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09-12-2012, 11:45 AM
Student Of The Game
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Some thoughts on this series:

- Watson vs. Sterner as 1st line LWs. I’ve made the case for why I think Watson may have been as good as many of the better NHL forwards of his era, despite not playing in the NHL with them. What is the case for Sterner? How do we know for sure he was a 1st line caliber NHL forward?

- Although Renberg is a good glue guy, I’m not sure his NHL production, despite spending a lot of time playing with elite players, warrants a 1st line MLD spot. He lowers the offensive potential of a line that already has a couple question marks.

- 2nd line LWs: Jorgen Pettersson was a pretty decent player but he was scoring in the early 1980s what Miroslav Satan was scoring in the dead puck era. Satan led his team in scoring 7 times, a couple times by over 25 points ; Pettersson topped out at 3rd on his own team, 1 behind the leader. Adjusted points may favour DPE players but they say Satan had 8 seasons more impressive than Pettersson’s best. This one is not close; Satan is arguably the most potent 2nd line LW in the draft; pettersson is arguably the least.

- Patrik Sundstrom and Gradin are an interesting comparison. Equally offensively potent (look at their adjusted pts and games, almost identical), they were teammates for a few years. The difference as I see it, is that Sundstrom is a versatile and well-rounded player who can excel at the defensive game and hold his own physically. Gradin, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of him having a defensive reputation. His wingers indicate that this is indeed the purpose of the line, but what will Gradin do to further those purposes?

- Chamberlain versus Axelsson is an easy one. PJ was a quite limited player; a defensive specialist and not a great one, but a good one. I don’t think that there is any area in which one could say he is better than Chamberlain. He didn’t have the offensive upside, relatively speaking they are probably a wash defensively, and Chamberlain has a major physical and playoff edge.

- MacMillan, although well supported as a versatile player who was very strong all-around, probably isn’t as established as defensively as Niklas Sundstrom, who finished 6th and 14th in Selke voting, but he was a much better offensive producer and physical player, and should be the more effective overall presence on an MLD checking line. I will say that Sundstrom has been underrated in the past though.

- Peplinski and Franzen are more comparable as they are the physical beasts of the 4th lines. Believe it or not, their career averages for adjusted ESP/GP are the same, which makes Peplinski a much better producer because 1) he didn’t play with Datsyuk and Zetterberg or anyone similar, 2) adjusted points are biased against him and for Franzen, and 3) his record is based on 50% more games. Both are big, strong, hard to move guys, but Peplinski had no quit, and Franzen apparently has had lots of quit lately. Peplinksi can fight, take faceoffs and play other positions if needed. Franzen can’t. As much as Peplinski is the more attractive producer, he is, in particular, a much more attractive 4th liner.

- I can’t even begin to compare Cotton and Jackson to Nilsson and Pettersson. I figure anything I say would probably be called “NHL bias”. In the end I don't think it is useful to claim one's 4th line has a huge offensive edge, as they rarely do, regardless of the players. But I think Cotton and Peplinski have a 4th line skill set infinitely more established than those of their Brynas counterparts.

- I think the above is going to have to apply to McCabe/Shmyr versus Bjorn and Stoltz too. The whole “these two proved they could excel in north America and these two didn’t” thing is not a popular argument with my opponent. Should I just defer to all-star voting? McCabe and Shmyr were both top-4 MLD defensemen as voted by the GMs in this draft.

- In the case of 2nd pairings, it is Gord Fraser who is actually the tough one to compare. I think anyone would agree that Doughty has proven himself much more than Kronwall in their respective short careers. But has he proven more than Johnsson, who has been playing for over a decade in the NHL? Probably not, since Johnsson is a quite underrated all-around #1 defenseman. So, knowing how those three rank, where does Gord Fraser fit in? Based on his all-star peak of 1924-1927, he was approximately the 8th-best defenseman during this time. Extrapolating that out to modern times is tough but relatively speaking I think 8th back then should still translate to safely ahead of where Johnsson has “ranked” over this past decade, giving us the overall edge on 2nd pairings, even if it’s not a great one.

- Ragnarsson is another underrated player, but Gibbs holds the edge here too. Gibbs played a couple more seasons at a much higher TOI rate, produced better at ES, and anecdotally speaking, was definitely more physical and most likely better defensively. Both were negligible PP performers (played 30-ish% for bad PPs). Gibbs played much more on the PK, but Ragnarsson’s teams had better results. Ragnarsson was also only a #1 defenseman for his team twice. Todd Gill played more in 1997 (and he only played .4 minutes more than McSorley), Houlder, Bodger and Gill played more in 1998, and Houlder of all people again in 1999. In 2001 and 2002 though, to his credit, he led San Jose to two strong seasons. He is an underrated, above average 3rd pairing defenseman, but Gibbs is even better.

- Seabrook and Edler are easier to compare. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I only see one reason someone would prefer Edler over Seabrook and that’s the PP. In terms of experience, established track record, team success, playoff record, even strength offense, defense, physicality and durability, Seabrook checks all the boxes on this one.

- So unless the all-star voters were drastically wrong here and Bjorn/Stoltz is a MUCH better pairing than McCabe/Shmyr, Regina holds a significant edge at defense.

- Goaltending: Even if you assume the worst about Paton, I don’t see how one can conclude he wasn’t the best of his time. Lindbergh was an NHL starter for just one season. He won the Vezina, but the Flyers made every goalie from 1980 to 1990 look good, so judging him is really tough. Even if you assume the absolute best about him, his career was incredibly short for the era.

- God help Brynas if they have any injuries coming into this series. Almqvist and Nilsson are badly outmatched and would be incredible liabilities in any situation. Lindstrom can at least hold his own, but he’s not a bottom line player and if he fills in as a top-6 RW he could only replace most of the offense of Renberg or Dahlen, but none of their critical board work. He is not a very useful spare. Enstrom is ok though. On the other hand, Regina is covered for any situation. Murdoch can easily fill a defensive hole, being a reasonable fill-in for either Gibbs or Seabrook, and one of them can move up in the lineup, as they are more than good enough. If offense is needed, Smaill can come in, being a two time defensive scoring leader. McSorley can add toughness at wing or defense and has proven to be a functional enough player to not embarrass himself. Duguay has the skillset and upside to fill in at RW or C on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th line, meaning we are truly covered at all positions and all situations should the injury bug bite.

This was an interesting concept and one that just about worked for you, jkrx. It certainly topped the last three theme teams and features some unappreciated picks who deserved the extra light shone on them. In the end, though, it is plagued by a few question marks that can’t be answered, and a couple of outright bad players. You’re also meeting a team that is too deep; you won’t find a crack here to exploit (a better team probably will, though)

Last edited by seventieslord: 09-12-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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