Hawerchuk vs. Peter Stastny

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by blueandgoldguy, Jan 25, 2011.

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  1. blueandgoldguy

    blueandgoldguy Registered User

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    I haven't seen this on the History of Hockey board yet but if it has already been covered on here I apologize.

    In Dale Hawerchuk and Peter Stastny we have 2 players who played in exactly the same era. With the exception of Gretzky, Lemieux and Yzerman, no one put up as many points at the center position as these two did from the early 80s to the early 90s. Both players had their share of success during international play, and with their individual achievements. Unfortunately, both experienced failure with NHL teams that rarely won in the playoffs and collectively reached the Stanley Cup Finals once without winning the big prize. BUt which one do you think was the better player.

    The case for Hawerchuk

    Regular Season
    GP Career Goals Career Assists Career Points Pts/gm
    1188 518 891 1409 1.19

    Playoffs
    GP Career Goals Career Assists Career Points Pts/gm
    97 30 69 99 1.02

    Individual Awards

    NHL All-Star Game: 5 times
    Second Team All-Star: 1985
    Calder Memorial Trophy: 1982
    Only NHL player to reach 1000 career games before the age of 31

    Team Awards

    World Championships (Bronze): 1982,1986
    World Championships (Silver): 1989
    Canada Cup Championships (Gold): 1987, 1991

    Additional Stats

    50 goal seasons: 1
    40 goal seasons: 7
    30 goal seasons: 9

    80 assist seasons: 1
    70 assist seasons: 4
    60 assist seasons: 4
    50 assist seasons: 13

    100 point seasons: 6
    90 point seasons: 10
    80 point seasons: 12

    One of the knocks against Hawerchuk was his teams' poor playoff records. HIs teams only won seven playoff rounds his entire career and four of those wins (with the Flyers) came at the end of his career when he was shadow of his former self. Now this is not to see he did not contribute to his teams in the playoffs. Prior to his final two seasons when injuries to his hip had really affected his level of play, Hawerchuk averaged 1.22 pts./gm over 68 playoff games.

    Hawerchuk was a fantastic passer, one of the best I have ever seen, with great lateral movement. He was just as adept at putting the puck in the net during the first half of his NHL career.....And he brought a defensive aspect to his game with strong forechecking, though admittedly, not as often as I would have liked to see.

    One of his best moments was playing on the 1987 Canada Cup team. He centred a line whose primary responsibility was to defend against the opposing teams top line and defnd they did...al the way to the final and Gold against the Russians. Despite limited ice time playing behind the likes of Gretzky and Lemieux, Hawerchuk was tied for 5th in the tournament with 4 goals. In addition to his exceptional defensive play Hawerchuk was also a key contributor in faceoffs (as he was for most of his career). In fact, he won the faceoff which directly led to one of the most famous goals of all time, Gretzky to Lemieux for the Cup-clinching goal late in game three.

    The Case for Stastny

    Regular Season

    GP Career Goals Career Assists Career Pts PTs/gm
    977 450 789 1239 1.27

    Playoffs

    GP Career Goals Career Assists Career Pts Pts/gm
    93 33 72 105 1.13

    Individual Awards

    Calder Memorial Trophy: 1981
    All-Star Games: 1981,1982,1983,1984,1986,1988
    World Championships Best Forward Award: 1995

    Team Awards

    World Championships (Gold): 1976,1977
    World Championships (Silver): 1978,1979
    Canada Cup (Gold): 1984
    Canada Cup (Silver): 1976

    Additional Stats

    40 goal seasons: 5
    30 goal seasons: 8

    90 assist seasons: 1
    80 assist seasons: 2
    70 assist seasons: 5
    60 assist seasons: 7
    50 assist seasons: 9

    100 point seasons: 7
    90 point seasons: 7
    80 point seasons: 8

    Admittedly, I did not get to see a lot of Peter Stastny or the Quebec Nordiques growing up as I was living near Winnipeg and had limited tv options. What I did see though, was one of the best passers the league has ever seen. AS for his defensive play, I honestly could not say....maybe someone else can fill me in. Stastny had a little more playoff success than Hawerchuk with his teams reaching the Conference Semifinals twice. Stastny performed well both times with 18 points in 12 games in 1981-1982 and 23 points in 18 games in 1984-1985.

