Pavel Bure vs. Alex Ovechkin (prime years)

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by The Panther, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. K Fleur

    K Fleur Intangibles Per Game

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    That’s great.

    The 2nd best player of this era is not worse than a player somewhere around the 10th-15th best player of the 90’s. Ovechkin’s resume blow Bure’s out of the water. The last time this comparison was even interesting was like 10 years ago.

    The 90’s weren’t that great.
     
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  2. Plural

    Plural Registered User

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    Oh I agree and that's why I said that even if one believes Bure faced tougher competition it still wasn't that much tougher. OV all the way over Bure.
     
  3. ehhedler

    ehhedler Valeri Bure fan

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    We're not comparing Ovi's peak against Bure though. The premise of the thread is "prime", which is a bit fuzzy or unclear in this context since Bure didn't really have a prime, he had more like two different "peaks", one 92–94 and one 98–00. So what it really boils down to here is peak Bure vs non-peak "prime" Ovi, and in that case I pick Bure pretty easily because he was just a more dynamic all-ice presence than "designated sniper" Ovi. I'm weak on 94 Bure though, because nostalgia. Everything is better when your 12 years old.

    The league was tougher on Bure though, the wild wild west NHL. Ovi still probably would have tackled it better since he was bigger and a more natural physical freak.
     
  4. ehhedler

    ehhedler Valeri Bure fan

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    It was still different. Ovechkin made his debut in the new easy NHL with no Dale Hunter's, Bryan Marchment's, Mark Messier's, Scott Stevens', Chris Chelios', Gary Suter's and Ulf Samuelsson's behind your back.
     
  5. K Fleur

    K Fleur Intangibles Per Game

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    "The new easy NHL" where players are routinely crashing into each other at significantly faster speeds than they were in the 90's.

    While this era may have less dirty players than previous era's it's not like it's lacking in that regard. From Torres, Pronger, Kaleta to maybe the dirtiest of all Cooke.

    Ovechkin has played with more than enough of an edge throughout his career to be able to survive the post apocalyptic war zone of 90's hockey.
     
  6. ushvinder

    ushvinder Registered User

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    If you compare thier 5 most productive seasons, Ovechkin has the higher ppg and he scored more total points.
     
  7. Laineux

    Laineux Registered User

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    Ovechkin's peak 07-10
    233gp 171g 160a 331p

    Gap in points to #2: 12%
    Gap in goals to #2: 26%
    Gap in points per game to #2: 5%

    Ovechkin lead the league in points per game for three consecutive seasons. Bure finished higher than 7th once.

    What is there to debate? There is just no objective way to say that Bure's resume is anywhere close Ovechkin's, be it career, prime or peak that you're comparing.
     
  8. NewUser293223

    NewUser293223 Registered User

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    Oops. My fault. Forgot about his rookie year. And my preference switches towards Ovi again.
     
  9. ehhedler

    ehhedler Valeri Bure fan

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    You didn’t really read the OP now did you?

    When Ovechkin won one of his non-peak Hart Trophies he didn’t outscore St. Louis & Stamkos, he had 1 more point than P. Kane, 3 more points than Eric Staal and 4 more points than Chris Kunitz. Are you telling me that prime Bure never could have matched that? He was top 5 in scoring three times and would have been top 3 in 93–94 if he didn’t miss a bunch of games.
     
  10. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    Adam Oates finished #3 with 112 points in 77 games. Pavel Bure finished #5 with 107 points in 76 games. Are you suggesting we give Bure "a bunch of games" to pretend he was a top-3 scorer when in reality, he finished #7 in points-per-game behind the actual top-3 scorers, as well as Cam Neely, Eric Lindros, and Steve Yzerman?

    One of his only two top-3 scoring finishes similarly saw him place just #7 in points-per-game. Alex Ovechkin, on the other hand, has five top-3 scoring finishes, and led the league in per-game scoring three years in a row.
     
