Graves did have a longer career, 1124 GP vs 817 GP to Sheppard. Was a grittier player, earning 1224 PIM to Ray's 212. Graves also was a 2nd Team All-Star in 1994 and is a two time Stanley Cup Champion. Still, the similarities are close enough to give credence as to why I associate the two so closely.
One difference I didn't mention was that Sheppard made an immediate splash in the NHL, as a runner-up for the Calder trophy in 1988, and earning himself cards in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 OPC sets. On the other hand, Graves's career started out much slower and he didn't get a rookie card until the 1990 card boom. So to try to even up the scorecard on the Graves-Sheppard similarities, here's a 1988-89 OPC Lost Card of Adam Graves, as well as a 89-90 OPC.
|1988-89 OPC #269 OPC Adam Graves (RC)|
|1988-89 OPC #269 Adam Graves (RC)|
|1989-90 OPC Adam Graves|