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01-03-2009, 07:42 PM
  #217
Hockey Outsider
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A lot of people say that Henri Richard was a "key" member of eleven Stanley Cup winning teams. After looking at the numbers, I'm convinced that the Habs won so many championships due to their star fowards (and Doug Harvey) stepping up in the playoffs. Richard actually scored a lot less during the playoffs, and Beliveau and the others had to pick up the slack.

Offensive Production: regular season PPG vs playoffs PPG on the 11 Stanley Cup winning teams
Minimum 250 RS games and 40 PO games

PlayerRegSeasonPlayoffs%Change
Doug Harvey 0.56 0.82 46.4
J.C. Tremblay 0.52 0.75 44.2
Bernie Geoffrion 1.11 1.39 25.2
Dickie Moore 1.03 1.16 12.6
Maurice Richard 0.94 1.05 11.7
Yvan Cournoyer 0.88 0.94 6.8
Jacques Lemaire 0.86 0.91 5.8
Jacques Laperriere 0.41 0.43 4.9
Jean Beliveau 1.16 1.19 2.6
Terry Harper 0.19 0.18 -5.3
Ralph Backstrom 0.6 0.54 -10
Henri Richard 0.83 0.74 -10.8
Ted Harris 0.28 0.24 -14.3
Claude Provost 0.62 0.51 -17.7
John Ferguson 0.56 0.46 -17.9
Bobby Rousseau 0.91 0.64 -29.7
Tom Johnson 0.35 0.24 -31.4
Don Marshall 0.4 0.27 -32.5
Jean-Guy Talbot 0.27 0.18 -33.3
Claude Larose 0.44 0.25 -43.2
Bob Turner 0.18 0.09 -50

There were five players that significantly increased their scoring rate in the playoffs. This includes Harvey (clearly the Habs best defensemen), Tremblay, and three of their four best forwards (Geoffrion, M. Richard and Moore).

There were four more players that slightly increased their scoring rate in the playoffs. This includes the Habs' best forward (Beliveau), two more first-line scorers (Cournoyer & Lemaire), and one defensemen (Laperriere).

There were six players that slightly decreased their scoring rate in the playoffs: two of them were defensive blueliners (Harper and Harris), three were two-way forwards (Backstrom, Provost, H. Richard), and one was a goon (Ferguson).

There were six players that significantly decreased their scoring rate in the playoffs: two two-way forwards (Rousseau and Marshall), two defensive defensemen (Johnson and Talbot), and two depth forwards (Larose and Turner).

This analysis suggests that the reason the Habs won so many Stanley Cups is because Doug Harvey and their key scoring forwards (Geoffrion, Moore, Rocket, Cournoyer, Lemaire and Beliveau) improved their level of play in the postseason. Given that so much of Richard's legacy is based on the number of Stanley Cups he won, I was surprised to see that he ranks so poorly compared to his teammates here. I realize that Richard was a two-way forward and he probably increased his defensive responsibilities in the playoffs... but it still looks to me like the Habs won thanks to Geoffrion & the other scoring forwards stepping it up in the playoffs.

(One more thing to add: if anything I'd say that Richard is underrated as a regular season player, and overrated as a playoff performer)


Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 01-03-2009 at 11:45 PM.
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