MLD 2012 Montagu Allan Semifinal: Connecticut Whale vs. Regina Pats
18 Craig Simpson - 4 André Lacroix - 9 Allan "Scotty" Davidson (C)
19 George Richardson - 7 Normie Himes - 23 Brian Bellows
10 Jack McDonald - 13 Lorne Campbell - 17 Cecil Blachford
14 Gaétan Duchesne - 12 Ted Hampson (A) - 16 Rich Preston
15 Cully Dahlstrom - 24 Arthur Farrell
29 Kenny Jönsson (A) - 2 Anders Eldebrink
26 Dave Maloney - 8 Willie Mitchell
6 James Stewart - 27 Fredrik Olausson
3 Eric Brewer - 5 Jack Ruttan
1 Billy Nicholson
37 Tomáš Vokoun
Coach: Pete Muldoon
PP1: Craig Simpson - André Lacroix - Scotty Davidson - Anders Eldebrink - Fredrik Olausson
PP2: George Richardson/Jack McDonald - Normie Himes - Brian Bellows - Dave Maloney - Kenny Jönsson
PK1: Ted Hampson - Rich Preston - Willie Mitchell - James Stewart
PK2: Cecil Blachford - Gaetan Duchesne - Dave Maloney - Kenny Jonsson
Moose Watson - Anze Kopitar - Johnny Gagnon
Miroslav Satan - Scott Gomez - Scott Mellanby (A)
Murph Chamberlain - Patrik Sundstrom - Bob MacMillan
Baldy Cotton - Art Jackson - Jim Peplinski (A)
Bryan McCabe - Paul Shmyr (C)
Gord Fraser - Drew Doughty
Barry Gibbs - Brent Seabrook
Coach: Emile Francis
Spares: Marty McSorley (D/RW) - Walter Smaill (D/F) - Bob Murdoch (D) - Ron Duguay (RW/C)
PP1: Watson - Kopitar - Gagnon - McCabe - Doughty
PP2: Satan - Gomez - MacMillan - Sundstrom - Fraser
PK1: Sundstrom - Chamberlain - Gibbs - Seabrook
PK2: MacMillan - Cotton - Shmyr - McCabe
Definitely a battle that could very well be determined by the arguments between the GMs.
At first glance, I like Connecticut's centers better and Regina's defense better.
I like that these two teams met, so maybe the GMs can compare Paton with Nicholson. I still have a really hard time placing both of them, so maybe a direct comparison on their accomplishments would help with both.
Just out of curiosity....
Hedberg, can you explain why you think Davidson belongs on a first line here? Not saying your wrong, but with my very limited research plus your bio, I'm just not sure I see it.
I am looking forward to getting into this with Hedberg though, as I don't think there's anyone who will debate more "honestly" than him.
Actually, I would argue this entire series in rhyming iambic pentameter if Hedberg agrees.
OK, I better get this ball really rolling. Unfortunately I am not that creative, so I will start with an analysis of the players on each team, doing it the old fashioned way – position by position. I don’t want to presume that the team that drafted the better collection of players should automatically win (unless the difference is drastic – and I don’t think it is) but it is at least a start. I hope my adversary will correct me anytime he believes I am mistaken, and together we can come to a semi-agreement on most matters.
Lacroix vs. Kopitar. The battle of the first line catalysts. Instantly the first thing one thinks is that Lacroix has an obvious longevity advantage over a guy with just 6 NHL seasons, and also that his three top-2 finishes in the WHA have to equate to better than Kopitar’s 15th, 15th, and 17th in the modern NHL. The flipside is that maybe after reasonable adjustment Lacroix’s best 6 seasons aren’t any better than Kopitar’s only 6, and that his other five add little to his offensive MLD upside. Throw in Kopitar’s sizeable advantages in size, physicality, defense and playoffs, and it could go in his favour.
The big question mark is what to do about Lacroix’s WHA years. The offensive value of these two players is going to form the bulk of the data used to determine who is better. No need to reinvent the wheel, I guess. The old 0.7 factor works as well as anything else I’ve seen. This gives Lacroix seven WHA seasons with adjusted point totals of 87, 78, 103, 71, 80, 79, and 62. This translates to percentages of 87, 91, 87, 60, 66, 65, and 48, to go along with a 74, 52 and 49 in his best 3 NHL seasons. To compare with Kopitar:
Lacroix: 91, 87, 87, 74, 66, 65, 60, 52, 49, 48
Kopitar: 78, 74, 74, 73, 60, 54
- My system gives Lacroix a lot more points in 1973, 74, and 75 thanks to forgiveness for outliers, which others like TDMM refuse to do. If I was to use the #2 scorer strictly, that 91, 87, 87 becomes 84, 81, 64, which would leave them with almost identical “best six seasons” scores (Kopitar would be behind by 21 total, or 3.5 per season) with not much after his “best six” to help Lacroix’s case. Something to keep in mind if you don’t believe in removing outliers like the hellish Orr/Esposito combo.
