ATD10-AAA Finals: #1 Regina Pat Habs vs. #2 Spokane Canaries (the rivalry continues)
ATD10-AAA Final Playoff Round:
Regina Pat Habs
Coach: Darryl Sutter
Don Smith - Craig Janney - Cully Wilson (A)
Carl Liscombe - Gus Bodnar - Glen Murray
Patrik Sundstrom - Craig Conroy - Jack McIntyre
Nick Mickoski - Alexei Guryshev - Joe Carveth (A)
Art Gagne, George Richardson, Frank Rankin
Alex Smith (C) - Albert Langlois
Chris Phillips - Jim McKenny
Joe Reekie - Uwe Krupp
coach: Dr. Jan Starsi
Bob MacMillan - Thomas Gradin (C) - Andrei Khomutov
Patrick Marleau - Jason Allison - Eddie Wiseman
Don Grosso - Billy Harris - Ray Sheppard
Lorne Henning - Stephane Yelle - Billy Bell
Lee Fogolin Sr. - Lee Fogolin Jr. (A)
Reg Hamilton - Karel Gut
Lou Nanne (A) - Lyle Odelein
The GMs from the MLD10 finals meet again.
The top two WHA goalies (in career wins) meet as starters.
The top two coaches in all-star voting meet.
Expect a helluva series discussion.
Canaries have 1st team all-star winger Andrei Khomutov and 2nd team all-star defenseman Lee Fogolin, Sr.
Pat Habs have 2nd team all-star defenseman Alex Smith.
Also from the all-star game: the Canaries have center Thomas Gradin and defenseman Lee Fogolin Jr. and the Pat Habs have wingers Don Smith and Cully Wilson.
Looking forward to an excellent series.
As I did in the lightning round, I'm moving "overkill" Art Gagne to the press box, Jack McIntyre to the 3rd line to give it better defensive capability without suffering too much of an offensive loss, and Carveth to the 4th.
More to come later.
I definitely want to discuss this series. I've just been busy with........ other stuff...... which is probably painfully obvious by looking at the ATD section. I can't stop researching! Someone stop me... just tell me it's not worth it or something.
But I'm seriously done, finally. 1386 legitimate players have been named. I'm pretty sure we got all of the top-1000. Now on to my series....
Well, we should get this show on the road.
I like our goaltending. Daley may have had as good a career as Brodeur in North America's second best league, but what did he do to prove himself in the best league?
Spokane's defense isn't completely inept at moving the puck, but it is not their strength either. Gut will be the main puck-mover and assumedly PP quarterback for this team, but the rest are a bit vanilla with the puck. Who are the other three points on the PP going to be for this team? Fogolin Sr. and Hamilton are both passable, but I think you're looking at having a 4th forward on the second unit.
On Regina, Reekie is the only question mark when it comes to moving the puck. With him it will be off the glass and out (we hope.) - McKenny, Smith and Krupp make a great top-3 PP defensemen, and Langlois is an OK 4th.
Defensively, the two groups are pretty similar. Gut and McKenny will both keep things interesting in their own end, and the rest will handle their business. We've both got our hitters, our shot-blockers, our crease clearers and our leaders.
I like Gradin - gutsy player, good playoff numbers. But is he a scorer? I don't see that he ever made the top-20 in goals before. He'd work as the "glue guy" for a scoring line but the glue guy is clearly MacMillan, who I think is one of the top-5 picks in this draft. Khomutov is OK, but his best finishes in the Russian league were 4th, 6th, and 7th. Even when he was 4th, he was far away from 1st and 2nd. His goals versus assist totals suggest he is the triggerman, but I don't know if he will be enough to get the job done.
I like the scoring potential better on the second line. Allison is one of the four finest playmakers in this draft, and with a top-10 and a top-20 in goals, is actually a pretty decent goalscorer too. Wiseman can score. Marleau has never really been an elite player, but he can't hurt you considering he does the little things and can score in the playoffs.
