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October 06, 2016

Rethinking Hockey's Top 100: On Jaromir Jagr


There has been a real love-in for Jaromir Jagr in the last couple of seasons. Hockey's oldest player continues to produce at an impressive rate in an increasingly young man's game.

It's a great story, absolutely. But is it really doing enough to see him move up the Hockey's Top 100 list significantly?

Now had Jagr led the Florida Panthers on a deep Stanley Cup playoff run, that might just do that. It would show Jagr as a great leader, something that he has not gotten a lot of credit for.

Likewise, had Jagr challenged for scoring titles at this age, it would have me really thinking.

But, at the risk of pissing off everyone who seems to love Jagr these days, ultimately I see his last few years as a vagabond nicely extending his career.

Back in 2013 I had Jagr ranked 26th overall. I'm not sure he's done enough to pass anyone on the list above him. Joe Sakic is immediately ahead at 25th.

Jagr was also further capped as the third best European player of all time. Dominik Hasek (20) and Nicklas Lidstrom (21) are ahead. While I do believe Jagr is the greatest European forward of all time, I'm not sure he has surpassed Hasek or Lidstrom.

My bigger question is am I giving enough credit to the Europeans in general here?

I had 16 ranked in the top 100 back in 2013, including four Soviet players who primarily played outside of the National Hockey League.

And my top ranked European - Hasek - was only ranked 20th.

I may need to rethink that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My bigger question is am I giving enough credit to the Europeans in general here?

Definitely not. You have to go a bit deeper into Czech, Russian and Swedish ice hockey history before the fall of Iron Curtain and do some research. You tend to overrate Canadian/NHL history with all those Canada Cups and Summit Series but that`s not exactly your fault as the Europeans do the same thing with their sports history and do not care about some old NHL superstars, nobody ever heard about Howie Morenz.

You can start with Soviets, their ice hockey history is not so long, there is a really good article from Gonchar here:

http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/14178731/nhl-russia-greatest-hockey-players-told-russian-great-sergei-gonchar

Names from pre-90s era like Bobrov, Frisov and Mikhailov must be on the TOP100 list together with Kharlamov and probably Tretiak, who was never considered to be the best goalie in Europe (see Jiri Holecek) and the goaltending was the only Soviet weakness during 70s and 80s.

I`d take your list, remove around 10 players from NHL history (Billy Smith - and i`m the Islanders fan, Cournoyer, Bower, Abel, Joliat, Earl Siebert, Doug Bentley, Busher Jackson, Andy Bathgate and a few others, leave the truly dominant players only.

And on Jaromir Jagr : The guy is second in scoring in NHL history, won everything but of course he`s not Canadian so you put Sakic, Trottier, Lindsay, Messier, Mikita and others ahead of him? This is ridiculous, he should be in TOP 10.

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