Jari Kurri, Ron Francis, Frank Brimsek among most underappreciated Hall of Famers – ESPN

10:59 AM ET Who is the most underappreciated Hall of Famer of all time?

Greg Wyshynski: Jari Kurri has 601 career goals (19th all-time) and 1,398 career points (21st all-time). That he earned the majority of them playing with Wayne Gretzky on the Edmonton Oilers from 1980-88 has turned Kurri into the go-to example of a great player elevated to immortal status by riding shotgun for a sports god. But Kurri didn’t surf into the Hall of Fame on Gretzky’s coattails. He’s an all-time great in his own right.

Along with his offensive output, Kurri was considered one of the most accomplished defensive right wingers of his era, playing a 200-foot game that resulted in top-five finishes for the Selke Trophy from 1982-1986. His reputation as a defensive standout was cemented on the penalty kill, where Kurri scored 39 shorthanded goals in his career, which is seventh all-time. But Gretzky had 73 shorties, so he can’t even get a spotlight here.

I’ve always wondered: Why have some held Kurri’s ability to excel with the greatest player of all-time against him, when it should be celebrated?

Hockey history is littered with guys who couldn’t ride with the GOATs, let alone make them better. Kurri’s defense begat Gretzky’s offense, and vice versa. Gretzky and Kurri were unstoppable on an odd-man rush, not only because Gretz could thread the needle but because Kurri had an incredible one-timer to finish those chances. There’s no question that Gretzky is still Gretzky without Kurri, but does he roll to three straight seasons of 200-plus points without him?

The obvious question: Is Kurri still Kurri without Gretzky? Well, after Wayne began his Los Angeles Kings adventure in 1988, Kurri amassed 44 goals and 58 assists in 76 games, and then 33 goals and 60 assists in

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