The best goalscorer on your team is probably Ray Sheppard. I'm not sure why he's there when he brings nothing physically or defensively. Grosso and Harris form the basis of a very strong line, though. It's good defensively, and as far as third lines in a AA draft go, pretty good offensively too.
A lunchpail 4th line. I like Yelle and Henning, but I'm not a Bell fan. Seems like more of a Laperriere. ;) You could do better.
It is a good forward group, but my concern is that there is not enough in the way of established goalscoring results to put the puck past Brodeur enough to win. Three top-5s in the lineup, two of which are held by Sheppard, who is on the 3rd line and doesn't have a Fedorov feeding him. Five top-10s in total, With Allison, Wiseman, and Grosso having the others. And eight times, your guys have been top-20 in goals. Two for Allison, Wiseman, and Sheppard, and once for Grosso and Harris. None on your first line. Of course this metric doesn't apply to Khomutov, who could have had a few decent NHL seasons, but it also doesn't apply to Guryshev.
Regina has twice as many top-10s in their lineup (10 in total) and over four times as many top-20s (33 in total). These players have simply been among the goal leaders significantly more often than their opponents. And they've got playmakers feeding them pucks. Janney - possibly the 3rd sweetest passer of 1987-1997. And Bodnar, one of the best of the 40s. Though there is some offensive talent on the 3rd, we don't really need them to score - just defend. Ditto with the fourth line. They can forecheck, dig and cycle the puck, pot in a couple goals, but just because Mickoski and Carveth have been top-20 scorers as many times as all of Spokane's forwards combined doesn't mean Regina will require them to be scoring machines. They'll do what they're good at, and the offense is just gravy.
Kinda goes back to the top-1000 thread. Are the lunchpailers with no offensive skill on Spokane going to get it done? Or are the skilled players who can play the lunchpail game for Regina going to get it done? Should be interesting. In any case, I truly think Smith-Janney-Wilson is a lethal mix of passing, scoring, and toughness that will win the series for us regardless of if Spokane's 4th line finishes the series +2 and ours finishes the series -2.
Janney, Wilson, Liscombe, and Carveth really bring it in the playoffs, too. All have been in the playoff leaderboards multiple times. Players like this are a real rarity come the AAA draft. I see virtually the same number of cups (14 us, 15 you) and finals appearances (30 us, 29 you) in each lineup, but in Spokane's case, all of the team success was enjoyed by the lunchpailers. There's little to no championship scoring experience, a point that was hammered home in the MLD finals by the eventual champion regarding their opponent. In Spokane's top-6 forwards, they have one cup win in one finals appearance. It was Eddie Wiseman, and he was great, leading the league in goals and coming second in points. Regina's top-6 forwards have been to 12 finals, winning five times. Wilson led a cup winner in goals once and in assists another time. Janney was a top playmaker on two finalists. And Liscombe had 6-14 points in his four trips to the finals.
Regina's got what it takes to win the AAA draft. It was a good run for Spokane, but they have met their match.
What's happening here? I know the main draft is in full swing right now, but I think we should have a proper finish to this draft, especially after all the hard work many put into this.
but yeah, this thing should get finished up, and it will... eventually.
VI and I agreed a while back to complete this series, then it went on the backburner again.
I figure we may as well rekindle it while the MLD final is on, as a bit of a "sideshow".
I haven't really looked at the rosters but since this is a three-year old series, I imagine there are a lot of players who have proven to be a lot better, and some who have proven to be a lot worse. I will look into this and present the first volley tomorrow. Good luck, VI.
Three and a half years later it looks as close as ever!
Of course, I don't have the four consecutive 30+ goal seasons of Marleau, but he did average 30 goals over five of the the last six seasons ending in '09, bringing his skating, positioning and soft hands by the crease. I don't get his Olympic gold medal top-3 in ice time performance on both the powerplay and penalty kill for Team Canada in 2010, but eight months before that tourney, the Marleau I drafted certainly is more than capable of handling 2nd line duties and special teams at the AAA level of competition.
