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09-14-2012, 02:46 AM
  #80
tarheelhockey
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Just to provide a frame of reference, here are the 5th-8th-11th PPG scoring wingers since the league hit 30 teams (before that the rankings would have to be adjusted somehow, and I'm not going there).

Results listed as Left Wing/Right Wing
The size of the scoring numbers involved causes a lot of multi-way ties. These were broken according to fewest GP, then most overall goals, then most overall points. Full disclosure, a couple of Brown's rank bumped down in these tiebreakers from 8th to 11th and 11th to 13th, but by the time I got that far I had done a whole lot of sorting, and frankly, a tiebreaker doesn't matter much to the overall argument here, so I just left it alone and finished.

2001
5th - Shanahan/Heinze
8th - Drury/Jagr
11th - G. Sanderson/Palffy

2002
5th - Deadmarsh/Bertuzzi
8th - Havlat/Kapanen
11th - Heinze/Jagr

2003
Shanahan/Hossa
Hrdina/Jagr
Dahlen/St. Louis

2004
Robitaille/Sullivan
Calder/Sturm
Morrow/Hull

2006
Zetterberg/Selanne
Shanahan/Iginla
Blake/Carter

2007
Malkin/Tucker
Shanahan/Recchi
Brown/Murray

2008
Heatley/Brown
Morrow/Perry
Shanahan/Cheechoo

2009
Tkachuk/Nolan
Elias/Franzen
Kozlov/Knuble

2010
Smyth/Guerin
J. Jokinen/Gionta
Semin/Bergfors

2011
Zetterberg/Stafford
Ladd/Callahan
Moulson/Hossa

2012
Cole/Simmonds
Kovalchuk/Brown
Elias/Vrbata


Now I am not in any way suggesting this is more than an illustration. There are definitely more accurate (and much more time-intensive) ways to represent the best PP scoring wingers. But I think there are some takeaways other than just name-dropping some comparables.

1) This list has a lot of outliers just like any other, but you don't see a lot of repeat performances unless they are damned good PP players.

2) Playing on the PP is the forward's equivalent of "sheltered minutes". It allows a coach to take a specialized player and give him a simple task with little risk of backfire. Scattered all throughout that list are try-hard guys who were past their prime, unable to keep up at even strength, but still effective at planting their ***** in front of the net and waiting for the puck to arrive. That's the mark of an effective PP power forward -- not high point totals, or high TOI, or any of our other normal metrics. Just a good thick body frame and a willingness to stick his nose into the most painful spot on the rink on the off chance a puck might hit his foot on the way to the net. That's pretty much the only reason guys like Guerin, Smyth and Tkachuk were even serviceable NHL'ers in the years they appear here, and it's the only reason Dustin Brown is on that list three times.

I have absolutely zero doubt that it Don Cherry taps Dustin Brown on the shoulder halfway through a power play, that shift is not going to end with the goaltender standing on both feet. And that is all I want from him here.

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