Bobby Hull... What if he doesn't jump to the WHA?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Sens Rule, May 28, 2006.

  1. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    What if Hull doesn't jump to the WHA at age 32. What if he stays in the NHL his whole career? Where would he stand among the Alltime leaders?

    Let's say he continues to play in the NHL when he was in the WHA and plays a similar number of games each year.

    72/73 65 games 43 goals 90 points
    73/74 75 42 85
    74/75 75 53 108
    75/76 80 45 100
    76/77 35 18 45
    77/78 75 35 85
    78/79 4 2 4

    Assuming he could produce at this pace which is reduced considerably from what he actually achieved in the WHA he would have retired with...

    1472 games played which would have been 2nd to Howe when he retired and 15th overall now.

    848 goals. Which would be 1st overall when he retired and second only to Gretzky now. And since Howe scored 801 even if Hull is off the pace I predicatied by quite a bit he still probably have retired the All-time goal king.

    1687 points which would have been 2nd overall when he retired and 8th now.

    839 assists would put him 3rd overall when he retired and 23rd overall now.

    So do you think if Hull had not jumped to the WHA would he be more highly regarded now? Gretzky would have been chasing Hull not Howe for the All-time goal record.

    Right now there is a big 4 players Orr, Gretzky, Howe and Lemieux who people debate whether they were the greatest of All-time. Maybe if Hull doesn't jump to the WHA when he was still in his prime years he becomes part of a big 5 and is in the debate as the best player ever too.

    Hull is remembered well and he is in most top 10 lists of the best players ever but maybe he should be a consensus top 5 and debate about whether he was higher than Harvey, Beliveau, Shore, Bourque or a few others should instead be a debate about whether he was as good as Howe and Lemieux?
     
  2. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    i think it depends on who his linemates would had been if he had stayed in the nhl.

    I was a baby when he jumped to the wha so im less then an authority on this time ;)
     
  3. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    I wasn't even born when he jumped to the WHA but with Bobby Hull it doesn't depend that much on his linemates. And if he had stayed in the NHL he would have had decent linemates with Chicago. Even though Chicago was a pretty bad team in the mid-late 70's Mikita could still produce pretty good at an older age and played till the same year Hull retired.

    Still that is a good point. In 74/75 I predict Hull gets 53 goals and 108 points in the NHL. He had 77 goals in 78 games with Winnipeg but his linemates were a great mesh with him and very talented (Ulf Nilsson and Andres Hedberg who got 120 and 100 points themselves). The top scorers on Chicago that year were Mikita at 86 points, Bolderiev at 67 and Pappin at 63.

    The last year Hull was in Chicago they were 4th overall with 107 points and the year after he left they slipped to 93 points. Still if Hull stays I think Chicago is a much better team and management trys harder to keep better players and contend for the cup. Even as the Hawks becmae a pretty bad team in the mid 70's, I think with Hull on the team that makes the team significantly better on its own and the management trys harder to ice a contending team with Hull on the roster.

    That said... In the weaker WHA the Jets one of the top teams in the WHA may well have been a better team than the NHL Hawks during some years in the mid-later 1970's.
     
  4. sparr0w

    sparr0w Registered User

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    Same could be said for Howe. Had he had his surgery sooner and stayed in the NHL rather than heading to Houston with his sons his numbers would have held up a tad bit longer to Wayne's assault. 2000+ games (unapproachable IMO), 900+ goals (maybe Wayne would have passed less :P ), 2100+ points.

    But yeah, Hull's numbers would more reflect his stature among the greats.
     
  5. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    A line of Hull Hedberg and Nilsson would have been great in the 1970's if they had been in the NHL. Nilsson and Hedberg would not have been as high in scoring as they were in the WHA but they were great players in their own right and it would have been awesome to see them perform at the height of their talents with Hull on the wing in the NHL.
     
  6. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Howe could easily have played NHL hockey in the 1970's instead of in the WHA. But Hull was in the WHA in his relative still prime years while Howe was 43 years old+. I wonder if Howe comes back to play if Mark and Marty play in the NHL? I think he would have but his numbers wouldn't have been as nearly as great as they were in the WHA. Hull I think would have produced at 2/3 or so his WHA rate in the NHL Howe maybe 50-60% of the rate.

    Still Howe is the bomb. I am not saying Hull is/was better. Just that his WHA career more deflects from his rating among All-time greats than Howes's does.

    15 goals and 41 points and playing every game in an 80 game season as a 52 year old is the greatest accomplishment in NHL history in my opinion.

    Howe played in the WHA for 6 season starting at age 44. He was already considered the best player to ever play hockey. He owned virtually every record. He was already a hockey god.

    Hull left in pretty much his late prime. He was only 32 and still had a ton of his best hockey ahead of him. Howe was born in 1928 and Hull in 1939 and both retired the same season and Howe played every game of that season while Hull played about 1/3 of his last year.

    Hull wasn't as good a player as Howe. But he was a better goal scorer. Maybe the best goal scorer of ALL-time.

