Rob Niedermayer vs Chris Gratton

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Stephen, Feb 2, 2011.

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  1. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    I'm getting a little nostalgic for the early 90s, so I thought I'd submit this for debate: who had the better career, Rob Niedermayer or Chris Gratton?

    Both were big centers drafted in the 1993 draft by Florida expansion teams looking to secure number one centermen as franchise cornerstones. Tampa got a potential power forward in Gratton and Florida secured more of a two way speedy center in Niedermayer.

    Safe to say, both fell well short of career projections and expectations, and were pretty big disappointments, but were still able to have relatively successful journeymen careers, both playing in over 1000 games. Gratton produced slightly better, hitting 60 points twice, 20 goals once and 30 goals once. Niedermayer hit 60 points once, and scored 20 plus goals once and won a cup with his brother and had better playoff statistics.

    All considered, who do you prefer?
     
  2. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Chris Gratton, so I could trade him to Bobby Clarke for a ton of draft picks. :naughty:

    In all honesty, not sure who I'd prefer. Leaning towards Niedermayer, because while they both failed as front line forwards, he became a better role player. Also, Niedermayer was actually a pretty big part of Florida's 1996 miracle run IIRC.
     
  3. connellc

    connellc Registered User

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    Niedermayer . Longer career, more effective player, and a great defensive specialist that could pop in a goal now and then. With Gratton, people kept waiting for him to "break out" and when he finally did, he only did it for a season and then took the pay check and settled to be an underachiever. He kind of reminds me of Martin Lapointe. One good season, then settled to a third line grinder.
     
  4. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I'm gonna say Niedermayer.

    Both disappointed offensively long-term, but Niedermayer proved to be a much more useful player overall, and contributed to a lot more playoff wins.
     
  5. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    Niedermayer, altough when Gratton was on fire he brought more. Unfortunatly, he was on fire maybe 2-3 times in his career. Niedermayer fits better into role of role player and had better and more successful playoff.
    It is close, but Nieds is clear winner.
     
  6. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    At 21 years of age Gratton was a 30 goal, 200 PIM player that looked like he could be the next great power forward. Instead he became a complete dog, and one of the bigger wastes of talent the game has seen.

    In hindsight people rip Clarke for making that move to aquire Gratton, but it wasn't just Clarke that thought Gratton could be a big time.player. People love to rip on Clarke because they don't like him. Hell, he got ripped for signing Ryan Kesler to an offer sheet, when many thought he was just a checking center. That offer sheet looks awful good right now.
     
  7. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    Gratton - Peak
    Niedermeyer - Career
     
  8. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    People ripped on Clarke because he added a player the team didnt really need. They already had Lindros and Brind'Amour. Adding another center was just stupidity. This was due to the whole "big player"-niche that was going on during the 90s.
     
  9. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Chris Gratton
     
  10. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    You can always use talent. He wasn't just added because of size. He was added because he had size, used it and could play.
     
  11. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    Of course but you need the right kind of talent and it was dumb of Clarke to pull that move all though he might have gotten more critique for it than he deserved.
     
  12. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Clarke's still a fool because he should have seen this happening, offered even more, and maybe the Canucks let him walk. :sarcasm:
     
  13. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Clarke is a tool for pretty much one reason as a GM. A thing that plagues Philly every year.. after year.. after year..

    Not getting those pretty good teams he had in the 90s a legit goaltender. Imagine how different Philly would have been with one.

    Even this year they have to count on a kid panning out..
     
  14. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    gratton had the higher offensive ceiling, but niedermayer turned himself into a useful player in a diminished role. gratton was always a big disappointment, never useful.

    incidentally, i still can't believe the buffalo/phoenix trade. i didn't know briere would turn out as good as he was (i saw him having more of a steve sullivan career), but that's still a hell of a lot more valuable than the lazy man's bertuzzi.
     
  15. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    I'd have to disagree with that. At the time, Chris Gratton looked like a mini Lindros out there, and if Gratton had brought what Keith Primeau later brought to Philly in the playoffs, the combination of Gratton, (healthy) Lindros and Brind'Amour probably would have yielded a cup or two. Having center depth and size like that would have just steam rolled the opposition.
     
