Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

What Might Have Been: Gretzky to Detroit?


  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#41 kipwinger

kipwinger

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,343 posts
  • Location:Washington, District of Columbia

Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:06 PM

 

But you said it yourself.. Those teams are stacked offensively.  So much that they inflate numbers considerably. So I don't see how sacrificing defence for MORE offence makes us "WAY" better.

 

Well it's all hypothetical anyway isn't it, because they were already much better than anyone else either way? Hence the two Cups. 

 

The whole point of the thread though (hence the title "What Might Have Been"), is what would have happened if Gretzky had come here in a trade in 1988.  I contend that we'd have still won the Cups in 1997 and 1998...and perhaps more along the way.  Gretzky was that good of a possession player.  Yzerman had only one clear advantage over Gretzky and that was defense, and Yzerman's defense (puck possession team) wasn't really a game changer in those series. 

 

Gretzky's additional offensive acumen, I argue, might have been. Tell me the additional offense wouldn't have been useful in the 7 games series' in 91 , 93, 94, or the 6 game series in 96 as well?   

 

Gretzky was SO much better than everyone offensively, that the team would be better overall than with Yzerman's.  Why?  Because Gretzky massively drove possession to such a degree that on a puck possession team like Detroit, it would lead to huge overall net gains.  Both for the offense (where his ability to control the puck would lead to more zone time and increased production for everyone), along with the defense (which would be better by virtue of never having to actually play in their own zone). 

 

In short, Gretzky is the ultimate possession player, and the Detroit Red Wings of the late 90's where one of the ultimate possession teams.  Of course they'd be better.


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#42 Son of a Wing

Son of a Wing

    London Lions Captain

  • Gold Booster
  • 1,918 posts
  • Location:London, Ontario

Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:42 PM

Gretzky would have helped and made this team better up till the mid 90s. No doubt.  Past that in into the cup years....I have my doubts.

 

In regards to the later years, once Yzerman developed his defence and Wayne started to slow (a bit), I think our viewpoints basically come down to this...

 

Both: Detroit was the best puck possession team. No one else was close.

 

Kip: Gretzky, the best possession player of all time, would thrive in our system because of this and make us even stronger despite sacrificing Yzerman's defensive game.

 

SOW: We were already top of the league for possession...by far.  Why sacrifice other areas to further strengthen that area even further? The difference in outcome would be negligible.

 

Fun to think about...


"The leader must never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert."
Vince Lombardi
 
When asked who won, Babcock said, “Well it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t lose. It’s like going bear hunting, you take a slow guy with you in case the bear is hungry.”

#43 kipwinger

kipwinger

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,343 posts
  • Location:Washington, District of Columbia

Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:51 PM

Gretzky would have helped and made this team better up till the mid 90s. No doubt.  Past that in into the cup years....I have my doubts.

 

In regards to the later years, once Yzerman developed his defence and Wayne started to slow (a bit), I think our viewpoints basically come down to this...

 

Both: Detroit was the best puck possession team. No one else was close.

 

Kip: Gretzky, the best possession player of all time, would thrive in our system because of this and make us even stronger despite sacrificing Yzerman's defensive game.

 

SOW: We were already top of the league for possession...by far.  Why sacrifice other areas to further strengthen that area even further? The difference in outcome would be negligible.

 

Fun to think about...

 

I'd add that in getting Gretzky you wouldn't sacrifice team defense, only individual defense.  Individually he's worse than Yzerman, no doubt.  But he's so much better of a possession player that your team defense would improve simply by virtue of having to play in the defensive zone so much less. 

 

But other than that, I agree with most of what you've said above. 


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#44 joshy207

joshy207

    Black Ace

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,467 posts
  • Location:Berkley, MI

Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:16 PM

 

He's not speaking literally, he's speaking figuratively.  When people nostalgically look back at Yzerman, they remember him how he was in the Bowman years and rarely remember the early part of his career.  He wasn't a selfless, gutsy, two way, leader back then.  He was a showy, one dimensional, goal scorer.  At the time of the Gretzky trade, Yzerman wasn't the Stevie Y that we all remember as "The Captain", though he was in fact the captain of the team. 

 

That's what he's saying.

 

You read not only my post, but also my mind..  Thanks.



#45 Playmaker

Playmaker

    1st Line All-Star

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,244 posts

Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:27 PM

It's impossible to plug one players stats in and say that's what he would have done on this team or that team. 