At first glance, both these teams were clearly ahead of their time.
Their forward corps would have made them competitive MLD2012 teams!
Relatively unimpressive in net and on the blueline, but still pretty good in context.
Those forwards, though...
I assume we take our lineups as they are and don't rework them using more refined knowledge and evaluations?
I'm going to assume we live and die with our lineups as posted and drafted.
VI's also right; we have to take this as of the end of 08-09. I would just as soon assume the '09 playoffs are over. I don't think it affects either of us that much. VI gets a few games and goals out of Marleau I guess.
It’s tough to separate Darryl Sutter from Jan Starsi. Actually, present-day, it’s not. Sutter is my #1 coach heading into the AAA draft, easily. I have Starsi 4th. But as of 2009 I think these two are pretty even in accomplishments and impact. I wouldn’t bother splitting hairs on it, unless VI wants to!
Definite large advantage offensively for Regina. Janney’s best 6 percentage scores of 81, 80, 75, 75, 71, 58 easily dwarf Gradin’s 71, 66, 62, 60, 53, 51. Janney’s probably 20% more potent, which is not insignificant. In a playoff matchup, that gap is even larger, considering his extensive record of playoff production. Gradin lessens the gap in intangibles, not because I really think he has all that much in that area, but because I’m comparing him to Craig Janney.
The other four players are really difficult to compare. We have a modern NHLer, a modern Soviet, and two early players, one of who is more of a tough guy than a natural scorer.
I guess I’ll try to compare Cully Wilson to Bob MacMillan. MacMillan is a reasonably strong MLDer as of today, and Wilson has rightfully risen to the ranks of ATD grinder, so their stocks have both risen. MacMillan’s got pretty good intangibles, as I’ve shown in the last few drafts. Wilson’s intangibles are, of course, through the roof. Which is important when Craig Janney is your linemate.
Originally, the offensive case for Wilson rested on a lot of 6th-10th-place finishes in half leagues, so let’s see if his percentages hold up (as that’s a much better gauge for offensive dominance, we now know)
He actually doesn’t do too badly. His best six points percentage scores (compared to #1, of course, no outliers removed) are 79, 61, 58, 57, 53, 49. When you consider this metric understates the dominance of pre-expansion guys you can see he’s clearly a tier ahead of someone like Scott Mellanby, who we know to be a solid MLD glue guy.
Bob MacMillan’s best percentage scores are: 83, 58, 49, 48, 48, 44. He looks better from an ES standpoint, but I’d only use ES numbers if talking about him as a bottom line player.
Both players had a season that was not really representative of their true everyday ability and then a bunch of seasons in the 44-61 range. Consider that Wilson’s numbers deserve a 10-15% boost thanks to playing pre-expansion and that his toughness and grit are through the roof, and it’s safe to say he’s a better 1st line glue guy in all respects. (MacMillan is better defensively, mind you)
Smith and Khomutov are pretty impossible to compare. It’s safe to say in both cases they deserved to go up a level. Smith has scores almost identical to Cully Wilson, without all that toughness: 71, 67, 62, 61, 55, 44 so he does at least have MLD upside. Khomutov does as well. Each player is the secondary offensive threat on their line while providing not much else that I know of. Call that one even.
It appears that thanks to Janney and Wilson having noticeable edges on their counterparts, Regina’s first line is the better line. Cully Wilson and Craig Janney being a match made in ATD heaven is icing on the cake.
I think you're underrating Jan Starsi. Coaching was probably the biggest single advantage that Czechoslovakia had over the Soviet Union in the mid-late 70s. Interesting that Starsi is in the IIHL HHOF, but Jaroslav Pitner (who is credited with creating the leftwing lock system that Starsi then used with great success) is not.
I think they are probably even now, but Starsi was better as of 2009.
