Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Next, Next One?

John Tavares and Steven Stamkos are tabbed to be the next big hockey stars to come out of Canada....following the likes of Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby...just to name a few.

There has been some debate over which one of Tavares and Stamkos is the better player. I didn't really know much about either of them so I decided to take a closer look.

John Tavares (from Hockey Canada)
Was granted ‘exceptional player status’ by the OHL in the summer of 2005, allowing him to be drafted as a 14-year-old...Because of a late-1990 birthdate, he is only eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft … Named CHL and OHL Player of the Year in 2006-07 … Finished second in OHL scoring, leading the league with 72 goals … Set an OHL record for most goals in a season by a 16-year-old … CHL and OHL Rookie of the Year in 2005-06 … Scored first goal on his first shot, shorthanded, in his first OHL game vs. Kingston … Enjoys playing video games ... Favourite NHL player: Mike Modano … Favourite band: Bon Jovi ... Favourite TV show: Sanford and Son

Steven Stamkos (from Hockey Canada and
Sarnia’s 1st pick, 1st overall, in the 2006 OHL Draft … First overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning ... Ranked second in the OHL with 58 goals in 61 games played in 2007-08 ... Played in OHL All-Star Classic and was named MVP of Team West Conference … Named OHL Scholastic Player of the Year … Named as best stickhandler and best shot in the OHL's Coaches Poll … Favourite NHL player: Joe Sakic … Is a multi-sport athlete, having played baseball, lacrosse and soccer … Has won an Ontario championship in every sport he has played.

So which one is better? I've got no idea.

Here is a comparison of their stats in junior hockey (stats from the best hockey stats site on the net

Looking at the numbers Tavares is an easy choice. He's almost a year younger and he out produced Stamkos by 29 points this past season. But according to TSN seven out of ten scouts said they would rather have Stamkos right now.

"It wouldn't be fair to say scouts are concerned that Tavares' skating, deemed to be average at this point, will prevent him from becoming a big-time NHL scorer, but compared directly to the dynamic skating of Stamkos, the scouts who slotted Tavares at No. 2 did say it has to be a factor."

So the experts say one thing and the numbers say another. When I started this article I figured that Tavares would be the clear choice but after reading up on them, at the very least, it's a much closer battle.

If I have to choose.....I guess I'll go with....Tavares. How's that for commitment? As long as the Leafs don't get him at next year's Entry Draft I'll be happy.

Want to see how Stamkos' and Tavares' junior stats stack up with some of the greats? Below is a selection of some of the greatest junior seasons recorded....and a few more average junior seasons by players who turned out to be some of the greatest.

My favourite on the list has to be Patrice Lefebvre. He is the all-time career points leader in the CHL with an incredible 595 points in four seasons. After junior he wasn't drafted by an NHL team and went to play in Europe. He did get a surprise call up with Washington when he was 31 and played 3 games with the Capitals...10 years after his success in the QMJHL! His lack of opportunity definitely had something to do with his size...he was listed at only 5'6 and 160 lbs!

Name---------------- League Year Age PTS PPG
Mario Lemieux------- QMJHL 1983 17 282 4.03
Guy Lafleur--------- QMJHL 1970 18 209 3.37
Stan Drulia--------- OHL 1988 20 145 3.09
Guy Lafleur--------- QMJHL 1969 17 170 3.04
Patrice Lefebvre---- QMJHL 1987 20 200 2.86
Wayne Gretzky------- OHA 1977 16 182 2.84
Stephan Lebeau------ QMJHL 1987 19 188 2.81
Mario Lemieux------- QMJHL 1982 16 184 2.79
Brian Propp--------- WHL 1978 19 194 2.73
Pierre Turgeon------ QMJHL 1986 17 154 2.66
Eric Lindros-------- OHL 1990 17 149 2.61
Brian Propp--------- WCHL 1977 18 182 2.60
Alexandre Daigle---- QMJHL 1992 17 137 2.58
Mike Modano--------- WHL 1988 18 105 2.56
Sidney Crosby------- QMJHL 2004 17 168 2.55
Rob Schremp--------- OHL 2005 19 145 2.54
Dale Hawerchuk------ QMJHL 1980 17 183 2.54
Denis Savard-------- QMJHL 1979 18 181 2.51
Patrick Kane-------- OHL 2006 18 145 2.50
Theoren Fleury------ WHL 1987 19 160 2.46
Doug Wickenheiser--- WHL 1979 18 170 2.39
Sidney Crosby------- QMJHL 2003 16 135 2.29
Rick Vaive---------- QMJHL 1977 18 155 2.28
Denis Savard-------- QMJHL 1978 17 158 2.26
Joe Thornton-------- OHL 1996 17 122 2.07
John Tavares-------- OHL 2006 15 134 2.00
John Tavares-------- OHL 2007 16 118 2.00
Bobby Orr----------- OHA 1965 17 94 2.00
Vincent Lecavalier-- QMJHL 1997 17 115 1.98
Mike Modano--------- WHL 1987 17 127 1.95
Steve Stamkos------- OHL 2007 17 105 1.72
Bobby Orr----------- OHA 1964 16 93 1.66
Vincent Lecavalier-- QMJHL 1996 16 102 1.59
Bobby Orr----------- OHA 1963 15 72 1.29
Bobby Hull---------- OHA 1956 17 61 1.17
Gordie Howe--------- USHL 1945 17 48 0.94
Maurice Richard----- Never played in Junior
Howie Morenz-------- Never played in Junior


Cammer said...

Nice piece... when you made your choice I hope you deducted points from Tavares for saying that his favourite band was Bon Jovi? Cmon, what 17 year old likes Bon Jovi??? what is he a skid?

Jay said...

What about Sanford & Son? Would he have even been alive when the reruns were on?

Anonymous said...

Lefebre is awesome....Imagine him in the new "NHL", do you think he would do anything? Marc Savard is pretty short from memory...

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