Still, it looks like any way you slice it, Lacroix has a visible edge in regular season production. Kopitar does have his advantages here, and in pretty much every other area. For starters, even after a generous 2 inch, 20 pound adjustment due to Lacroix’s DOB, he is 5 inches and 30 pounds Kopitar’s junior. Whether they match up against eachother or against others, Kopitar is the one who won’t have problems with physical matchups. Also, he is a far superior defensive player. Lacroix has no defensive resume that I am aware of, and although his bio says he was a good penalty killer, where are all the PPGA? Not on his NHL record, I can tell you that much (2 in his career). Kopitar has of course earned quite significant selke recognition two years running now. Lastly, Kopitar has an outstanding (but short) playoff resume so far, tying for the lead in playoff goals, assists, points and +/- in his recent cup win, and averaging more PPG in the playoffs than the seasons. Lacroix experiences some seriously troubling drops in both the NHL (0.61 PPG to 0.44) and the WHA (1.45 to 0.90). Marcel Dionne in particular gets absolutely raked over the coals by most people for going from 1.31 to 0.92, so what should we do to Lacroix?
With all that said, I hope I have demonstrated that this is a lot closer than you may have originally thought in a playoff matchup.
Craig Simpson vs. Johnny Gagnon. the opportunistic, go-to-the net, take punishment, played-with-better-players scoring wingers. Simpson is usually an ATDer and finally fell to a spot that most would say is much more appropriate. However, even as a first line MLDer he might still be a tad on the overrated side. For example, my Patrik Sundstrom scored 11% more points per game, in a career of similar length at almost the same time, with far inferior linemates… he was also a great two-way player, too. It would be very tough to even make the case that Simpson was better than Sundstrom.
Simpson’s best six percentage scores are 74, 69, 57, 50, 49, and 48. If you assume full seasons in 1989, 1991 and 1987, this becomes 84, 74, 57, 54, 53, 48. Gagnon’s six best are 80, 80, 77, 74, 60, 52. Still a far superior range of scores to Simpson’s, and in the pre-expansion era when putting up higher percentage scores appears historically tougher by 10-15%.
Neither player brought much more to the game other than opportunistic complementary offense. Gagnon has his blazing speed; Simpson has his ability to camp in front of the net. Both are something, but both are also already reflected in their scoring stats.
I think Gagnon is easily the better player.
Scotty Davidson vs. Moose Watson. The early, short career question marks. This one is interesting. Watson is a guy who Hedberg has had before, and it was then that I made the interesting (but rough) case that Watson had the offensive chops to be among the NHL scoring leaders perennially throughout the multi-league years. If that is literally true, he’s the best player in the MLD. If that’s at least somewhat true, then he’s at least a very good MLD top line winger. With Davidson there is either more or less guesswork involved, depending on how you see it. On one hand, he doesn’t need a “two degrees” extrapolation to understand his peak offensive worth: he was 4th and 8th in the NHA in points in a league quite similar to the one I extrapolated Watson to. On the other hand, those are his only two relevant seasons so it’s all guesswork determining what he’d have looked like in a full career. I believe that even if you assume the worst about my projections for Watson, those projections combined with his longevity (an advantage he would not have over most players), Watson is the better producer. But Davidson does have some value as a glue guy. The only problem with that is, those guy guy skills are still based on just two years of play at the top level. YMMV, but I believe that non-offensive skills still take time to develop a track record of. It’s not just instant. Davidson is adequate enough to provide just enough jam for the first line to be efficient, just like I believe Watson’s strength, Kopitar’s size and Gagnon’s resilience combine for an adequate amount of pushback on a first line.
In this case Watson has the edge in the more important area – offense – while Davidson is likely more established in his “role player” skills.
that turned out to be quite time consuming so that's all I'll do today. more tonight hopefully.
Alright, time to compare 2nd lines.