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  11. Plural

    Plural Registered User

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    That's what it comes down to me too. If we're talking about prime vs. prime we have to include OV's best years too where he was by eye-test and numbers the best offensive player in the world three years straight. It really doesn't matter how close their other seasons are cause the ground Ovechkin makes in those three years is simply too much for Bure to catch up or come close to.

    If we're making an honest comparison outside of OV's peak (which I suppose is the three year period here) then we're going to have to leave out Bure's 3 best seasons too. So what, this comparison then becomes rookie Ovechkin vs. 92-93 Bure? Third Hart trophy Ovechkin vs. 97-98 Bure? 14-15 Ovechkin vs. what exactly? There just simply is not enough substance in Bure's career to make it a valid comparison. Ovechkin beats him in longevity, durability, sustained prime and peak. The mental hoops one needs to jump in order to rank Bure's prime close to OV's is bordering on Lemieux > Gretzky for prime.
     
  12. ehhedler

    ehhedler Valeri Bure fan

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    I didn’t create this thread, and I agree it’s a strange premise of comparison that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Ovechkin had a higher peak, but personally I take 93–94 Bure over 12–13 Ovechkin any day of the week. And yeah, over Cam Neely too.
     
  13. Blade Paradigm

    Blade Paradigm Registered User

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    Not only injuries, but linemates.

    I've done some number-crunching, and it turns out that forwards were significantly more important to Bure's performance than defencemen.

    I sampled four of Bure's seasons: 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, and 1999-00.

    What I wanted to know was which players touched the puck last before every goal scored by Bure -- the primary assist. The common misconception about Bure is that people believe defencemen were sending him out on breakaways all the time and that his game was a north-south game. This was not so, especially as there has been footage to document his game and his style of play.
    This is statistical evidence to support the idea that forwards were more pivotal to his game than defencemen:

    Here are the goal-scoring logs for Bure from the seasons 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, and 1999-00.

    The goals are in no particular order.
    Here are the breakdowns of the primary assists on every Bure goal from those seasons:

    1991-92:

    22 primary assists by forwards = 64.71%


    5 unassisted

    7 primary assists by defencemen = 20.59%

    1992-93:

    39 primary assists by forwards = 65.0%


    6 unassisted

    15 primary assists by defencemen = 25.0%


    1993-94:

    34 primary assists by forwards = 56.67%


    4 unassisted

    22 primary assists by defencemen = 36.67%

    1999-00:

    37 primary assists by forwards = 63.79%

    7 unassisted

    14 primary assists by defencemen = 24.14%

    ------------------------

    Notice that, on average, 64% of primary assists on Bure's goals are awarded to forwards -- 1993-94 is slightly lower at 56.67% -- and only 20 to 25% go to defencemen. This is a very consistent statistic over the course of Bure's most respected seasons.

    We can compare this with the 1992-93 season of a player who, early in his career, relied more on defense than forwards to a much greater degree than Bure -- Teemu Selanne. Teemu was a player who one rightfully could claim would benefit more from elite defence than forward linemates:

    Teemu Selanne (1992-93):

    34 primary assists by forwards = 44.74%

    10 unassisted

    1 by goalie

    31 primary assists by defencemen = 40.79%

    ----------------------------------------

    We can see just how different the percentages are compared to Bure's. Less than half of Selanne's goals that season featured primary assists from forwards, and the defencemen were within just a few percentage points.

    Phil Housley led the group with 15 primary assists, while Alexei Zhamnov had 12, Fred Olausson had 10, and Keith Tkachuk had 8.

    This was a much more skilled group than Bure ever worked with, and we can also see just how much more important defencemen were to Selanne's production that season. The myth that Bure would have been better with an elite defenceman than an elite forward should be put to rest. Bure's game required more partnership and teamwork with other forwards even when those forwards were not elite.

