Many 21st century hockey fans likely think the answer to the question “Who is the Greatest Left Winger of All Time?” has an easy answer, Alex Ovechkin.
But it’s possible we don’t remember how dominant Bobby Hull truly was. Hull won 2 Hart trophies and 3 Art Ross trophies. But he was a Hart finalist for most of a decade. Additionally, he was, by most standards, the best offensive player of his era, both in the regular season and, crucially, in the playoffs.
And then he went to another league and dominated it in his late 30s. (It’s possible his departure to the WHA colours how we think of his career.)
So, is Bobby Hull the Greatest LW of All Time? Listen here:
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?
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.
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).
The “Little Ball of Hate” scored 500 goals and racked up nearly 3,000 penalty minutes. But otherwise, he doesn’t have much of a case to join the Hall of Fame, it would seem. So why did we talk about him?