Normie Himes vs. Scott Gomez. Wow, I never realized how similar these two players were. But they really are. They are both very small players for their era (after “standard” adjustment Himes has two inches but Gomez has 15 pounds). I think both are gritty, mostly willing players but ultimately unable to be too effective physically. Gomez has agitating qualities and Himes, at least to the degree that it can be demonstrated, appears to have some, too. Both had one big goal scoring season but ultimately can’t be counted on to score goals at this level, preferring to pass instead. Offensively, their results are quite equal. Percentage scores by my system:
Gomez: 80, 74, 68, 66, 66, 54
Himes: 81, 77, 56, 54, 50, 49
Himes + 12%: 91, 86, 63, 60, 56, 55
I gave Himes a 12% boost to split the difference on the 10-15% disadvantage that pre-expansion players appear to have in adjusted points and percentage scores. Note that their total scores are almost identical (Himes leads by 1 in total). Main difference is that Himes has two “big” seasons and falls off considerably, while Gomez has five noteworthy seasons.
So, how to give an advantage? It’s tough. I don’t think either player separates himself defensively. Gomez had his moments, both good and bad, and there may be some anecdotal evidence in favour of Himes, but it’s also quite sparse.
One way Himes separates himself is that in his best season he was 6th in Hart voting, something Gomez never approached. Also, he led his team in scoring six times, which is nice, but also difficult to quantify compared to a player in the 30 team era. (i.e. is this more, or less important than percentage scores, or an appendix?) However, Gomez has a top-3 playoff resume among all scoring line centers in the MLD (99 points in 140 games, right there with Janney, Briere and Pederson, am I right?), and Himes has perhaps the worst (2 games, no points). This is not Himes’ fault but it does call into question his ability to produce offense in a grueling series.
To distill this as best as I can, I think this is fairly even, with Himes having a nicer regular season peak (based on percentage scores and hart votes) and Gomez being more consistent and far more experienced/proven in the playoffs. Your weighting of both factors may affect your opinion, but regardless this is awfully close.
Brian Bellows vs. Miroslav Satan. Now this is an interesting one! Bellows was canonized as an ATD winger for years and finally dropped down – he’s a bit of a tweener, because one runs out of room for him on the top two lines he drops to spare status (or to here) and Satan was canonized as a AAA player because…. Well, for no good reason, really.
Both have a similar style. They were fairly large (in Bellows’ case, Bulky) yet fairly docile, nothing special defensively (although both killed more penalties than you would have guessed)
Comparing them offensively is actually a bit tricky. I’ll get into adjusted points, percentage scores, etc, but what worries me is that I will accidentally over-favour Satan due to the era he played in. For players with these two specific timeframes involved, you need to speak of “adjusted adjusted” points.
Adjusted points, career: Satan has 795 in 1050 games for 0.76 per game; Bellows has 889 in 1218 adjusted games (1995 lockout), for 0.73 per game. That alone tells me Bellows is a tad ahead in the “career numbers” game because a 1980s to DPE adjustment would probably be in the 10% range, moving him slightly ahead.
But, let’s not get too obsessed with compiling and instead look at them at their best. Here are their top percentage scores:
Bellows: 78, 70, 70, 67, 65, 65
Satan: 81, 72, 71, 66, 65, 62
Satan ends up with an overall advantage of 2, which is negligible, suggesting that by this method at least, they are similar offensive players. It should be noted that Satan completes his “10 best” with scores of 54, 52, 51, 39, and Bellows has 63, 62, 54, 50. So Bellows did age better, or whatever you want to call it. However, 7th-10th best seasons probably don’t mean much to most of you.
So where do the advantages lie? In two places, from what I can see. For Bellows, his 122 points in 143 games is certainly more impressive than Satan’s 54 in 86. No amount of wrangling and explaining that the 16-of-21-teams-make-the-playoffs format and higher 1980s scoring levels helped Bellows compiled these numbers can overcome that. Although not as much as these numbers make it look, he is clearly the better playoff scorer. The edge in Satan’s favour is that he was much more relied on by his teams to be the catalyst. He led his team 7 times in scoring, sometimes by very high margins, while Bellows did it just twice, by margins of 14 & 2 points, though he was often 2nd or 3rd on his team. This part actually sounds like an exact reversal of the Himes and Gomez comparison. I still struggle with how to weigh these factors.
Although Bellows deserved his fall and Satan his rise, Satan is not Bellows’ equal. They are reasonably close that it is not a series-breaking advantage, but Bellows is better.
George Richardson vs. Scott Mellanby. This one is as impossible as it gets. Interesting note – I have a pre-NHL senior league question mark that Hedberg owned in the past, and he has a pre-NHL senior league question mark that I’ve had in the past.
Comparing Richardson and Mellanby as players is like peeing up a rope. I don’t know that I should even bother.