    Housley: 15

    Zhamnov: 12

    Olausson: 10

    Tkachuk: 8

    Shannon: 4

    Steen: 4

    Domi: 2

    Olczyk: 2

    Bautin: 2

    Numminen: 2

    Ulanov: 2

    King: 1

    Barnes: 1

    Essensa: 1

    -------------------------------------------------

    Now, let's look at which forwards on Bure's teams received the primary assists on his goals during the sampled seasons so that we understand the caliber of players that Bure worked with:

    1991-92:

    Larionov: 10 primary assists

    Ronning: 3

    Adams: 3

    Courtnall: 2

    Nedved: 2

    Walter: 1

    Fergus: 1

    ----------------------

    1992-93:

    Adams: 11 primary assists

    Semenov: 8

    Courtnall: 5

    Ward: 4

    Ronning: 3

    Nedved: 3

    Craven: 2

    Momesso: 1

    Odjick: 1

    Morin: 1

    ----------------------

    1993-94:


    Courtnall: 9 primary assists

    Craven: 8

    Adams: 5

    Carson: 5

    Ronning: 4

    Odjick: 2

    Gelinas: 1

    -----------------------

    1999-00:

    Kozlov: 13 primary assists on Bure goals

    Whitney: 9

    Mellanby: 6

    Sillinger: 2

    Parrish: 1

    Neidermayer: 1

    Dvorak: 1

    Kvasha: 1

    Sheppard: 1

    Worrell: 1

    Johnson: 1

    ---------------------------

    The forward who tallied the most primary assists during Bure's first three seasons in Vancouver was his most consistent linemate: Greg Adams. Over the course of two-and-a-half seasons with Bure, Adams tallied 19 primary assists. Ranked either first or second in each of these seasons was his primary center during that campaign: Igor Larionov (1991-92), Anatoli Semenov (1992-93), Murray Craven (1993-94), and Viktor Kozlov (1999-00). Gino Odjick and Jimmy Carson, who each spent time on Bure's line in 1993-94 -- Odjick spent most of that season with Bure --, tallied a handful of primary assists.



    With a legitimate centerman, Bure would have benefited immensely. Larionov contributed primary assists to 10 of Bure's 34 goals as a rookie. Despite Bure's increase in production from 34 that year to 60, 60, and 58 in the other three seasons, no particular player ever played such a significant role relative to Bure's goal production as Larionov did in 1991-92.

    If Bure had a linemate who could send him the puck while he found open ice, he would have been far more successful than he aleady was. There were moments when teammates made plays, but most of the work was done by Bure himself.

    Some examples of Bure finding open ice:







    Bure was nearly always hampered by a lack of skilled linemates to work with, and his prime would have been much more successful with players who were capable of greater offensive output.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
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  14. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    Aside from a few season Bure usually don't have high amount powerplay goals. Better player would of helped him get more powerplay goals.
     
  15. KoozNetsOff 92

    KoozNetsOff 92 Hala Madrid

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    Did Bure ever win a ross or lead the NHL in PPG? Never, even excluding Gretzky and Lemieux. OV did 1x and 3x. Bure came top 10 in hart voting 2x in his career. Ovechkin has more hart trophies than Bure has top 10 finishes. Peak Ovechkin was the NHL leader in goals, pts, GPG and PPG while throwing out ~200 hits. Bure comes close as a peak goal scorer (still worse though) but as an overall player he's not close, whether it's peak, prime or career. Maybe 10 years ago.
     
  16. Blade Paradigm

    Blade Paradigm Registered User

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    I think that the only argument one could make is with regards to peak.

    Bure, unfortunately, had too many injuries and too disjointed a career to determine what could have been possible had he been healthy.

    In terms of peak, however, Bure's best two seasons are his 1999-00 season and his 1997-98 season.

    HF member Zuluss, over at the By The Numbers section of the forum, has developed a system that determines % leads as a means of evaluating goal-scoring dominance over one's peers. The numbers represent Top 10 finishes and the percentage of goals scored relative to the 10th-placed finish in each respective season.

