Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by SauceHockey, Sep 3, 2011.
Inactive players only hopefully, or else there will be a lot of Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner mentioned.
Newsy Lalonde. 99 NHL games, 125 goals and 166 points. Hall of Fame.
Valeri Kharlamov, 0 games played
Otherwise, probably Lalonde, who played in only 99 NHL games (he played in an era with short seasons and got traded to the western league after 5 NHL seasons). http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=2923
retired players please
We will probably see a tons of euro names, if you mean overall career. From top of my head I throw some names to start with:
Milan Novy, Jorgen Jonsson, Jiri Dopita, Igor Liba... Maybe Krutov?
HM to Maxim Sushinskij from recent years.
List of goalies could be very interesting.
lars erik sjoberg
lets start with this list for now
Krutov works > 0 < 100 GP - maybe second?
Lalonde wins though.
My pick. Captained the Jets to 3 AVCO Cups, a Top-5 WHA Defenseman, and was a Top-4 player on the 1978 Jets which was one of the greatest teams ever (or at least up to that point).
Amongst modern-era non-European players, Hodgson has to be right near the top of the list.
Fantastically talented player, former CHL player of the year (won it between Mario Lemieux in '84 and Luc Robitaille in '86), absolutely trashed the AHL/IHL during the time he spent there, and scored at a 50-point clip in the NHL despite 3rd/4th line icetime over parts of 4 seasons.
Left North America at the age of 23 and spent another 15 years in Europe.
Really a colossal error on his part. If he'd stayed another 2-3 years, he surely would have found a regular NHL job during the round of expansion from 1991-93 and probably had a 500-game NHL career.
JÃ¶rgen JÃ¶nsson played 81 games scoring 31 points for the Isles and Ducks. He's said he enjoyed playing in the NHL, but his family did not settle socially so he decided to move back home to Sweden and has had a fanatstic career. Probably one of the players with the most team accomplishments in recent history with a combined 20 medals from national and international championships.
- His 535 points in 711 regular games played in the SEL is 2nd all-time.
- His 231 goals scored in 711 regular games played in the SEL is 4th all-time.
- His 123 points in 163 playoff games played in the SEL is 1st all-time.
- 11 international tournament medals, including double WC gold medals (1998, 2006) and double Olympic gold medals (1994, 2006)
- 5 times Swedish champion with FÃ¤rjestad (1997, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2009), 4 times runner up.
- His 285 games played for the Swedish national team Tre Kronor is 1st all-time.
- 1997 recipient of the Guldpucken, awarded annually to the best player in the SEL.
- To date the only player to have won his national championship, the World championship and the Olympic gold medal in the same season (2006).
- His #21 jersey was raised to the rafters of LÃ¶fbergs Lila Arena immediately by the end of his career in 2009.
Surely it's hard to tell how his career would've panned out had he stayed in the NHL. But I'm sure there are many NHL players that would gladly choose the career of JÃ¶rgen JÃ¶nsson given the chance.
Michel Briere.Great tragedy. Mega talented.
Came here to post this. Not sure if he's the best to ever play <100 games but he probably would've been a star.
Assuming they have to have played at least one NHL game, here's a top ten for European players. No particular order.
Most of these are very underrated in North America since they had their best years in Europe.
Todd Bergen. Highest goals-per-game average in the modern NHL
First name I thought of too before even opening this thread. Although we can only base this on projection with him.
Looks like quite a few of us had the same thought...
Pavel Brendl? He wasn't good enough to make the NHL.
Neither was Anders Eldebrink, Thomas Rundqvist or Jonas Bergqvist. Doesn't change the fact that they were much better players than most of the players currently in the NHL.
Not all people are suited for the type of play in the NHL. Others, like Jorgen Jonsson and Vladimir Krutov have trouble adjusting to life in America. The thread was specifically about players who did not have long and successful NHL careers.
As for Pavel Brendl, being picked 4th overall in the NHL draft and winning the goal scoring title in both the SEL and the KHL shows that there's a whole lot more to his story than simply not being "good enough" for the NHL.
That is very true. There are many NHL players that would suck in the KHL, for example.
and vice versa.
I don't think you'll get may arguments that the NHL is the best hockey league in the world by a fair margin. Leaving out style of play differences and that some players are better in some leagues, the NHL is the most difficult to make, the toughest to play in and have success - by far.
I completely agree with the social factors impacting one's ability to play well in a new country/culture. Playing at an elite level is hard enough on-ice, but being able to do that with the distractions/adjustments off the ice is different for everyone, impossible to quantify.
Jorgen Jonsson is a great example. There were some NHL games where he looked dominant, best player on the ice. Other times he looked disinterested and lost.
On the OP, it's a very odd question since it's implied that a career had to have been shortened due to injury, illness, playing elsewhere. Obviously we exclude players like Grabner and Skinner from the list so we are forced to look at European players who played SOME NHL. A much harder answer with little certainty one way or the other.
I think Valery Kharlamov was the best non-NHL player I ever saw, technically he played less than 100 NHL games - as BurrowsIsBeast points out. Certainly Mikhailov and Petrov as well, from the same time period.
Based on the success Makarov, Fetisov, Larionov and almost-Krutov had in the NHL after their peak playing years, we can safely assume that those Russian players would have been incredible in the NHL as well.
But now I'm way off topic.
Separate names with a comma.