HOH Top 60 Centers of All Time

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by TheDevilMadeMe, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    This is the final list of the top centers from all of hockey history, as determined by the History of Hockey community at HFBoards:

    RankPlayerHeightWeightBornDiedCareerNationality
    1Wayne Gretzky6'0"18519611978-1999Canada
    2Mario Lemieux6'4"23019651984-2006Canada
    3Jean Béliveau6'3"205193120141950-1971Canada
    4Howie Morenz5'9"165190219371923-1937Canada
    5Stan Mikita5'9"16919401958-1980Canada
    6Mark Messier6'1"21019611978-2004Canada
    7Bobby Clarke5'10"18519491969-1984Canada
    8Frank Nighbor5'9"160189319661912-1930Canada
    9Phil Esposito6'1"20519421963-1981Canada
    10Joe Sakic5'11"19519691988-2009Canada
    11Bryan Trotter5'11"19519561975-1994Canada
    12Fred "Cyclone" Taylor5'8"165188419791905-1923Canada
    13Steve Yzerman5'11"18519651983-2006Canada
    14Édouard "Newsy" Lalonde5'9"1680188719701904-1927Canada
    15Syl Apps, Sr.6'0"185191519981936-1948Canada
    16Frank Boucher5'8"185190119771921-1938Canada
    17Henri Richard5'7"16019361955-1974Canada
    18Milt Schmidt6'0"185191820171936-1955Canada
    19*Marcel Dionne5'9"19019511971-1989Canada
    20*Peter Forsberg6'0"20519731990-2011Sweden
    21Ted Kennedy5'10"170192520091942-1957Canada
    22Sidney Crosby5'11"20019872005-presentCanada
    23Joe Malone5'10"150189019691910-1924Canada
    24Max Bentley5'10"155192019841940-1954Canada
    25Norm Ullman5'10"17519351955-1977Canada
    26Elmer Lach5'10"165191820151940-1954Canada
    27Bill Cowley5'10"165191219931934-1947Canada
    28Nels Stewart6'1"195190219571925-1940Canada
    29Sergei Fedorov (Fyodorov)6'2"20719691986-2009Russia
    30Sid Abel5'11"170191820001938-1954Canada
    31Dave Keon5'9"16519401960-1982Canada
    32Doug Gilmour5'11"17719631983-2003Canada
    33Alexander Maltsev5'9"16919491967-1984Russia
    34Joe Thornton6'4"22019791997-presentCanada
    35Ron Francis6'3"20019631981-2004Canada
    36Peter Šťastný6'1"20019561975-1995Slovakia
    37Alex Delvecchio6'0"19519321950-1974Canada
    38Eric Lindros6'4"24019731992-2007Canada
    39Adam Oates5'11"19019621985-2004Canada
    40Evgeni Malkin6'3"19519862003-presentRussia
    41TGilbert Perreault6'1"18019501970-1987Canada
    41TReginald "Hooley" Smith5'10"155190319631924-1941Canada
    43Pavel Datsyuk5'11"19819781997-presentRussia
    44Russell Bowie188019561896-1908Canada
    45Jean Ratelle6'1"18019401960-1981Canada
    46Marty Barry5'11"175196919691927-1940Canada
    47Mike Modano6'3"21219701989-2011USA
    48Dale Hawerchuk5'11"19019631981-1997Canada
    49Vladimir Petrov6'0"18719471965-1983Russia
    50Denis Savard5'10"17519611980-1997Canada
    51Igor Larionov5'9"17019601977-2004Russia
    52Mickey MacKay5'9"162189419401914-1930Canada
    53Frank Federickson5'11"180189519791913-1931Canada
    54Mats Sundin6'5"23119711989-2009Sweden
    55Henrik Zetterberg5'11"19719802000-presentSweden
    56Darryl Sittler6'0"19019501970-1985Canada
    57Václav Nedomanský6'1"21019441965-1983Czechia
    58Gordon "Duke" Keats5'11"195189519721915-1934Canada
    59Jacques Lemaire5'10"18019451967-1979Canada
    60Neil Colville5'11"175191419871935-1949Canada
    Links to all the discussion threads that went into making this list:
    Round 2 Voting Results
    Round 2, Vote 1 (1-4)
    Round 2, Vote 2 (5-8)
    Round 2, Vote 3 (9-12)
    Round 2, Vote 4 (13-16)
    Round 2, Vote 5 (17-20)
    Round 2, Vote 6 (21-23)
    Round 2, Vote 7 (24-27)
    Round 2, Vote 8 (28-31)
    Round 2, Vote 9 (32-36)
    Round 2, Vote 10 (37-39)
    Round 2, Vote 11 (40-44)
    Round 2, Vote 12 (45-48)
    Round 2, Vote 13 (49-52)
    Round 2, Vote 14 (53-57)
    Round 2, Vote 15 (58-59)
    Round 2, Vote 16 (60th place tiebreak)

