Was Trevor Linden Really Even Better Than Cliff Ronning?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by GlitchMarner, Aug 21, 2017.

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  1. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    One might not think so initially... but once you really analyze their careers, it doesn't seem like an outlandish question at all.



    Their best point totals are as follows:


    Linden:

    80
    75
    72
    70
    61
    59
    51
    47
    41
    40
    40
    38
    37
    37
    36


    Ronning:


    85
    71
    68
    67
    62
    62
    60
    55
    55
    54
    51
    48
    44
    25
    25


    Their best adjusted point totals are:


    Linden:

    77
    69
    67
    63
    58
    55
    54
    49
    46
    43
    43
    42
    41
    41
    39


    Ronning:

    69
    69
    68
    67
    64
    63
    62
    62
    62
    53
    53
    45
    43
    38
    28


    _______________________________________________________


    If we go by adjusted point totals, Linden has the best season offensively between the two and his fifteenth best season is better than Ronning's fifteenth best, but in between those seasons, nearly every season of Ronning's best 15 is better in terms of production than Linden's corresponding season.


    Ronning finished with 869 points (878 adjusted points) in 1137 games while Linden had 867 points (874 adjusted points) in 1382 games. Linden has fewer points and adjusted points in 245 more games!


    Of course, there's more to hockey than scoring. Linden has a reputation for having been a good defensive player. However, outside of season where he placed fifth in Selke voting, he received virtually no Selke love. He finished 55th in Selke voting in 2004.

    I watched the Canucks during the 1994 playoffs, but I was eight years old then, so I can't say I have any impression of Linden's defensive capabilities from that time. I was too young to really judge his defensive capabilities meaningfully during his prime, but based on the fact that he only received Selke consideration in two seasons and the fact that he wasn't an elite scorer at all, I can see why people say he's overrated.


    Obviously he was a strong playoff performer and he supposedly brought leadership and intangible qualities, but as a regular season performer, I'm not sure he was better than a guy like Cliff Ronning. Ronning was a nice player, but he's not revered nearly as much as Trevor Linden.


    Someone like Doan seems like a good comparable to Linden.
     
  2. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Linden is one of the most historically overrated players on this board. But he still kills Ronning in all of defense, grit, leadership, and playoffs. I'm not at all surprised that their regular season stats are so close or that Ronning is a bit ahead.

    Doan was better than both of them.
     
  3. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    Overall in there career Ronning was a better offensive player in the regular season. Linden started yo decline in 1997 when he was 27. So from 1997 to 2004. Age 27 to 34. He was pretty much a 40 point player. So average 2nd line player to great 3rd line player. Ronning was getting 60 points well into his 30s. However Ronning just has offense and not much of anything else.

    Linden was never elite defensively. He was solid defensively for the first part of his career but once he started to play a lot more center around 1996 to about 2001 and when he came to Vancouver his defense got better. He was better defensively later part of his career but his defense is no way near Selke level.

    But linden better defensively than Ronning. He was never an elite banger/hitter but was way more physical than Ronning. Ronning has no physcial game at all. And if you throw in leadership and playoffs Linden is better than Ronning in everything except for regular season offence.

    I will say Linden is overrated. He got selected to play for team Canada twice and other GMs thought highly of him. Canucks did get McCabe and Bertuzzi for Linden. Some people talk about like Linden like he is superstar which he is not. Some people vancouver think Linden is a superstar and Sedins are second line player ls and it's other way around. So overall Linden was a very good player but no where close to a superstar level. Think Wendal Clark in Toronto.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  4. double5son10

    double5son10 Registered User

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    You've answered you're own question there. Yes, Linden was a better player than Ronning, because there IS more to hockey than scoring. Linden was better two-way, in physicality, along the boards, versatility (he could play C and RW), and there was nothing "supposed" about his leadership. He was captain (and union rep) for a reason and doing even 2 minutes of research on Linden's play in the '94 run should tell you how important Linden was to that team. Ronning was indeed a "nice" player, a creative playmaking #2 center. Ronning aged better, as Linden dealt with a host of injuries later in his career (though he started his career w/ a 482 game ironman streak) but for peak and overall impact it's not even close.
     
  5. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Well, if you just look at the numbers a set of numbers you should also be looking at would be feet & inches along with pounds... as in height & weight... those numbers alone illustrating the many differences between Ronning & Linden in terms of play & style of play... Ronning was a Holy Terror in the WHL with New Westminster putting in 89 Goals in his final season, drafted by St.Louis who used him sparingly on the Power Play, frustrated, he quits & goes & plays in Europe for a year, comes back, Blues again dissing him around & then fortunately for wee Cliff... traded to his hometown Canucks. Had that not occurred & he'd wound up elsewhere, all bets off that due to his size he either plays out his career in the minors or in Europe. With Vancouver however, given the chance, he took right off, accommodated, invaluable member of the team, constant scoring threat, highly creative & entertaining player to watch. In the 94 Finals arguably not just the best Canuck but the best forward out there through the series.