    IN terms of career, Stastny seems to be the superior play-maker, while Hawerchuk was the better goal-scorer. Hawerchuk had the advantage of starting his pro career at 18 and playing all his prime years in the NHL. Stastny, on the other hand, did not come to the NHL until he was 24 missing out on some of his "prime years." One advantage Stastny did have was the quality of players surrounding him....namely the Stastny brothers and Michel Goulet. Certainly this influenced his point totals. Hawerchuk was not blessed with the same quality of teammates. In fact, the best he could do was pass to Paul McLean, who was only with the Jets for a short period, and certainly not of Goulet's stature....and Thomas Steen who was a second line center he often did not get to play with.

    This is interesting. I have always found these players so similar to one another because they played during the same era; in small, Canadian cities with rabid fan followings; and similar statistical comparisons.

    Can't wait to hear the responses....
     
  2. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    One of the best OPs in a poll ever - thanks for the time put into it!

    I have always considered Stastny as the better player, but am open to arguments. I personally give him a lot of credit for his Pre-NHL years, but I know a lot just ignore them. Also, Stastny was Top 10 in points 6 seasons vs Hawerchuk's 4 seasons.
     
  3. timekeep

    timekeep Registered User

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    Hawerchuk's playoff lack of success was due to supporting cast and having to play against the Smythe division all the time, Oilers and Flames. Personally think Hawerchuk was better with less but this is a close one. Good comparison.
     
  4. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    To point out the severe disadvantage Stastny faced entering the NHL later:

    Age-wise - Hawerchuk had 631 pts in 6 seasons (most of his best seasons) before Stastny even entered the NHL due to the Eastern Block. Stastny was a world class player much earlier than when he was able to defect to the NHL.
     
  5. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

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    Great poll. At first I'd thought Hawerchuk, but that's probably because I got to see him play a lot more as he was in the Smythe division. Growing up in Edmonton, I didn't get to see much of the Nords. However, looking over the stats you listed, I'm starting to favor Stastny. I won't vote since I never really got to see him play, but I really like this poll. Both players were excellent, and would have done even better in any other era. Both had the misfortune of competing against Gretzky and Lemieux, and thus never really get the respect they deserve these days.
     
  6. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    I, for one, certainly don't ignore them, but then again, he was considered 'one of the better' Czechoslovak/European players rather than a huge star. I mean, later on even a player like Jiri Lala probably made a slightly bigger impression as a youngster (in Europe/World Championships), even though there isn't any debate who the better player was.

    Having said that, the Golden Hockey Stick Stastny got in 1980 and his fine performance at the 1980 Winter Olympics* suggest that he was 'on his way'. Still, I think it was in some ways quite surprising that Stastny did do so well in the NHL right from the start.

    * some CSSR's players - Stastny among them - did very well scoring-wise, but it was a poor tournament for Team Czechoslovakia; key players like Hlinka and Martinec were injured
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  7. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    Stastny

    Just seemed to be a better big game player from what I remember.

    Interesting fact. He was the 2nd leading scorer in the 80's. Pretty incredible considering the offensive players who played that decade.
     
  8. Boxscore

    Boxscore #OldNHL

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    Both great players, no doubt, but I go with Stastny any day of the week. I guess it all depends on how one values greatness when comparing players. Both of these guys were tremendously gifted and produced at a high level during their careers. But, who would you choose if you had to play one game that had your life hanging in the balance? That is how I always judge how great a player was at their peak -- who would you want on your team when the chips are down -- and I go Stastny 10 times out of 10. His compete level was among some of the best I have ever seen. He basically had no weaknesses to his game. If you're evaluating a player's greatness based solely on statistics and hardware, and not factoring intangibles, then there is never room for debate -- just bottom line the numbers.
     
  9. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Stastny, and I don't think it was close. Stastny was a far better offensive producer in the regular season. He was moderately better in the playoffs. He was a well-below average defensive player, but then Hawerchuk was just decent in that area too.
     
  10. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    In the OP, you say Hawerchuk was used in a checking role in the 1987 Canada Cup. I realize he was the "3rd line center" before being put with Gretzky and Lemieux, but I thought Messier was the guy going head to head against the opponent's best? I'm not as familiar with the games Canada played against other opponents, but I know Messier was the go-to guy against Larionov and the KLM line.
     