Richardson is here as an offensive player (I don’t think anything else about his game has been uncovered) and Mellanby just as a “glue guy” for two softer linemates. It’s really tough to say where he belongs. I did make a case for him using comparisons to players like Marty Walsh and Billy Gilmour; however, it was a much weaker case than the one for Watson as the number of comparisons involved is comparatively small. I had him as an MLD spare and was satisfied with that; then following a 40-team ATD I selected him only about 30 spots higher, making him an MLD 1st liner, which seemed appropriate. Hedberg has given him yet another modest 30 spot rise, making him an MLD 2nd liner, but after a 32-team draft, which is a higher level of responsibility than he’s ever had. I can’t comment too definitively on where he belongs, but I can say that last draft, for my 1st line I saw him as “good enough” and nothing more.
Mellanby is relatively modest offensively from a peak standpoint, but did compile his way to over 800 career points which still speaks to his longevity, consistency and durability. He had 4 seasons with over a 50% score and 11 over 40%. He was also not always “just” a complementary scorer. In 1996 he led the Panthers in points by 9, and that team got to the Finals. In 1994 he led them by 10 points and they were the most successful first year franchise… ever? I think? And in 1997 he was 2nd behind Ray Sheppard. But the less we talk about Mellanby’s offense, probably the better. I don’t mean to sell him as anything other than a reliable glue guy who isn’t completely inept with the puck.
Comparing these guys is impossible as I said, but this does underscore the major difference between these two lines: Toughness. Mellanby is as tough a player as you can find on a second line in this draft and serves as a great glue guy and built-in bravery for Gomez and Satan. His presence alone means that this line can work in the trenches in a playoff series. Can Connecticut say the same about their 2nd line? Himes was courageous, Bellows bulky and Richardson… well, we at least have no evidence he was soft but not really anything that says the opposite, either. I’m not sure this line has enough “toughness by committee” to get it done over a long series. It’s missing a crucial element that Regina’s 2nd line has.
It’s strange and I never thought I’d say this when I drafted him, but Mellanby might be the difference on the 2nd lines. Connecticut has more raw upside in the playoffs; the Bellows/Satan and Richardson/Mellanby comparisons ensure that. But can it succeed on the raw upside alone?
I also prefer comparing to 5th place, rather than 2nd place, for post expansion players because it removes outliers for you.
Here is Bellows vs Satan using vs5 scores:
Bellows: 88, 73, 70, 70, 68, 67, 67, 61, 64, 51, 50, 43, 42, 38, 32
Satan: 92, 79, 77, 69, 70, 65, 64, 58, 53, 43, 39, 38, 30
Satan's "big" percentage score was 2002, when he was 14th in scoring with 72 points, but 5th place had only 79 points.
In Bellows' "big" season, he scored 99 points in 1990, which was 16 points higher than his second best season from a raw points perspective, so his high score for that season makes sense.
Having looked at the makeup of the 3rd and 4th lines on each team, I think that it makes the most sense to compare Regina’s 3rd to Connecticut’s 4th, and vice versa. My 3rd and your 4th appear to be defensively-oriented while the 4th lines are more all-around, a mix of the best offensive players available while also seeking non-offense abilities. Agree?
Ted Hampson vs. Patrik Sundstrom. Two of my favourites. I had Hampson once before, and Sundstrom three straight times before I even realized how good he was (yet I was taking him higher than he gets taken now! :laugh: ). You had him in AAA11 when we had our epic simulated series.
Both are good offensive players. Sundstrom was certainly more slick and polished, while I think Hampson was more of a guy who “just got it done”. Both had PP opportunities in their careers but they should be judged on their even strength ability.
Sundstrom’s best 6 ES percentage scores: 77, 69, 68, 62, 59, 54
Hampson’s best 6: 77, 73, 65, 56, 46, 40
Looks like at his very best Hampson was able to keep up with Sundstrom in ES scoring, but falls off after his best three seasons. Also, it should be noted that his three best seasons are based on getting scads of icetime for horrible teams.
On the other hand, as much as I like Sundstrom’s grit, physicality and heart, Hampson is one player who has an advantage in these areas. Neither was a real physical player but Sundstrom’s size, strength and assertiveness got him by, while Hampson was very gentlemanly but had too much heart to give an inch. There is plenty out there documenting their desire, defensive play, PK ability, etc. but I think Hampson is one of those players that should come to mind first when you think of heart. He makes up the offensive gap; these two should be equally effective as two-way players.
Boy, would I love the idea of a Sundstrom-centered 3rd line and a Hampson-centered 4th line… on the same team. *drool*
Gaetan Duchesne vs. Bob MacMillan. This is a mismatch of a comparison because we’re comparing a player who was quite strong defensively (but negligible offensively) to a guy who was quite strong both ways.
