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05-16-2011, 10:34 PM
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NJ's 3rd line wingers are better offensively than Guelph's second line wingers, even before taking chemistry into account

I wasn't planning on doing this yet, but since this is John Ogrodnick Day (Thanks 70s!) I'll take a look at some secondary scorers. In a previous post, I concluded that Shane Doan was better offensively than Ogrodnick and too close for me to call at the time with Robert in terms of offense, based in top 30 finishes, competition level, and linemates. Here, I'll compare them, along with Palffy, based on percentages.

My method is slightly different from 70s'. First, I looked at #2. If #2 was an outlier player or teammate, the comparable became the next non-influenced player. Then, If the comparable was more than 10 % over the next player, the comparable became the next player. Anyway, these are the results:

Ogrodnick: 81,69,65,64,62,57,52
Robert: 83,80,75,73,70,59,59

Doan: 78,74,66,66,62,61,56,54,54,50
Palffy: 96,93,83,82,73,70,66, (77*)

*this is what Palffy was on pace for, the season he missed 32 games holding out. Not an injury, a holdout. I'm sure opinions vary as to whether it matters or not. In 50 games, he just missed the 50% cutoff.

IMO, Robert's numbers are grossly inflated by being the third best member of his line with Perreault and Martin, while the other three guys compared were generally the offensive engines of their teams. By how much? Who knows? If you knock 5 off all his percentages (arbitrary number), he's marginally better than Doan at offense. My guess is the effect is more than that, but again, who knows?

Regardless, I think it's clear that the Palffy / Doan combo would provide significantly more offense than the Robert / Ogrodnick combo, as Palffy is the best and Ogrodnick the worst of the four offensively, both by fair margins.

I'm not going to bother comparing their centers because 1) the percentage method is questionable before expansion when Smith played and 2) MacLeish's value lies largely in his playoff offense. I think it's clear from scoring finishes that Clint Smith was somewhat better in the regular season and MacLeish more accomplished in the playoffs. Even if I give the edge to MacLeisch:

1) Does any advantage MacLeish may have over Smith in the playoffs make up for the much higher quality of offense that comes from Smith's wingers?

2) Remember, this is a comparison of Guelph's 2nd line and NJ's 3rd line. NJ still has Starshinov, the leading Soviet goalscorer of the 1960s (and easily the second best overall Soviet forward of his generation after Firsov) on our 2nd line with two wingers who can get him the puck.

3) Guelph's third line is very weak offensively. Poulin is a great defensive center, but IMO his ability to chip in points depends largely on his linemates. And MacPhee and Lebedev are a pair of offensive black holes at this level - both quite a bit worse than NJ's worst offensive forward, Handzus. (IMO Lebedev is even more out of place than Ogrodnick in that I can at least understand why Ogrodnick was drafted even if I don't like the fit).

Conclusion: NJ's 3rd line is at least as good, and probably better offensively as Guelph's second line, which is their only source of secondary scoring. And this is before taking chemistry into account.

The gap in secondary scoring is the single biggest difference in this series.

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