  11. Padan

    Padan Registered User

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    Really? I'm too young to have watched Stastny, but I've always thought of him as a smart two-way center. I catched some scouting reports on his son Paul, and they all said something like "a tremendous two-way center, just like his father".
     
  12. Boxscore

    Boxscore #OldNHL

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    What I remember about Stastny, he was a very competitive player who battled for pucks. But he was not a two-way forward in the sense of Gainey or Clarke, even Forsberg. Stastny was an offensive-first player, always looking to create and do something awesome. That said, he wasn't bad in his own end, but I would say decent. Keep in mind, during those Norqidue years, Quebec counted on Stastny and Goulet to create most of their offense.
     
  13. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Exactly. Keep in mind I didn't see very much of Stastny in his prime, but the detailed scouting reports that I have of him during this time, are that he's one of the game's 3-4 best offensive players, a great goalscorer and playmaker, extremely chippy and carries his stick too high, but very biased towards offense than defense.

    If people nowadays have referred to him as "two-way" it is probably an extention of his chippy behaviour, he was no shrinking violet.
     
  14. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Yeah I think that they are very close.

    I go with Ducky though just my preference.

    He was better two ways and if we switched Goulet and Maclean I think he would have been more productive too.

    I could see a case either way, though. They are very comparable.
     
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Coaching.

    Both managed to have HHOF careers while playing for some of the weakest coaches in NHL history.

    Properly supported at the management and coaching level, both would have had more memorable careers.
     
  16. canucks4ever

    canucks4ever Registered User

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    Hawerchuk had alot of his best seasons at the age of 18-24, when stastny was not allowed in the nhl. Stastny wins based on better top 10 finishes and playoffs.
     
  17. Chumley

    Chumley Registered User

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    Dale Hawerchuk. Man, he played for some pretty bad teams in Winnipeg. I just wonder what his numbers would of been if he played for a decent team.
     
  18. Flames420

    Flames420 Registered User

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    Great thread between two brutally underrated players.

    I saw Hawerchuk play a lot more being a Flame fan living in BC both teams played Winnipeg all the time. The guy made things happen playing with minimal talent, and consistently.

    Stastny I didn't see a lot but I think he played on a pretty offensive-minded Nordiques team with Goulet, etc. so obviously that helps but he also started his NHL career way later than Dale.

    I'll give the edge to Stastny for the 500 or more points he would have had had he started playing right out of high-school.
     
  19. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    TheDevilMadeMe is correct, Messier was the shutdown centre in that tournament, at least against the Soviets. He was being pretty hard-matched against KLM. I'd say Hawerchuk was chosen to play on a line that wasn't the featured scoring line, which means something. But it wasn't a checking or shutdown line.

    I think the quality of linemates is a big difference in this comparison. People who watched Hawerchuk play tend to rank him higher than I would going only by stats. The fact that he never played with decent wingers in Winnipeg probably hurt his stats. Think Sidney Crosby today. Stastny was probably able to adapt to the NHL as quickly as he did because he was playing with his brothers.

    Did Stastny play much with Goulet, apart from the power play? I always thought Goulet played with Hunter and Stastny played with Marian and Anton.
     
  20. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Peter & Anton came over a year before Marion. They played together and they were dazzling, especially on the power play.

    To me this one is really close but I'm giving the edge to Stastny.
     
  21. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Good thread. I'm going with Stastny on this 1.
     
  22. lextune

    lextune I'm too old for this.

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    I give an edge to Stastny because of the eyeball test.

    But to be fair I think they are very close, and I probably saw Peter play a few hundred more times than Ducky, (who I still saw a lot of, but much of it came from his Buffalo years).
     
  23. King Woodballs

    King Woodballs Captain Awesome

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    I do think that this is close
    Both were fantastic
    Hawerchuk had allot less to work with and still but up awesome numbers
     
  24. pirate94

    pirate94 Registered User

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    both players were just awesome. I was a big fan of both players when i was a kid.

    If i had to go with someone i'd say Hawerchuk ever so slightly based on the teams he played on and come playoffs in Winnipeg they had to get by Edmonton.
    Jets had good players but i think Hawerchuk was more alone on the island.
     
  25. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    do we all agree that denis savard was a step below?
     

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