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10-05-2012, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
If it is cherrypicking, it's contextual cherry-picking. The game opened up for the type of d-man that Campbell is on the other side of the lockout. It's evident in his success-followed-by-ice-time history. I'm sure ice time and production increases occured for players like Rafalski, Mark Streit, even Marc-Andre Bergeron because of the rule changes as well. Without it, who knows, maybe Streit is still a swingman or a #6, but now he's a #1 d-man...Bergeron is riding buses had an impact. We can't all be brutish, rip-the-big-shot, chase-the-big-hit-around-the-rink d-men - ones that populated the C&G era. Someone has to start the play or carry it up the ice without getting distracted.
Yes, it is possible and even probable that differences in the way the game is called made it easier for players such as Campbell to thrive.

However – you seem to want to give him a “free pass” for the time before that.

That is not fair to other players who proved they could thrive both before and after the changes. By giving Campbell a free pass you’re telling players like McCabe “it doesn’t matter that you were also good before the lockout”.

While McCabe has been getting more minutes for longer, that can be I've noted, McCabe gets these minutes on poor teams a lot...presumably, he's not beating out very good players for this ice time. It's not a knock on McCabe, per se, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy for ice time almost...McCabe has to play more because he's much better than his replacements...because his replacements are the only guys that responded to the ad in the paper...

I mean, he got big minutes on the '98 Islanders? Ok great. Bryan Berard, Kenny Jonsson, Scott Lachance, Rich Pilon, Doug Houda...

The 1999 Canucks have a better defense in retrospect given that young Ohlund and young Jovanovski were on the squad...that's a solid D core...fair is fair. They were 25th out of 27 in goals against that year, but that's probably more attributable to goaltending...

2000 Hawks? Anders Eriksson, Jamie Allison, Boris Mironov, Brad Brown, Sylvain Cote, Doug Zmolek. It's a wonder they didn't do better...

Now for those pre-lockout Leafs teams, the meat of the McCabe career sandwich...Kaberle, Yushkevich, Dave Manson, Danny Markov, Cory Cross, Nathan Dempsey, Wade Belak, Jyrki Lumme (at the end of his run), Anders Eriksson, Svehla, Aki-Petteri Berg, Ric Jackman, the impenetrable Klee-fense, Karel Pilar, Marchment...

Obviously, players come and go from that group...there's some solid guys in there, sure. But when you're talking about legit top-four d-men...what have you? Kaberle, Yushkevich, Svehla...? Am I missing anyone? I'd say Lumme, but this was the very end for him...I don't recall him aging as well as say a Numminen, for instance. Anyway, that's over a four year stretch...

On the other side of the lockout...Kaberle, Klee, Alex Khavanov, Aki Berg, Belak, Staffan Kronwall/Luke Richardson/Andy Wozniewski/Carlo Colaiacovo.

The fact that he was limited to 26, 27, 28 minutes every night is beyond me...that means those other guys were out there for 30+ minutes per night...who else could go out there in a relatively close game? Of course McCabe is going to get these tough matchups...what else could they do? Belak could drop his gloves and hope the scorer trips over them or maybe Aki Berg could jump out from behind the net with a scary mask on....ooooo...

Before the lockout...Campbell was going against (well, with) Dmitri Kalinin, Henrik Tallinder, Alexei Zhitnik, James Patrick, Rory Fitzpatrick and Jay McKee. You have one fringe NHLer at the time - Fitzpatrick. Kalinin was good on Buffalo and then when he left, he turned south and left for more money back home...Patrick was old, sure. Zhitnik ends up looking worse in retrospect, but he was a big part of those Sabres teams, as you know.

The next year, Patrick out, Numminen in...Zhitnik out, Toni Lydman in...and that's it. I'd say the competition probably got slightly harder...Campbell penetrated the lineup and thrived. Next year, more of the same, Fitzpatrick out, another fringe NHLer in (Nathan Paetsch)...Jaroslav Spacek in for Jay McKee. So, no change. Same basic lineup in 2008 as well. Real NHLers. Good ones. Tallinder and Lydman were really good defensive players there.

