NYR Top Defensemen of All-Time (Rules & Preliminary Discussion)
Michael Del Zotto
I decided to loosen the player eligibility requirements for the defensemen project. For centers, the initial screen was players with minimum of 75% of games played in a minimum of 4 seasons. We ended up making exceptions and one exception made his way onto the final list. For the defensemen project, we're opening up the ballot to anyone who played a minimum of 1 game in at least 3 seasons for the Rangers. The discussion should sufficiently weed out non-contenders.
That is a lot of names! I'm going to start going through HockeyDB and assembling stats about them.
For the first spot, will anyone seriously want to argue against Leetch? Even if Brad Park might debatably be able to take it (at least for some of the ballots) I'm curious if anyone will have the heart.
Greg, I think Park's legacy would be a lot different if Bobby Orr decided never to lace up the skates. Not to say that Leetch didn't have some tough competition himself (Bourque, Coffey, Lidstrom, Chelios, etc). But we're talking multiple Norrises for Park if Orr doesn't show up to the party. Consensus #2 defenseman in the world for many years.
Oh yeah, objectively I completely get the fact that Brad Park was the second best defenseman in the game when by far the best defenseman ever was dominating the league. I guess my question is more like even knowing that, can you bring yourself to rank him above Leetch?
I'm beginning to realize that researching defensemen is going to be a lot different than researching centers. I relied heavily on Hockey Reference for the centers project, and while they do a nice job summarizing a player's accomplishments, it's offense-centric. They do have a metric called "defensive point shares" which might come in handy during the project.
At least for the top 5 or 6 guys in our universe, I think it'll be useful to look at Norris shares. I'm going to attempt to compile this later, perhaps adjusted in some way for competition.
As of right now, I think there is a coherent case for Park over Leetch as a Ranger. It's sort of a Ratelle/Messier situation; Ratelle was more skilled but Messier was more accomplished. It depends on what you value more. I'll be interested in seeing how my opinion holds up as I do more research. Howell is my #3 right now. Beyond that...got work to do.
Oh, and welcome back to the party Neil Colville.
I think preliminary discussion is as far as Neil is going to get this time :)
Adding DPS and total PS to my spreadsheet. Once I have a good chunk of names, I'll edit the table into my first post in the thread and keep updating it as I go along.
It's funny that you make the Ratelle/Messier comparison, because I'm kind of thinking the same thing... except Leetch is more akin to Messier by my thinking. If you take Bobby Orr out of the game, Brad Park wins four Norris trophies as a Ranger and probably helps capture the cup in 1972. But Orr did exist, Park never won a Norris, never won a cup, and got traded in The Trade. Meanwhile, Leetch wins two Norris awards, a cup, a Smythe, and captures five ASTs. He also has better longevity. Park had 3 1ASTs and 2 2ASTs. Leetch had 2 1ASTs and 3 2ASTs. While Park obviously faced better competition at the top, Orr was it. No one else would really be considered even decent competition for top 5 defensemen. Leetch, on the other hand, still faced a top 5 defenseman in his prime AND was against a veritable who's who of Hall of Fame backliners.
I'd be very surprised if the top 3, in any order, weren't Leetch, Park and Howell.
Leetch (twice), Howell and Doug Harvey are the only 3 Rangers to win the Norris.
This one I WILL be participating in and am absolutely stoked for.
Thanks for all the hard work on the centers project Crease. It seems like you've got a lot of stuff templated at this point - but if we can do anything to help you out with any of the grunt work, let us know. I'll have more spare time next week.
Anyway - defense and goaltender were the two positions that I played back in the day (and still play -- albeit way too infrequently); so I'm very excited for this one.