I think as of 2012, Vokoun is definitely the best goalie in this series, but was he worse than the WHA guys as of 2009?
Considering Vokoun still has only played as many playoff games as Richard Brodeur won in one NHL playoff, and played none of them at the level that Brodeur did, I'd have a hard time playing him ahead of any other goalie in this playoff series.
Kind of like Dan Bouchard, who would be a good backup in a 40 team ATD, but his playoff troubles make you not want to use him as a starter in the MLD.
Before I go too deep into this one, I think this is one where my opponent has me. I don’t think any of the comparisons are a runaway, but at first glance they probably all go in VI’s favour.
Bodnar vs. Allison. Pretty simple. Playmaking centers. Bodnar’s best percentages: 71, 68, 63, 58, 58, 57. Allison’s best six: 99, 91, 82, 71, 49, 34. Even after a 15% boost for Bodnar, two things appear clear: 1) Bodnar was not close to the peak producer Allison was, and by peak I mean 1998, 2001, and 2002. 2) Wow, I forgot poor Allison really only had four and 2/3 decent scoring seasons. His 6th-best percentage score is from his 1997 rookie season, leaving out his 2000 and 2003 injury-wrecked seasons in which he had 56 points in a combined 63 games. So, Allison is the better scorer and overall player, and it’s even more pronounced on a per-game level, but there’s a chance he’ll miss a game here… or maybe two.
For simplicity, let’s go with modern vs. modern – Marleau vs. Murray. Coincidentally, both have Joe Thornton to thank for their best offensive seasons. As of 2009, these were Marleau’s best six percentage scores: 70, 68, 66, 65, 55, 54. These were Murray’s: 88, 79, 69, 66, 66, 43. I’ll concede that Murray’s production is slightly more Thornton driven than Marleau’s as of this point, but does it overcome the significantly stronger two best sesons he had? I’m thinking close, but no. Marleau’s “decent but nothing special” defensive game doesn’t make up the production gap. Circa 2009, Murray was a better all-time player.
Seems that Murray and Allison both surprised me pleasantly.
Liscombe vs. Wiseman. I have an adjusted percentage system that accounts for the fact that Liscombe excelled in 1944, to make sure he doesn’t get too much credit for it. His offensive scores are 74, 59, 58, 56, 48, 45. Wiseman’s are 91, 75, 73, 70, 64, 63. This puts Wiseman in front by a significant edge; roughly 28%. This matchup alone wipes out whatever advantage Regina had thanks to Allison and Murray.
Offensively, these lines are more or less even. Defensively there is no major presence. Physically, the most willing player is probably Wiseman (and that doesn’t say much) but the most able player is Murray. It’s probably a wash. Overall I think that is what has to be said about these lines.
:amazed: possibly the most potent offensive forward and best defenseman in this series are spares!
An extra forward also often sees ice time, due to injuries, suspensions, special skillsets and simply because the team needs a shake-up sometimes when trailing in a series. That happens so frequently in hockey playoffs that I expect that you all don't see extra skaters as window dressing but as legitimate parts of the squad.
Zhitnik is a 5th-6th-7th defenseman in an all-time context on any championship-calibre team, and I say that as a fan of his strengths: risk-taking rushes, slappers and physical bodychecks. I see him as part of the 5th-7th slot. The Canaries top-4 is set and reliable, the core, whereas Zhitnik brings his skills to the team when trailing, on the powerplay when a boost is needed, and in energy. His minutes would be sheltered to MAXIMIZE his skillset on a winning team (I know I know he was overplayed on a woeful Buffalo squad for years; I watched his career and always thought him overplayed. Of course, MLD 2012 somehow sees a playoff-awful and defensive-challenged Mike Green handling top pairing minutes for anti-historical reasons).