With're talking Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Sopel, Dustin Byfuglien, Cam have two #1 d-men, and if you consider Byfuglien one also (I can't stand him, but it helps my argument to say 3, but I won't...) that's 3...Hammer is a very good 2nd pairing guy in this league...Barker is garbage, that's it...

Florida has a younger defense, so we'll let history sort that out for us...Kulikov and Gudbranson are studs though. If we're still doing this in 15 years, we'll be drafting them in one of these things...
Forgive me, but this all sounds incredibly biased.

Kenny Jonsson should be an ATD 3rd pairing defenseman, and Berard will be in the AAA. This is not a scrub defense. It was the best thing about those 1998 Isles.

For the 1999 canucks, you already admit it was pretty good and you even forgot Aucoin.

The 2000 Hawks, strangely, were among the more successful of his unsuccessful teams. I’ll give you that one; it’s a pretty poor defense corps. Regardless, they did have a good MLD defenseman in Cote and a good AAA defenseman in Mironov. Obviously the other four names you mentioned are just horrible.

The list of pre-lockout Leafs that you provided is quite strong. It shouldn’t surprise you for me to say that, either. Relatively speaking, that team was very successful. Svehla is a legit ATDer, Yushkevich and Kaberle are very strong MLDers, Manson and Lumme are both good MLDers and Marchment a AAAer (Lumme was picked too high) but granted, they weren’t at their best in Toronto. Klee was a pretty heralded “solid veteran” pickup comparable to a Jay McKee. (neither has been taken in a AAA/AA/A draft but both have gotten pretty close to the top of my list as we approach the bottom of that barrel) Regardless, the top three names certainly don’t just represent a list of newspaper ad respondents.

In 2006, the Leafs’ defense beyond McCabe and Kaberle was brutal, admittedly. When for the majority of the season your 3rd and 4th-best defensemen are Klee and Khavanov you’re going to play your #1 and #2 an awful lot. So it’s true Kaberle and McCabe got more minutes than they otherwise would have. Regardless, they were clear #1 defensemen at the time and would have finished among the leaders regardless. And let me stress, the team wasn’t bad. They barely missed the playoffs with 90 points and a -13 goal differential. (as I mentioned before, the 2006-2008 Leafs lost just 3 more hockey games than they won, including OT losses purely as losses and excluding shootouts, which are random).

This criticism you heap on McCabe for getting all this ice time on a team with no one else to take it can be heaped on Campbell just as legitimately. This was a team that was very comparable to 2012 Florida, and I’d personally say visibly better. Who else was going to take that ice time? Journeyman Garrison was already getting more than he ever had. Kulikov was just 21 and was getting 2 more minutes than ever before. Mike Weaver was a career 17 minute player and that wasn’t going to change much at age 33. Jovanovski, as we know, has lost it. Gudbranson has a VERY long way to go. You can’t really call Kaberle “competition” for McCabe, since they were joined at the hip, but remove Kaberle and Garrison, and the 4-6 on these teams is very similar. We’re talking Weaver vs. Klee (for the record, Klee was 33 and a career 20 minute defenseman on strong teams as of then) and Khavanov vs. Kulikov (and Khavanov was 34 and a career 20 minute defenseman for very strong teams as of then). Honestly, both Campbell and McCabe had very little competition for minutes, but I personally think McCabe had a little more. We don’t have to let history sort 2012 out; we know that Kulikov and Gudbranson offered little more than potential.