And Greg -- while Leetch was definitely one of my all-time favorite players, I would definitely consider ranking Park above him. This is after all a top 20 list of defensemen. ;) Leetch definitely outshines Park in terms of offense (no slight intended to Park, who was no schlub either). But while Leetch was great offensively, his defense often left a lot to be desired. He certainly improved it during his time with NYR; but on the defensive side of the puck, I'd argue Park was a lot better and certainly more consistent than Leetch. Leetch has those two Norrises; but Park finished second for the Norris six times in his career (four with the Rangers - and all four he was beat out by Orr). Leetch wasn't ever a runner up.
The one significant ding, in my mind, against Park is the length of his career with NYR. Only 7 full seasons here to Leetch's 16 (though this, for obvious reasons, wasn't really his fault...).
I think in the end it will come down to what you value more in a defender: their offensive or defensive contributions. While a defender who can contribute offensively is incredibly valuable, I am typically someone who places more value in an elite defensive defenseman. Not to take this thread off topic - but to demonstrate that point - in that vein, I'm not thrilled with the fact that Karlsson won the Norris.
Brian Leetch Norris Voting Record (Followed by the players who immediately precede him/follow him)
90-91: 4th Bourque/MacInnis/Chelios ... Coffey/Hatcher/Stevens
91-92: 1st Bourque/Housley/Stevens
93-94: 5th Bourque/Stevens/MacInnis/Zubov ... Chelios/Coffey/Lidstrom
95-96: 3rd Chelios/Bourque ... Kostantionov/Coffey/Lidstrom
96-97: 1st Kostantionov/Ozolinsh/Chelios/Stevens/Lidstrom
00-01: 5th Lidstrom/Bourque/Stevens/Blake ... Gonchar/MacInnis/Zubov
I'm curious to see where Beukeboom is going to fit in this conversation.
This should be fun! I just did a little quick research and couldn't believe that Zubov was only in NY for parts of 3 seasons.
For the record, however, while it is close and both have fields of specialization, Park gets my vote for #1 overall.
More on that later.
Crease thanks for the cordial invite and again, for such an exemplary effort on our Cs.
You invited suggestions, I have none, just repeat the last great bang up job.
Just a reminder/clarification. I thought I saw in the rules you did NOT want (at least full) ranking at this point.
Not necessarily now on day one, but pls give heads up on when you do want those lists first submitted.
I agree preliminary discussion in advance of any ranking, even preliminary, is first step.
But let us be careful to mark deadlines on our calendar, please.
If you wish to participate in the voting rounds please PM me your ranked top 20 list by June 16th. Hope this makes it clearer for everyone. :)
Brad Park Norris Voting Record (Rangers tenure, excludes trade year)
1970 2nd Orr ... Brewer/Laperriere/Neilson
1971 2nd Orr ... Tremblay/Stapleton/Baun
1972 2nd Orr ... White/Stapleton/Tremblay
1973 3rd Orr/Lapointe/White ... Laperriere/Savard
1974 2nd Orr ... White/Ashbee/Salming
EDIT: Same could be said of Park's 2nds. Also, Park wasn't 4th in 73; he was tied for 3rd. Not sure why you include Leetch's trade year but not Park's. Yea, Leetch played more games with NYR that season, but it was still a partial season with NYR nonetheless.
Here is this same info with complete voting results in the years Leetch and Park were in the mix for the Norris (historical award voting info can be found here -- HUGE props to BM67 and the rest of those guys for putting it together: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...=145895&page=5)
68-69 - No votes; rookie season.
