Paul Coffey’s offensive stats are just staggering. He owns the single season goals record for a defender and almost topped Orr’s points record. He had both an extremely high offensive peak and also did things consistently through his career that few have ever done before. If he was healthier at the end, he probably would be the highest scoring D in NHL history.
But, especially in the ’80s, there were huge concerns about his defense. And some people still believe he should have played forward.
So where does he rank all time? Does such a player belong in the Hall of Fame?
A friend of ours used to claim that Doug Gilmour didn’t belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame because he had “one good year.” This friend used to compare Gilmour’s stats to Kirk Muller’s, apparently because he didn’t know he could look them up on the internet.
Gilmour was only rarely a star offensively but was one of the elite defensive forwards of his era, receiving numerous Selke nominations. In this episode, we discuss whether he should have been inducted and where he ranks among the great players of his era.
Chris Chelios has one of the most impressive resumes of any American defenseman. He might have the most impressive resume. So the question isn’t so much whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but where does he rank among the greatest NHL defenders ever.
Gary Suter is one of the top offensive defencemen in the history of the NHL. However, many of the defenders above Suter on the points list played at exactly the same time so, in context, his impressive offensive numbers don’t look so impressive.