Offensively, they aren’t close. MacMillan averaged 42 adjusted ESP per 80 games and Duchesne averaged just 29, giving MacMillan a roughly 40% edge in the offensive department.
Physically, I do have one quote that calls MacMillan hard hitting, and another a good checker, but that’s not really much. I don’t recall Duchesne ever being more than an honest, hard-working guy himself though, so I could call them even in this regard.
Defensively, you may call me crazy for this one, but I think they are even. Duchesne played his whole career in the selke era and earned 10 voting points (good for 14th overall) one year, and that’s the only significant objective record in his favour. I wouldn’t conclude he was better defensively any more than I’d conclude a defenseman with one 14th in Norris voting was better than a guy with nothing. MacMillan has multiple quotes calling him “excellent” or “considerable” defensively, including before the Selke existed, and others caling him “good in all areas of the game”, and he appears to have the honest, hustling, workmanlike manner of Duchesne too. Duchesne has a couple nice quotes about his defensive exploits but nothing that would give him the edge.
Due to his ability to send the puck the other way and turn it into a goal for Regina, MacMillan is definitely the better two-way player here.
Rich Preston vs. Murph Chamberlain. these are the more aggressive defensive wingers on these lines. Although I like Preston (and maybe this is what happens when you compare a 3rd line to a 4th), but I don’t see an area where he would be better than Chamberlain.
Offense: Chamberlain’s percentages are 59, 57, 51, 50, 47, 46, Preston’s are 49, 45*, 44, 34, 32*, 32*, with the asterisks representing converted WHA scores.
Defense: Preston is backed up by anecdotes and a 4th in Selke voting. Chamberlain is backed up by even more anecdotes, history of shutting down some all-time greats, a role on the “best checking line in hockey”, and of course there was no Selke in his time, but based on what was written I don’t doubt he’d have earned himself some votes in at least a few seasons.
Physicality: Preston was physical and aggressive, but Chamberlain was VERY physical and aggressive.
Contribution to winners: Chamberlain went to seven finals, impressive even considering that he played in the O6 era, and won two cups. Preston won two Avco cups, which is good, but not the same.
Playoffs: Preston’s WHA playoff MVP is probably fairly close to Chamberlain being 6th in playoff scoring in 1939, or 8th/9th in 1944/1946, when his Habs won. If you consider it more impressive, then Chamberlain still makes up the gap with his bevy of successful playoffs. If you consider it less impressive, the gap only widens from there.
Preston is an average bottom six winger for this MLD, but Chamberlain is an elite one.
Thanks to the substantial advantages enjoyed at the wings, Regina’s 3rd line should be just as effective defensively and much more effective than Connecticut’s 4th line, offensively, physically and overall. However, this is a 3rd line vs. a 4th line, so what did you expect? I will do the same with our other corresponding units and see what I find.
I will go more in depth on the weekend, but to save you time, I'll concede that while I don't believe my goaltending will cost me the series, Regina has a definite edge in that category.
I haven't gone through your comments with a fine-toothed comb yet, but they're seeming pretty reasonable to me.
These articles mention him penalty killing:
I’m glad you went over everything with your comb. You make some good points.
- Gagnon and Himes wash out as small, courageous, absolutely untimidating players.
- Small edge to Watson for being called “Moose” but my line about Richardson pretty much applies to him as well, granted
- Kopitar is bigger and, I think, more physically inclined than Bellows, which would push the line a visible level above in this regard.
I definitely realize it isn’t ideal from a toughness perspective though.
- If some player came in and beat the living snot out of every top heavyweight next season, we wouldn’t draft him on ATD 4th lines and call him “the best figher ever”
- If a guy came in and led the NHL with 450 hits including some absolutely devastating highlight reel textbook hits, we wouldn’t put him in the ATD right away as “the best bodychecker ever”
- If a rookie came in and won the selke with a suffocating defensive game, regardless of how strong (let’s say anecdotally superior to Nighbor and statistically superior to Clarke’s best season), we would not see him on ATD 3rd lines as “the best defensive forward ever”
It’s no different from if a rookie came in and scored 96 goals next season despite leaguewide offense dropping even further. This would be the most impressive goal scoring season ever, but we would not put him on an ATD 1st line right away as “the best goalscorer ever”. We would want to see an established track record of such success. Whether we’re talking about goal scoring, playmaking, defense, physicality or fighting, it should apply across the board.
