Could Paul Coffey have potentially won a Scoring Title?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by The Panther, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    As we all know, the only D-man to win the scoring title is Bob Orr, who did it twice. This is such a singular feat that it could only occur with a once-in-a-generation talent, in certain League situations, on certain teams, etc.

    Yet, Paul Coffey came close-ish to doing a similar thing. Coffey finished top-10 in scoring on three different teams, no less, being as high as 2nd in 1984 and 3rd in 1986 (the same season he broke Orr's record for goals in season).

    My question is: Is there any conceivable way Paul Coffey could have won a scoring title, say, in a non-Gretzky and non-Lemieux world?

    If we simply remove Wayne and Mario from scoring, Coffey finishes 1st in 1984, 4th in 1985, 1st in 1986, 4th in 1989, 7th in 1990, and 6th in 1995 (not to mention 1st in the 1985 playoffs). But the problem with this, of course, is that Coffey played a lot with Wayne and Mario in all of those seasons, except 1995.

    Any chance he could have won a scoring title without either of those guys?
     
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  2. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    You answered your own question, I think.
     
  3. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    People tend to be overly hard on Coffey. I see more anti-Coffey posts than pro-Coffey. He was a terrific player, regardless of 99 and 66. But he is not winning any scoring titles without them.

    I'm not sure Orr is winning the scoring titles without Esposito either. They both needed an all-time great scorer up front.
     
  4. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    In a perfect storm, yes.

    If '84 Gretzky gets injured halfway and only puts up 120-125 and doesn't return before the playoffs, Messier steps up and is mostly healthy, Kurri perhaps is a little healthier to offset presumed lost Gretzky points, but not too healthy so that he overtakes Coffey, and perhaps Edmonton getting a few more PP chances on the non-Gretzky part of the year.

    As Coffey's peak coincided with a teammate scoring 3 200-point seasons, he would need a lot of luck.
     
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  5. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    This is it, right on the nose. He would need to ride shotgun with Gretzky long enough to get ahead of everyone else, but also stay close enough to Gretzky that an injury would allow him to squeak ahead before the end of the season. It would have had to line up just right... but yes, it was within the realm of possibility.
     
  6. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    If you remove Gretzky from existence - i've always felt Kurri, Messier Coffey and a cpl of others don't become the players they are. What that means specifically is hard to gauge of course. I'm not syaing Messier goes from an all-star/hof'er to a 4th line center - but i also think his career path doesn't become as good without Gretzky. Individually - not just in terms of cups.

    Same for Coffey. So without Gretzky - i have no idea exactly what it does to him, but i'm going to say no, he would not have won a Ross.

    As someone else said - if you give Gretzky an injury in one of those seasons, sure maybe.
     
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  7. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    There is a vast difference between Orr, who actually did win Art Ross trophies while outscoring Esposito, and
    Coffey, who never came lose to outscoring his prolific teammates.

    I would say that it could happen, but as others said you would need several things to go right. A weak year for other top scorers, as in 1987 or 2015, and Coffey at his peak with teammates who were able to score and a coach willing to let him freelance.
     
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  8. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    1983-84
    126 - Coffey
    113 - Kurri
    101 - Messier

    1985-86
    138 - Coffey
    131 - Kurri
    102 - Anderson

    I guess the question is, without Gretzky in existence, could 1984 Coffey have outscored Michel Goulet and could 1986 Coffey outscore Kurri and Bossy?
     
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  9. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    Perhaps I should have been clearer but I meant Gretzky and later Lemieux, the closest analogues for Esposito in Orr's case. To be fair though, I highly doubt that Orr would have outscored Lemieux or Gretzky had he been teammates with them.
     
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  10. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    But I don't think Orr would win an Art Ross if not for Espo's banging in those rebounds and slot shots. Those 76 goals didn't score themselves, y'know?
     
  11. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    That doesn't seem very reasonable when Orr won a scoring title by 21 points over Esposito, 34 points over the next highest scorer and Esposito scored 46 goals instead of 76.
     
  12. johnnybbadd

    johnnybbadd Registered User

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    I would say no. Great offensive dman but Gretzky was the straw that stirred the drink in Edmonton. I think he tops 100 points still but that wouldn’t be enough to win a scoring title.
     