  16. Sidney the Kidney

    Sidney the Kidney 3-Peat + 1

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    I was a big fan of Gratton's when he played his junior days in Kingston. By the last 25 games of his second year (his draft year), he was arguably the most dominant player in the entire OHL. It seemed every single game he scored a goal, crushed a bunch of players with big checks, and basically looked like a man amongst boys. This late season dominance helped him finish with his 55 goals and 109 points on the season.

    At this point, I thought he was going to be something special at the next level. Sure he wasn't the fleetest of foot, and sure his pure puck skills weren't up there with the other two highly touted forwards that year (Kariya and Daigle), but with his combination of skill, size, and physicality, I figured he'd be able to turn that into a first-line NHL powerforward career.

    After he got drafted, I didn't get to see much of his games. Back then, it wasn't quite so easy to watch games of teams outside your province. So the only way I could keep up with Gratton's NHL career was via boxscores, or the very rare time the Lightning might have played Toronto or Montreal. So as his career enfolded, I could only judge his play based on pure numbers.

    His rookie season was average. Not great, but decent enough given his age, to still hold onto the belief he'd turn into a good powerforward. His second season was disappointing due to his lack of scoring, and his third season saw him fail yet again to reach the 20-goal plateau. So three seasons into his NHL career, and I wasn't sure what to think.

    Year four had me convinced he was going to be the league's next big powerforward. 30 goals, 200+ PIMs, and suddenly Gratton had emerged. He hit, he fought, and he finally showed a first-line scoring touch to go along with his physicality. I figured that that would be his launching point to bigger and better things.

    Unfortunately, as we all know now, that wasn't the case. His fourth season ended up being his best season of his career, his only 30-goal campaign, and the last time Gratton would ever be mentioned when there was discussion about the best powerforwards in the game.

    So what happened?

    Was it simply him not being good enough?

    Did his limited skating ability finally catch up to him?

    Or was it the fact the Flyers threw at him a contract that basically, in one split second, made him financially secure for life and thus, killed whatever desire to continue improving he may have once had?

    I've always had the suspicion that it was the last option.

    In Kingston, Gratton's calling card was heart and work ethic. That's what made him a star. Sure his physical skills allowed it to happen, but it was the fact he showed up every night and strove to be the best player on the ice that made him what he was. His fourth year in the NHL, when he finally broke out, lends evidence that he was in fact on that path at the NHL level, too.

    But then after signing that big deal, it's almost like that extra bit of spark, that extra bit of motivation to keep on improving just wasn't there anymore.

    Am I way off?
     
  17. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    ^ from what i remember, people were saying that he was unable to live up to the expectations that came with the big contract so he regressed instead of improving on his breakthrough season. it seemed like a confidence issue. and i'm sure getting traded back to TB after failing in philly didn't help either.

    i did see a bit of later career gratton and he was really good on faceoffs but was otherwise not really suited to being a shutdown center. classic tweener: not good enough at the little things to be a role player, skilled enough to stay in the league but not good enough to be a true top six forward. and not using his size was also a common criticism.
     
  18. Padan

    Padan Registered User

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    Gratton was a pretty solid defensive center during his short stint with the Avalanche in 2004. He was matched up against Mike Modano in the playoffs and played really well (yes, I know that Modano had one of his worst seasons in his career, but still).
     
  19. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    At draft time I read posts like this to sober myself up on young prospects.

    What's really crazy is that when Phoenix finally dealt Gratton away, they included a 2nd that was used to draft Paul Stastny.
     
  20. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Agreed. There's something fascinating about looking back on all the projections and dissect where things went wrong. The league would be such a vastly different place if everyone developed into what was projected.
     
  21. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    Brind'Amour had already had success as a left winger at that point.
     
  22. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    You know what is weird though, Philly had a stockpile of Lindros, Gratton, Brind'Amour and they added Alexandre Daigle somewhere in the 98 season, so they were really overloaded with centermen, though at that point maybe Daigle had been converted to wing.
     

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