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09-07-2009, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I would think that the number of assists a defenseman gets would be indicative of their playmaking ability, not the number of assists they get relative to goals, as though them scoring goals makes them less of a playmaker. Figure that one out!

Seibert had 0.29 A/GP in his career, greatly helped by two war years in which he had his highest totals.

Shore had 0.33 A/GP in his career, greatly hindered by the no-forward-passing era in which goals were scarce and assists were scarcer.

Shore was definitely the better playmaker. But onto what you were saying, about Seibert's "assists to goals" ratio showing a greater focus on playmaking.

Eddie Shore: 179 A, 105 G. 1.70 A/G.
Earl Seibert: 187 A, 89 G. 2.10 A/G.

On the surface, what you're saying would appear to be true, but you are missing something very important: From the 1927 season through 1931, (the five seasons Shore played pre-Seibert) assists were handed out very sparingly: about 0.67 per goal. From 1941 through 1945 (the five full seasons Seibert played post-Shore) there were 1.44 assists per goal, over twice as many. In the nine seasons that their careers overlapped, the average was 1.31.

To be statistically fair to Shore, his assist totals for his first five seasons should be doubled, and Seibert's from his last five full seasons should be worth 91% of what they are. That would leave Seibert with 178 assists and Shore with 233. Their assists-to-goals ratios would then be 2.22 (Shore) and 2.00 (Seibert) - So Seibert wasn't really more of a playmaker than Shore, by any measure.

What does this prove? Nothing in particular about these players. I am voting for Seibert very highly this round, and I know that you must also know a comparison to Shore is truly silly. But this does show that statistical comparisons should not be made haphazardly without full understanding, and then disclosure, of the context.

Pre forward pass era saw fewer assists because of the different rules. The only shortage of assists came from the lack of rebound assists which are not really playmaking assists that Shore would have been denied. Your "statistically fair" position is totally bogus since it adjusts without accounting for the rule changes or the resulting changes in style of play.

As applied to defensemen, this meant that players like Clancy, Cameron, Cleghorn, Shore inevitably had more goals than assists.

Once the forward pass was introduced you had significantly more assists because the lead pass,forward pass, tip-in and deflection type assists became part of the game, reflecting playmaking.This was also true for defensemen since the point became an offensive position. The puck could be passed backwards to the point and then quickly relayed forwards.

Some of the greats like Shore and Clancy adapted and you saw their stats reverse from goals surpassing assits to assists surpassing goals. Others like Ching Johnson, Taffy Abel and Sylvio Manthadid not adapt as well, while Lionel Conacher was in the middle. Earl Seibert amongst the first of the forward pass era defensemen to make the HHOF part of the reason being his strong playmaking skills.

As for the "War Years" you conveniently overlook the introduction of the Red Line which opened the game even more leading to more breakaway passes and outlet passes, again reflecting playmaking.

Sadly we can only speculate as to how Eddie Shore would have adapted but we have evidence that Earl Seibert adapted very well even though you choose to ignore the additional rule changes brought about by the Red Line and how it increased the speed of the game.

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