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Ray Payne Wanted Chris Pronger, Tim Burke Wanted Paul Kariya in 1993 NHL Draft

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Credit: Davey darling at English Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5)

If Ray Payne had his way, Chris Pronger would’ve been drafted by the San Jose Sharks.

Going into the 1993 Draft, the Sharks held the second-overall pick. Alexandre Daigle was the consensus No. 1. The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau had future Hall of Famer Pronger after Daigle among North American skaters.

“Everybody made the mistake on Daigle,” Payne acknowledged. “95 percent of the scouts made a mistake on Daigle.”

But Payne, who was San Jose’s Eastern Scouting Supervisor from 1990-94, would’ve been more than pleased with Pronger: “I lived in Toronto at the time. He was playing in Peterborough, which is about 80 miles away from where I lived.

“I saw practically every home game that Chris played. I thought he was going to be an outstanding player.”

But the Sharks had set their eyes far from Peterborough.

“A lot of the staff was hung up on the Russian kid [Viktor Kozlov],” Payne said. “We’d be talking about Pronger and they’d be calling him Pronger. But after we interviewed Kozlov, they were always calling him Viktor. And I thought, I can see where this is going.”

On Draft Day, the Sharks sent the No. 2 pick to the Hartford Whalers for the No. 6, No. 45, and No. 58 in the 1993 Draft, and 35-year-old winger Sergei Makarov.

“I saw Pronger a lot, so people probably thought I was biased,” Payne said. “I was pretty pissed off at the table, but you do what the group wants to do.”

Bob Friedlander, Sharks video scout from 1990-2006, went in more detail: “When you go into the draft meeting, how many people does Chuck Grillo got in that room? More than Dean [Lombardi], more than Ray, more than Timmy [Burke]. That’s how they ended up with Kozlov.”

In 1993, Lombardi was Director of Hockey Operations, Grillo was Director of Player Personnel, and Burke was Director of Professional Scouting.

“Wasn’t [University of Maine star Paul] Kariya in that Draft too? That’s who Tim Burke wanted. Big time,” Friedlander revealed. “You got to look at it this way. Tim Burke is the college guy. Ray Payne is the Ontario League guy.”

Future Hall of Famer Kariya went fourth-overall to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The San Jose Sharks selected the 6-foot-5 Kozlov with the sixth-overall pick, Czech defenseman Vlastimil Kroupa with the 45th, and Finnish winger Ville Peltonen with the 58th.

“Like the Dallas Cowboys were America’s Team, Chuck wanted the Sharks to be known as the World’s Team,” Friedlander said. “Could you say he was wrong? We tried that way and did get a lot of good hockey players.

“Chuck knew at that time you could find players nobody else could [in Europe]. How do you think they found Nabokov? Nobody was scouting Europe [in person].”

Payne acknowledged: “Kozlov was a big, strong centerman, the type of the kid who you think is going to help make your club a contender.”

Meanwhile, a May 1993 Canadian Press report noted “Kozlov, who was expected to give Daigle a run at the first pick overall, was a disappointment at the recent European junior championship.” (“Flashy Daigle still top dog in hockey treasure hunt.” The Canadian Press, May 8, 1993.)

Kozlov was indeed tantalizing, and the Russian enjoyed a solid 14-year NHL career.

But of course, he was no Pronger or Kariya.

“You get these guys in the room, all these guys that Chuck hired, they ain’t going to go against Chuck,” Friedlander said, laughing. “I hate to say it, but the loudest voices in the room don’t always win. And Timmy Burke was always the loudest voice in the room and so was Ray.”

They just weren’t loud enough to secure a Hall of Famer for the San Jose Sharks in the 1993 NHL Draft.

Did Sharks Get Solid Draft Value in Return for Pronger Pick?

San Jose Hockey Now contributor Erik Fowle weighed in on the San Jose Sharks trading the No. 2 pick for the No. 6, 45, and 58 picks and Makarov: “Per Dom Luszczyszyn’s newest measure — the No. 2 pick is worth 12.3 in game score value added. No. 6 and No. 45 and No. 58 are worth 10.6 game score value added.

“So they lost a bit of value trading back. They should’ve tried to get a bit more. The difference of 1.7 game score value added lost in the transaction is the same GSVA of a mid-second pick.

“As for Makarov, for a championship-caliber team, I’d say adding a solid NHL’er for a second is good work. For a new or rebuilding team like the Sharks, you’d hope the player would make a more lasting impact.”