69-70 NORRIS: (319/324)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 180
2. Brad Park, NYR 58
3. Carl Brewer, Det 22
4. Jacques Laperriere, Mtl 18
5. Jim Neilson, NYR 11
6. Al Arbour, StL 9
7. Pat Stapleton, Chi 8
T8. Wayne Connelly, Det 3
T8. Keith Magnuson, Chi 3
T8. Doug Mohns, Chi 3
T11. Doug Jarrett, Chi 2
T11. Barclay Plager, StL 2
70-71 NORRIS: (378/378)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 208
2. Brad Park, NYR 57
3. J.C. Tremblay, Mtl 35
4. Pat Stapleton, Chi 23
T5. Bob Baun, Tor 10
T5. Keith Magnuson, Chi 10
7. Bill White, Chi 9
T8. Dallas Smith, Bos 6
T8. Jim Neilson, NYR 6
10. Rod Seiling, NYR 5
11. Ted Harris, Min 4
12. Tim Horton, NYR 3
T13. Jim Roberts, StL 1
T13. Don Awrey, Bos 1
71-72 NORRIS: (378/378)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 204
2. Brad Park, NYR 117
3. Bill White, Chi 25
4. Pat Stapleton, Chi 16
5. J.C. Tremblay, Mtl 8
6. Dallas Smith, Bos 3
T7. Barclay Plager, StL 1
T7. Gary Bergman, Det 1
T7. Gilles Marotte, LA 1
T7. Rod Seiling, NYR 1
T7. Ted Harris, Min 1
72-73 NORRIS: (432/432)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 224
2. Guy Lapointe, Mtl 58
T3. Bill White, Chi 36
T3. Brad Park, NYR 36
5. Jacques Laperriere, Mtl 25
6. Serge Savard, Mtl 22
7. Rod Seiling, NYR 11
8. Dave Burrows, Pit 6
T9. Tim Horton, Buf 4
T9. Terry Harper, LA 4
T11. Gary Bergman, Det 2
T11. Larry Hillman, Buf 2
T13. Pat Stapleton, Chi 1
T13. Barclay Plager, StL 1
73-74 NORRIS: (432/432)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 236
2. Brad Park, NYR 98
3. Bill White, Chi 44
4. Barry Ashbee, Phi 11
5. Borje Salming, Tor 10
6. Guy Lapointe, Mtl 8
7. Denis Potvin, NYI 6
8. Dave Burrows, Pit 4
T9. Ed Van Impe, Phi 3
T9. Jacques Laperriere, Mtl 3
T9. Keith Magnuson, Chi 3
T12. Serge Savard, Mtl 1
T12. Jocelyn Guevremont, Van 1
T12. Barclay Plager, StL 1
T12. Larry Robinson, Mtl 1
T12. Terry Harper, LA 1
T12. Phil Russell, Chi 1
74-75 NORRIS: (486/486)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 266
2. Denis Potvin, NYI 99
3. Guy Lapointe, Mtl 45
4. Borje Salming, Tor 31
5. Serge Savard, Mtl 14
T6. Don Awrey, Stl-Mtl 6
T6. Jerry Korab, Buf 6
8. Brad Park, NYR 5
9. Terry Harper, LA 4
10. Jim Schoenfeld, Buf 3
T11. Carol Vadnais, Bos 2
T11. Ed Van Impe, Phi 2
T13. Dave Burrows, Pit 1
T13. Larry Robinson, Mtl 1
T13. Ron Stackhouse, Pit 1
Only 13 Games with NYR 75-76 NORRIS: (486/486)
1. Denis Potvin, NYI 237
2. Brad Park, NYR/Bos 96
3. Borje Salming, Tor 56
4. Guy Lapointe, Mtl 39
5. Serge Savard, Mtl 23
6. Jimmy Watson, Phi 13
7. Dave Burrows, Pit 8
8. Jean Potvin, NYI 5
T9. Terry Harper, Det 3
T9. Andre Dupont, Phi 3
T11. Dallas Smith, Bos 1
T11. Don Awrey, Mtl 1
T11. Larry Robinson, Mtl 1
87-88 - No votes. First NHL games played. Only played a partial season (17 games).
