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09-10-2009, 04:57 PM
  #4
overpass
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Here are my numbers and analysis for the players who played since the 1967 expansion. They rest on the idea that there are three separate phases of the game of hockey - even-strength play, power play, and penalty killing - and these should be evaluated separately.

These don't include playoffs or intangibles and can't be taken as the final word, but can hopefully provide some information in certain areas.

Stat Glossary:

$ESGF/G - even-strength goals for per game, adjusted for scoring level. Higher is better.
$ESGA/G - even-strength goals against per game, adjusted for scoring level. Lower is better.
R-ON - Player's even-strength on-ice goal ratio (ESGF/ESGA). Should be higher than R-OFF.
R-OFF - Player's even-strength off-ice goal ratio (ESGF/ESGA).
XEV+/- - Players expected EV+/-, based on off-ice results.
EV+/- - Even-strength plus-minus, adjusted for scoring level.
AEV+/- - Adjusted even-strength plus-minus. =(EV+/-) - (XEV+/-). If you look at just one number, make it this one.
/82 - Adjusted even-strength plus-minus per season.
SH% - . Percentage of team's PPGA the player was on the ice for. Measures a players role in killing penalties, but not effectiveness.
PP% - Percentage of team's PPGF the player was on the ice for. Measures a players role on the power play, but not effectiveness.
$PPP - Scoring-adjusted power play points per game.
$ESP - Scoring-adjusted even-strength points per game.


Al MacInnis

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Al MacInnis 82-85 1.68 0.80 0.61 1.31 1.15 10 26 17 10 3% 90% 0.50 0.28
Al MacInnis 86-90 4.93 1.08 0.74 1.46 1.30 66 137 71 14 39% 82% 0.47 0.39
Al MacInnis 91-96 5.03 1.12 0.72 1.54 1.02 6 162 155 31 42% 88% 0.56 0.44
Al MacInnis 97-03 6.05 1.19 0.90 1.32 1.07 23 142 119 20 46% 87% 0.47 0.40
Al MacInnis 82-03 17.68 1.10 0.78 1.41 1.12 106 468 362 20 39% 86% 0.50 0.40

Al MacInnis was a very good to excellent defenseman for a very long time. While he doesn't have the dominant peak that I'd prefer, I think he has more career value than a number of players already voted to the list.

He was an excellent power play quarterback right from the beginning of his career, and at first that's where he brought most of his value. However, by the late '80s he had developed into a very good even-strength defenseman, and only improved in this area during the 1990s. He remained a very strong defenseman right to the end of his career, as an effective difference-maker at even strength, a solid penalty killer, and, of course, one of the greatest power play quarterbacks of all time.

Offensively, he wasn't a real high scorer at even strength, playing a more conservative but effective game. As a power play quarterback, I think he's behind Orr but in the conversation for second with Harvey and Potvin (and maybe Bourque, Leetch, and Coffey).

While the numbers above only cover the regular season, he also has a strong playoff record.

Brett Hull

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Brett Hull 87-89 1.85 0.78 0.72 1.08 1.14 11 9 -1 -1 0% 61% 0.32 0.60
Brett Hull 90-92 2.89 1.22 1.01 1.21 1.05 8 51 42 15 3% 86% 0.51 0.94
Brett Hull 93-98 5.51 0.95 0.94 1.00 1.07 19 2 -17 -3 29% 78% 0.46 0.73
Brett Hull 99-06 5.71 0.90 0.77 1.16 1.26 64 58 -5 -1 14% 59% 0.40 0.69
Brett Hull 87-06 15.96 0.96 0.87 1.11 1.13 102 120 18 1 16% 72% 0.43 0.76

I'm not terribly impressed with Hull. Yes, he has a great three year peak by the numbers, but how much did Adam Oates have to do with that? And outside of those years, he was not a difference maker at even strength at all. I see him as someone who scored a lot of goals, but created little for his teammates, ended a lot of possessions for his team (with a shot or a turnover), and didn't create many possessions for his team.

I don't mean to say he wasn't a valuable player at all - he was good on the power play, although far from the best among this group. But that alone isn't near enough to put him in the company he's in for this vote.

Peter Stastny

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Peter Stastny 81-88 7.54 1.07 0.91 1.18 1.02 8 101 93 12 9% 73% 0.47 0.83
Peter Stastny 89-92 3.61 0.77 0.89 0.87 0.84 -31 -34 -3 -1 7% 69% 0.37 0.53
Peter Stastny 93-95 1.07 0.56 0.51 1.11 1.10 3 5 2 2 5% 55% 0.25 0.39
Peter Stastny 81-95 12.22 0.94 0.87 1.08 0.97 -20 71 91 7 8% 71% 0.42 0.70

Stastny was an excellent offensive player in North America for about 8 years - and he didn't get started until he was 24. On the other hand, his goals against are poor, and the Nordiques were an average team with him off the ice, so this isn't a situation where a terrible defense was dragging him down. He didn't kill penalties either, making him a fairly one-dimensional player.

