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09-24-2012, 04:46 PM
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
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Regina’s 4th line vs. Connecticut’s 3rd line

I think these lines were drafted similarly – to attempt to get the “best” players while still looking for players who have the capability and/or skills to be role players.

Lorne Campbell vs. Art Jackson.

Campbell is, I think, the exception as far as these six players go. I think he is certainly the most offensively potent player of all six, but unfortunately he is also the one with the least-proven physical/defensive skills of the group.

Jackson is no slouch himself, having one of the most established offensive records among MLD 4th liners. His best 6 percentage scores are 74, 73, 70, 58, 57, 50. In addition, there is also the potential that he’s better than these numbers say, as he spent some time buried behind two HHOFers at the center position. Lastly, he does have credibility as a checker. He’s certainly not an “ideal” checker but a guy who can give a 4th line some punch while not embarrassing himself defensively.

So we have a good idea what percentage as good as the elites of his time Jackson was. Campbell never got to really play against the best of his time. His rankings and percentage scores in the IHL are great though – so great that I am willing to confidently say he is superior offensively. It is the degree of that superiority that is up for debate. I would be comfortable deferring to someone like Iain Fyffe who has done extensive research on the eras, and his equivalency formula for Campbell’s IHL exploits would work better than anything I can put together.

Basically, I think Campbell is a superior offensive player and therefore overall player, but I am not 100% convinced that he’s better for a bottom-six role. This one could go either way.

Jack McDonald vs. Baldy Cotton. This is one I’ve been looking forward to doing, because I am a big, big fan of both players. I introduced Cotton to the draft back in the undrafteds thread following AA10 and realized right then and there that he deserved a rise. McDonald I had in the AAA that year and the following year. When I took him I saw him as a good pick, but that was before I found that quote (which I didn’t copy down) that praised his excellent backchecking – and not just an in-game quote. Considering it’s my opponent’s player I’m talking about you can take my word for it on this one, ok?

Considering they are both pre-expansion players, I think it’s fair that we compare them based on their percentage scores. Here are their best 6.

Cotton: 61, 60, 53, 48, 48, 40
McDonald: 77, 66, 52, 51, 50, 44

It appears that, aside from one spike year (which McDonald, as a one-man show on a horrible Toronto Ontarios team – 4-16, 61GF, 117GA – deserves credit for), he was approximately as potent offensively.

The only caveat to this, is that in McDonald’s time, it was one-line hockey and he was playing literally with the best players who were scoring the most, so he probably has an advantage by this metric. Whereas, Cotton was on 2nd and 3rd lines, with less opportunity to match the totals of the best players. That said, I have no idea where to start fairly building in adjustments for such things, so let’s just say McDonald is a titch better offensively for simplicity.

Defensively and physically though, it is Cotton who has the edge, and I think it’s big enough that he’s not only the better player for a bottom-six role, but the better player overall. Cotton is very well known for his guts, his heart, physicality and defensive/PK ability. As I said, I did find that one great quote on McDonald’s backchecking but there needs to be more meat on that bone.

Conclusion: Cotton is better overall, and for this role, though in the former regard it isn’t by a considerable margin.

Cecil Blachford vs. Jim Peplinski. This one is so interesting too, because both were role players and leaders for very strong teams.

Blachford is tougher to get info on due to his era, so I’m not going to post the overwhelming number of quotes I have supporting Peplinski’s leadership, defense, physicality and toughness and claim he’s more “established”. Blachford’s reputation is certainly that he was a worker bee for that Wanderer dynasty; it’s not unfathomable that he was somewhat similar to that era’s Peplinski in that regard. (I see him as a probably better version of Scanlan/Hooper/Gardiner, HHOFers known for reasons other than offense – Scanlan, Hooper and Blachford all played 56-59 total senior level games and scored 0.75, 1.00 and 1.17 PPG, respectively, Gardiner 0.65 but in 3X as many games) It’s difficult to conclude much more than Blachford and Peplinksi are even in intangibles, or at least similar.

Offensively, both are much better than you might expect. Peplinski barely got any PP time his entire career, so his raw scoring totals are almost his ES scoring totals. For his career, he earned ES scoring percentages as follows: 77, 70, 68, 63, 52, 46. Blachford had a short career but a couple big offensive years himself, earning a “best six” of 59, 42, 40, 36, 21, 16. The “12% rule” still has to apply though, considering 80 years separates them, which would mean Blachford’s approximate offensive worth can be summed up as follows: 71, 47, 45, 40, 24, 18. It is worth noting that this includes two incomplete seasons – 1903 and 1910 – in which Blachford scored a combined 8 points in 4 CAHL/NHA games, so the potential was there for more.

Conclusion: Both players are very good for checking line roles; however, Peplinksi has demonstrated a higher level of ability with the puck and will be better at helping to generate offense in the other team’s end. Overall edge to Peplinski.

Overall conclusion: Offensively it appears they’re even. A 35% edge to Regina on the right side, a 10% edge to Connecticut on the left, and Campbell probably makes up the remainder at center. As far as playing the bottom six roles, Cotton and Jackson are better established than McDonald and Campbell, making their unit more effective overall. Hedberg – your thoughts?

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