    Hull lost the most from jumping to the WHA. He also gained the most in salary for himself and every other player to come after him. He lost the chance to be on Team Canada in 1972. And at the time he was either the second best player in the world to Orr or the third best to Orr and Espo.

    Esposito is an entirely other thread but he gets the least credit of all of the All-time greats. Esposito was so good and is on no one's top 10 list.
     
  7. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    I'll just say that at the time Hull jumped to the WHA, there was a pervasive feeling that he was a selfish player and that the Hawks would get along just fine without him, and they did, for a while, with two forty-win seasons and a finals appearance in the years right after his departure. After Hull left, the Hawks played a more team-oriented game, sparked by the Pappin-Martin-(Dennis) Hull line. Mikita was still great, they had two of the best (and historically underrated) defensemen in the league in Pat Stapleton and Bill White, and they had a fine supporting cast in guys like Dick Redmond, Cliff Koroll and tough guys like Phil Russell and Keith Magnuson. They didn't really start falling apart until Stapleton and White jumped to the WHA.
     
  8. Blikian29

    Blikian29 Registered User

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    Worst yet... Glen Sather actually chased Hull for a little bit to come to the Oilers and play alongside Gretzky. Bobby has actually gone on record and said that not joining Edmonton was the biggest mistake he ever made. Gretzky centering Hull? You're talking 900 goals and perhaps 2000+ points... however you might also be talking 3200+ points for Gretz.

    Let's not even talk about Lucky Luc's all-time Left Wing records...
     
  9. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    I don't know where you get your evidence tht Hull was not a team player. In his last 5 years in the NHL his +/- was plus 100. Chicago was in fact playing a team game for the last several years Hull played for them. They should have won the cup in 71 but for a lack of clutch goaltending. Of course, the team didn't fall apart after he left as this was a good team with a strong supporting cast. If they had kepy Hull and had better clutch goaltending they would have contended for the cup throughout the 70's.

    Hull tends to get underrated because he left the NHL when he still had some good years left. The Hockey news poll rated him too low and people who had never seen him play followed along. He definitely is a top 5 player of all time regardless of where he played. Check the stats for the 76 Canada Cup & see who the highest scoring canadian was.
     
  10. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Hull played 4 games in Gretzky's only WHA season and about a third of a season in Gretzky's first and Hull's last NHL year. Hull was done as a player by then and it would not have been significant to either of their careers except that it would have been cool for a very short time.
     
  11. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    By watching the team play, and yes, his +/- was high. Because he played on a good team.

    I said "more of a team-oriented game" which is awkward phrasing, but my statement still stands. When Hull was there, they (understandably) shunted more of the offense through him, a strategy which is problematic in the playoffs when Chicago ran into a team that was able to limit his effectiveness.

    Clutch goaltending wasn't the problem. The problem was that the highest-scoring teams in the 60s got regularly choked offensively in the playoffs. In the Hull-led era (1959-60 to 1971-72) they played 112 playoff games and scored two goals or less in 55 of them, almost half. The game plan was easy to figure out. Shadow Hull to keep him in check, and pound Mikita at every opportunity. Toronto and Detroit used to execute this strategy to perfection. Playing against the Hawks was a nice P.R. bonus for certain defensive-minded players, because they would always wind up getting high praise for their performance against Bobby Hull.

    Yes, he was a great player. Hell no, he wasn't the fifth best player of all-time. Not even close.
     
  12. tinyzombies

    tinyzombies Registered User

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    Glenn Hall has often complained that if Chicago had played a reasonable sensible two-way game, they would have won several more Cups. But they were all offense with little regard for their own end.

    Imagine how many points Howe would have put up in that type of system?
     
  13. CoupeStanley

    CoupeStanley Registered User

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    Wasn't his slapshop clocked at 123mph?
    Or is it a myth?
     
  14. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    I think it is true, he had a wind up that you just don't see anymore and the power and balance to do that, incredible as it may sound to anyone who never saw it.

    But he was not the all around player Beliveau was. He was often behind Mikita in effectiveness in spite of looking much more impressive to watch. I think he played his best all-around hockey as the leader of the WHA Team Canada in 74 at 34 or 35 years old. (46 year old Gordie Howe was pretty effective in that one also)
     
  15. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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  16. jiggs 10

    jiggs 10 Registered User

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    Had Hull stayed in the NHL for the next 7 seasons, he would have probably scored another 200+ goals and had about 180 assists (if he had any teammates left by the end). He was THAT good. Howe was done, he just jumped to the WHA to play in a watered-down league with his kids. He quit in Detroit because he wasn't getting it done anymore, and the Wings were in free-fall at that time.

    Hull was the fastest skater ever. Period. He had the hardest, fastest shot ever. Period. His WRIST shot was as fast as MacInnis' 102 MPH. His slap shot was timed at 118 MPH in the late 60's. He was feared by all goalies at the time. Imagine facing MacInnis' shot WITHOUT A MASK OR HELMET, except even harder! :eek:
     

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