mikey287 wrote:Lemieux is in that tier that's above everyone in hockey history ever (with Gretzky, Howe and Orr)...there's a clear and obvious divide between #4 and #5 all-time, it's extremely tough to even get up near there much less make room for a fifth guy on that plateau. He would really have to get a move on if he wants to be in that territory...really quick...that's a hell of a tall order to fill...
I don't think there is much doubt that Crosby will be in that tier when all is said and done. As it is now, his career points per game is behind only 99, 66 and Bossy, while just ahead of Orr. He is still on the upswing of each season being greater ppg than the prior - it won't last forever - but it stands to carry him into the discussion. Others at the top - Messier, Francis, and even Howe, got there by playing an awful lot of games (>1700), finishing with less than 1.1ppg.
The other avenue would be to become the third player to average over an assist per game - Gretzky 1.320 and Lemieux 1.128 - Crosby is presently at .911, which is at least a tenth higher than anyone else in the top 50 in assists, with P. Stastny and Coffey closest at .807, with Oates at .805. (Orr, at .982 apg, 3rd best all time, is 60th on the assist list) Though, that may be tall order, as he is 41 assists below 1.0, and only on a 1.25 apg pace right now - that would only gain 12 assists on that mark over 48 games, but is over a 100 assist pace for 82 games. Similarly, he's 9 points under 2.0ppg for the current season, with 20 games left. Would have to finish near 2.5ppg for the final 20 games to make that up. I'd love to see his drive if he got close to that - he's closed strong late in seasons in the past, and has had extended streaks of over 2.0ppg (including 8 games of 2.5) over the course of this season.
I got sidetracked with respect to the topic at hand. If one can distinguish between the most complete player (87) vs the best player (66) vs contribution to the team (66-68-87-10-71). It's a hell of a blessing to be able to have such debates.