Chris Chelios, Mtl 226 (37-12-5)
Paul Coffey, Pit 115 (14-14-3)
Al MacInnis, Cgy 57 (3-10-12)
Ray Bourque, Bos 56 (3-8-17)
Steve Duchesne, LA 30 (2-5-5)
Brad McCrimmon, Cgy 24 (2-4-2)
Gary Suter, Cgy 15 (2-1-2)
Kevin Lowe, Edm 14 (0-4-2)
Phil Housley, Buf (0-2-5)
Scott Stevens, Wsh 8 (0-1-5)
Brian Leetch, NYR 6 (0-1-3)
Paul Reinhart, Van 4 (0-1-1)
Craig Ludwig, Mtl 1 (0-0-1)
Ray Bourque 315 (63-0-0)
Al MacInnis 127 (0-38-13)
Doug Wilson 40 (0-7-19)
Paul Coffey 33 (0-7-12)
Phil Housley 32 (0-7-11)
Al Iafrate 8 (0-2-2)
Mike Ramsey 4 (0-1-1)
Chris Chelios 3 (0-1-0)
Paul Cavallini 2 (0-0-2)
Craig Ludwig 1 (0-0-1)
Brian Leetch 1 (0-0-1)
Jamie Macoun 1 (0-0-1)
Ray Bourque 257 (35-27-1)
Al MacInnis 228 (27-28-9)
Chris Chelios 56 (2-9-19)
Brian Leetch 30 (2-0-20)
Paul Coffey 8 (0-0-8)
Kevin Hatcher 7 (0-1-4)
Scott Stevens 6 (0-1-3)
James Patrick 2 (0-0-2)
Brian Leetch 335 (65-3-1)
Ray Bourque 112 (3-25-22)
Phil Housley 82 (0-21-19)
Scott Stevens 44 (1-9-12)
Larry Murphy 37 (0-9-10)
Chris Chelios 8 (0-2-2)
Kevin Hatcher 2 (0-0-2)
Al MacInnis 1 (0-0-1)
92-93 -- No votes; injury year.
Ray Bourque 199 (26-21-6)
Scott Stevens 195 (24-23-6)
Al MacInnis 60 (4-6-22)
Sergei Zubov 15 (0-2-9)
Brian Leetch 10 (0-2-4)
Chris Chelios 3 (0-0-3)
Paul Coffey 1 (0-0-1)
Nicklas Lidstrom 1 (0-0-1)
Sandis Ozolinsh 1 (0-0-1)
Larry Murphy 1 (0-0-1)
94-95 NORRIS: - No votes (sort of; see below)
Due to conference-only play the 94-95 voting was conducted in two stages. An east/west vote gave 3 finalists, (6 for all-star defense) from each conference, which were then voted on by a committee of 15 PHWA members.
Paul Coffey 69 (12-3-0)
Chris Chelios 39 (2-9-2)
Ray Bourque 20 (1-1-12)
Larry Murphy 7 (0-2-3)
Steve Duchesne 0 (0-0-0)
Brian Leetch 0 (0-0-0)
95-96 NORRIS: Switched to 5th place voting.
Chris Chelios 408 (22-19-9-3-1)
Ray Bourque 403 (23-16-8-7-0)
Brian Leetch 245 (6-6-23-7-7)
Vladimir Konstantinov 131 (2-6-7-10-4)
Paul Coffey 83 (0-4-2-12-9)
Nicklas Lidstrom 54 (0-1-3-7-11)
Roman Hamrlik 25 (1-0-0-3-6)
Gary Suter 11 (0-0-1-0-6)
Eric Desjardins 9 (0-1-0-0-2)
Scott Stevens 9 (0-0-0-2-3)
Teppo Numminen 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
Mark Tinordi 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Sergei Zubov 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
Phil Housley 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Larry Murphy 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Shawn Chambers 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Calle Johansson 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Ed Jovanovski 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Brian Leetch 494 (42-8-3-1-0)
Vladimir Konstantinov 178 (2-10-13-6-5)
Sandis Ozolinsh 176 (2-12-9-8-3)
Chris Chelios 172 (0-7-18-9-6)
Scott Stevens 171 (7-8-4-7-4)
Nicklas Lidstrom 60 (0-5-2-3-6)
Darryl Sydor 45 (1-1-1-5-8)
Ray Bourque 45 (0-2-2-4-9)
Eric Desjardins 21 (0-1-0-3-5)
Oleg Tverdovsky 9 (0-0-1-1-1)
Bryan Berard 8 (0-0-0-2-2)
Kevin Hatcher 6 (0-0-0-2-0)
Sergei Zubov 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Robert Svehla 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
Steve Duchesne 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Chris Pronger 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Derian Hatcher 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Sergei Gonchar 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Dmitri Mironov 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
97-98 - No votes.