    Sadly, Vancouver's offer to him in the wake of 94 & onward was according to Ronning "insulting", that he was willing to take a "discount" in order to remain in Vancouver, being "insulted" wasnt part of the program & plan so he moved on. Arizona, Nashville, the Islanders, Minnesota.... and at every stop pretty much, extremely popular with the fans & with his teammates, the younger ones in particular who really looked up to him, inspirational, guy with a tonne of hockey smarts & savvy. Proven Playoff Warrior. You really are dealing with 2 different types of players here however... its an interesting one, good comparison. Both guys "Leaders" in their own right. Both creative, skilled, clean.... Size unfortunately mattered back then as it does now even more than ever, guys like Ronning caught between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea. Seemingly "no room" for exciting, highly skilled & crafty smaller sized players.... You get the odd one. Martin St.Louis etc. But rare. Very rare. Actually a serious handicap & hard to overcome, impossible unless the guy gets lucky as Ronning did.

    But "better"? Ronning "a better player than Linden"? In some respects yes he was. Skating & stickhandling, passing. But.... because of his size, "limited". Limitations that Linden did not have in facing equally large or larger opponents. More versatile, better defensively. Trevor's only shortcoming really was that he was "too nice". To much the Gentleman during an era of play when you needed to be mean at times, needed to be able to back it up yourself. Had he not been hurt as he was during the 94 Finals & made a point of really messing up Messier but good including beating him to a pulp, Vancouver wins that series & the Cup. When your best forward is a Smurf, a guy the size of a Hobbit then yes, Houston, we have a problem. So they both had faults, handicaps. But overall, Linden literally & figuratively the better player in terms of head & shoulders bigger/better & in other areas of the game including Leadership.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  6. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    I liked Ronning . Good player. No need to compare him to Linden, overrated or otherwise. Very different assets.
     
  7. MS

    MS 1%er

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    Yes.

    It's like asking 'Was Anze Kopitar REALLY better than Mike Ribeiro?' and then using raw numbers as your argument.

    Ronning was a fine undersized #2 center (and sometimes serviceable #1 center) for a long time - and is one of my all-time favourite players - but a prime Linden was a vastly superior two-way force. And one of the best playoff performers of the 1990s, which is a huge part of his legacy.
     
  8. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    I think Geoff Courtnall is a better comparison. If you look at whole career I think Courtnall was better than Linden. Like Ronning, Courtnall was top 6 offensive forward towards the end of his career. He had 30 goal season in the dead puck era. Playoffs from 91 to 95 he was just as good as Linden and more clutch as well. Courtnall had 61 points in 65 playoff games from that time frame. Linden had 65 points in 66 games. Canucks played 14 playoff elimination games from 91 to 91 Courtnall had 19 points in those game Linden 16. Also Courtnall had 8 points in four game 7s and Linden 6.

    Courtnall was also defensively responsible and gritty as well. But in the Canucks eyes and non Canucks eyes Linden was just way better than players like Courtnall and Ronning which is not true. Those guys were underrated and Linden was little bit overrated
     
  9. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    Okay... obviously Linden and Ronning were very different players.

    Because offense is of paramount importance for a first line centre, it's not insignificant at all when a first line C is basically being surpassed in production over a prolonged stretch by a high-end second line centre.

    I like Ronning personally and have no issue with Linden, and I didn't make this thread to bother Canucks fans. I just think that these two are closer as players than their reputations would suggest.

    I think one of the reasons those Canucks teams of the early to mid 90s were so good was that they had a number of good, skilled players in their top six and a fair amount of offensive depth...

    But to me, Bure is the only forward who stands out as a true star. Ronning, Courtnall and Linden were all very good players when the Canucks reached the SCF, but Linden was basically another Kirk Muller (Muller was a very good player during his prime but wasn't a top centre) in my opinion. Meanwhile, I think perhaps Ronning doesn't get enough recognition/respect.


    A forward group that includes players such as Bure, Linden, Ronning, Courtnall, Adams, Craven and Gelinas is an impressive group.
     
