Is Bobby Orr the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time?

Djcz, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a never-ending debate among hockey fans as to which player of Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr was the greatest.  There are certain areas where each stands supreme.

Our vote is for Orr because we think he played the more difficult and more important position and because he revolutionized the position as well. (Also, the skating.) But at least one of us thinks there’s room for debate.

Listen to us talk about Bobby Orr:

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Does Yvan Cournoyer Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Cournoyer didn’t have the most dominant regular season career and it’s likely that, had he not played for the Habs, he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame with his regular season numbers.

But then, there are his playoff numbers. Safe to say, anyone who leads an entire era in playoff goals and sets a single season record in playoff goals is going into the Hall of Fame.

Listen to us talk about The Roadrunner here:

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Is Ken Dryden the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

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Ken Dryden played for only 8 seasons.

But in those 8 seasons, he won six Stanley Cups as a starter (playing in nearly every game when they won those cups), five Vezina trophies, the Conn Smythe and the Calder. He was a 1st Team All Star six times and only missed the end-of-season All Star teams his first season, when he played in six games.

To play devil’s advocate, he played for the Greatest Hockey Team of All Time. And he might not have deserved his Conn Smythe.

So, is Ken Dryden the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

Listen here:

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Is Bernie Parent one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time?

For two straight years, Bernie Parent was the best goalie in the NHL. He won two straight Vezinas (when it was the Jennings) and two straight Conn Smythes. Additionally, by Hockey Reference’s Goals Saved Above Average metric, Parent’s 1973-74 season is the greatest ever by an NHL goaltender.

Does this brief stretch of dominance put him among the ranks of the very best goalies ever? He’s certainly one of the couple best goalies of the 1970s.

Listen to us discuss Parent’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Does Serge Savard Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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There are basically only 3 post-Bobby Orr defensive defencemen in the Hockey Hall of Fame. (And Savard actually is a contemporary of Bobby Orr, so maybe there are only two.) It’s hard to get in as a defensive defenceman when so many D score now.

On the other hand, there are few NHL players in NHL history to have a higher career plus minus than career points total. Savard is one of those players. And if Savard had never played for the Jets, his utterly insane plus minus would be even higher than his total points.

Is it possible that Savard’s remarkable goal differential is a product of his Hall of Fame teammates? In part, sure. But it’s a chicken or egg question, isn’t it?

So, does Serge Savard belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Listen to us discuss it here:

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Does Dave Keon Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

For some Dave Keon is perhaps the best defensive forward of the 1960s and one of the Greatest Maple Leafs of All Time.

For others, Keon’s per game numbers leave a lot to be desired. And his offensive numbers during the 1967 playoffs do not justify his Conn Smythe.

So, does Dave Keon belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

List to us discuss his Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Guy Lafleur one of the Greatest of All Time?

For 6 seasons – more than half a decade – there was arguably no better hockey player on earth than Guy Lafleur. And there is arguably no better team in NHL history than Lafleur’s Canadiens of the late ’70s.

For the rest of his career, Lafleur was, um, not the best hockey player in the world. And so the question is, was he good enough in those six seasons to rank among the very, very best forwards in history, who managed longer peaks but less consistency?

Listen to us talk about Guy Lafleur’s case for one of the Greatest of All Time here:

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Is Mike Bossy the Greatest Goal Scorer of All Time?

Mike Bossy is 1st All Time in Goals Per Game, was Top 5 in GPG in all but one season of his NHL career and is the only player other than Gretzky to score 50 goals 9 straight times.

But nobody is hurt by Hockey Reference’s adjustment for era more than Mike Bossy. So arguably nobody benefited from playing when they did more than Bossy.

So, is Mike Bossy the greatest goal scorer in NHL history?

Listen to us talk about Mike Bossy’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Bob Gainey the Greatest Defensive Forward of All Time?

Bob Gainey does not have your conventional Hockey Hall of Fame case, his offensive numbers are worse than a defensive defenceman. (Of the NHL players who are +200 for their career, Gainey has the lowest PPG of any forward.)

But, as legend has it, the Selke Trophy was invented for Bob Gainey. Until Bergeron won his most recent Selke, nobody had as many Selkes as Gainey. And then he has that Conn Smythe too.

In this episode, we talk about Bob Gainey’s Hall of Fame case:

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Is Billy Smith one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time?

Billy Smith’s playoff accomplishments are legendary.

But are his stats good enough for him to be discussed among the greatest NHL goalies ever?

Listen to us discuss Billy Smith’s Hockey Hall of Fame case and where he ranks all time:

Hall of Fame class of 1993: Edgar Laprade, Guy Lapointe, Steve Shutt and Billy Smith
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