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04-19-2012, 10:37 PM
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First Pairings

Salming-Boivin vs. Quackenbush-Johnson

Salming and Quack are the #1 defensemen here. Neither one is an elite #1, and are more average/lower end #1s. If you put any stock into this, Salming was #22 in the best defensemen project, and Quackenbush tied for 26th. Let's take a look at all star records:

Quackenbush: 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 6
Salming: 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13

Quackenbush has the better peak at first glance, but you really need to look at the era in which he played. Three of those finishes occurred when the NHL was still in a state of mess after WWII, in 46-47, 47-48, and 48-49. Both of the first place finishes, and one of the 3rd place finishes were in these years. The 3rd place was in 46-47, and the first place finishes were the other 2 years. When you consider this, I think it definitely makes Salming's finishes more impressive. He played in a deeper era with more competition, a larger league, and did not have a depleted talent pool, unlike Quackenbush. Both are good offensive defensemen, I'm guessing Quackenbush's percentages will look better because he played in a more depleted era, and there weren't really many offensive defensemen during the time. But if you look at career adjusted PPG, Salming's is significantly better.

Defensively, they were both strong as well. Salming was more physical compared to Quackenbush, who played more of a positional game. This could be an issue for Quackenbush when facing Gordie Howe. People call him Lidstrom-lite, and Lidstrom's one real issue he has is handling big, strong guys down in the corners and in front of the net. Thankfully for Quackenbush, he's got Ching Johnson to serve that role for him.

Overall, Salming is the better #1 defenseman. He's got a better voting record when you factor in era and competition.

That takes us to Boivin and Johnson. I won't waste my time here, Johnson is better by a very large margin. Both are tenacious hitters, but Johnson's voting record is much better than Boivin's.

First pairings are an advantage to Chicago. This is because the difference between Ching Johnson and Leo Boivin is much larger than the gap between Salming and Quackenbush. But, this is to be expected considering Chicago is stacking their top pairing with the two best defensemen, whereas I am putting my first and fourth best defensemen on my first pairing in order to have a stronger 2nd pairing.

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