Now, other people may see things differently, but typically you see 5-6 years being thrown around as an appropriate time frame for a “prime” where we get a true sense of what a player is capable of. Given the circumstances, you, different people and I may draw the line differently but I think it’s safe to say that most would draw that line beyond two years.
Basically if there was a player who was similar to Davidson at his best, but did it for a dozen years I would consider him infinitely more suited to be a physical presence on a line. Or, even a guy who was only ¾ as physical at his best, but did it for a dozen years. I’d probably consider that guy to win out via longevity. (we would think the same if there was a guy who scored 35 and 40 goals in his only two seasons, compared to a guy who played 12 seasons at an average level of 28 goals, wouldn’t we?)
Regina’s 4th line vs. Connecticut’s 3rd line
I think these lines were drafted similarly – to attempt to get the “best” players while still looking for players who have the capability and/or skills to be role players.
Lorne Campbell vs. Art Jackson.
Campbell is, I think, the exception as far as these six players go. I think he is certainly the most offensively potent player of all six, but unfortunately he is also the one with the least-proven physical/defensive skills of the group.
Jackson is no slouch himself, having one of the most established offensive records among MLD 4th liners. His best 6 percentage scores are 74, 73, 70, 58, 57, 50. In addition, there is also the potential that he’s better than these numbers say, as he spent some time buried behind two HHOFers at the center position. Lastly, he does have credibility as a checker. He’s certainly not an “ideal” checker but a guy who can give a 4th line some punch while not embarrassing himself defensively.
So we have a good idea what percentage as good as the elites of his time Jackson was. Campbell never got to really play against the best of his time. His rankings and percentage scores in the IHL are great though – so great that I am willing to confidently say he is superior offensively. It is the degree of that superiority that is up for debate. I would be comfortable deferring to someone like Iain Fyffe who has done extensive research on the eras, and his equivalency formula for Campbell’s IHL exploits would work better than anything I can put together.
Basically, I think Campbell is a superior offensive player and therefore overall player, but I am not 100% convinced that he’s better for a bottom-six role. This one could go either way.
Jack McDonald vs. Baldy Cotton. This is one I’ve been looking forward to doing, because I am a big, big fan of both players. I introduced Cotton to the draft back in the undrafteds thread following AA10 and realized right then and there that he deserved a rise. McDonald I had in the AAA that year and the following year. When I took him I saw him as a good pick, but that was before I found that quote (which I didn’t copy down) that praised his excellent backchecking – and not just an in-game quote. Considering it’s my opponent’s player I’m talking about you can take my word for it on this one, ok?
Considering they are both pre-expansion players, I think it’s fair that we compare them based on their percentage scores. Here are their best 6.
Cotton: 61, 60, 53, 48, 48, 40
McDonald: 77, 66, 52, 51, 50, 44
It appears that, aside from one spike year (which McDonald, as a one-man show on a horrible Toronto Ontarios team – 4-16, 61GF, 117GA – deserves credit for), he was approximately as potent offensively.
The only caveat to this, is that in McDonald’s time, it was one-line hockey and he was playing literally with the best players who were scoring the most, so he probably has an advantage by this metric. Whereas, Cotton was on 2nd and 3rd lines, with less opportunity to match the totals of the best players. That said, I have no idea where to start fairly building in adjustments for such things, so let’s just say McDonald is a titch better offensively for simplicity.
Defensively and physically though, it is Cotton who has the edge, and I think it’s big enough that he’s not only the better player for a bottom-six role, but the better player overall. Cotton is very well known for his guts, his heart, physicality and defensive/PK ability. As I said, I did find that one great quote on McDonald’s backchecking but there needs to be more meat on that bone.
Conclusion: Cotton is better overall, and for this role, though in the former regard it isn’t by a considerable margin.
Cecil Blachford vs. Jim Peplinski. This one is so interesting too, because both were role players and leaders for very strong teams.
Blachford is tougher to get info on due to his era, so I’m not going to post the overwhelming number of quotes I have supporting Peplinski’s leadership, defense, physicality and toughness and claim he’s more “established”. Blachford’s reputation is certainly that he was a worker bee for that Wanderer dynasty; it’s not unfathomable that he was somewhat similar to that era’s Peplinski in that regard. (I see him as a probably better version of Scanlan/Hooper/Gardiner, HHOFers known for reasons other than offense – Scanlan, Hooper and Blachford all played 56-59 total senior level games and scored 0.75, 1.00 and 1.17 PPG, respectively, Gardiner 0.65 but in 3X as many games) It’s difficult to conclude much more than Blachford and Peplinksi are even in intangibles, or at least similar.
