Adjusted Even-Strength Plus-minus 1968-2008
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01-05-2009, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Ray Bourque tops the list, and rightly so, I believe. Bourque was almost a latter-day Gordie Howe in his ability to consistently play at a very high level for a very long time, and he may have the most career value of any player since 1968.
Bobby Orr’s numbers are absolutely incredible. His on-ice impact was like no other player in hockey history. The fact that he played in an expansion and WHA diluted league must be taken into account, but even so I’m convinced that he’s the #1 hockey player on peak value.
Gretzky’s career numbers are surprisingly unimpressive. Fourth place isn’t bad, but one would expect more from the Great One. However, a season-by-season examination reveals that almost all of his positive value came in his Edmonton years, and he was barely above average in Los Angeles and New York. For this reason I see him as more of a terrific 8-10 year prime candidate than a 20 year Bourque or Howe type candidate, despite his high scoring throughout his career.
Jagr’s excellence can be obscured by his poor teams or the fact that he played in a low-scoring era, but his seven year run from 1995-2001 was incredible.
Lemieux is surprisingly low on this, but his per-game results are very good, he played a number of games before and after his prime, and he was possibly the greatest power play player in history.
Larry Robinson isn’t #1 as he is in unadjusted plus-minus, but still scores very well.
Others who look very good by this metric are Mark Howe, Lindros, Clarke, Salming, MacInnis, and Dionne.
Notice Dave Taylor and John LeClair in the top 20 as a couple of players who probably have large linemate effects.
Among players who were named to or considered for the HOH Top-100, Bob Gainey, Guy Lapointe, Mark Messier, Gilbert Perreault, and Brett Hull all have very ordinary numbers here.
Gainey and Lapointe are very difficult cases. As they spent their prime years on the best team of all time, it’s hard to know how well a teammate comparison works when the teammates are this good. Lapointe also put up terrible numbers after leaving the Canadiens, and a prime-only comparison would make him look better. These numbers may underrate Gainey, but I still feel he’s overrated – compare his numbers to contemporary shutdown left winger Craig Ramsay.
Messier suffers from two factors – he played on a team with Gretzky for years on a different line, and he had several terrible years at the end of his career. Remove these final years and adjust for the Gretzky factor, and his numbers are closer to Yzerman.
I think Perreault and Hull are just overrated – both weren’t among the scoring leaders as much as you might think and, if the numbers are correct, did very little other than scoring.
Finally, I’d like to push Eric Lindros and Mark Howe for the HOH Top-100 based on these numbers. Neither one had a long career, and other players did more on special teams, but very few were impact players at even-strength like these two were.
Last edited by overpass: 01-05-2009 at
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