  10. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Perhaps not, though I can tell you anecdotally that most knowledgeable Canucks & hockey fans familiar with Ronning have nothing but the fondest memories & respect for the guy. Highly entertaining player, skilled, smart. I for one very disappointed in the Canucks for not meeting him in contract negotiations, shocked actually that they'd let him go. He shouldve remained a Canuck, retired as one. Very popular player. His parents had an antique shop on Main Street, Red Rose Antiques I think it was called south of King Edward. Might even still be there..... at anyrate, Cliff also made quite a big impact in Nashville during his time down in Music City during their fledgling years in the NHL, and a fan favorite in Minnesota, much appreciated by again knowledgeable fans for his play with & without the puck. He impressed. Not someone you forget or underrate if you saw him play. Excellent player, great work ethic & great guy.
     
  11. lawrence

    lawrence Registered User

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    I remember this. Terrible, wow, did Patt Quinn make some terrible decisions towards the end of his tenure. Cliff Ronning wanted exactly 1 million. We offered 700 000k. :shakehead he went on to play another 7 years, being a legit 2nd line centreman in the mist of the dead puck era. In all honesty he played in the following 3 years.

    As I remember it, Cliff Ronning (Prior to the SEdins) was the best centreman our franchice ever had. Linden was more of a winger, and if you personally ask me, I think Ronning was more talented, and did his job as a top 6 player better then Linden did, towards the end.
     
  12. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    After 1996 season Canucks have eyes on Gretzky and they thought they had a really good chance to sign him. Canucks plans were to keep Linden at center since they had Bure and Mogilny so Ronning was not really needed. Canucks almost signed Gretzky but the story was they had a verbal agreement and Gretzky wanted to signed the next morning. But owner told Quinn to ask Gretzky to signed now or offer is off the table and then Gretzky signed with the Rangers. Not signing Ronning really backfired. Mogilny didn't have a center to play with and went from 55 goals to 31 goals.
     
  13. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    91 to 95 Canucks team they were like a lite version of the LA Kings 2012 to 2014. They were a big physical team with a lot of skill.

    Bure by far the best player. Then followed by Courtnall/Linden and then Ronning.

    Ronning and Courtnall was really underrated
    Linden was really overrated. At work we have debate about Linden vs Bure all the time. Half of them think Linden is a better player. Linden Ronning Courtnall played on the same line. They all made each other better.
     
  14. daddyohsix

    daddyohsix Herding Cats

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    Yes, still there last time I dropped by, they sub-divided (and sold half of?) it so the half at the corner is now a coffee or some other food shop, while the rest remains as the store. Bought a beautiful "table" from them over a decade ago (more than a table, used it as an island in our kitchen). My wife spent a lot of time talking to Cliff's dad, they are great people.

    I thought Ronning benefited from having Sandlak and Momesso often on his wings, but Ronning also went on to other teams like NAS and MN and had success, so in hindsight it makes me marvel at him even more. Him and Fleury were a couple of shorter players that had great success in the league in those days.

    Will never forget his OT goal in Game 3 of '91 playoffs against the Kings. Had front row seats, arrived early for the first home playoff game since Otto kicked the puck into our net in Calgary, on the way to a Stanley Cup. Crowd standing and cheering at top of lungs half an hour before puck drop. Even louder when Ronning scored. Leaving the building, it felt like we were going to take the series and go on a run, but then Gretzky.
     
  15. TheMalkinEra

    TheMalkinEra Registered User

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    Didnt Linden and Ronning play on the same line with Courtnall for the first couple of seasons before Linden was moved to Center midway through the 93-94 to play with Bure and Adams.

    Unless im mistaken Ronning and Bure never really played on the same line. Was there a reason for that.
     
  16. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    my memory is after the st louis trade, pat quinn put together the "life line." as you say, courtnall, ronning, and linden.

    that line remained intact through the '93 playoffs.

    i'm not sure when quinn broke up that line, but for most of the '94 playoffs, it was definitely:

    line 1: courtnall lafayette linden
    line 2: adams craven bure
    line 3: momesso ronning gelinas
    line 4: john mcintyre with some combination of tim hunter, shawn antoski, and gino

    in high stakes situations, especially overtimes, quinn would throw out courtnall, linden, and bure together, as can be seen in the calgary series (i think that trio is on the ice together for all three OT goals).

    that '91 canucks team was the definition of a one line team. but when you look back, and people say "well what did you expect naslund and bertuzzi to do? they were a one line team," i point to the '91 canucks.


    just three guys who were all clutch as hell coming together to give gretzky and his team of ringers a scare.

    then with the addition of bure in '92, as well as the resurrection of larionov from the grave, the life line had some scoring support. they still killed it.