  13. Spirit of 67

    Spirit of 67 Registered User

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    No chance
     
  14. MadLuke

    MadLuke Registered User

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    My first reflex was with a good timing of Gretzky / Lemieux injury yes, but it would still seem really hard.

    Gretzky need to play enough to give a edge to all is teammate versus the rest of the league, then miss enough game to give a chance for an Oiler's to win at the same time and he need a downseason/injury to a couple other top contender.

    Say 85-86, Lemieux/Bossy both miss 15 games for an injury and get down in the classment quite a bit and Stastny has a bit of a more down season. Considering Lemieux scored 107 point the year after that , Bossy 75 and Stastny 77 is not a big stretch.

    Gretzky -215
    Coffey -138
    Kurri - 131
    Savard/Stastny - 116 to 120 points

    Would it be possible ?, Gretzky would need to miss like 35 games here to go down to around 122 points, would it remove too much Oilers offense for Coffey to go down only by 16 points ?

    He get the same 77 points during those 45 games with Wayne, in the 35 others (he play 1 more game in that perfect scenario) he need 45 points in them, that would be going down from 1,71 ppg with Wayne to 1.29 ppg without him.

    Jamie Been could win an Art Ross with a 87 points season after all, not sure how it would be impossible for Coffey if Wayne miss enough but not too much game.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
  15. overg

    overg Registered User

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    I took a look at his '94 and '95 seasons with the Wings, just to see if there were any possible circumstances it might have been feasible to do it without Gretzky or Lemieux. My thought was maybe if you combined the two seasons you might have something. In '94, Yzerman missed significant time, and in '95, Coffey actually led the Wings in scoring.

    Even giving Coffey every possible benefit from both seasons (say, a season where both Yzerman and Fedorov miss half the season, but Coffey had crazy results with each for half a season), I still don't see how he comes close to leading the entire NHL. In '94, even with Yzerman missing a ton of games, he still outscored Coffey, as did Fedorov (and Shepard too, for that matter). And in '95, when Coffey led the Wings, he was still well, well, well back from the NHL lead.

    Coffey was an absolute absolute machine in complementing offensive superstars, but his career strongly suggests that he was never going to challenge for the absolute top of the leaderboards without an offensive wizard to play off. Which is in no way, shape, or form, meant to suggest Coffey was some offensive freeloader. He was without a doubt instrumental in helping those wizards reach the heights they did.
     
  16. Art of Sedinery

    Art of Sedinery Registered User

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    Erik Karlsson potentially could, if a few things went his way.
     
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  17. BigBadBruins7708

    BigBadBruins7708 Registered User

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    simply, no. far too many of his points are tied to Wayne and Mario
     
  18. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    stick coffey on the 88 flames. could he score more than 131 points to top savard?

    would i bet on it? no. but could it possibly happen? i’d say yes he could pull it off if more things went his way than not.
     
  19. authentic

    authentic Registered User

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    He could've done it in 2014-15 when Benn won with 87 points.
     
  20. BenchBrawl

    BenchBrawl joueur de hockey

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    Possibly if he played with an offensive star that somehow doesn't outscores him.
     
  21. BigBadBruins7708

    BigBadBruins7708 Registered User

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    except for finishing 21 points behind
     
  22. authentic

    authentic Registered User

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    Yeah, but I think you get what I'm saying. He had 82 points the next season so it would've been more than possible for him.
     
  23. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    Agreed absolutely on Karlsson. In a perfect storm of a season with low top scorers/his best year i think he could have won a ross

    It'll likely be much harder now, with offense being a bit up, and obviously McDavid, but even guys like Mack, Matthews and a few other stars. And I still don't see Karlsson being able to top guys like Crosby or Malkin if healthy either - so i doubt he comes close again
     
  24. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    well he did show he could do that in '95, when he led the red wings with 58 points (in 45 games), outscoring fedorov, yzerman, and everyone else in raw points and points/game. 6th in league scoring and in points/game, as a 33 year old.

    man, what a 24 year old coffey could have done on his own team...
     
  25. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    This is a hilarious (but true!) statement to think about :).
     
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