Players whose best season may not have been the obvious one.

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Blades of Glory, Feb 23, 2011.

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  1. Blades of Glory

    Blades of Glory Troll Captain

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    As a Sharks fan, I think Joe Thornton is the perfect example of this. To most people, Thornton's 2005-06 season was easily his greatest performance, with his numbers of 29-96-125, including 92 points in only 58 games with the Sharks and assists on 44 of the 56 goals scored by Jonathan Cheechoo, who unbelievably won the Rocket Richard. Thornton won the Hart and Art Ross, was a First-Team All-Star, and his raw offensive numbers were among the most eye-popping in recent NHL history. But even as a Sharks fan, I personally don't consider 2005-06 to be Thornton's best season. Nor 2006-07, when he racked up 92 assists and 114 points en route to being the runner-up to Sidney Crosby for the Art Ross.

    If I had to pick the greatest season of Joe Thornton's career, it is almost undoubtedly 2007-08. That year was when offensive numbers started to normalize again, following the incredibly high-scoring 2 years after the lockout. Defenses had adjusted to the new rules. Thornton did not put up the incredible numbers he had the previous two seasons, but he still led the league in assists and finished 5th in points despite playing in the far-lower scoring Western Conference. The 2007-08 Sharks finished with 49 wins and 108 points and the #2 seed, but people often forget how bad that team was until Brian Campbell showed up. Thornton led the team in goals, assists, and points. He had more assists than anyone else had points, and outscored the Sharks' second-highest scorer by 44 points. Jonathan Cheechoo had fallen off a cliff, and Patrick Marleau was inexplicably bad. Their defense was such a mess that Sandis Ozolinsh played 39 games.

    A week prior to the trade deadline, the Sharks were 31-21-8, 9 points behind Pacific leader Dallas, 17 points behind #1 seed Detroit, and 4 points out of 9th place. The only reason they were in position to acquire Brian Campbell, who single-handedly changed the course of their season, was because of Thornton and Evgeni Nabokov. That season, Thornton's two wingers combined for less points than he scored alone. He played over 21 minutes per game, a full 3 minutes more than any other forward on the team, and only 10-20 seconds less than their two best defensemen. Thornton and Nabokov put that team on their back every single night, and it resulted in both of them finishing top-7 in Hart voting. I personally consider his 2007-08 season to be his best ever. It does not compare to a few other seasons in terms of production, but he managed to finish 5th in NHL scoring when his team's second-highest scorer ranked 80th, while also finishing 6th in Hart voting and being a Second Team All-Star. Now, this is my personal opinion, so it's not necessarily right or wrong.

    Who are some other players that might fit this bill?
     
  2. SidGenoMario

    SidGenoMario Registered User

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    Crosby's best season was 09-10, not the season when he won the Art Ross. He had 11 less points (which was due to his awful start to the season) but average league scoring had dropped and his defensive game was far better. Not to mention his increased goal scoring. His series against Ottawa was like a microcosm of just how good he was at that time.
     
  3. Sadekuuro

    Sadekuuro Registered User

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    Jagr's best season was arguably not his 149 point campaign.
     
  4. SidGenoMario

    SidGenoMario Registered User

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    It definitely wasn't.
     
  5. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    Rocket's best season wasn't his 50-50 one.
     
  6. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    Datsyuk should have been the 2nd Team All-Star that season, IMO.
     
  7. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    first name that came to mind was selanne.
     
  8. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    would not have needed to displace thornton, since datsyuk played LW in '08.
     
  9. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    Yes, in terms of actual points, what was actually his greatest season was, statistically, only his 7th best. Quite a discrepancy.
     
  10. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Just a few that come to mind that are strictly my own opinions. In brackets are the seasons that many people believe are their best:

    Lindros 1995-'96 (1994-'95)
    Gretzky 1983-'84 or 1985-'86 (1981-'82)
    St. Louis better overall this season than anything I have seen (2003-'04)
    Lemieux 1988-'89, I just always thought his overall individual skill was more dominant before his injuries (1992-'93)
     
  11. canucks4ever

    canucks4ever Registered User

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    Its hard to tell when Orr was at his absolute best, his 5 best seasons were all godly.
     