Offensively, both are much better than you might expect. Peplinski barely got any PP time his entire career, so his raw scoring totals are almost his ES scoring totals. For his career, he earned ES scoring percentages as follows: 77, 70, 68, 63, 52, 46. Blachford had a short career but a couple big offensive years himself, earning a “best six” of 59, 42, 40, 36, 21, 16. The “12% rule” still has to apply though, considering 80 years separates them, which would mean Blachford’s approximate offensive worth can be summed up as follows: 71, 47, 45, 40, 24, 18. It is worth noting that this includes two incomplete seasons – 1903 and 1910 – in which Blachford scored a combined 8 points in 4 CAHL/NHA games, so the potential was there for more.
Conclusion: Both players are very good for checking line roles; however, Peplinksi has demonstrated a higher level of ability with the puck and will be better at helping to generate offense in the other team’s end. Overall edge to Peplinski.
Overall conclusion: Offensively it appears they’re even. A 35% edge to Regina on the right side, a 10% edge to Connecticut on the left, and Campbell probably makes up the remainder at center. As far as playing the bottom six roles, Cotton and Jackson are better established than McDonald and Campbell, making their unit more effective overall. Hedberg – your thoughts?
Ugh, what a mess. I don’t see any players here that make great comparisons with eachother, with the exception of Gibbs and Brewer (Brewer is Gibbs-lite) and Brewer is not even in the starting lineup. Connecticut has no young, active players for me to compare to Doughty or Seabrook. I have no one who qualifies as a stay at home, zero offense, elite shutdown player like Willie Mitchell. Connecticut has no PCHA-era guy like Fraser, and Regina has no pre-Stanley Cup era guy like Cameron. Regina also has no European to compare to Eldebrink and no offensive specialist to compare to Olausson (preferring instead to go with two-way guys)
McCabe and Jonsson are, to an extent, the only two starters who are make a decent comparison. Both 1993 draftees and even played together for close to 2 full seasons. In New York. During this time McCabe averaged 22.51 minutes per game (17.44 ES) and Jonsson averaged 23.70 (17.12 ES). Surprisingly, considering how the rest of their careers went, Jonsson was more relied on for PP scoring, particularly in 1998 prior to the Linden trade, and they were almost even on the PK and at ES. Not sure what it says about them both though, considering they were 21-23 at the time.
Jonsson started out his career as a #6 on Toronto, then again was a #6 in 2006 despite getting 3 more minutes a game. In 1997 he took off though, leading NYI in ice time in 97, 98, 99, and 00, before being overtaken by a couple of “McCabe lites” – Hamrlik in 2001, Aucoin in 2002, both by considerable margins in 2003, and then both plus Niinimaa in 2004.
McCabe holds the longevity edge, obviously, and should be considered the better overall player, but longevity isn’t the only reason why - it appears that he was the better player at his peak, too. Jonsson was the #1 defenseman on four terrible Isles teams, then, In the 2002, 03, and 04 seasons, the Isles began to emerge into a playoff team but could only do so with Jonsson in a lesser role. At the same time, McCabe had been spending two years apprenticing as the #2 on non-playoff teams before he jumped right onto a strong Toronto team, playing as their #2 (Yushkevich), 2 (Kaberle), 3 (Kaberle, Svehla), and 1, as they made the playoffs 4 times, and won a round three of four times, with McCabe logging heavy minutes agains the opposition’s best. Post-lockout, he played a minimum of 25:55 a game over three seasons for Leaf teams that, excluding shootouts, lost just three more games than it won over that time. (interesting stat that many probably don’t know! Those post-lockout Leafs were a luxury compared to now)
Would Kenny Jonsson have been the #1 on a team as strong as Toronto was for that time (2001-2004)? I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look like it.
So, who else is comparable? Mitchell and Gibbs? Defensively, easily Mitchell. Offensively, easily Gibbs. Overall, Mitchell. I think we can all agree on that. and I think he’s the best defensive defenseman in this draft. If he isn’t, who is? I freely admit he got a very high vote from me in the all-star ballots.
Seabrook and Mitchell? Seabrook is well on his way to a “Mitchell + offense” career but right now Mitchell has two seasons worth of games on him (can you believe it’s just 2 seasons worth?!? Wow!) played at a slightly higher defensive level, edge Mitchell.
Schmyr vs. Eldebrink? Both were likely among the very best non-NHL defensemen in their primes. Shmyr would have been behind Tremblay, Vasiliev, Pospisil and maybe 1-2 others for that title. Eldebrink would have been behind at least 4 Soviets, not sure who else though. What Eldebrink was able to do in his one NHL season is not encouraging, but then he wasn’t much of a chance either, from the sounds of things. I think Shmyr’s greatness is much more of a sure thing overall. Based on awards, polls, stats that are much more easily comparable, and a generally accepted view of how good his league was copmpared to the NHL.
