Just about any Philadelphia Flyers captain will draw comparisons to their greatest one, Bobby Clarke. Especially if that player happens to be a center who can combine edgy grit with goal scoring prowess.
Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that outlets such as TSN are comparing Mike Richards to Clarke.
While there are undeniable (if broad) stylistic traits shared by the two players, I couldn’t help but wonder if the numbers backed up those parallels. So I scoured hockey-reference.com for comparable stats between the two. The nice thing is that both players started their careers at age 20 and followed some similar paths in the playoffs.
First, let’s compare the two players’ first five regular season stats. (Click to enlarge)
Clarke out-scored Richards by almost 100 points in their first five seasons, even at the same age. He also put up a much better plus/minus and more penalty minutes. From the regular season production alone, it would seem that the comparisons are a little bit hasty. But let’s look at the playoff results, shall we? (Again, click to enlarge)
Wow, in the playoffs, Richards actually scored more points in less games played. Of course, Clarke raised the Cup twice so it’s not as if he was a slouch in the playoffs. That being said, Richards compares nicely to his predecessor in postseason production.
He might not be at a Hart Trophy level just yet, but the comparisons between Richards and Clarke seem sensible enough.