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Yes, Ron Francis.
And before you completely freak out and discount everything you've just read, take a breath and ask yourself this question: Where does Ron Francis sit when it comes to all-time points in NHL history?
Don't Google it, just think hard.
Now if you answered fourth-overall in career points, right behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857 points), Mark Messier (1,887 points), and Gordie Howe (1,850 points), you're right. Francis finished his career with 1,798 points.
Francis defined what it meant to be a great player, yet we rarely—if ever—consider him in the same breath as the three men who are ahead of him in points. He is, without a doubt, the most underrated player in NHL history. And if you need more evidence, get a load of this.
Along with being fourth all-time in points, Francis is second in career assists with 1,249, third in career games played with 1,731, and 21st all-time in goals with 549. He is a three-time Lady Byng Trophy winner (1995, 1998, 2002), the 1995 Selke Trophy winner, and a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991, 1992).
Francis played 23 seasons and averaged a point-per-game through it all. Guys just don't do that all that often. He's arguably the most consistent player to ever play, considering he piled up over 1,700 points while scoring over 100 points in a season just three times.
Francis isn't just underrated now, he was during the prime of his career too. You'd think a player in the top five in all-time scoring would have been a regular at the NHL All-Star Game, but Francis was selected just four times (1983, 1985, 1990, 1996). Even then, he wasn't shown the respect he deserved—and then some.
He was drafted fourth-overall (coincidence?) by the Hartford Whalers in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, and jumped right into NHL action, scoring 25 goals and 68 points in 59 games. He became the captain of the Whalers in 1985 and led them for nearly six seasons before being traded to the Penguins in 1991. He went on to help them lift the Cup in back-to-back years, and captained the club twice during his seven seasons there.
In 1998 he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes—returning to the franchise that drafted him—and spent the next years with them—again, named their captain—before finishing his career with a brief stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2004.
He played 171 career playoff games and tallied 46 goals and 143 points in that time. Francis was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was, without argument, one of the greatest leaders to ever step on the ice. Some may forget his point production, but few fail to remember the leadership qualities he displayed until the day he retired.
All that, and still Francis is forgotten so often during discussion of the greatest players to ever play the game. Frankly, that may be the way he likes it too. A players who showed such class, such humility, and such grace throughout his entire career probably couldn't care less about what people say—or forget to say—about him these days.
Besides, Francis doesn't need to do much talking. His resume speaks for itself.