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.
Denis Potvin was the greatest offensive D between Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey. He might have been the best all around defender too, as when was the last time you heard someone complain about his defence?
So obviously Denis Potvin belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But where does he rank all time?
Rod Langway won two Norris trophies and finished 2nd in Hart trophy voting to Wayne Gretzk once. He totally belongs, right?
However, Langway is the basically only purely defensive defenseman to win the Norris trophy in the trophy’s history. (Or, if you prefer, he’s the only purely defensive defenseman to win it since Bobby Orr transformed the position.)
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?