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15 NHL Players Whose Legacy Will Be Affected by the Lockout

Brad KurtzbergContributor IDecember 29, 2012

15 NHL Players Whose Legacy Will Be Affected by the Lockout

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    The lockout has a big effect on the NHL, its players, employees, and of course, the fans.

    But as the labor dispute drags into the new year and the best a new season can be is 48 games, here's a look at 15 current NHL players whose legacies will be affected by the lockout.

    Some of these players are legitimate Hall of Fame candidates and will have their career statistics hurt by missing at least half a season. Others will miss out on chances to reach milestones, return from injuries or rebound from poor finishes to last season.

    Some players will even be affected in a good way by the lockout.

    Feel free to comment or add some other players you feel I may have missed who you feel belong on this list.

Gabriel Landeskog

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    This summer, the Colorado Avalanche named Ladeskog as their captain before he even reached his 20th birthday.

    Of course, Landeskog has yet to take the ice wearing the captain's "C." He lost the chance to be the NHL's first ever permanent teenage captain on the ice when he turned 20 on November 23.

    If Ladeskog takes the ice as captain before January 23, he will edge out Sidney Crosby as the NHL's youngest permanent captain (Sid the Kid was 20 years, 59 days).

    Either way, part of Landeskog's legacy has been affected by the labor stoppage.

Steven Stamkos

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    Steven Stamkos won the Rocket Richard Trophy last season with a career-high 60 goals.

    Let's face it, 60-goal seasons are hard to come by and at 22, Stamkos probably hasn't even reached his prime just yet.

    Stamkos will certainly lose his chance for back-to-back 60 goal seasons if the NHL only plays 48 games after the lockout comes to an end. Right now he is the most dangerous goal-scorer in the league and he is losing time that he would spend cementing that title.

    Stamkos is also losing time he will never fully get back when his career totals are added up when he retires, hopefully many years from now.

Henrik Lundqvist

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    Henrik Lundqvist took the NHL by storm when he joined the Rangers in 2005-06, right after the end of the last lockout.

    "King Henrik" has played in seven NHL seasons since then and has won 30 or more games in each of those seasons.

    If the NHL plays 48 games this season, that streak will almost certainly come to an abrupt end. Sure, if Lundqvist tops 30 wins again next season he'll have "eight straight non-lockout seasons with 30 or more wins," but it's not quite the same.

    The 1994-95 work stoppage ended Mike Gartner's streak of 30-goal seasons, and if there is a truncated season this year, it will likely end Henrik Lundqvist's impressive streak of 30-win campaigns.

Marian Hossa

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    When we last saw Marian Hossa, he was being carted off the ice on a stretcher after a cheap shot by Raffi Torres during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    The lockout actually helps Hossa, giving him a better chance of being healthy once the new NHL season gets underway. Instead of missing time due to injury, Hossa will be healthy and ready to add to his career totals.

Ryan Kesler

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    Like Hossa, Kesler was expected to miss a lot of time early in the season due to injury.

    In Kesler's case, his shoulder was hurt and he was not expected to be able to play again until mid-December. Well, the NHL won't be starting again until mid-January at the earliest, so Kesler should be ready to go once play resumes.

    Kesler was expected to miss games, but if the NHL has a 48-game schedule, he will be level with everybody else once the season starts, an unexpected bonus.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Amazingly enough, this is the fourth labor stoppage that has interrupted Jaromir Jagr's Hall of Fame career.

    Jagr was with the Penguins in 1991-92 during the 10-day strike by the NHLPA and has been active during all three lockouts under Gary Bettman's leadership (1994-95, 2004-05 and the present).

    As of now, Jagr stands eighth all-time in NHL history with 1,653 career points. He is first among active players and first all-time among European-born players.

    If all four labor stoppages had not happened, Jagr would have likely played in about 150 additional NHL games and would have scored approximately 185 more NHL points (based on his career average of 1.23 points per game; again, this is a very rough estimate).

    The additional 185 points would place Jagr fourth all-time just behind Gordie Howe.

    Even with the time lost to the labor stoppages, Jagr is an all-time great. But he reaches an entirely new level under adjusted circumstances. 

