Is Ron Francis One of the Great Centres in NHL History?

Ron Francis undoubtedly belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Skaters who played as long as he did and were as consistently good as he was always get in.

by akulawolf / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

But the real question is, how good was he? He was never really a top offensive star and his best years came as the second line centre on a team with two of the best forwards in history (and one of the two candidates for best centre ever).

Listen to us debate Francis’ career here:

Ron Francis’ Career:

  • 1981-2004; 23 seasons, all quality
  • Totals:
    • 549G (19th All Time at his retirement),
    • 1249A (2nd All time) for
    • 1798P (5th, 4th at his retirement),
    • -18 in
    • 1731 Games (4th, 3rd at retirement);
    • 149.3 PS;
    • 20:06* ATOI (last 6 seasons)
  • Francis is 16th All Time in APG (actually 18th at his retirement)
  • Francis was 19th All Time in Point Shares at his retirement
  • Francis is 16th All time in Offensive Point Shares (12th at his retirement)
  • Draft: Francis was drafted 4th overall in 1981, in his draft class he is:
    • 1st in Goals
    • 1st in Assists (duh)
    • 1st in Points
    • 80th in Plus/Minus
    • 4th in Point Shares
    • 1st in Games Played
  • Era: Of the 6 players to play in at least 1,476 games (18 seasons) between 1981 and 2004, Francis is
    • 3rd in Goals and GPG
    • 1st in Assists and APG
    • 1st in Points
    • 2nd in PPG
    • 5th (2nd last) in Plus/Minus
    • 2nd in Offensive Point Shares
    • 4th in Defensive Point Shares (1st forward)
    • 5th (2nd last) in Point Shares
  • 82-game average: 26G, 59A for 85P, -1
  • 3-year peak (1993-96): 82-game average of 25G, 84A for 110P, +21
  • No possession numbers
  • Playoffs:
    • 46G,
    • 97A (20th All Time at his retirement) for
    • 143P,
    • +28
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey-Reference: 
      • 518G
      • 1193A (4th All Time)
      • 1711P (5th All Time)
      • 82-game average of 25G, 57A for 81P
      • Per game:
        • If the qualifier is set to 820 games (10 seasons) Francis is 17th All Time in Adjusted APG
        • If the qualifier is upped to 1,230 games (15 seasons) Francis is 8th All Time in Adjusted APG and 16th All Time in PPG
    • VsX: 
      • 521G
      • 1,284A (4th All Time)
      • 1,588P (7th All time)
      • If the qualifier is set to 1,230 games (15 seasons) Francis is 13th All Time in VsX APG and 22nd in PPG
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 28 with Grant Jennings (25) and Ulf Samuelsson (nearly 27) for John Cullen (26), Jeff Parker (26) and Zarley Zalapski (22)
    • Traded at 41 for a 4th round pick (Jared Boll).

Ron Francis’ Accomplishments:

  • Selke (‘95),
  • Top 5 in Selke voting another three times
  • Lady Byng three times
  • King Clancy once
  • Goals:
    • Single-season totals:
      • 30 goals three times
      • 25 goals eleven times
      • 20 goals twenty times (2nd All Time, behind Howe)
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led league in Assists twice,
      • Top 5 six times,
      • Top 10 twelve times (tied 3rd all time)
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Led league in APG once,
      • Top 5 four times,
      • Top 10 seven times
    • Single season totals:
      • 90 assists once
      • 70 assists twice
      • 60 assists nine times (5th All Time, behind Gretzky, Coffey, Bourque, Oates)
      • 50 assists sixteen times (2nd All Time, behind Gretzky)
      • 40 assists nineteen times (t-1st All Time)
  • Points:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in points three times,
      • Top 10 five times
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in PPG twice,
      • Top 10 four times
    • Single-season totals:
      • 110 points once
      • 100 points three times
      • 90 point seven times (1 of only 17 players)
      • 80 points eleven times (1 of only 10 players)
      • 70 points sixteen times (1 of only 4 players: Howe, Gretzky, Dionne)
      • 60 points eighteen times (1 of only 4 players: Howe, Gretzky, Jagr)
      • 50 points twenty two times (t-1st All Time with Howe)
  • Led the league in Plus/Minus once
  • All Star:
    • 4 All Star Game appearances
  • VsX peak adjustment:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: N/A
      • Assists: 24th All Time
      • Points: 54th All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: N/A
      • Assists: 18th All Time
      • Points: 36th All Time

Ron Francis’ Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Top 3 Forward (led team in points but played nearly 100 minutes less than a teammate) on one Runner Up (‘02 Hurricanes)
    • Top 3 Forward (by points – led playoffs in assists) on one Champion (‘92 Penguins)
    • Top 6 Forward (by points) on one Champion (‘91 Penguins)
  • World Championships:
    • Top 3? Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (‘85 Canada)

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