 

If the Wings would have acquired Gretzky it also would have lead to other deals and signings that wouldn't have happened.  Would the Wings have tried so hard to get Fedorov to defect with already having Yzerman and Gretzky, and maybe still Oates?   Had they won a Cup in the mid-90s there would have been no Scotty Bowman, no grind line, no Russian 5, no Brendan Shanahan.  I'll take the reality that actually happened, which has been pretty darned good.



#46 joshy207

joshy207

    Black Ace

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,467 posts
  • Location:Berkley, MI

Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:27 PM

So many of you are arguing Gretzky VS. Yzerman, which is interesting... but I think it would have been Gretzky AND Yzerman.  I think the deal could have gotten done for Oates and Klima.



#47 Playmaker

Playmaker

    1st Line All-Star

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,244 posts

Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:31 PM

While Yzerman has reached legendary status in Detroit, he was always humble, never showy and in the late 80's there wasn't really such a thing as a "two way forward."   Star players weren't killing penalties and back checking. You were either a scorer or a defensive specialist. I don't know what team some of you were watching in 1988, but Yzerman was definitely a star then.



#48 kipwinger

kipwinger

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,343 posts
  • Location:Washington, District of Columbia

Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:38 PM

While Yzerman has reached legendary status in Detroit, he was always humble, never showy and in the late 80's there wasn't really such a thing as a "two way forward."   Star players weren't killing penalties and back checking. You were either a scorer or a defensive specialist. I don't know what team some of you were watching in 1988, but Yzerman was definitely a star then.

 

Nobody said he wasn't a star.  Many people, however, have suggested (rightly) that he wasn't considered the untouchable, legendary, captain of a dynasty franchise until much later.

 

He was obviously a star.  He was scoring 100+ points a season at that point.


GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#49 Playmaker

Playmaker

    1st Line All-Star

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,244 posts

Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:01 PM

I don't really agree.  He lead the Wings out of the "Dead Wings" era to the Conference finals, was the first draft pick of the Ilitch era and was an established star behind Gretzky and Lemieux, and was universally respected around the league.  I thought of him as an untouchable then.



#50 Echolalia

Echolalia

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,180 posts
  • Location:fab ferndale

Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:27 PM

 
I'd add that in getting Gretzky you wouldn't sacrifice team defense, only individual defense.  Individually he's worse than Yzerman, no doubt.  But he's so much better of a possession player that your team defense would improve simply by virtue of having to play in the defensive zone so much less. 
 
But other than that, I agree with most of what you've said above. 


His plus/minus would imply otherwise. The guy was a consistent minus player throughout the last decade of his career (ie the 90s), which at the most fundamental level tells me that the strength of his possession game wasn't enough to keep the puck out of his own zone, nor out of his own net. The opposition consistently outscored his line. And I know +/- is a team stat and blah blah blah, but you'd think for someone who holds almost every offensive record in the books, and continued to produce at an elite level up until his retirement, he would have been able to have at the very least a decent plus minus for half those seasons, especially because that negative +/- was pretty consistent over three different teams (and who knows how many linemates) in the 90s.
The guy was an offensive god, but his defense was little to non existent. The real question is had the Wings acquired him, would he have been Bowman's example for the Wings to adapt a two-way game as Yzerman did, or would he have continued to do what made him famous? The last part is why in retrospect, I would have stuck with Yzerman (although in 1989 I would have made the trade 10 times out of 10).

#51 kipwinger

kipwinger

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,343 posts
  • Location:Washington, District of Columbia

Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:47 AM

His plus/minus would imply otherwise. The guy was a consistent minus player throughout the last decade of his career (ie the 90s), which at the most fundamental level tells me that the strength of his possession game wasn't enough to keep the puck out of his own zone, nor out of his own net. The opposition consistently outscored his line. And I know +/- is a team stat and blah blah blah, but you'd think for someone who holds almost every offensive record in the books, and continued to produce at an elite level up until his retirement, he would have been able to have at the very least a decent plus minus for half those seasons, especially because that negative +/- was pretty consistent over three different teams (and who knows how many linemates) in the 90s.
The guy was an offensive god, but his defense was little to non existent. The real question is had the Wings acquired him, would he have been Bowman's example for the Wings to adapt a two-way game as Yzerman did, or would he have continued to do what made him famous? The last part is why in retrospect, I would have stuck with Yzerman (although in 1989 I would have made the trade 10 times out of 10).

 

Firstly, I've heard you rail about how bad a stat +/- is about a thousand times.  So it seems like you're nitpicking stats that you'd otherwise argue aren't worth a damn.  But I'll play along...