    Links to the preliminary discussion threads before voters submitted their lists:
    Determining Positions - Should he be considered a center?
    Rules Discussion Thread
    Round 1 Preliminary Discussion Thread

    Links that explain the creation of the aggregate list that formed the basis of discussion. This data was released at the end of the project:
    Round 1 Voting Results (Aggregate List) data lost
    Round 1 Screening Procedure & Rejected Lists
    Participant Survey (filled out at the end of the project) data lost

    Listed here are the individual voting records of all participants: most data lost

    bigbuffalo313
    BillyShoe1721
    Canadiens1958
    DaveG
    Dennis Bonvie
    Hardyvan123
    Hawkey Town 18
    intylerwetrust
    jigglysquishy
    MadArcand
    Mike Farkas
    MXD
    reckoning
    Rob Scuderi
    seventieslord
    Sturminator
    tarheelhockey
    ted1971
    the edler
    TheDevilMadeMe
    tony D
    VanIslander
    vecens24
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2018
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  2. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Listing Stan Mikita as Canadian because that's where he was trained. This is consistent with listing Charlie Gardiner as Canadian in the goalies project - Gardiner was 7 years old when his family moved to Canada, and Mikita was 8 years old when his family did.
     
  3. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I'm listing Frank Boucher's career as 1921-1938, as I feel that is a more accurate representation of when he was a relevant player than hockey reference's 1921-1944. He retired at the age of 36 in 1938. At the age of 42, as coach of the Rangers, he suited up for 15 games in 1943-44 (scoring 14 points, not bad!) because his club was so devastated by World War 2 that they were desperate for players (indeed, the Rangers tried to suspend operations but the NHL talked them out of it). Still, those 15 war year games were the only games Boucher played after 1938.
     
  4. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Consistent with the Boucher listing, I'm not including Forsberg's 2 game failed comeback in 2010 in his career span.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  5. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Career spans after the top 20

    This is a rough guide as to how we are representing eras. It includes the entire career span of a player, including non-prime years and years when they were temporarily retired or injured. Exceptions: I end Frank Boucher's span at his first retirement due to the exceptional circumstances of his brief comeback during World War 2 and I exclude Forsberg's failed 2 game comeback in 2010.

    pre-1904: none
    1904: one
    1905-1911: two
    1912-1920: three
    1921-1922: four
    1923: five
    1924-1927: four
    1928-1930: three
    1931-1935: two
    1936-1937: four
    1938: three
    1939-1948: two
    1949: one
    1950-1958: two

    1959-1963: three
    1964-1968: four
    1969-1970: five
    1971: six
    1972-1977: five
    1978-1980: seven
    1981: six
    1982: five
    1983: six
    1984: seven
    1984-1987: six
    1988-1989: seven
    1990-1993: six
    1994: seven
    1995-1999: six
    2000-2004: five

    2005-2006: four
    2007-2008: two
    2009-2010: one
    2011-present: none

    According to this panel, the number of quality centers in the league increased dramatically shortly after the 1967 expansion. Perhaps we are biased towards players we have seen play? Or perhaps we are taking a less critical view of the higher raw statistics of the post-expansion era than we could be? Or maybe there is a good reason for it - with more teams, were more talented players converted to center from wing?

    Comments appreciated - this thread is open
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  6. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    Forsberg played 16 games in 2007-08.
    Forsberg played 3 games in 2008-09.
    Forsberg played 23 games of a 55 game season in 2009-10.
    Forsberg played 4 games in the 2010 Olympics.
    Forsberg played 2 games 2010-11.


    How is that consistent with Boucher retiring for six years and coming back temporarily because of a war? Forsberg never retired and never missed hockey for an entire season between 2006-07 and 2010-11.

    You have Al MacInnis listed as playing until 2004 in the defensemen project. Considering he played his last game in 2003 (beginning of 2003-04), while Forsberg played his last game in 2011 (end of 2010-11), you should probably stay consistent to that, because both were cases of injury.

    And frankly, if Ed Belfour's 29 games for Leksands counted in the goalie project when you said he retired in 2008 instead of 2007, then I find this slippery slope you are on with knowingly mislabeling career lengths to be a poor choice.
     