The 35-year-old Russian was a big part of back-to-back surprising playoff runs for the San Jose Sharks, before his Hall of Fame-worthy career petered out.

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Gary To

That was the year of the big centers…Niedermayer, Arnott, Gratton etc. I remember being a fan of Kozlov’s throughout his career but he was just so inconsistent, frustratingly so. If sharks wanted a big center…Arnott was probably the better choice at the time, hindsight is 20/20 of course.

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Hockey History

Joe Thornton as a Shark: A Hockey Card History

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There’s been top-10 lists. Top-five lists. Video highlights.

But here’s a way to remember Joe Thornton’s time with the San Jose Sharks that you can hold with your hand: This is Jumbo’s definitive hockey card history in teal.

The Rookie

Card shown: 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond #160

Purchase price: About $200

The San Jose Sharks didn’t draft Thornton, but a rookie card is the centerpiece of any player’s hockey card history.

Thornton has just three official rookie cards (1996-97 Upper Deck and 1996-97 Upper Deck Ice), but this is the definitive RC because of its scarcity.

The Trade

Card shown: 2005-06 Parkhurst Season Highlights Facsimile Auto Parallel #591 Joe Thornton (print run: 100)

Purchase price: About $10

On November 30, 2005, San Jose Sharks history changed when they acquired Thornton from Boston for, according to the back of this card, “three players.”

And no disrespect to Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau — and their distinguished careers — but they were just guys compared to San Jose’s first true superstar.

To underscore Thornton’s offensive impact — and points aren’t everything — but Sturm, Stuart, and Primeau combined to score 454 points in their remaining 23 NHL seasons after the trade. Thornton eclipsed that figure by himself within five seasons in San Jose.

There’s a base version of the card shown without the Facsimile Auto that goes for about $1.

The Hart

Card shown: 2019-20 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Icons Autograph Jersey #UIA-JT (print run: 65)

Purchase price: About $25

Thornton went on a tear after the trade, putting up 72 assists in 58 games, good for a total of 96 assists.

Per Hockey Reference’s adjusted-by-era stats — those 92 adjusted assists put Thornton in rarified company.

Just five players have registered 90-plus adjusted assists in a season. Three of them are named Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr. Jaromir Jagr also achieved this feat with 94 adjusted assists in 1998-99. Along with Gretzky and Orr, Thornton is the only player to surpass this lofty figure twice (92 again in 2006-07).

Per adjusted (and unadjusted) assists, Thornton’s 2005-06 still stands as the more prolific playmaking season of this millennium.

For his efforts, Thornton became the first San Jose Sharks player to win the Hart Trophy.

The card shown depicts Jumbo with both the Hart and Art Ross trophies. There are numerous versions of this card, some unautographed, some autographed with a patch jersey swatch.

The Decade

Card shown: 2010-11 Panini Dominion All Decade Autograph Jersey #JT (print run: 50)

Purchase price: About $20

Thornton has a good argument for the best center of the 2000’s.

His 823 points and 580 assists topped the entire league during the decade. His 580 helpers were 133 more than runner-ups Daniel Alfredsson and Brad Richards.

The card shown also has different versions, some with just a jersey swatch and some with just an autograph.

The Celebration

Card shown: 2011-12 Panini Pinnacle #119

Purchase price: About $1

For all his regular season exploits, however, the early part of Thornton’s career in San Jose was marred by playoff disappointment after playoff disappointment.

This began to change in 2010, when Thornton and Patrick Marleau finished off back-to-back Western Conference champs Detroit Red Wings in the second round, propelling the San Jose Sharks to their first Conference Finals appearance since 2004.

The next year, Thornton scored the only playoff overtime goal of his career (so far). This Game Six strike carried the Sharks past the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and prompted the iconic celebration depicted on this card. San Jose would advance to the Western Conference Finals once again.

Jumbo & Patty

Card shown: 2010-11 Playoff Contenders Draft Tandems Autograph #12 Patrick Marleau/Joe Thornton (print run: 25)

Purchase price: About $50

Speaking of Marleau, he and Thornton were intertwined in so many ways: Back-to-back opening selections of the 1997 NHL Draft, San Jose Sharks teammates for 13 seasons and 1,111 regular season and playoff games….

