10 years before 2 way play by Bowman 1040 points, After Bowman, 12 years 715 points.
Now I'm not arguing that this helped us win our first cup in forever, just that Yzerman unselfishly changed his entire game for this team, and he could have gone on to break records had he decided to not put this team first.
I actually came here to refute this point by saying that Stevie's body broke down in later years, and he no longer would've been able to compete with a purely offensive game. I still think this is true, and I don't believe he would've lasted 12 more seasons that way.
I took a quick peek at the all time scoring leaders, and it is not unfeasible (hi, double negative!) that he could've taken the number two all time spot if things had gone differently. Had he even played one more season in the real world, he definitely would've ousted Dionne, and possibly even taken the #4 spot from Francis had he remained healthy (given his numbers from his last two seasons -- 75gp, 55p and 61gp, 34p).
With him only 132 pts behind Messier even with his switch up to two way play, I could honestly have seen him topping every other forward all time save for the Great One.
2 Mark Messier EDM, NYR, VAN, NYR 1756 1887 1.07 3 Gordie Howe DET, HFD 1767 1850 1.05 4 Ron Francis HFD, PIT, CAR, TOR 1731 1798 1.04 5 Marcel Dionne DET, LAK, NYR 1348 1771 1.31 6 Steve Yzerman DET 1514 1755 1.16
...of course then we'd have exactly zero cups, and people would be talking about how he was the best centerman never to win the big one...
- Z Winged Dangler likes this