    Zuluss determined that the average lead of a goal-scoring leader is 44% above the 10th-placed finish.

    Here are Ovechkin's numbers.

    Ovechkin: 63-61-52-52-50-44-43-30-15-6

    Here are Bure's.

    61-55-48-27-10

    Bure simply did not have the longevity to compete in terms of career finishes. However, numerous factors must be taken into account with regards to his peak. All three of his seasons in which we finished above 44% (1999-00, 1997-98, 2000-01, in that order) occurred after injuries began to become seriously detrimental to his abilities. Bure was not healthy when he recorded his peak numbers.

    In terms of peak season, Bure's 1999-00 season (61% lead) and Ovechkin's 2007-08 season (63%) both cross the 60% plateau. Ovechkin played 82 games in 2007--08 and recorded 65 goals; Bure played just 74 games and recorded 58 goals. Bure's pace over 82 was 64 goals -- very significant based on the % leads system. The 10th-placed finish in 1999-00 scored 36 goals.

    If Bure had scored 59 goals, his % lead at face value would have been 64% -- higher than Ovechkin's. If he had finished at 64 goals, his % lead would have been 78%. He missed 8 games.

    We also must consider that Bure accomplished this with less talent to work with than Ovechkin that season. Ovechkin was surrounded by Michael Nylander, Niklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green. Viktor Kozlov, who also played with Ovechkin in 2007-08, was Bure's most important teammate in 1999-00. Bure had far less to work with.

    Considering those factors, one can conclude that Bure in 1999-00 was a more dominant player than Ovechkin in 2007-08. Peak-wise, there is a strong argument to be made about Bure over Ovechkink, especially since he was 1) damaged, having needed two knee reconstructions before that season; 2) on a lesser team than Ovechkin played with; 3) missed 8 games in 1999-00.

    Three crucial factors negatively impacted his season, and yet he was still just one goal shy in eight fewer games of having a more dominant season than Ovechkin's 2007-08 campaign.

    In terms of their careers, Bure was robbed of one, so there isn't much point in comparing their careers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 5:31 AM
  17. KoozNetsOff 92

    KoozNetsOff 92 Hala Madrid

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    Bure's 97/98 wouldn't crack OV's top 5 seasons. As for 99/00, it's a nice season but no. Goals only, yes maybe. But let's look at the whole story:

    Ovechkin vs Bure

    Goals: 1st---1st
    GPG: 1st---1st
    Pts: 1st---2nd
    PPG: 1st---3rd
    Hart: 1st---3rd

    Clean sweep for Ovechkin. Add in that he also threw out 220 hits, while Bure had zero impact on the game in any other way, and it's pretty clearly Ovechkin.
     
  18. WeRa

    WeRa Registered User

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    Pavel Bure was great... he was as fast as lightning .. in his prime.
    IMO Ovechkin is better - thanks to the number of great seasons.
     
  19. Blade Paradigm

    Blade Paradigm Registered User

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    Total points are more dependent on the overall ability of the team than any individual player.

    Consider that Bure missed 8 games and also played in a lower-scoring year (1999-00: 2.75 GPG vs 2007-08: 2.78 GPG).

    Bure (1999-00):

    74 games played

    45 even strength goals
    15 first goals
    14 game-winning goals

    Team record when Bure scored: 29-10-0-2 (70.7% win percentage)
    Team record when Bure did not score: 10-14-4-5 (30.3% win percentage)

    Ovechkin (2007-08):

    82 games played

    43 even strength goals
    9 first goals
    10 game-winning goals

    Team record when Ovechkin scored: 28-15-2-2 (59.6% win percentage)
    Team record when Ovechkin did not score: 15-16-2-2 (42.9% win percentage)

    Bure was more important to his team, and also more dominant based on the % lead metrics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 8:15 AM
  20. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    So we're just going to ignore that in 1999-00, all of the Hart winners from the surrounding years (1995-2004) missed 19 games minimum - but excuse Pavel Bure for not winning the scoring race because he missed 8 games even though both the previous year's Hart winner and following year's Hart winner out-paced him in 1999-00 too?