  7. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I suppose the 2010 Olympics are relevant. His time in the Swedish domestic league, probably less relevant than the AHL in the Original 6 era
     
  8. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    And good gravy, man, you have Forsberg listed as beginning his career in 1994!

    He played his first professional game in 1989-90. He was on his third World Championship in 1994. This would be like saying that Hasek's career began in 1990 instead of 1980. The fact that these non-North American games were the crux of an argument against his perceived lack of longevity makes your decision all the more baffling. Hell, I even said this in Vote 4:

    I was being sarcastic. :laugh:
     
  9. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Forsberg is being listed as is consistent with other NHL players who were not stuck behind the iron curtain. That said, he probably should have 2010 because of the Olympics/failed NHL comeback. Really should be listed as "1994-2007, 2010" like FissionFire used to do, but we decided we liked the aesthetics of it better this way.
     
  10. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    And how do you reconcile this with your treatment of Ed Belfour and Al MacInnis in the previous position lists? You're telling us that Leksands counts and Modo doesn't? 3 GP in 2003-04 count but 9 GP and a playoff in 2007-08 don't?

    It is not consistent.
     
  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The MacInnis career span was probably copied from hockey reference and the Belfour career span was probably copied from Wikipedia. This is the first time anyone has taken issue with them.

    I believe that in the defensemen project, I was listing them by the season of retirement, rather than the calendar year.
     
  12. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Changed Forsberg to 1994-2010.

    I'll probably go back and fix Belfour at some point after verifying that it's inconsistent with the rest of that list
     
  13. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    So not only is Elitserien out, World Championships no longer just mean less in our projects - now they don't count towards a player's career?


    Don't forget Hasek in the Top-40, whose career was labeled as lasting until 2011.

    Or Terry Sawchuk, who was labeled as playing until 1970.

    Or John Vanbiesbrouck, who was labeled as playing until 2002.

    Or Tom Barrasso, who was labeled as playing until 2003.

    Or Bobby Orr in the Top-60, who was labeled as playing until 1979.

    Or Borje Salming, who was labeled as playing until 1993.

    Or Alexei Kasatonov, who was labeled as playing until 1997.

    Or Paul Coffey, who was labeled as playing until 2001.

    Or Peter Forsberg on FissionFire's 2009 list, who was labeled as 1990-Present.



    I understand that the idea behind this is so that it would be more aesthetically pleasing than what FissionFire did, but you're getting a little too subjective. First, you lopped off 15 games from a 50 game season for Boucher. A bit of a strange decision, given that it wasn't much less than what he played in 1937-38 (and how much of that was actually 1938), but he was gone for five years in-between and it was an emergency situation. Fine.

    Forsberg played in the NHL in 2006-07, never retired, and you weren't even prepared to give him credit for his NHL regular season or playoff games in 2007-08 until you heard the word "Olympics". What exactly was the motivation behind that decision? Stan Mikita's 17 games in 1979-80 are the magic number, so Forsberg's 16 games in 2007-08 are left out?

    For the record, Mikita's last game was November 30th, 1979. And Mario Lemieux's last game was December 16th, 2005. And Trottier played fewer games in the calendar year of 1994 than Forsberg did in 2008.

    If not Elitserien, why WHA? If not Forsberg, why Mikita? If not Boucher, why Lemieux? If not Sakic and Richard, why both Mikita and Lemieux? If not Forsberg, why Trottier?

    And you don't want to give non-Iron Curtain players credit for European leagues. Fine. The circumstances here were different, considering he played his first game in a senior league two years before he was NHL-eligible, and an NHL team was actively trying to get him to leave his country while he was holding out specifically for the Olympics, but fine. But to not even give him credit for the World Championships he played in the mean time? It's not best-on-best, but it's something.

    You originally labeled a player with a 22-season career as a senior (without ever going an entire year without playing somewhere) as having a 13-season career. You couldn't have expected this to go over well when considering the very counterpoint that I made in Vote 4.

    It's not a big deal... but it kinda is.
     
  14. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Well, if you went through the "career span" listings from earlier projects with a fine tooth comb, I'm sure you noticed that Lundqvist and Lidstrom had their SEL years treated the same as I am treating Forsberg's. Any particular reason you have yet to mention that fact?