Al MacInnis 548 (54-0-1-1-0)
Nicklas Lidstrom 234 (0-21-9-13-3)
Ray Bourque 157 (0-9-12-8-10)
Chris Pronger 107 (1-5-9-3-8)
Eric Desjardins 91 (0-6-4-6-11)
Scott Stevens 55 (0-3-4-4-2)
Derian Hatcher 53 (0-4-3-24)
Brian Leetch 49 (0-2-3-5-5)
Fredrik Olausson 48 (0-1-5-4-4)
Phil Housley 40 (1-2-1-3-2
Larry Murphy 21 (0-1-1-3-0)
Scott Niedermayer 18 (0-2-0-1-1)
Sergei Zubov 12 (0-0-1-2-1)
Aleksander Karpovtsev 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
Adam Foote 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Darryl Sydor 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Rob Blake 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
Chris Chelios 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Darryl Shannon 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
99-00 - No votes
Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 600 (56-5-1-0-0)
Ray Bourque, COL 251 (4-16-12-10-9)
Scott Stevens, N.J. 203 (1-15-14-4-6)
Rob Blake, L.A.-COL 176 (1-11-8-14-7)
Brian Leetch, NYR 126 (0-9-7-5-13)
Sergei Gonchar, WSH 94 (0-1-9-12-6)
Al MacInnis, STL 49 (0-0-6-5-4)
Sergei Zubov, DAL 28 (0-1-1-4-4)
Brian Rafalski, N.J. 26 (0-2-1-2-1)
Eric Desjardins, PHI 14 (0-2-0-0-0)
Chris Pronger, STL 14 (0-0-1-2-3)
Wade Redden, OTT 13 (0-0-1-2-2)
Derian Hatcher, DAL 9 (0-0-1-1-1)
Dan McGillis, PHI 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
Ed Jovanovski, VAN 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Brad Lukowich, DAL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Jason Smith, EDM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Oleg Tverdovsky, ANA 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Nicklas Lidstrom, Det 472 (29-20-7-2-1)
Chris Chelios, Det 431 (28-10-13-4-4)
Rob Blake, Col 321 (4-19-22-12-2)
Sergei Gonchar, Was 147 (0-6-6-22-9)
Chris Pronger, StL 62 (0-4-1-8-5)
Ed Jovanovski, Van 53 (0-0-7-3-9)
Teppo Numminen, Phx 44 (0-1-3-5-7)
Adrian Aucoin, NYI 28 (1-1-0-2-5)
Brian Leetch, NYR 22 (0-0-1-2-11)
Mattias Ohlund, Van 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Scott Stevens, N.J. 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Nicklas Lidstrom 560 (42-20-0-0-0)
Al MacInnis 486 (20-38-4-0-0)
Derian Hatcher 142 (0-1-21-9-3)
Sergei Gonchar 131 (0-1-12-17-13)
Rob Blake 62 (0-0-8-5-7)
Ed Jovanovski 58 (0-2-5-5-4)
Zdeno Chara 55 (0-0-4-10-5)
Sergei Zubov 37 (0-0-3-4-10)
Wade Redden 21 (0-0-2-2-5)
Adam Foote 18 (0-0-1-3-4)
Tomas Kaberle 9 (0-0-0-3-0)
Dan Boyle 8 (0-0-0-2-2)
Scott Niedermayer 7 (0-0-1-0-2)
Eric Desjardins 6 (0-0-0-1-3)
Brian Leetch 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Scott Stevens 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
Chris Chelios 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Sandis Ozolinsh 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
03-04 NORRIS: (played partial season with NYR - 57 games; ended season with Toronto)
Scott Niedermayer, NJD 872 (72-13-10-3-2)
Zdeno Chara, OTT 563 (19-36-16-11-8)
Chris Pronger, STL 345 (7-19-16-17-11)
Bryan McCabe, TOR 189 (1-12-10-10-15)
Adrian Aucoin, NYI 166 (2-3-12-16-17)
Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 165 (1-6-10-19-6)
Mathieu Schneider, DET 144 (1-2-17-7-14)
Rob Blake, COL 124 (1-8-5-9-6)
Sergei Gonchar, BOS 55 (0-3-4-4-2)
Wade Redden, OTT 31 (0-0-2-6-3)
Brian Leetch, TOR 19 (0-0-2-2-3)
Sheldon Souray, MON 12 (0-1-0-0-5)
Marek Malik, VAN 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
Mattias Ohlund, VAN 3 (0-0-0-0-3)