In perhaps fitting bookends, Marleau played 58 games with Thornton in 2005-06 after the trade…then Thornton played 58 games with Marleau in 2019-20 before Patty was dealt at the Trade Deadline.

There’s a base unautographed version of the card shown that can be had for about $1.

The Cock

Card shown: 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Knights in the City Materials Prime #KN-TH Joe Thornton/Tomas Hertl (print run: 25)

Purchase price: About $20

“I’d have my cock out if I scored four goals. I’d have my cock out, stroking it.”

That’s what Thornton interjected in the locker room after he heard the media questioning whether or not 18-year-old Tomas Hertl’s fourth goal on October 8, 2013 — a between-the-legs spectacular — should be considered showboating.

Since there isn’t a trio card depicting Jumbo, Tommy, and a chicken, this card — from Hertl’s rookie year — will do. There’s also a more inexpensive version of the card shown, serial numbered to 99.

The Final

Card shown: 2016-17 SP Authentic Authentic Moments Spectrum Autograph #104

Purchase price: About $60

After the 2014-15 San Jose Sharks missed the playoffs, most observers figured their window for contention had closed — and without a Finals appearance for Thornton and Marleau.

Wrong!

And while the Sharks weren’t able to hoist the Cup, reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Final is still the crowning achievement of the franchise’s history.

There’s also an unautographed version of this card that goes for about $2.

The Beard

Card shown: 2019-20 SP Authentic Sign of the Times 2 Autograph ST2-BT Brent Burns/Joe Thornton (print run: 25)

Purchase price: About $75

Thornton built so many lasting relationships on the San Jose Sharks, it’s hard to pick just a few above so many. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Dan Boyle, Evgeni Nabokov, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Jonathan Cheechoo are among the luminaries that will only get a mention here.

But from walking shirtless in Pittsburgh, barber shop commercials, and posing naked together in ESPN’s The Body Issue, Thornton and his beard buddy Brent Burns became inseparable in the public consciousness.

The Milestones

The last few seasons of Thornton’s tenure in San Jose was the march of passing one milestone after another. Here’s a cardboard celebration of a few of these moments.

On March 6, 2017, Thornton became the 13th player in league history to reach 1,000 assists.

Card shown: 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee #556

Purchase price: About $1

On April 4, 2019, Thornton collected his 1,064th career assist, passing Steve Yzerman. Thornton wore No. 19 as a tribute to his childhood idol.

Card shown: 2018-19 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #82

Purchase price: About $5

Thornton clocked 1,600 games played on December 12, 2019. In the process, he and Marleau became the first teammates, each with 1,600 games played, to suit up together in a game.

Card shown: 2019-20 Topps Now NHL Stickers #94 Joe Thornton/Patrick Marleau

Purchase price: About $3

On February 4, 2020, Thornton became the 14th player in NHL history to record 1,500 points.

Card shown: 2019-20 Upper Deck Game Dated Moments #49

Purchase price: About $5

Thornton leaves San Jose with a career 1,636 games, 420 goals, 1,089 assists, and 1,509 points.

Next up for the future Hall of Famer? Dave Andreychuk’s 1,639 games for eighth place in all-time games, Paul Coffey’s 1,135 assists for sixth place in all-time assists, and Coffey’s 1,531 points for 13th in all-time points.

Here’s to more Jumbo-sized historic achievements in Toronto!

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Hockey History

Mark Letestu & Mark Morris on John Madden the Coach

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Everybody knows about John Madden the player.

And why shouldn’t they?

Three-time Stanley Cup champion. 2001 Selke Trophy winner. Three-time Selke runner-up.

But not everybody knows about Madden the coach. Madden was an assistant coach on Kevin Dineen and Gerard Gallant’s staffs with the Florida Panthers from 2013-16. Madden took over as a head coach for the Cleveland Monsters from 2016-19.

Last week, Madden was announced as an assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks. As he did in Florida, he’ll be running the forwards and the penalty kill.

San Jose Hockey Now got some perspective about Madden’s time in Florida and Cleveland from fellow assistant coach Mark Morris and player Mark Letestu.

Florida

In 2014-15, Mark Morris worked with Madden in Florida. The Panthers weren’t remarkable on the PK during Madden’s tenure — they finished 30th, 24th, and 24th from 2013-16 — but perhaps Florida’s roster was made up of perhaps too many offensive-leaning players, a mix of too young and too old.