  12. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    He didn't win a Cup, but 1971 would be my pick
     
  13. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    Lafleur's best season (76-77) was his breakout year 1974-75. Had he not been injured for 10 games, he could have exceeded his career highs in goals and points. In the playoffs, he scored 12 goals and 7 assists in 11 games.
     
  14. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    People may consider Gretzky's 215 point season his best but I'm going with his 212 point season as that was the season he scored 92 goals and scored 50 goals in 39 games.
     
  15. Form and Substance

    Form and Substance Registered User

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    I don't think there's a unanimous pick on which of Gretzky's seasons was his best but I imagine the 92 goal one would be a pretty popular vote.
     
  16. Breakfast of Champs

    Breakfast of Champs Registered User

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    I would say lemieuxs best wouldnt be his 199 pt seaon but his 160 pt in 60 game season
     
  17. tazzy19

    tazzy19 Registered User

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    Wayne Gretzky's best season was 83-84 when he scored 87 goals and 205 points in only 74 games (1.18 GPG and 2.77 PPG, both his highest ever, and both NHL records). This was the year he scored 100 goals, including playoffs, and averaged exactly 3 PPG over his record 51 game scoring streak. Even more amazing than his other amazing seasons....though 163 assists and being held scoreless in only 3 games in 85-86 is also ridiculous. Picking the best Gretzky season is almost an excercise in futility come to think about it...
     
  18. tazzy19

    tazzy19 Registered User

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    I don't know what's more impresive: 163 assists or 92 goals and 50 in 39. I'm thinking 163 assists, as it's just so much higher than anyone else in history, even his own ridiculous assist totals, whereas Gretzky himself was on pace to beat 92 goals in 83-84. Though 50 in 39 is indeed ridiculous.... Hmmm....this is like trying to figure out the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
     
  19. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    If you want sneaky greatness, no one's mentioned Gretzky's 1984-85 campaign.

    Canada Cup: 5-7-12
    Reg Season: 73-135-208, +98, 11 SH Goals to 8 PP Goals
    Playoffs: 17-30-47, +28

    I think this is the least mentioned 200 point season, and probably his most dominant playoff run. He has a Stanley Cup, Canada Cup, Hart, Ross, Pearson, most goals, assists, points, the then-records for most assists (2nd now), highest +/-, and more assists than the next guy has points.

    Also does anyone have his powerplay assist totals by season? I assume he had a bunch, but would like to know how many.
     
  20. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    Another argument could be made for his 78-79 season. He didn't win any awards, but he won his team scoring championship by 52 pts. Other than Gretzky, I've never seen the top scorer on a cup team dominate his teammates to that degree.
     
  21. livewell68

    livewell68 Registered User

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    Exactly, his 1998-99 127 Pts season was his best campaign and it can be argued that despite the injuries, his second best campaign was in 1999-00 when he scored 96 Pts in 63 games en route to the Art Ross, and finishing 2nd in Hart voting losing by just 1 Pt.

    His 149 Pts in 1995-96 is a tie for 3rd with his 2005-06 season for me.
     
  22. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Ron Francis's best season was 2001-02, when he finished 9th in scoring as 38 year old and ended up leading a relatively weak (on paper) Carolina Hurricanes team to the Stanley Cup Finals.

    I find that much more impressive than any of his high scoring finishes playing on the same line as Jaromir Jagr, or his 1995-1996 season, when he was 3rd in NHL scoring, but also played on the PP with Mario Lemieux.
     
  23. canucks4ever

    canucks4ever Registered User

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    I think his 1998 season is just as good as 2006.
     
  24. Derick*

    Derick* Guest

    I agree. Interestingly I think he didn't deserve his 07 Hart but probably deserved it last year. More than Sedin at least.

    But hey, there's a reason they call it Art Ross 2.0.
     
  25. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    I would take Kovalev`s 2008 when he was key contributor of Canadiens and was true natural leader over his 2001 campaign when he was TOP 5 in goals and points.
     

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