    Do tell us: why do we need to factor in that Bure played 74/82 when talking about how Alex Ovechkin won the Art Ross in 2008 and Pavel Bure did not in 2000 when Bure loses to someone who plays 63/82?
     
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  21. Blade Paradigm

    Blade Paradigm Registered User

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    You've misread. The argument isn't that he lost the Hart Trophy because of time lost. The argument is that his goal-scoring dominance over the 10th-placed finisher in goals -- the basis of comparison between the two players in question -- was severely reduced by the loss of those eight games.

    The principle behind Zuluss' system is that the degree to which a player dominates should not be compared directly at the top of the goal-scoring race but instead against the rest of the league. His findings are that goal-scoring around the 10th-placed finish tends to level out, creating a basis of comparison for players who separate themselves at the top of the scoring race. There may be some years where multiple players dominate, and so one player's ability should not be diminished in value just because another player is also having a very dominant season.

    He also devised a conversion method between eras based on level of competition, the difference between scoring eras, and the number of first-line forwards in the league (a multiplier of 0.6 for pre-1970 seasons and 0.9 for seasons between 1970 and 1997).

    He provided numerous calculations in the By The Numbers section for players such as Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky.

    Using this system, we find that Ovechkin's peak season (2007-08) was 63% better than the 10th-placed finisher that season (Vincent Lecavalier, 40 goals). Bure's peak season (1999-00) was 61% better than the 10th-placed finisher that season (Milan Hejduk, 36 goals).

    Even if we do not account for any time lost (this system does not account for that), Bure's 58 goals gives him a 61% lead over the 10th-placed finish, which is remarkably similar to Ovechkin's 63% lead over the 10th-placed finisher in 2007-08. That margin is less than a one-goal difference going in either direction (64/40 = 60%; 59/36 = 64%).

    One can conclude, even at face value, that they had virtually equal dominance over their peers in their respective peak seasons. The implication of more games played by Bure simply would have been a more dominant goal-scoring season based on these metrics, considering Ovechkin had all 82 games to separate himself from his field.

    I never made an argument as to whether Bure should have won the Hart Trophy. Not all years are the same, and that season featured two players whose seasons were as important to their teams as Bure's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 8:50 AM
  22. Blade Paradigm

    Blade Paradigm Registered User

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    Zuluss' method provides some very insightful results about goal-scoring dominance over peers. I am quite impressed by the methodology.
    Zuluss states that 44% is the baseline for what would be considered an average goal-scoring lead over the 10th-placed scorer in each respective season. I have highlighted those seasons in green. Listed are all Top 10 finishes; the numbers represent the % lead over the 10th-placed finisher in that year's goal-scoring race (for example: in 1992-93, Brett Hull had the 10th-placed finish with 54 goals; to calculate Teemu Selanne's percentage lead that season over 10th place, we calculate ((76 / 54) - 1) * 0.9 = 37%. Selanne led the 10th-place scorer by a difference of 37% that season).

    Pre-1970 seasons receive an adjustment of *0.6 and seasons between 1970-71 and 1996-97 receive an adjustment of *0.9 during calculations. Below are the final results, post-adjustment, and in order of each player's most dominant to least dominant Top 10 goal-scoring finishes:

    The quoted posts contain contextual information. Below are the results for players whose % leads have been calculated so far.