    Anyway, if I wasn't clear before, I copied the career spans for the defenseman and goalies lists from other sources (FissionFire's top 100 list when applicable, hockey reference, or wikipedia). Most sources list a player's full final season, not the calendar year he retired. So if he retired in the first half of the year, that would explain most of the discrepancies you listed. The centers project is the first time I've actually tried to pay attention to accuracy there.
     
  15. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    I conceded the point about Modo once you said you would fix Belfour:

    Lundqvist and Lidstrom were already NHL-eligible 18-year-olds when they played their first senior league game in Sweden. It's not nearly as analogous as you're saying (hence why I drew the parallel to Hasek, who received credit in his career listing for games as a non-NHL-eligible teenager) - but you already stated that the error was including Belfour's year in a second-tier Swedish league because you said no Swedish league games should have been included in the first place.

    After that, I basically just rattled off every other name that fit that same scenario of post-NHL play in other leagues or minimal play in their final years that would also need to be fixed because they are no longer compatible with the new rule.


    Okay, I accept that. Let's only look at this project.

    Lemieux and Mikita are easy mistakes to make, so perhaps they were just errors, but you still haven't given a consistent reason for originally not wanting to include Forsberg's 2007-08 (which you now include - only because of the 2010 Olympics). I think it's a good idea to figure out why that was, should the circumstances arise in a future player. Again, he played more in 2008 than Trottier did in 1994 and he hadn't missed a season in-between like Boucher did. What was the motivation behind the original decision?

    Here's what I gather thus far: Junior games don't count. Professional games in non-NHL leagues don't count at the end of the career. Professional games in non-NHL leagues don't count at the beginning of the career unless it is an Iron Curtain situation - at which point all of them count, even pre-18. World Championships don't count. Olympics, WHA, NHA, IHPL, and PCHA count. Federal Amateur Hockey League counts. Canadian American Hockey League does not count.

    NHL counts sometimes:

    Frank Boucher's 18 games in 1937-38 count.
    Frank Boucher's 15 games in 1943-44 don't count.

    Stan Mikita's 17 games in 1979-80 count.
    Bryan Trottier's 11 games in the calendar year of 1994 count.
    Peter Forsberg's 16 games in the calendar year of 2008 wouldn't have counted.

    Stan Mikita's 17 games in the beginning of 1979-80 count for 1980.
    Mario Lemieux's 26 games in the beginning of 2005-06 count for 2006.
    Joe Sakic's 15 games in the beginning of 2008-09 only count for 2008.
    Henri Richard's 16 games in the beginning of 1974-75 only count for 1974.

    Newsy Lalonde's single game in 1926-27 counts for 1927.
    Peter Forsberg's two games in 2011 don't count.


    It just seems like the overkill applied to Frank Boucher and Peter Forsberg in the last two rounds was not applied evenly. And in the case of Forsberg - with all of this being a major issue in the discussion part of the project - saying that it was "consistent" or what FissionFire would have listed is certainly not going to diffuse the situation, because neither are really true. I just want less subjectivity in assessing career lengths so I can be less of an *** about something that comes across as an unnecessary slight.
     
  16. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Does anyone else have any suggestions on how best to define career span?

    If not, I'm going to go back to copying it from hockey reference (for NHL players) and wikipedia (for others).
     
  17. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I would decide what leagues count (everything but junior, perhaps?) And base their first and last year on that, ignoring breaks. Keep it simple.
     
  18. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    "everything but junior" would still include AHL, right? It would also include Tier 1 European leagues that allowed 16 year old's to play in them, I imagine.
     
  19. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Yes. I'd say if that's the system, stick to it.
     
  20. steve141

    steve141 Registered User

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    I'd include all professional leagues and senior international competitions. We might not give the same weight to WHA and SEL games as to NHL games, but we don't need to pretend that they don't exist.
     
  21. Aja

    Aja That's all right momma

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    A tiebreaker would have been nice.
     
  22. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Feel free to participate in the rules discussion thread.
     
  23. DanishPastry

    DanishPastry Registered User

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    It is interesting looking at the weight and height figures that apart from Lemieux and Beliveau everybody else on the list are about average height and no heavy weights.
    So much for 'You need a big physical 1st line center to win the Cup' :)
     
  24. Plural

    Plural Registered User

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    I'm not sure about the older guys, like Morenz. The average height and weight at that time was largely different from today. Guy like Beliveau would have been a ridiculous monster back in 30's.

    But yeah, skill is more important than size.
     
  25. Sturminator

    Sturminator I voted for Kodos

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    Among the old-timers already on the list above, both Schmidt and Apps were quite big and strong for their era.
     

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