Russ Courtnall is an ideal fit for Spokane because he can substitute at center for Allison when needed or provide extra offense if trailing in the series by coming in for the powerplay and some scoring line regular shifts in a shuffle that would probably see Bell seated and whichever right winger is not scoring at the moment demoted in the line-up slots. Anyways, I expect a genius like coach Starsi to make the right decision on game day. He often made great decisions and led the Czechoslovakians over the Soviets several times in the 1970s. We drafted tthree Soviet coaches in the all-time draft but not the arguably greatest Czechoslovakian coach? I respect Hlinka, but his reputation is built on his playing first and foremost, and if one looked just at his coaching, he shouldn't be consistently drafted as an all-time great coach ahead of Starsi in the ATDs.
In the ATD, Zhitnik is a #7 - at best. I'd actually prefer he wasn't drafted.
In the MLD, Zhitnik would be a pretty serviceable 1st pairing guy or a good 2nd pairing guy.
In the AAA, he is a star.
There's no "glass ceiling" that some players can never pass through. Play at a lower level and your status in the pecking order at that level changes.
there is one exception and that is enforcers. Bob Probert, for example, would be a 4th liner whether taken in the ATD, MLD or AAA. Any coach good enough to make the AAA draft would put him on the first pairing quickly. These other guys were all role players in comparison.
You asked back in this draft whether to use Wiseman or Courtnall as a 2nd liner. You took my advice, and I stand by it now, more than ever!
the player who's out of place is Art Gagne. With percentage scores of 100, 77, 75, 63, 45, 38 he has the potential to be explosive at this level. I'm not sure why he's made the jump all the way to the ATD, but he would be an excellent scorer in the current MLD. Compare to Don Smith.
I think it would make sense to compare Regina's 3rd line to Spokane's 4th and Spokane's 4th line to Regina's 3rd.
The former two are clearly assembled with defensive ability in mind, while the latter two are more "thrown together" mixes of what was thought to be the BPAs.
3rd lines – In the end I decided to just match up the lines as they are.
Sundstrom and Grosso are a good comparison to start with. Grosso does have some pretty good quotes on him that indicate he was a pesky checker. I don’t want to claim that Sundstrom wins in that regard just due to “volume of quotes” because there are many, so let’s call them even. If there’s a major difference it’s in their offensive abilities.
Basically Grosso had an excellent season in 1942, earning a percentage score of 98 but aside from that was unable to top 50%, scoring 47, 44, 34, 34, 33 (He’s a 3rd liner so his ES rate is more relevant but thanks to how long ago he played, his raw scoring totals are a reasonable proxy for ES scoring totals). Sundstrom’s best ES scoring rates were 77, 69, 68, 62, 59, 54. Just summing up their best 6 and giving Grosso a fair 12% pre-expansion boost, it still appears Sundstrom was about 20% more potent offensively. And certainly more consistent. Most of Grosso’s offensive value comes from one season, while Sundstrom’s 6th-best season was more impressive than Grosso’s 2nd-best. I’ll give Grosso one thing though, he appears to have a better overall playoff resume, which helps to lessen this gap. Overall, though, I think Sundstrom’s obviously better.
Conroy and Harris. This one is fun because although my opinion on Conroy hasn’t changed much it seems his value has really risen, as he moved up four straight times, by a total of 441 picks since then. I don’t think it’s warranted, and he wouldn’t have looked overqualified on anyone’s MLD 3rd or 4th line for sure.
Harris I had last year, and although there is much to like, he was one of the less impressive members of my squad; more passable in his role than anything. At this time, VI was selling Harris as more of a defensive player – I’m not seeing it. I ended up selecting him under that impression and in the end had to concede that wasn’t really his game – nor was the physical game – and he was best described as a “utility player”.
So, who’s better? Offensively they are pretty much even. Conroy earned ES percentage scores of 81, 63, 62, 59, 54; Harris earned 57, 55, 48, 43, 40. That looks like a slam dunk for my Conroy, except:
- Conroy’s best seasons were with Iginla, who usually outscored him by a lot, indicating Conroy was not as responsible for his offensive totals as many other players with comparable totals
- Harris deserves the pre-expansion boost
- Harris was said to sometimes play just a few shifts per game. As nice as his percentage scores look, when you consider that the anecdotes indicate he was a fairly low icetime player who could have been a starter on a team without so much center depth, there is great reason to believe he’s a more talented player than those numbers indicate.
