A little while ago, some debate broke out about the role of a player's linemates in making said player's trip to the Hall more palpable.
Simply put, I argued that a normalized (i.e., "same conditions") comparison of the numbers put up by Daniel Alfredsson (Praise Alfie!) and Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille would show that the latter's numbers were elevated by the luxury of playing with the league's record smashing players.
This was met with near ridicule. The idea that a great player wasn't seeing high numbers owing - in large part - to his teammates productivity was considered blasphemy. It appeared implied that Robitaille's career totals (or even the direct 10-year comparison under the same rules, against the same opponents, etc.) were independent of the pleasure of receiving passes from (or directing passes to) Gretz, Brett, Paul Coffee, etc., etc.
What then, should we make of this piece over at PPP.
I'll excise the most notable portion:
"For his centres, he has been blessed with Matt Stajan, Mikhail Grabovski, Tyler Bozak, and John Mitchell. Holding out hope for Bozak, but this is not an impressive group of centres. No Luc Robitaille on the left either." [Emphasis added.]
A bit of silence to let that sink in.....
The crux of the article is that Kessel - a "37 goals in 83 games" man (wasn't he supposed to be a guaranteed 40 goal guy?) is suffering in production due to his linemates.
Hm. I guess my theory wasn't so bad afterall.