May 14, 2011

Who is the Greatest Player In Stanley Cup History?

Who is the greatest player in Stanley Cup playoffs history? That is going to be a big focus of this website as in the next week I will convene the first ever Hockey History Round Table. I will pose the question to four panelists and get their expert opinions.

The Hockey History Round Table will be a regular feature for next season. Panelists will include members of the mainstream media, new media, authors and historians. It should be a big hit.

In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the top candidates, in no particular order:

They say you can not win a Stanley Cup without great goaltending. When it comes to playoff goaltending, no one was greater than Patrick Roy.

Roy won a total of four Stanley Cups, two of them while carrying the Montreal Canadiens on his back. He won three Conn Smythe trophies as the playoff's Most Valuable Player, more than any other player in history.

Roy has 151 wins, while no other goalie as of 2011 has 100. His career .918 save percentage and 2.30 GAA and tied for all time best 23 playoff shutouts are very impressive.

Patrick Roy is considered the greatest goalie of all time largely because of his clutch play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The only man in all of professional sports to captain two different organizations to championships, Mark Messier needs no introduction.

The six time champion won 5 in Edmonton. The first four may have come in the shadow of Wayne Gretzky, but not so. Mess proved to be The Great One's near-equal in the playoffs. In fact, when the Oilers won their first Stanley Cup in 1984 it was Messier who took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP.

Two years after Gretzky left the Oilers for Hollywood, Messier led the Oilers to their 5th Stanley Cup title in 7 years. No one expected them to win another Cup with Gretzky gone, but Messier proved them wrong

Messier left Edmonton for New York shortly thereafter, setting the stage for arguably his greatest Stanley Cup championship. He captained the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. Messier even famously guaranteed victory in a game against the New Jersey Devils in the Conference finals.

Messier scored 109 playoff goals, 186 assists for 295 points in 236 career games. All offensive totals are the 2nd best in Stanley Cup playoffs history - behind only Gretzky

If you had to pick one player to play for your team to play a playoff game, how can you not want Wayne Gretzky?

Gretzky leads all players in Stanley Cup history in all offensive categories - 122 goals, 260 assists for 382 points in 208 contests. He has almost 100 more points than 2nd place leader Mark Messier. Add an all time best 24 game winning goals, two Conn Smythe Trophies and four Stanley Cup championships.

The Great One saved his greatest for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The passage of time has seen his records disappear, but for the longest time Rocket Richard held the records for most goals (82), game winning goals (18) and overtime goals (6).

In total he won an amazing 8 Stanley Cup championships. The Rocket's reputation as the greatest clutch goal scorer in Stanley Cup history remains fully in tact.

Stay tuned as the Hockey History Round Table tackles who is the Greatest Player In Stanley Cup History question next week! In the meantime, feel free to make your own suggestions.


JDS said...

Can't argue with any of your suggestions. I would add Brodeur as a candidate, largely because I can't imagine NJ winning any Cups without him but they won three with him. And also because he was so young when he almost prevented Messier's Rangers from winning that signature championship in 1994. Brodeur is probably not "the" greatest playoffs player in history, but he should be in the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Where is Bobby Orr ?!?

You can put Bernie Parent too !

Martin ITFOR said...

People in Quebec started argueing that Martin St-Louis' grit, will, tenacity and intensity is nearly comparable to the one of the great Rocket (that is buried at a cemetery few streets from my place : http://pucktavie.blogspot.com/2009/04/mon-pelerinage-au-cimetiere-notre-dame.html)

JDS said...

St. Louis is awesome, especially in the clutch And I'm glad to see somebody else mention it, since I'm a Tampa Bay area native and have been a Lightning fan since the beginning.

Dan said...

Agree with Bruno, number 4 Bobby Orr and the great Bernie Parent