Sergei Makarov

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Sergei Makarov 90-94 4.62 0.97 0.72 1.35 1.09 19 94 75 16 1% 49% 0.27 0.66
Sergei Makarov 95-97 0.94 0.72 0.82 0.88 0.83 -8 -8 0 0 0% 27% 0.07 0.54
Sergei Makarov 90-97 5.57 0.93 0.74 1.26 1.04 11 87 75 14 1% 46% 0.24 0.64

Makarov's case rests largely on his years in the Soviet Union. But it's worth noting that his NHL numbers were pretty good. They were better than Jari Kurri's at the same age, for one.

Tim Horton
Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Tim Horton 68-69 1.91 1.38 1.15 1.20 1.07 9 37 28 14.42885974 63% 51% 0.13 0.39
Tim Horton 70-74 4.13 1.08 0.96 1.13 1.03 7 41 34 8.353875571 58% 19% 0.05 0.22
Tim Horton 68-74 6.03 1.18 1.02 1.15 1.04 16 78 62 10.27305122 60% 29% 0.08 0.27

Nothing new to say here. Horton's first two years post-expansion were among his three first-team all-star selections. During these years he played huge minutes at even strength, with good numbers, and also played big minutes on the Leafs' league-best penalty kill. He also played a regular role on the power play. In his forties, his even-strength and power play role diminished, but he remained a key penalty killer. Obviously, these numbers don't cover most of his career.

Jari Kurri

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Jari Kurri 81-83 2.83 1.10 0.69 1.60 1.16 22 95 74 26 12% 41% 0.22 0.77
Jari Kurri 84-88 4.68 1.36 0.87 1.57 1.31 81 190 108 23 24% 57% 0.33 0.96
Jari Kurri 89-95 5.57 0.84 0.90 0.93 0.95 -14 -28 -14 -2 31% 58% 0.36 0.57
Jari Kurri 96-98 2.72 0.56 0.65 0.85 1.07 6 -22 -28 -10 33% 30% 0.14 0.37
Jari Kurri 81-98 15.79 0.99 0.81 1.22 1.12 95 236 140 9 26% 52% 0.29 0.75

Kurri's prime was obviously heavily influenced by his linemate Gretzky, but he brought substantial contributions on his own also.

First, Kurri was a contributor on the penalty kill and on the power play. He was a threat to score on the penalty kill - the numbers aren't included in this table but he scored 39 goals and 41 assists over his career while shorthanded. On the power play, he was actually not terribly productive, mostly because he never played big minutes. Edmonton's strategy was always to ride Gretzky and Coffey and cycle through everyone else on the PP.

At even strength, Kurri had excellent numbers during his years in Edmonton. These numbers are obviously influenced by Gretzky to some degree, especially his excellent even-strength scoring. However, Kurri brought strong defense and skills to the table himself, so he likely deserves some of the credit for these numbers. His post-Edmonton even-strength numbers are average, but that was typical of over-30 players at the time.

My thoughts on Kurri are that much of his excellent even-strength scoring record came as a result of playing with Wayne Gretzky. I see him as similar to Steve Larmer or Brian Propp, two wingers who were also very strong defensively and were good scorers. Obviously they never scored 130+ points, but they also never played with Gretzky. I don't mean this to slam Kurri - Larmer and Propp were very good hockey players, and Kurri also contributed more in the playoffs.

Peter Forsberg

Player Year Seasons $ESGF/G $ESGA/G R-ON R-OFF XEV+/- EV+/- AEV+/- /82 SH% PP% $PPP/G $ESP/G
Peter Forsberg 95-97 2.77 1.12 0.68 1.66 1.25 32 101 69 25 36% 59% 0.43 0.92
Peter Forsberg 98-01 3.32 1.09 0.72 1.52 1.09 15 101 86 26 28% 77% 0.55 0.90
Peter Forsberg 03-08 2.93 1.25 0.58 2.16 0.92 -12 161 173 59 2% 75% 0.52 1.00
Peter Forsberg 95-08 9.02 1.15 0.66 1.74 1.08 34 362 328 36 22% 71% 0.51 0.94

Forsberg was hands down the best player of this group and it's not even close. Yes, he had a short career, so you could argue that he had less career value than others, but he dominated like few players have.

His even-strength numbers are superb. Among post-expansion forwards, only Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Lafleur, and Esposito were better even-strength scorers in their prime. Forsberg was on the ice for many fewer (scoring adjusted) goals against than any of them except for Lafleur, suggesting that he was either a strong defensive player (whether by backchecking or by puck possession) or he was scoring his points in fewer minutes.

He was also an excellent power play scorer. After adjusting for scoring level, his power play scoring is among the best post-expansion, behind Lemieux and Esposito, close behind Gretzky and Crosby, and similar to Lafleur, Dionne, Bossy, Sakic, Thornton, and Ovechkin.

He killed penalties in his earlier years in the league as well, before injuries slowed him.

His 2003 season was excellent - arguably the best season of anyone up for voting. He had 94 even strength goals for and only 38 against, and Colorado was slightly outscored while he was on the bench.

Top even-strength scoring rates since 1997-98
Player Year EST ESP ESP/60
Peter Forsberg 2003 1092 73 4.01
Joe Thornton 2006 1125 72 3.84
Jaromir Jagr 2000 1076 67 3.74
Mario Lemieux 2001 711 43 3.63
Jaromir Jagr 2001 1350 78 3.47

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