 

In, the last decade of his career Gretzky had a negative +/- seven times.  Five of those times his team didn't make the playoffs (e.g. they were bad teams).  The fact that he drives possession doesn't mean he's going to make bad teams into defensive stalwarts, and I never claimed such.  But it does mean that on good defensive teams (like the 97 and 98 Wings) his "lack of defense" will likely be made up for by his contributions to possession. 

 

I think the reason why that seems less clear based on +/- stats is because increased possession leads to more powerplays (e.g. those Wings teams were on the PP all the time, hence "our PP is our enforcer), and the additional offensive zone time (and points) gained on the PP does not affect the +/-.  For example, if Gretzky was doing his thing in the offensive zone, creating offense on the cycle, and generally pressuring the opposition (like he did his whole career), the opposing team A) can't generate offense (so you're not playing defense) and B) has a greater likelihood of taking a penalty (so you're not playing defense).  When they do take penalties, and Gretzky's team scores, it won't affect his +/- but nevertheless his possession lead to A) scoring, and B) long periods of time in which his team didn't have to play defense.  He did this ALL THE TIME during his career. 

 

But don't just take my word for it.  Here's two time Stanley Cup winning coach Daryll Sutter making the EXACT same argument while explaining how Marian Gaborik's defensive shortcomings wouldn't matter to LA. 

 

"The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone (say) they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play,” said Sutter.

 

http://www.sportingn...n-sidney-crosby


Edited by kipwinger, 14 August 2014 - 07:52 AM.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#52 Echolalia

Echolalia

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,180 posts
  • Location:fab ferndale

Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:26 AM

 
Firstly, I've heard you rail about how bad a stat +/- is about a thousand times.  So it seems like you're nitpicking stats that you'd otherwise argue aren't worth a damn.  But I'll play along...
 
In, the last decade of his career Gretzky had a negative +/- seven times.  Five of those times his team didn't make the playoffs (e.g. they were bad teams).  The fact that he drives possession doesn't mean he's going to make bad teams into defensive stalwarts, and I never claimed such.  But it does mean that on good defensive teams (like the 97 and 98 Wings) his "lack of defense" will likely be made up for by his contributions to possession. 
 
I think the reason why that seems less clear based on +/- stats is because increased possession leads to more powerplays (e.g. those Wings teams were on the PP all the time, hence "our PP is our enforcer), and the additional offensive zone time (and points) gained on the PP does not affect the +/-.  For example, if Gretzky was doing his thing in the offensive zone, creating offense on the cycle, and generally pressuring the opposition (like he did his whole career), the opposing team A) can't generate offense (so you're not playing defense) and B) has a greater likelihood of taking a penalty (so you're not playing defense).  When they do take penalties, and Gretzky's team scores, it won't affect his +/- but nevertheless his possession lead to A) scoring, and B) long periods of time in which his team didn't have to play defense.  He did this ALL THE TIME during his career. 
 
But don't just take my word for it.  Here's two time Stanley Cup winning coach Daryll Sutter making the EXACT same argument while explaining how Marian Gaborik's defensive shortcomings wouldn't matter to LA. 
 
"The games changed. They think theres defending in todays game. Nah, its how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone (say) theyre defending but theyre generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if thats the way they play, said Sutter.
 
http://www.sportingn...n-sidney-crosby


Good point on the power play, but you're still vastly overrating his puck possession ability and ignoring his defensive short-comings. There's only one puck and ten guys on the ice. The puck possession skills of one guy, whether that's Wayne Gretzky or Brett Lebda, can only do so much, which is why +/- is generally a tricky stat to interpret. But your argument is that Gretzky's puck possession game would lead to huge gains for the team both offensively (which everyone should agree on) and defensively "which would be better by virtue of never having to actually play in their own zone". That quote is yours, and I understand the concept of exaggeration but you make your point quite clear, and +/- is an excellent way to see just how much Gretzky's presence kept the puck out of his own zone. Again, those last ten years at even strength, Gretzky's line, regardless of who his linemates were, was fairly consistently outscored, which means that his puck possession skills didn't do much to keep the puck out of his own zone. And even if I were to concede the point that having Gretzky on the ice means that the puck will rarely be in your own zone (despite plus minus clearly saying otherwise), Yzerman was also no slouch at the puck possession game, and I don't think the difference between the two of them would have compensated for Gretzky's overall lack of a defensive game compared to Yzerman's.


