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04-11-2012, 03:59 PM
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3rd Pairings

Larson-Smith vs. McDonald-Prodger

If it means anything, Reed Larson came out slightly better in the large study of offensive defensemen that seventieslord did. Larson came out with a "Score" of 25.29 over 707 games compared to Housley's 25.14 over 686 games. It seems like people really didn't like the Larson pick looking at the ATD 2012 Summary thread, but I don't think he's getting the credit he deserves. Larson's ESPPG was the 2nd best of anyone on that table behind only Duchesne, and tied with Turnbull(but Larson did it for longer). Combined with the fact that he played on teams with the lowest "score" for team quality, the fact that he was able to generate that much ES offense by himself considering teammates is pretty impressive. At even strength, he produced at a better rate than Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Zubov, and Gary Suter. Imagine if Larson had the PP talent to work with, and think about what his numbers could have been like it he had better teammates.

I'll compare Prodger and Larson, then Smith and McDonald because their styles are more comparable. My first, and biggest question is, how much defense did Prodger actually play?

10-11: forward(bio)
11-12: defense(bio)
12-13: ?
13-14: ?
14-15: ?
15-16: ?
16-17: ?
19-20: forward(HR)
20-21: forward(HR)
21-22: D/F(HR)
22-23: D/F(HR)
23-24: D/F(HR)

I'll assume that D/F means that he played mostly defense, but played a little bit of forward as well. He seems like a rushing defenseman that liked to hit and was decent defensively. I had him last year, so I'm familiar with him as a player, just not as him as a defenseman. Either way, I'm not seeing enough here to show that he was as good an offensive defenseman as Reed Larson, who was a premier offensive defensemen in the late 70s and early 80s. I'll take Larson.

That brings us to Bucko McDonald(who I have a strong distaste for because his face angers me), and Dallas Smith. McDonald has 2 relevant all star finishes, 4th and 6th in the O6 era. Smith has 6, 6, 9, 17, 18, 19, and 23. Smith also has a 6th and 8th in Norris. Considering Smith's finishes came in a stronger era, I find his record to be a bit more impressive. Add in his impressive 49% PK usage for a dynasty team like the Bruins(used more than Green or Awrey), I think I'll take Smith in this matchup. Both guys bring a dimension of physicality, and a little bit of offense as well.

Overall, 3rd pairings are an advantage to Philadelphia. Larson's offense is something that what we know about Prodger just can't compete with. Winnipeg's pairing is probably a bit better defensively because of Larson, but Philadelphia's definitely has the advantage offensively because of the capabilities of Larson. Overall, Philadelphia's pairing is better.

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