Fraser vs. Stewart? Could go either way. I like Stewart and praised the pick because he is in the mix for the best defenseman of his time, though likely 3rd-best. Fraser is much lower down the chart for his era, though it was a better era and his greatness is also better substantiated through all-star teams and substantive scoring stats. I picked Fraser over Stewart so it’s no secret who my gut says is better, but proving it? That’s the tough part. Probably not as tough as proving Stewart is better though :naughty:
I wouldn’t even know who to compare Olausson to. Honestly, the best comparison is McCabe, and I’ve already compared McCabe to someone else. McCabe was a high TOI, first pairing, not sheltered, equal offensively, tougher and better defensively version of Olausson. No problem with Olausson as a specialist, though. And the above isn’t really fair when one is on my top pairing and the other is on Connecticut’s 3rd. Actually, if you could combine Maloney and Olausson you’d have McCabe, am I right?
On that note, maybe Shmyr vs. Maloney would have made more sense. Both tough, physical players with underrated offense. Offensively, they are pretty even when Shmyr’s percentages are transferred over: 59*, 53, 50*, 47*, 43*, 42* compared to 68, 64, 62, 52, 43, 38. Give Maloney the edge in that regard, though it’s tough to say if they received equal PP opportunities. Maloney averaged 21.4 minutes per game, Shmyr averaged 19.16 in the NHL, but that was just at the ages of 23-26 and 34-36. Awards indicate that this goes to Shmyr, as well as the polls that all said he was top-3 in the WHA at hitting, fighting and defensive play. Leadership and fighting is a bonus as well.
Well, I touched on every player except Drew Doughty; I don’t know if it got us anywhere though. Oh yeah, THN RANKED TEH DOUTY 1ST BEST DEFENCE MAN THIS YEAR IN THE YEAR BOOK HA HA HA I WINS U LOSES !!!!11!!!one!!111
Iain's point allocation numbers have him well ahead, but he's even admitted that after reviewing what THH found about some of those games, that he should perhaps allocate more credit to the team’s other defensive players. I agree. At the same time, I was still happy to see accounts of Paton’s play; it finally brought him somewhat to life, and it’s not like he wasn’t regarded as a great goalie and it’s not like he didn’t make game-sealing saves at time.
I always believed in his value as allocated by Iain’s system (due to the fact that logic involved makes it difficult not to take it seriously and also because it’s a 3rd party objective source backed by heavy research), but with a big “plus or minus” attached to it, but I always maintained that even if you assume the absolute worst, he’s a great MLD goalie. After THH’s research I think he belongs more on the minus side of that ledger but that doesn’t change the conclusion. I mean, we’re not comparing him to Luongo, Vanbiesbrouck, Richter and Giacomin, this is Giguere, Ranford, Khabibulin, and Burke.
What does that all say about him vis-à-vis Nicholson? I guess, that he’s “likely” better, and “probably” significantly as well.. But there is a high/low range associated with both goalies that represents how good or mediocre they both could have actually been, and those two ranges do overlap to a large degree if you ask me.
I guess for people who don’t have the time to read all that, I’ll try to summarize:
First lines: Regina’s is more potent offensively, thanks mainly to the Gagnon/Simpson edge. Lacroix and Watson also hold edges that likely cancel out. Regina’s has more defensive presence and though I think the two lines are equal in grit, we don’t have a designated “glue guy” like Davidson.
Second lines: Mellanby is the difference. Just not enough grit on Connecticut’s first line. Comparable upsides though.
Regina’s 3rd vs. Connecticut’s 4th: As even as it gets at center, but MacMillan’s substantial offensive edge over Duchesne and Chamberlain’s “everything” edge over Preston gives us the clear edge.
Regina’s 4th vs. Connecticut’s 3rd: Even in offensive upside as units, but Regina’s players have better 3rd/4th line skills – particularly Cotton over McDonald and Jackson over Campbell.
Defense: Messy to compare. Regina’s anchor, McCabe, is better than Jonsson. Shmyr is probably better than Eldebrink. Mitchell provides a level of defensive excellence not seen anywhere on Regina. Olausson provides a level of offense only seen in McCabe on Regina, but is also easily the worst defensive defenseman here. I like my own D better, but wouldn’t blame Hedberg for seeing it differently.
Goaltending: I agree with Hedberg that Regina has the goaltending edge, but the degree is really tough to determine.
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