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:
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:
Through a career riddled by injuries – including one induced retirement – Lemieux was one of the most dominant forwards the game has ever seen. He temporarily led the NHL in both career Goals Per Game and Points Per Game, despite debuting after Gretzky and despite playing more of his career in the Dead Puck Era.
But Lemieux never reached Gretzky’s accomplishments either in terms of his peak or his longevity. He has fewer scoring titles and Cups than Gretzky, and Gretzky achieved Lemieux’s offensive feats many times over.
Listen to us discuss whether or not Lemieux is the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time, the Greatest Centre of All Time, or something else, here: