 41 assist to Hull in 90/91 is the 5th most assist to one player in a single season. That in itself is not surprising since Hull's 86 goals is the 3rd highest scoring season but that they only played 59 games together makes it remarkable. Here's the top-10 list:


Goal scorer Playmaker Goals Total Goals
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 69
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 71
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 43 69
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 43 54
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 41 52
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 41 68
Brett Hull Adam Oates 41 85
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 40 64
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 40 45
Jonathan Cheechoo Joe Thornton 39 56

The "Total Goals" column shows how many goals the goals scorer scored in total that season. Not surprisingly, this list is dominated by Kurri-Gretzky and Bossy-Trottier.

A perhaps more interesting comparable would be the share of goals that the playmaker assisted on. In Oates case he assisted on 41/86=48%* of Hull's goals. However, excluding the games Oates missed the share is 41/68=60%. The following table lists all 50+ goal scorer in the HSP data with on playmaker with at least a 60% assist share:


Goal scorer Playmaker Goals Total Goals Share
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 69 81.2%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 43 54 79.6%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 56 71 78.9%
Jari Kurri Wayne Gretzky 41 52 78.8%
Bryan Trottier Mike Bossy 38 50 76.0%
Jonathan Cheechoo Joe Thornton 39 56 69.6%
Al Secord Denis Savard 36 54 66.7%
Bernie Geoffrion Jean Beliveau 32 50 64.0%
Gary Leeman Ed Olczyk 32 51 62.7%
Peter Bondra Michal Pivonka 32 51 62.7%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 40 64 62.5%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 43 69 62.3%
Dave Andreychuk Doug Gilmour 33 53 62.3%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 33 53 62.3%
Bill Barber Bobby Clarke 31 50 62.0%
Danny Grant Marcel Dionne 31 50 62.0%
Reggie Leach Bobby Clarke 31 50 62.0%
Steve Shutt Guy Lafleur 37 60 61.7%
Rick Vaive Bill Derlago 33 54 61.1%
Mike Bossy Bryan Trottier 41 68 60.3%
Dany Heatley Jason Spezza 30 50 60.0%
Milan Hejduk Peter Forsberg 30 50 60.0%

As can be seen, while a 60% assist share is high it's not a unique occurence. As a sidenote, in 82/83 Gretzky assisted on 40 of Kurri's 45 goals for a 89% assist share, the highest share for any 20+ goal scorer.

*While HSP only lists 85 goals for Hull, the missing goal seems to have been scored in a game when Oates was not in the lineup.
very cool numbers. It's actually very interesting how many guys on the bottom list had lesser seasons without their playmaker, and how many of the listed playmakers are considered elite playmakers.

I think you see a lot of guys on there who were 30-40 goal guys with a regular center, who get to add 20 goals with the elite guy that they had chemistry with. In Hull's case, it's similar, except that he's a 40-55 goal scorer with a regular center... ala Craig Janney. I might be the only person who had Janney as my favorite player at one time in my life. Bit of a headshaker now.

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08-22-2011, 03:09 PM
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just kind of a side note, here. I was just on hockeydb, looking at the 92-93 season for the Bruins, which was Oates' best. he had 142 points, and the team had 332 goals scored. that means he was in on 42% of the entire team's production. and he assisted on 34% of the teams' goals that he himself didn't score (97/287).

I have nothing to compare that to, other than I'm going to look at Gretzky right now, but it's mindblowing, considering that he didn't have a triggerman of reknown to dish to.

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08-22-2011, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Context would help a lot here. Is there any pair we can compare these guys to?
Quote:
Originally Posted by matnor View Post
Definately, I'll post some comparisons later when I have time.
Hey, out of couriosity I crunched the numbers for Alex Mogilny's (76g, 51a, 127 p) and Pat LaFontaine's (53g, 95a, 148p) ridiculous 92-93 season

Assists by LaFontaine on goals by...
-- Alex Mogilny 42
-- Dave Andreychuk 16
-- Dale Hawerchuk 6
-- Doug Bodger 5
-- Yuri Khmylev 5
-- a lot of others with 4 or less.
Fun fact: Bill Houlder scored three goals that year, all assisted by LaFontaine.