Conroy’s apparent 30% edge is pretty much wiped out, and more. Harris almost certainly has greater potential to generate offense. Defensively and physically it is another story. Conroy was quite physical and never gave up. Harris was a bit lackadaisical and ended up in Imlach’s doghouse frequently. It’s also arguable that he was used so infrequently because he was so small and physically inadequate – the anecdotes certainly suggest as much. Defensively, there’s on quote calling him a “two way” player and it’s from LOH. Conroy, as we all know, was definitely a two-way player. 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 12th, 12th in Selke voting would make him pretty elite defensively by MLD standards and certainly elite among these two teams. Easy edge for Conroy. He’s the better overall player, and definitely better equipped for a 3rd line role.
That leaves us with two very different players, Jack McIntyre and Ray Sheppard. Right off the bat it’s clear one was drafted for offense and the other for defense. Can we determine who will be the more effective player overall? Let’s give it a shot.
McIntyre was apparently an O6 defensive specialist and secondary (streaky) scorer. Based on what’s been dug up, it’s not a great defensive resume but it does say something that he lasted a full decade in that role. His ES percentage scores are 50 (est), 48, 47, 44, 42, 29. Sheppard’s best are 81, 67, 61, 60, 50, 49. Even with a boost for McIntyre, Sheppard is a good 50% ahead offensively. That drops a little when you consider he was not a catalyst and earned extra points from elite linemates, but that doesn’t explain all of his spikes.
So, McIntyre, while far from elite, is better suited to a 3rd line, but Sheppard is definitely the better offensive and overall player.
Overall – with two decisive edges to one, Regina should have the more effective third line. (Spokane has more offensive firepower here, but the defensive gap is much, much more significant) It’s also notable that the two biggest physical presences are definitely on Regina’s line – Sundstrom and Conroy – so it is better equipped to defend skillfully or physically.
Guryshev vs. Yelle. Two completely different players in style, plus one played in the 2000s in the NHL and the other in 1950s USSR. Impossible to really compare without some sort of triangulation. I think Guryshev was a slightly less one-dimensional, less dynamic, center version of Bobrov. But opinions on Bobrov vary widely so where does that leave us? All I can say is Guryshev’s offense is better and Yelle’s defense is definitely better.
Nick Mickoski is a significantly better player than Lorne Henning, though. He was a very big for his player, strong, fast, pretty good defensively, and was a strong offensive player – four times top-15 in goals, for example. Henning deserves some credit – along with Gerry Hart, Bert Marshall, Jude Drouin, Dave Lewis, Billy Harris, JP Parise, Ed Westfall, and Glenn Resch – for being a contributor in the Isles’ quick rise to prominence yet not being able to share in the whole dynasty. The best thing you can say about him is that he has an excellent PK record. Other than that… meh. He was through being a full time NHLer at age 28; what’s up with that?
Carveth is a pretty decent offensive player with not much else for substantiated skills. Bell was a spare in the early days of the NHL, which explains his horrible offensive numbers but also calls into question just how much time he really spent demonstrating his skills as a checker (which was why he was drafted, from what I can recall). Both are players I wouldn’t take anytime soon in the upcoming AAA draft – Carveth should be a top-6 player and probably belongs in the AA. Bell is clearly a 4th line type but there’s little to no evidence he was even good at that, and I doubt I’d even take him in the AA. With both underqualified, I’m fine calling this one a draw.
Conclusion: Since Mickoski is such a better overall player than Henning, our 4th line has the advantage but it is not significant. This conclusion has quite the margin of error attached to it though, thanks to uncertainty about the first and third comparisons.
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