“You do the best with the people you have on the roster. It’s hard to say if there were any stalwart defensively-minded players,” Morris recalled. “Even if they’re veteran players, there’s no guarantee their forte is the defensive side of the puck.”

Morris, a preps/NCAA/AHL/NHL coaching veteran of 27 years by the time he settled in Florida, was impressed by Madden’s PK coaching acumen:

“In the college game, most of the penalty killing is in straight lines. In the pro game, they do what they call a trap-down. That’s where once you get the puck moving in a specific direction, if you’re the forward that’s forcing the play up top, you continue on down and press down on the guy on the half-boards.

“I remember one of the things he talked about was when you press down as the strong-side forward on the guy at the half-wall, keep your stick in a neutral position. That way, you’re eating up ice, as opposed to just keeping your stick in the passing lane

“Guys at the NHL are so skilled, it’s nothing to flip it over a stick.

“When you lead with your stick in the middle, it’s almost like you have to thread a needle to get it back up to guy at top.

“If you’re the guy on the half-wall with the puck, you have that stick in front of you, eating that ice up.

“It opened my eyes up to how intricate and detailed things are in his own mind.”

Cleveland

Mark Letestu was 34 when he played for Madden in Cleveland during 2018-19.

The first thing that Letestu noticed about Madden?

“The Stanley Cups. For a while, he was probably the gold standard in the NHL for a defensive, shutdown penalty kill guy,” he said. “It’s instant respect in the room.”

This might matter for a veteran-laden San Jose Sharks group. Something else that might matter to vets like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic is Madden’s ability to connect with them.

“For me, just where I was in my career, he was an easy guy to have a conversation with. Share stories. Faceoff stuff. Penalty killing,” Letestu remembered. “He knew how to handle a veteran presence in the room.”

So what’s in store for the league-leading San Jose Sharks PK?

“I don’t think, when you get a new penalty kill coach, that there will be a ground-breaking system or a new scheme that’s going to change your team significantly,” Letestu pointed out. “But what I found with John, in the penalty-killing meetings we had, it was really clear. There wasn’t a lot of gray area. It took a lot of the guesswork out for players.”

The result?

“The hesitation suddenly leaves your game. Your PK and your players are suddenly faster because there’s no gray area,” Letestu observed. “He helped the players get the noise out and just react instead of thinking out there.”

For what it’s worth, Cleveland was 3rd, 26th, and 7th in the AHL in the PK during Madden’s tenure. Letestu gave Madden a lionshare of the credit for the success of the 2018-19 Monsters, who made the playoffs during the last game of the season, then knocked off top-seeded Syracuse Crunch in the first round.

Letestu acknowledged: “He got the most out of our team. We probably overachieved.”

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Hockey History

Where Does Joe Pavelski Rank Among Greatest American Skaters?

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Credit: NBC

Every Sunday at Peng to the Point, we talk about the world away from the San Jose Sharks.

It’s impossible to compare eras.

But yesterday, my colleague Jimmy Murphy from Boston Hockey Now threw this out there:

My initial reaction was there were at least 10 Americans that I could think of who I’d start a franchise with over prime Joe Pavelski.

However, Pavelski’s case to be a top-15 all-time American player might be stronger than you think.

After some spirited online debate, I identified three standards to compare between eras: Prime, Career, and Playoff.

And with the help of Hockey Reference’s Stathead, I actually had some measures to try to compare eras.

So who are the greatest American skaters? And where does Pavelski stack up?

But before we get going: To Brett or not to Brett?

Every significant American goal-scoring record is owned by Canadian-born Brett Hull, who represented the United States in international competition. You name it — Hull has the most single-season, career, and playoff goals of any American.

It’s because of Hull that every American NHL record has to be categorized as American-born, to simply give everybody else a chance.

Case in point:

Pretty good, right? Well, Pavelski is still 42 playoff goals away from catching Hull.

For the purpose of this debate and to include the best of the best, I’m making the executive decision to include Hull.