Edited by Echolalia, 14 August 2014 - 09:33 AM.


#53 KATIEBARTHEDOOR24

KATIEBARTHEDOOR24

    Love slave to the system

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 816 posts
  • Location:Clarklake,MI

Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:36 PM

 
And Kocur.  What a lineup that would have been.  



With Probert on the team there would have been no reason for Marty to come here. Also with the other muscle in the next few years to come. He would have been a wasted trade.
KOHARSKI, HAVE ANOTHER DONUT, YOU FAT PIG
"Statistics are for losers, unless they are good ones."- Mickey Redman
"Good... Bad... I'm the guy with the gun."- Ash
"Stay thirsty my friends."- The Most Interesting Man In The World

#54 joshy207

joshy207

    Black Ace

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,467 posts
  • Location:Berkley, MI

Posted 16 August 2014 - 12:26 PM

With Probert on the team there would have been no reason for Marty to come here. Also with the other muscle in the next few years to come. He would have been a wasted trade.

 

Probert or no Probert, I don't know that Gretzky was going anywhere without McSorley.  It's possible Detroit could have included Probert or Kocur in the return package.



#55 Barrie

Barrie

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,945 posts

Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:37 AM

I'm one of the biggest Yzerman fans around, but yes I would have traded Yzerman for Gretzky back in 1988. I'm glad it didn't happen though.


Lets Go:
Red Wings
Tigers
Roughriders
Lions
Spartans
Pistons

#56 toby91_ca

toby91_ca

    Legend

  • Gold Booster
  • 8,519 posts

Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:27 AM

Looking at this potential in 1988, no question, you'd do the trade 10 out of 10 times.  However, let's not forget the hit from behind Gretzky took from Suter in the 1991 Canada Cup.  He was not the same player for the rest of his career after that.  Yes, he still put up significant offensive numbers, but he no longer left the rest of the league in his dust.



#57 GMRwings1983

GMRwings1983

    The Killer is Me

  • Silver Booster
  • 20,961 posts
  • Location:Jerkwater, USA

Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:17 PM

Looking at this potential in 1988, no question, you'd do the trade 10 out of 10 times.  However, let's not forget the hit from behind Gretzky took from Suter in the 1991 Canada Cup.  He was not the same player for the rest of his career after that.  Yes, he still put up significant offensive numbers, but he no longer left the rest of the league in his dust.

 

Well, the game changed offensively, not to mention, he was already in his 30's by that point.  No reason why he would be leaving people in the dust by the mid 90's.  


According to my profile, my reputation is excellent. LOL.

#58 toby91_ca

toby91_ca

    Legend

  • Gold Booster
  • 8,519 posts

Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:46 PM

Well, he had just turned 30, so really not that old (Datsyuk's best offensive seasons...by far....were at the age of 30 and 31).  The real low scoring years didn't really come until the real late 90s and even then, scoring was higher than now (going by scoring leaders list anyway...not by any in-depth analysis).  Anyway, that really doesn't matter as it is really his production compared to the rest of the league.

 

You are right though, regardless of health, would be a bit much to expect him to continue to outpace everyone by a significant margin past the age of 35.  That's the other consideration as well....in 1988, Wayne was 27 and Stevie was 23.  So if you are thinking about a magically age that players "lose it", you'd be getting an extra 4 years out of Stevie.

 

A fun stat as well...at that point, Gretzky amassed 1,669 career points, compared to Yzerman's 410 (of course, Gretzky had 4 more years in the league).  If you look at stats only from when Yzerman was in the league, Yzerman averaged 95 points per 82 games (so he was a star for sure by that point)....but Wayne averaged 209 points over 82 games during that same period.



#59 Barrie

Barrie

    Legend

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,945 posts

Posted 18 August 2014 - 02:38 PM

Don't forget, 1987-88 was the year Yzerman blew out his knee on the goal post. Stevie missed the last 20 or so games of the season and only played in 3 playoff games. The Oilers probably weren't interested in taking a risk on him. Add to that, Yzerman didn't really become "Steve Yzerman", until the next season. Carson was the bigger star at the time.

 

Looking back, it's better the trade didn't happen. I think with Gretzky we probably would have won the Cup before 1997, but who knows if we would have won it 4 times.


Lets Go:
Red Wings
Tigers
Roughriders
Lions
Spartans
Pistons





Similar Topics Collapse

  Topic Forum Started By Stats Last Post Info

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users