Today's topic: Joe Sakic
If Burnbaby Joe decides to hang them up this summer, where does he rank in terms of great Canadian players of the last 25 years (just forwards)? Third? Fourth? Not in the top 10?
Assuming slots 1 and 2 are taken by Gretzky and Mario, is Joe next in line? I’d put him ever so slightly ahead of Yzerman* and comfortably before Francis. Crosby looks like he’ll force his way into this debate over time, but it is obviously way too premature to include him. I think, for me, he slots in at #4 behind Messier with Stevie Y at #5. The one wrench is the 25 year time frame as that cuts out the first half of Bossy’s career, who would be arguably #3 if the time frame was the last 30 years.
If you include defencemen, Scott Niedermayer raises some questions given all that he has won and Ray Bourque is an all-time great (although his early days are cut off due to my 25 year time frame). Bourque would have to be in the top 5.
* Stevie Y's stats in his first couple of years are inflated due to the high scoring nature of that era, so their numbers are virtually identical, but Sakic maintained a higher standard of play thru to the end of his career - Yzerman was a checker by the end due to his knee problems.