    in '93, with nedved's emergence, and the addition of craven, this was a legitimately deep team. the life line leading the way; adams, craven, and bure right there with them; and nedved with sandlak and momesso at least being a line you had to pay attention. dixon ward, anatoli semenov, and garry valk all found their way onto the top three lines at times too. at forward, that team was probably better than the '94 team.


    then i think ronning was moved down sometime in '94 to spread the scoring out and to fill the hole created by nedved's holdout and subsequent trade.

    i think as time went on, ronning became more of a PP specialist. part of that is craven was near his level offensively while being much better defensively, and part of that is the team needed him less. in the '94 playoffs, on a lower line, ronning scored half his points on the PP. part of what this tells us is that ronning might fit the label of "bad team scorer," where a small, skilled guy tends to catch on and score a lot as the main guy on a bad team that needs him to score. you could compare ronning in nashville and minnesota to guys like mike sillinger, donald audette, valeri bure, that type of player.

    on the other hand, ronning was a gamer and a half. if you asked me before the '94 playoffs who was clutcher linden or ronning, i would say ronning without blinking. for a guy whose career may have been artificially extended by piling up points on expansion teams, he was also one hell of a player when the stakes were high. so unlike sillinger, audette, val bure, and those guys, you would never ever say cliff ronning has no place on a contending team.

    bure and ronning never clicked. bure also never clicked with nedved. a puck-carrying playmaker just isn't what bure ever needed. a give up the puck and hang back on d guy like craven, larionov, anatoli semenov, that was bure's ideal linemate.

    but ronning and mogilny had something special, leading to mogilny's 55 goal/107 point season. but then mogilny was more of a give-and-go cerebral guy, at his best with little shifty pat lafontaine. mogilny was most dialed in when he had someone who could think on his level, like lafontaine or scott gomez; ronning was a smart smart player. some rumours suggest that quinn failing to re-sign ronning also caused mogilny to mentally check out.
     
  17. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    quite different players but I'm going to say yes.
     
  18. IComeInPeace

    IComeInPeace Registered User

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    Not even close.

    Courtnall and Ronning you could argue either way.
     
  19. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    Please give me your argument on why Linden is a lot better than Courtnall?

    Lets look at from Stats from 1988 to 1998 since both played in the nhl at that time

    Linden points total 59 51 70 75 72 61 40 80 40 38
    Courtnall point total 80 74 65 57 77 70 34 40 57 62

    Courtnall outscored Linden 6 out of 10 seasons.

    Total points for Linden 586 points in 727 games ppg 0.806

    Total points for Courtnall 616 points in 747 games. 0.824.

    Also Courtnall is +121 for his career and Linden is -67. Hard to compare the rest of there career because of different era

    Playoffs from 1989 to 1999

    Linden had 80 points in 79 games. Towards the end of his career Linden didn't do much in the Playoffs and had only 4 goals and 15 Assist in his last 45 gamss

    Courtnall had 104 points in 128 games. But from 1989 to 1994 like Linden, Courtnall did have a ppg stretch of 75 points in 75 games. Before 1989 Courtnall didn't do much in the Playoff mainly because he didn't get the ice time.

    But Courtnall has 10 playoff GWG and Linden only has 5.
    Career game 7s. Courtnall 8 points in 5 games and Linden has 12 points in 9 games.

    1991 to 1995 playoffs when they played together.

    1991 to 1995 Playoffs point total Courtnall 8 14 14 19 6. Linden had 7 12 13 25 8. Courtnall outscored him 3 out of 5 playoffs but linden does have more points 65 points in 66 games and Courtnall 61 points in 65 games. But Courtnall during that time. Canucks played 14 elimination games including 4 game 7s. Courtnall had 19 points in those elimination games including 8 point in game 7. Linden has 16 points in elimination games including 6 points in game 7.

    Playoffs are about the same but I will give a slight to Courtnall for being much a little more clutch. He does have more GW goals. Higher ppg in game 7s and more elimination points that Linden as well with the Canuks

    Grit. Both are not overly physical but will give a hit when needed.

    Both are solid defensively. Linden had Selke votes once in his career. Linden was never elite defensively. After 1994 and when he came back they did used Linden more in defensive situation. But one reason for that they had no better option. There is a reason why is -67 in his career.

    Linden after 1997 at the age 27 he decline quite a bit and became a 40 point player. So a really good 3rd line player. Courtnall was still top 6 forward late in his career. At age 35 Courtnall had 31 goals and Linden 16 points at that age. Courtnall was a top 6 longer and that's another reason why I think Courtnall is better than Linden.