Pavel Kubina, TAM 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Marek Zidlicky, NAS 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Bryan Berard, CHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Dan Boyle, TAM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Mike Rathje, SAN 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Dick Tarnstrom, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Sergei Zubov, DAL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
With regards to why I included Leetch's trade year and not Park's... there's a thread with Norris finishes by player after 1978. I just stole Leetch's from that. With Park, I constructed it myself, so I had to make a conscious choice of whether or not to include the trade year. (Also, I try to block out the fact that Leetch got traded). That's also why there's a mistake with the place for Park- since I assembled the list myself, it's more prone to errors :)
Regardless, a large point of assembling those lists was to illustrate the competition the two players were up against. Poof away Orr and Park has 4 Norris trophies... against awful competition.
Beat me to it guys. I'm in the process of putting together a table of voting records that involved NYR defensemen. Should have it done by tonight.
Not sure I buy it. I think the middle of the road/average defenders in Park's time were certainly worse than the middle of the road defenders in Leetch's time. So, in the sense that the disparity was greater between the elite and everyone else, sure. But the elite defensemen of his time were every bit as formidable competition as many of the elite defensemen Leetch was competing with for the Norris.
Park's competition for the Norris during his time with NYR: Al Arbour, Denis Potvin, Guy Lapointe, Borje Salming, Jacques Laperriere, and Serge Savard were all very good competition. Then of course, you already removed from the equation his biggest competition - Orr. That is 7 names.
Leetch's biggest competition in the years he played with NYR were: Chris Chelios, Ray Bourque, Scott Stevens, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Nick Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Gonchar, Derian Hatcher, and maybe Larry Murphy and Rob Blake. Thats 13 names.
On the surface, it looks like Leetch's competition was much better. But you have to keep in mind, the number of years you're looking at for Leetch - because of the length of his tenure with the Rangers - is longer than the # of years you're looking at for Park, which adds names to his list of relative competition. If you expanded Park's competition to the years he played with Boston and Detroit, you would add another 6 names: Larry Robinson, Mark Howe, Rod Langway, Larry Murphy, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey (some of those look familiar, eh?). That brings his total to 13 names as well in a similar # of seasons played.
I know we're only considering time played with NYR. But I'm pointing this out to demonstrate that in any given year, I'm not sure you can definitively say that Leetch was facing more or less elite level competition for Norris votes than Park.
I appreciate the effort but there's no contest here. Leetch's career is double the length of Park's. 16 seasons as one of the top defensemen in the league. Leetch hit the ground running winning the Calder. He has two Norris Trophies. And he won the Conn Smythe with an incredible Stanley Cup run (which alone might tip the scales in his favor).
People should save their Park arguments for the debate on whether Park deserves to be ahead of Howell. After all, Howell actually beat out Orr for a Norris. :naughty:
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