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12-08-2009, 06:36 AM
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I'll do the rest of it later. But for now, here is how I would compare the forward lines:

First line = Advantage Tidewater.

Jagr > Malone. Jagr provides lots of offense and nothing else. Malone provides lots of goals, and we don't know much about what else he provides (though he did captain 2 early Cup winners). Jagr is a Top 25 player all-time (he would be Top 15 if it wasn't for the sulking years and a few playoffs where he looked like he didn't care). Malone is 30-50.

Delvecchio > Iginla, at least in career value. In some ways, Delvecchio is like the Ron Francis of the O6 era. 11 times top 10 in points, but never higher than 4th. Slightly better playmaker than goal scorer (okay, that isn't like Francis who is a much better playmaker). Iginla has had a couple of years better than Delvecchio's best, but it's hard to ignore Delvecchio's career value. Iginla gets extra points for grit, while Delvecchio is a Lady Byng winner who gets extra points for two-way play.

Kariya = Goulet. Goulet was more of a goalscorer, Kariya had a more balanced offense. Kariya's Top 10 in points are 3, 3, 4, 7. Goulet's are 3, 8, 8, 9. Both had relatively short primes. I'll say it's even, despite Kariya's better peak scoring finishes, because Goulet had a couple of good playoff runs.


Second line = Advantage New Jersey

Naslund = Naslund. Markus has the better peak by a good margin, but Mats' much longer period of productivity and a couple of good playoff runs probably even it out.

Hodge = Tocchet. Once again, the NJ player has a better peak (Hodge is a 2 time 1st Team All Star), but the Tidewater player makes up for it in career value.

Maltsev > Datsyuk. This is where NJ has the advantage. Maltsev is the best player on either team's second line, and I don't think it's that close. Datsyuk is the best defensive player on either second line, but I don't think it makes up for the gap Maltsev has in either offense or career value. Oh and for those criticizing Naslund's playoff record, well, I'll just say it's a good thing for Datsyuk that he plays on the same team as Lidstrom and Zetterberg. I'd personally feel a lot better with Datsyuk as a third liner than a second liner.


Third line = Slight Advantage Tidewater. Tidewater's 3rd line is better defensively, and NJ's is a better offensively.

Herbie Lewis = Bob Gainey. Lewis was eventually inducted into the HOF, mostly for his defensive play. Gainey is Gainey, so he still gets the edge defensively. Lewis is much better offensively though - twice Top 10 in points, and 2 4th place finishes in assists. Gainey's career high is 47 points, in the high scoring late 70s/ early 80s. Gainey is better as a defensive specialist, while Lewis is better as a two-way guy.

Mosdell = Lepine. Mosdell is better offensively - Top 10 in points twice, top 10 in goals twice. He did most of his scoring at even strength. Lepine has 3 10th place finishes in goals, but never Top 10 in points. Pit Lepine "won" 2 retro Selkes, which is worth... something. Though it should be noted that Joe Klukay and Marty Pavelich "won" every retro Selke during Mosdell's prime. Still, I suppose I'll give a slight defensive edge to Lepine, which makes up for the slight offensive edge that Mosdell gets.

Toppazzini > Doan. Shane Doan is very good defensively and works well as a complementary big winger on a checking unit (as he probably will in the Olympics for Canada). But he's probably not as good defensively as Toppazzini. They are pretty even offensively. This is where Tidewater's slight advantage comes from.

Fourth lines = hard to compare, but NJ likely has an advantage in talent.

Tidewater obviously gets the chemistry advantage. Talent, though? He has three guys who played for the USSR, back when Canadian amateur teams could skate with the Soviets at the Olympics. Clint Smith and John McKenzie especially should give NJ a more skilled 4th line, at least.

I'm not sure how Tidewater plans to use their 4th line, but as in previous series, NJ's 4th line will take some shifts against Tidewater's 1st, especially early in the game. They will be backed up by Savard-Orr when they do so. This allows John McKenzie to take shots early on at Tidewater's talented 1st liners. Since Jagr skates all over the ice, McKenzie will be able to target him from time to time, despite playing on opposite wings.

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