Prime

Including Hull, there have been 20 American 50-goal seasons:

PlayerSeasonTeamGoals
Brett Hull1990-91STL86
Brett Hull1989-90STL72
Brett Hull1991-92STL70
Brett Hull1993-94STL57
Jimmy Carson1987-88LAK55
Kevin Stevens1992-93PIT55
Brett Hull1992-93STL54
Pat LaFontaine1989-90NYI54
Kevin Stevens1991-92PIT54
Jeremy Roenick1991-92CHI53
Bobby Carpenter1984-85WSH53
Pat LaFontaine1992-93BUF53
Keith Tkachuk1996-97PHX52
John LeClair1997-98PHI51
John LeClair1995-96PHI51
Joe Mullen1988-89CGY51
John LeClair1996-97PHI50
Mike Modano1993-94DAL50
Keith Tkachuk1995-96WIN50
Jeremy Roenick1992-93CHI50

Hull owns five of the top-seven spots. For what it’s worth, every one of these 20 campaigns occurred from 1984-1997, a mostly high-scoring period of time in the league. Pavelski’s career-high 41-goal 2013-14 campaign is tied for just 41st among top American goal-scoring campaigns.

That 41st, however, becomes far more impressive when we use Hockey Reference’s Adjusted Goals metric:

PlayerSeasonTeamAdjusted Goals
Brett Hull1990-91STL78
Brett Hull1991-92STL63
Brett Hull1989-90STL61
John LeClair1997-98PHI59
Auston Matthews2019-20TOR56
Keith Tkachuk1996-97PHX54
Brett Hull1993-94STL52
John LeClair1996-97PHI52
Patrick Kane2015-16CHI52
Tony Amonte1998-99CHI51
Brett Hull1994-95STL50
John LeClair1995-96PHI49
John LeClair1998-99PHI49
Kevin Stevens1991-92PIT48
Keith Tkachuk1995-96WIN48
Brian Gionta2005-06NJD48
Zach Parise2008-09NJD48
Jeremy Roenick1991-92CHI47
Tony Amonte1999-00CHI47
Bill Guerin2001-02BOS47
Jimmy Carson1987-88LAK46
Joe Pavelski2013-14SJS46
Keith Tkachuk1997-98PHX46

Pavelski’s 2013-14 rises to tied for 21st on the list.

These adjustments for era matter.

Patrick Kane, for example, shows up just twice in the top-10 list for single-season assists by an American forward. His career-high 66 assists in 2018-19 is fourth all-time.

But using adjusted assists, Kane suddenly dominates, taking five of the top-10 spots. His 2018-19 also shoots up to second behind Pat Lafontaine.

Here’s a comparison, by the way, of top-10 points by an American skater, raw and adjusted:

 PlayerSeasonTeamPointsPlayerSeasonTeamAdjusted Points
1Pat LaFontaine1992-93BUF148Pat LaFontaine1992-93BUF119
2Kevin Stevens1991-92PIT123Patrick Kane2015-16CHI119
3Kevin Stevens1992-93PIT111Patrick Kane2018-19CHI111
4Patrick Kane2018-19CHI110Kevin Stevens1991-92PIT109
5Joe Mullen1988-89CGY110John LeClair1998-99PHI102
6Jeremy Roenick1993-94CHI107John LeClair1996-97PHI101
7Jeremy Roenick1992-93CHI107John LeClair1997-98PHI100
8Jimmy Carson1987-88LAK107Doug Weight1995-96EDM100
9Patrick Kane2015-16CHI106Johnny Gaudreau2018-19CGY99
10Craig Janney1992-93STL106Patrick Kane2019-20CHI99

All these adjusted stats suggest that Hull is the dominant American scorer, Pat Lafontaine and Kane are the dominant playmakers up front. We also get a good sense of how unstoppable John LeClair was in the “dead puck” era.

So that was the statistical portion of the argument. Subjectively, which American skaters, in their primes, are clearly ahead of Pavelski?

From these lists, Hull, Lafontaine, Kane, and LeClair jump out. For his strong two-way play and leadership, both Pavelski strong suits, coupled with otherworldly skills, Mike Modano can’t be denied. Among defensemen, it’s hard to dispute American Norris Trophy winners Chris Chelios, Brian Leetch, and Rod Langway. Three-time Norris Trophy runner-up Mark Howe deserves mention. Auston Matthews is simply too special a player right now, even at just 23 years old.

After this elite top-10 though, perhaps we can start to debate Pavelski. But it would be a fierce debate: Up front, prime Keith Tkachuk, Tony Amonte, Bill Guerin, Kevin Stevens, Joe Mullen, Bill Guerin, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise, Neal Broten, Jack Eichel, Phil Kessel, and Doug Weight are very much in this tier of the conversation. In the back-end, Phil Housley, Ryan Suter, Dustin Byfuglien, and John Carlson, among others, are in the discussion too.