Martin Brodeur

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    For Martin Brodeur, lockouts are an old hat. This is the third time Brodeur's career has been interrupted by the owners locking out the players.

    Despite losing so many potential games played, Brodeur is the NHL's all-time leader in wins (656) and shutouts (119).

    If all originally scheduled games would have been played, there is no doubt Brodeur would have substantially added to his totals.

    Some day, someone will challenge Brodeur's numbers. That would be a lot harder to do if hockey players never went on strike. 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

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    Hopkins was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie last year and may very well have won it if he wouldn't have missed time due to injury.

    This year, Nugent-Hopkins spent time with the Oklahoma City Oil Barons of the AHL. In 19 AHL games, Nugent-Hopkins had eight goals and 20 points. He is now playing in the Junior World Championships which also should gain him more valuable experience and confidence.

    Remember back in 2004-05, a young Jason Spezza played a full season in the AHL after getting a taste of NHL action and it helped him gain his confidence. Before the lockout, Spezza was just another young player with potential. After the lockout, Spezza became an NHL star.

    Nugent-Hopkins has the potential to do something similar this season. In fact, the longer the lockout lasts, the more he may benefit.

Marian Gaborik

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    Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik slumped late in the playoffs last year. Some fans questioned his ability to come through in the clutch until it was revealed that he was playing with a shoulder injury and required surgery.

    The Rangers expected Gaborik to be out of action until mid-December, but as of now, he is ready to go and should be in the lineup when and if play resumes.

    The lockout only helped Gaborik, who will not miss more games than anybody else.

Drew Doughty

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    Drew Doughty signed an eight-year, $56 million contract before the start of last season and then spent most of the 2011-12 campaign trying too hard to live up to it.

    Doughty had an off year, scoring 10 goals and 36 points in 77 games and playing inconsistently over the course of the year.

    In the playoffs, however, Doughty had 16 points in 20 games and raised his level of play in all three zones of the ice.

    But can Doughty sustain that level of play over 82 games? We won't find out this season. The lockout will at the very least delay Doughty's legacy, even if it won't derail it.

Sidney Crosby

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    It's still not clear what affect the lockout will have on Sidney Crosby's legacy.

    Certainly it has cost him games played. Crosby has averaged a bit more than 1.4 points per game. Assuming he could stay healthy (and lately that's been a big assumption), these missed games will certainly cost Crosby points over the course of his career.

    The lockout may have given Crosby more time to fully recover from all of his injuries however, so it will be difficult to truly assess how it affects him, but there is no doubt that it has made some difference.

Tim Thomas

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    Thomas had already announced that he would be sitting out the 2012-13 season to "spend more time with his family."

    The longer the lockout goes on, the more equal Thomas is to everybody else in the league when it comes to time missed.

    His "missed" season is all but wiped out if the lockout continues.

Teemu Selanne

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    As of right now, Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne stands 12th in career goals scored with 663. He is two goals behind 11th ranked Jaromir Jagr and five goals behind 10th ranked Luc Robitaille.

    Past lockouts have certainly kept Selanne from being in the top 10 already. If this lockout cancels the season, it may prematurely end Selanne's NHL career. 

Martin St. Louis

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    Lightning forward Martin St. Louis is 37 years old, and while he is still playing at a high level, his career is clearly winding down.

    He presently has 931 career games played and 852 points.

    If he played a full season in both 2004-05 and 2012-13, it is almost certain St. Louis would reach the 1,000 point plateau before he retires. Reaching 1,000 points all but guarantees induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    Because of the individual trophies he's won and his integral role in the Lightning's Stanley Cup win, St. Louis may be inducted anyway, but he is a surefire Hall of Famer without these lockouts.

Daniel Alfredsson

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    Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is another player with borderline Hall of Fame credentials whose career may be cut short by the lockout.

    Yes, Alfredsson has reached the 1,000 point plateau, but unlike St. Louis, he has no Stanley Cup victories and the only individual trophy he won is the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie back in 1995-96.

    Had the 2004-05 and present lockouts not taken place, Alfredsson's credentials would probably be impeccable and he would be guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame.

    He will probably get there anyway because of his consistent performance and leadership on the ice and his high amount of community involvement off the ice. But had the lockouts not taken place, Alfredsson would have erased almost all doubts.

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