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04-03-2011, 10:53 AM
I voted for Kodos
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I decided to do a bit of number-crunching on the greatest offensive players in the PCHL. The below is a breakdown of Vs2 scoring numbers with the percentage difference between the player and the next best scorer on the team in [brackets] - with negative numbers indicating that he was not his team's top scorer. I find the breakdown, when laid out like this, fairly enlightening. I have ordered the players in what I think is roughly most to least impressive:

Taylor: 134 [139], 126 [86], 124 [44], 109 [67], 102 [2]

Fredrickson: 136 [108], 100 [75], 100 [60], 96 [32], 91 [114]*

Morris: 102 [13], 100 [68], 100 [53], 100 [39], 92[4]

Dunderdale: 145 [53]**, 114 [27], 92 [26]**, 90 [-11], 73 [-32]

Foyston: 100 [107], 97 [11], 91 [-13], 88 [-4], 82 [0]

MacKay: 100 [38], 100 [-2], 100 [-15], 93 [-15], 60 [-40]

Oatman: 87 [0], 83 [-38], 70 [0], 68 [3], 66 [5]


*WCHL numbers - Fredrickson played only 4 seasons in the PCHL, so I had to take his best WCHL/WHL season to complete the comparison.

**only goals counted, which would obviously overrate Dunderdale, who was an unbalanced goalscorer.


Fairly interesting results, I think. My thoughts on the results:

- Taylor is not as far ahead of the pack as I had expected.

- when we only look at Vs2 numbers, there is little to choose between the tier of players after Taylor which includes Fredrickson, Morris, Dunderdale, Foyston and MacKay. The relatively small differences in scoring results within this group motivated me to do the second comparison (scoring vs. next best scorer on team - I will abbreviate this as VsNext from here on out) to see if I could shake any more differences out.

- I was surprised to find that Frank Fredrickson's vsNext scoring numbers are actually the best of the entire group, including Taylor. Those Victoria teams were really bad offensively except for Fredrickson, and featured only a single other 1st team all-star at forward (Dunderdale in 1921-22) in the six years Fredrickson played in Victoria.

- Dunderdale's 1st and 3rd best seasons are difficult to evaluate because assists were not recorded, and the Vs2 numbers probably overstate his performance.

- Mickey MacKay's VsNext numbers are somewhat disturbing (he only led his team in scoring once), as is the huge fall-off from his 4th to 5th best seasons. MacKay was an excellent defensive player (being specifically good at the hook-check, which he probably learned from Frank Nighbor), but offensively he looks to me like the weakest of the group below Taylor. I have also found some evidence (posted in the Dirt thread) that MacKay was "unaccustomed" to playing the right wing. He obviously did play there, but I get the impression that he was really a natural center who moonlighted on the wing, rather than a regular winger.

- the gap in ATD rank between MacKay and the rest of the pack below Taylor is hard to justify.

- there is surprisingly little overlap between Morris' and Foyston's best offensive seasons. The two have only two seasons of overlap in the above analysis. They seem to have largely taken turns being the offensive go-to guy in Seattle.

- Eddie Oatman was clearly not in the same league as the best offensive players in the PCHA, and cannot be realistically compared to them. The gap between he and the guys ahead of him is actually greater than the gap between Taylor and the pack. This has been discussed before, but the numbers make it clearer.

- it's a shame we don't have more information on the intangibles of Morris and Dunderdale and...Taylor. I would actually like to see some real research done into Fred Taylor's intangibles because I have come across scant mention of him backchecking or doing much of anything besides scoring in the periodicals of the time. I get the feeling that Taylor may be getting credit for intangibles he does not possess because of the time be spent at rover/defense. Taylor was a great puckcarrier and in the pre-forward pass era, defensemen and rovers carried the puck moreso than forwards, meaning that it might have been sensible to put a stud puck carrier like Taylor back on defense whether or not he was much of a checker. But I don't really know, and Taylor may have been strong defensively. We have the resources to find out now, and I'd like to actually see some evidence one way or the other.

- I think the VsNext numbers are fairly valuable for seperating offensive performances at the margins, as they give a clear indication as to how much help and how much checking attention a player received. I would suggest a rough system for assigning value within the brackets at 20% of the number shown and adding that to the Vs2 total for a sort of "offensive value" metric. Using such an (admittedly rough) system, the above seasons would come out as follows, in terms of offensive value:

Taylor: 134 [139]
Fredrickson: 136 [108]
Dunderdale: 145 [53]
Taylor: 126 [86]
Taylor: 124 [44]
Taylor: 109 [67]
Foyston: 100 [107]
Dunderdale: 114 [27]
Fredrickson: 100 [75]
Morris: 100 [68]
Fredrickson: 91 [114]
Fredrickson: 100 [60]
Morris: 100 [53]
Morris: 100 [39]
MacKay: 100 [38]
Morris: 102 [13]
Fredrickson: 96 [32] // Taylor: 102 [2]
Foyston: 97 [11]
MacKay: 100 [-2]
Dunderdale: 92 [26]
Morris: 92[4]
MacKay: 100 [-15]
Foyston: 91 [-13]
Dunderdale: 90 [-11]
Foyston: 88 [-4]
MacKay: 93 [-15]
Oatman: 87 [0]
Foyston: 82 [0]
Oatman: 83 [-38]
Oatman: 70 [0]
Oatman: 68 [3]
Oatman: 66 [5]
Dunderdale: 73 [-32]
MacKay: 60 [-40]

Phew...well, I leave it to the other GMs to decide what to make of all this and if, indeed, the analysis is of any value. My conversation with Devil got me thinking about incorporating some form of comparison of a player's scoring vs. his next best teammate into an offensive analysis, and this is the first fruit of that line of thought. Have at it.

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