    Linden is just the bigger name. Bigger name doesn't mean better player
     
  20. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    geoff courtnall's offensive game certainly aged better than linden (to say the least), and he was one hell of a clutch scorer in the postseason, but i would not describe him as "solid" defensively.
     
  21. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    okay, let's run the numbers--

    linden, 1989 (rookie year)-2002: 1079 games, 335 goals, 443 assists, 778 points

    geoff courtnall, career ('84-'99): 1048 games, 367 goals, 432 assists, 799 points

    considering pre-'03 linden played effectively four more DPE seasons than courtnall, and courtnall played effectively four more 80s years than linden, i'd say it's generous to courtnall to call those numbers even.

    they actually have almost exactly the same prime: linden's is '89-'96, and courtnall's is spread a little longer but also isn't as consistent-- '88-'98. and it doesn't make sense to use courtnall's 35 year old season as a plus in this comparison because 1. it was a bounce back year after two post-'96 linden-esque seasons, and 2. linden has four full, good seasons under his belt by the age that courtnall is even an NHL regular. by the age that courtnall cracked 50 points for the first time, linden's entire eight year prime was over. they just have very different career arcs, linden burning out early and courtnall being a late bloomer.

    it's strange to look at the numbers because before i ran them i would have told you courtnall was the better offensive player but linden is closer than you'd think. but as i said earlier, if you look at linden's career up to the number of games courtnall plays, it actually flatters courtnall to call them even. and then add linden's superior all-round game, physicality (courts was chippy, linden was physical), and leadership, and then add the four extra seasons at the end of linden's career where he was a very good defensive specialist, and no i don't think you can make a reasonable argument for courtnall here.

    and fwiw, i loved both courtnall and ronning as players, and remember them extremely fondly, much more than i even liked linden then or now. but facts are facts.
     
  22. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    1 issue I have with your numbers is that you are taking Courtnall worst seasons but not Linden worst seasons. Both played 3 seasons as a 4th line player. Difference Courtnall first 3 seasons 85 to 87 and Linden last 3 seasons 06 to 08. So the way you compared is not really fair to Courtnall. However if you look at the whole career is not fair for Linden because Linden played more in dpe and less in the 80s. What I did I just took 1988 to 1998 since both played during that time frame to make it fair. Also had most of there best seasons in that time frane

    Or another way we can maybe look at is there 10 highest points seasons.

    Courtnall 80 77 74 70 66 65 62 57 40 34(lockout)

    = 625 points in 739 games

    Linden 80 75 72 70 61 59 51 47 40 40 (lockout)

    = 595 points in 742 games

    Every year is the same year except for 1988 and 1998 Courtnall 66 and 62 points and Linden 1999 47 points and 1997 40 points (49 games). 1999 and 1998 season are about the same scoring. Of course 1988 was lot higher in scoring than 1997 but it's not 30 points apart.
    Also Courtnall 55 GW goals in his career and Linden has 41

    Playoffs it's about the same as well but I did say I give the nod to Courntall because he is more clutch. My numbers proved it on my last message.

    There are two Lindens. The 30 goal 70 point reg season and and that is solid defensively but not great or good and was physical at times. Or the 40 point Linden who wasn't that physical but was above average defensively.

    One issue I have you using defensively and physical in your argument because he was never really that of player with both skill sets at the same time. Linden was physical when he was on the wing up the 1994 playoffs. He started improve defensively once he started to play center FT around 96/97 but he wasn't physical. Once he start center full time he was less physical. But that point around he didn't have the offense anymore.

    Plus/minus i will admit it is at times misleading but Courtnall is +121 and Linden -67. A difference is 188. That is a hugh difference. I wouldnt call Linden a defensive specialist. The Selke has up 50 players getting votes.. Only once he got a votes
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  23. agentblack

    agentblack Registered User

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    I honestly had no idea Ronning was that prolific a scorer.
     
  24. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i looked at courtnall's entire career. offensively, linden already equalled what courtnall did over his entire career by 2003. those last four years of linden's career are gravy; they can only add, they can't detract from his career.


    i do agree that courtnall was slightly more clutch as a playoff goal scorer.


    yes, there were years where linden was more physical, and others where he was better defensively. but there was never a moment of linden's career where he wasn't more physical and better defensively than courtnall.


    i'm not calling him a selke guy. i'm just describing his role, which was as a dedicated defensive player. centered the third line, killed penalties, took important defensive zone draws.
     
  25. Canucks1096

    Canucks1096 Registered User

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    But do you think Linden did good job shutting down players and killing penalties? I think defensively he is overrated. Part of the reason he has that job because there not many other options available
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017

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