    Bobby Hull: 65-56-55-48-42-38-34-28-19-13-12-9
    Howe: 87-63-58-50-35-34-31-28-19-18-16-13-11-10-10-5-2-0
    Richard: 70-60-52-48-46-44-35-24-23-21-10-9-8
    Gretzky: 77-76-53-43-43-16-13-12-8
    Marcel Dionne: 43-43-19-16-15-11-0-0-0
    Ovechkin: 63-61-52-52-50-44-43-30-15-6

    Bure: 61-55-48-27-10
    Selanne: 58-37-21-21-20
    Lemieux: 76-42-41-26-25-17-4-4-0
    Bossy: 65-38-29-29-25-23-23-8-8
    Brett Hull: 82-60-54-22-10-0-0-0
    Geoffrion: 55-44-23-15-15-13-6-0

    Esposito: 100-80-66-47-34-26-18-10-5
    Neely: 20-12-8-3
    Yzerman: 37-34-12-7-6-4
    Iginla: 41-26-25-24
    Sakic: 35-8-6-5-0
    Charlie Conacher: 48-47-47-33-26

    Lafleur: 50-45-29-27-27-6
    Kurri: 49-43-26-10
    Bondra: 58-28-13-10-9-5
    Stamkos: 67-46-38-32-30-9
    Jagr: 35-30-29-21-17-13-11-6
    Kane: 39-10-0

    We can determine the degree to which players dominated their field in the goal-scoring race using this method. We can also more accurately estimate the degree to which a player would have needed to dominate a field to reach a certain threshold.

    For example: Cam Neely's 1993-94 season was cut short, but we can evaluate the number of goals he would have needed to score to reach certain % lead thresholds that year. The 10th-placed scorers that season scored 46 goals. To reach a 44% percentage lead -- the baseline for an above-average goal-scoring season by a leading scorer --, Neely would have needed to score 69 goals (for a 45% lead over 10th place). For a 50% lead, he would have needed to score 72 goals (51% lead). For a 60% percentage lead, Neely would have needed to score 77 goals that season (61%).

    The 1993-94 equivalent of Ovechkin's 2007-08 65-goal campaign would have been a 78-goal season (63% lead).
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 10:31 AM
  23. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    I am going to make another case for Bure.

    1. He was a better "big game player" than Ovechkin. As in "no contest."
    2. Bure would, in fact, benefit from playing with someone like Backstrom or like Housley. He just learned to rely on himself only, because of the teams he was on. The only time he played with an elite center was his first year in Vancouver (Larionov). Messier was way past his prime, and Bure was often injured.
    3. People don't seem to realize that Bure actually could be versatile if he wanted. His short closing stint with NYR showed him being a great two-way player.

    Intensity-wise, at their peaks, the two players are actually close. But Bure was far, far smarter than Ovechkin, who is far, far more powerful.

    So when talking "peak only," I think it's VERY close.
     
  24. Laineux

    Laineux Registered User

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    The only way this is close is if you remove Ovechkin's best three years from the picture completely and you could make an argument that Ovechkin's resume is still more impressive than Bure's.

    There is no basis for this statement at all. And if this were true, then some of Teemu's 98-99 season in Ducks would have to be considered better or in par with 85-86 215 point Gretzky, being a better goal scorer and scoring as high of a % of team points.

    Let's look at their peak season margins over the #10 in points and points per game.

    Bure 97-98
    14% in points
    3% in p/gp

    Bure 99-00

    19% in points
    21% in p/gp

    Ovechkin 07-08
    29% in points
    19% in p/gp

    Ovechkin 08-09
    25% in points
    24% in p/gp

    Ovechkin 09-10
    27% in points
    34% in p/gp

    While one can definitely argue their goal scoring peaks were comparable, Ovechkin blows Bure completely out of water when you start considering overall offensive impact. In fact Ovechkin has multiple seasons outside of 07-10 that are better than anything Bure did aside from 99-00.
     
  25. ushvinder

    ushvinder Registered User

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    I've never heard anyone argue that Bure peaked higher than his peers Jagr, Sakic, Forsberg, Lindros or even Fedorov. Yet, people on here are going to make a case that his peak is above Ovechkin's?
     

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