Assists for goals by Alex Mogilny from...
-- Pat LaFontaine 42
-- Dave Andreychuk 12
-- Dale Hawerchuk 11
-- Doug Bodger 10
-- Richard Smehlik 8
-- Brad May 7
-- Yuri Kmyhlev 6
-- Unassisted 4
-- a lot of others with 4 or less.

One thing I'd like to know now: Who was the main trigger man for Dale Hawerchuk? The guy had 80 assists in 92-93, but set up only 11 goals for Mogilny.
So I looked it up and took a look at powerplay and even strenght numbers...

Assists by Dale Hawerchuk (PP/EV):
Mogilny 10/1
Andreychuk 12/1
Wood 1/5
Bodger 3/0
LaFontaine 9/2
Audette 1/4
Khmylev 0/5
Sweeney 3/0
Presley 0/3
others with 2 or less goals.
Totals 41/37

So in total I came up with 78 assists by Hawerchuk. I missed two somewhere (, but the trend is obvious: Hawerchuk set up the "big three" of the Sabres on the Powerplay for fun and pretty much the whole rest of the team at even strength.


Interesting numbers, I guess. Maybe

Edit: I guess this top-10 list up there is incomplete then...


Last edited by ziggo66: 08-22-2011 at 03:35 PM.
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08-22-2011, 03:11 PM
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Gretz was directly involved in just over half of Edmonton's goals in his 215 point season! wow.

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08-22-2011, 03:14 PM
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ya, ziggo, those are interesting. I would like to know if anyone, specifically, helped Teemu in his big year, as well. Also, Bure... did he have anyone who he clicked with, or did he just take the puck from anyone's pass and do it himself, more or less?

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08-22-2011, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ziggo66 View Post
Hey, out of couriosity I crunched the numbers for Alex Mogilny's (76g, 51a, 127 p) and Pat LaFontaine's (53g, 95a, 148p) ridiculous 92-93 season

Assists by LaFontaine on goals by...
-- Alex Mogilny 42
-- Dave Andreychuk 16
-- Dale Hawerchuk 6
-- Doug Bodger 5
-- Yuri Khmylev 5
-- a lot of others with 4 or less.
Fun fact: Bill Houlder scored three goals that year, all assisted by LaFontaine.

Assists for goals by Alex Mogilny from...
-- Pat LaFontaine 42
-- Dave Andreychuk 12
-- Dale Hawerchuk 11
-- Doug Bodger 10
-- Richard Smehlik 8
-- Brad May 7
-- Yuri Kmyhlev 6
-- Unassisted 4
-- a lot of others with 4 or less.

One thing I'd like to know now: Who was the main trigger man for Dale Hawerchuk? The guy had 80 assists in 92-93, but set up only 11 goals for Mogilny.
So I looked it up and took a look at powerplay and even strenght numbers...

Assists by Dale Hawerchuk (PP/EV):
Mogilny 10/1
Andreychuk 12/1
Wood 1/5
Bodger 3/0
LaFontaine 9/2
Audette 1/4
Khmylev 0/5
Sweeney 3/0
Presley 0/3
others with 2 or less goals.
Totals 41/37

So in total I came up with 78 assists by Hawerchuk. I missed two somewhere (, but the trend is obvious: Hawerchuk set up the "big three" of the Sabres on the Powerplay for fun and pretty much the whole rest of the team at even strength.


Interesting numbers, I guess. Maybe

Edit: I guess this top-10 list up there is incomplete then...
Yes, the top-10 list is incomplete since HSP only covers the seasons 52/53-today with the exception of 87/88, 88/89, 91/92 and 92/93. Especially 92/93 is interesting due to the extreme number of high scoring players. May I ask where you got that data?

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