Career

We’ll focus on regular season careers here.

The 36-year-old Pavelski actually shows well here.

Pavelski’s 792 points is 20th among all Americans. But let’s look at adjusted all-time points:

PlayerCareer PointsPlayerCareer Adjusted Points
Brett Hull1391Mike Modano1408
Mike Modano1374Brett Hull1390
Phil Housley1232Jeremy Roenick1228
Jeremy Roenick1216Patrick Kane1154
Keith Tkachuk1065Keith Tkachuk1150
Joe Mullen1063Phil Housley1148
Doug Weight1033Doug Weight1099
Brian Leetch1028Brian Leetch1039
Patrick Kane1022Phil Kessel968
Pat LaFontaine1013Tony Amonte953
Chris Chelios948Bill Guerin921
Neal Broten923Joe Mullen918
Tony Amonte900Chris Chelios908
Phil Kessel861Pat LaFontaine902
Bill Guerin856John LeClair893
Gary Suter844Joe Pavelski882
John LeClair819Zach Parise881
Ed Olczyk794Blake Wheeler857
Zach Parise792Brian Rolston828
Joe Pavelski792Scott Gomez820

Pavelski finds himself just outside the top-15 now and a lot closer to Hall of Famers Lafontaine and Mullen. Tkachuk, Weight, Amonte, Guerin, and Kessel’s careers suddenly start to look more impressive.

Meanwhile, Pavelski’s 369 goals is 13th among all American skaters. Once again, however, his adjusted figures are more impressive:

 PlayerCareer GoalsPlayerCareer Adjusted Goals
1Brett Hull741Brett Hull738
2Mike Modano561Keith Tkachuk584
3Keith Tkachuk538Mike Modano578
4Jeremy Roenick513Jeremy Roenick514
5Joe Mullen502Bill Guerin467
6Pat LaFontaine468Patrick Kane449
7Bill Guerin429John LeClair447
8Tony Amonte416Tony Amonte443
9John LeClair406Zach Parise435
10Patrick Kane389Joe Mullen432
11Zach Parise386Phil Kessel422
12Phil Kessel371Joe Pavelski418
13Joe Pavelski369Pat LaFontaine414

Pavelski has suddenly joined the 400-goal club, moving ahead of Lafontaine.

Do we start to have the argument that Pavelski can be a top-15 all-time American skater?

Playoffs

If we don’t yet, this is where Pavelski absolutely shines.

Unfortunately, Hockey Reference doesn’t have adjusted post-season stats. But we can do some quick-and-dirty math to approximate adjusted playoff figures — basically, I extrapolated regular-season adjustments and applied them to playoff goals.

Here’s your new top-six among Americans in post-season goals:

 Adjusted Playoff GoalsPlayoff Goals
Brett Hull103103
Joe Pavelski6961
Patrick Kane6052
Mike Modano6058
Jeremy Roenick5353
Joe Mullen5260

Obviously, Pavelski is still sitting pretty.

And here’s something truly striking. Among the top-13 all-time American regular season goal scorers, Pavelski is the only one whose goal-scoring pace increased in the playoffs, albeit marginally:

 PlayerRegular Season Goals Per Game Playoff Goals Per GameDifference
1Brett Hull0.580.51-0.07
2Mike Modano0.370.33-0.04
3Keith Tkachuk0.450.31-0.14
4Jeremy Roenick0.380.34-0.04
5Joe Mullen0.470.42-0.05
6Pat LaFontaine0.540.38-0.16
7Bill Guerin0.340.28-0.06
8Tony Amonte0.350.22-0.13
9John LeClair0.420.27-0.15
10Patrick Kane0.40.38-0.02
11Zach Parise0.380.35-0.03
12Phil Kessel0.350.350
13Joe Pavelski0.360.380.02

Now that’s impressive.

Top-30, Top-20, Top-10?

Prime Pavelski is a clear top-30 American skater. Factoring in his longevity, top-20 seems reasonable. Do his post-season exploits get him into the top-10 debate?

I’m not sure — but if you had to win a Game Seven with all U.S. skaters, Pavelski would be a sure-fire pick. Besides production, you’ll also get inspiring leadership and reliable two-way play.

We’ll see if Pavelski can keep adding to his illustrious playoff legacy tonight.

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