I said the pre-lockout Sabres didn’t have a “name” defense and I stand by that. You’re throwing names around like it’s proof that they were strong, but it’s proof that they weren’t. This is what I mean when I say it’s biased. You say “Kaberle, Yushkevich, Dave Manson, Danny Markov, Cory Cross, Nathan Dempsey, Wade Belak, Jyrki Lumme (at the end of his run), Anders Eriksson, Svehla, Aki-Petteri Berg, Ric Jackman, the impenetrable Klee-fense, Karel Pilar, Marchment – garbage! Dmitri Kalinin, Henrik Tallinder, Alexei Zhitnik, James Patrick, Rory Fitzpatrick and Jay McKee – strong! I’m not seeing a major difference here. Zhitnik was their best and was a McCabe-lite or sort of a physical Kaberle – he cancels out with Kaberle. Beyond that, you expect me to believe 38-40 year old Patrick (who is an ATDer but not at all because of his twilight) Kalinin, Tallinder, and McKee make a better defense than Yushky/Svehla (they were traded for eachother), and late Lumme, Manson, Marchment? Kalinin and McKee have never been mentioned or drafted at any sub-AAA level, and Tallinder was a B-draft mention once (pick 1741). No. It is the opposite. There was generally more competition for icetime on the pre-lockout Leafs than on the Sabres. Mainly because Yushky/Svehla is much better than anything on the Buffalo side, and the other names more or less wash. This can’t be explained away with any other reasoning other than Campbell wasn’t good enough and McCabe was.

This takes us back to the following: what’s worse? Being a top pairing defenseman with mediocre competition, or being a #6-8 defenseman with mediocre competition?

Yes they got stronger in 2006 and the rules helped him. For the reasons you described. Lydman is a phenomenal defensive player who deserves to be picked soon. Still, he was just a #5 on that team. McCabe was never that low on a team’s depth chart, or even #4. And it’s still not like this defense is any more than marginally better than the pre-lockout Leafs on which he thrived. I agree there was not much of a change to 2007, and he took on a great role. Good for him, and I give him appropriate credit for that season, but at the same time it does wash out with a strong McCabe season, it doesn’t put him “ahead”.

With Chicago, yes, playing behind is Keith is obvious. Playing behind Seabrook though? Now I’m not saying that he should have been on the 1st pairing with Keith because I understand that wouldn’t be a very complementary skillset and Keith/Seabrook is, but… in many cases if your “true” 2nd best defenseman is on the 2nd pairing he usually ends up getting the 2nd most minutes. Seabrook played more than Campbell in Chicago though, by about 45 seconds over three seasons. Now if your answer to this is, Seabrook was better and more valuable than Campbell in Chicago I’d probably agree. As for the rest of that corps, Hjalmarsson is a pretty good 2nd pairing guy. Pretty much like Klee or Khavanov. He’s certainly not evidence of “competition for minutes”. Sopel is a career 19 minute guy. You’ll have to explain to me how he’s evidence of a good player Campbell beat out for minutes while guys like Klee, Khavanov, and late career Lumme and Manson aren’t the same for McCabe.

Basically, if we're splitting hairs about 2.5 minutes because McCabe's coach had the choice of putting out Nathan Dempsey and Cory Cross in the last 3 minutes of a game or McCabe and anything...while Campbell's coaches had the choice of real top-4 d-men (Tallinder, Lydman, Zhitnik at the time, McKee) or real Norris candidates (Keith, Seabrook, Byfuglien) all this time...well, then, I guess I'm looking at this wrong.
First, 2.5 minutes is huge. That’s about two depth chart spots on average.

Second, that was a bit disingenuous. Nathan Dempsey and Cory Cross were never the next best option after McCabe, or even legitimately close to it. Tallinder, Lydman and Zhitnik were Buffalo’s actual best choices. (and as for Chicago, we all know Byfuglien wasn’t really a Norris candidate even in Atlanta/Winnipeg and even further away in Chicago).

Sure seems that way, doesn't it? You reference "luck" later on in your post. Maybe Campbell is just lucky that everywhere he goes, massive amounts of success happen. One's an accident, two's a trend, three's an epidemic...what's four? I'll say an ATD-worthy d-man at the least...
Define “massive amounts of success”. Lumping in last year as evidence of massive amounts of success is simply incorrect. 2006-2008 Buffalo was more or less on par with 2001-2004 Toronto. Chicago won a cup (and good for him and them) but he was the playoff #4 for them.

San Jose is a mixed bag. They went on a huge tear after getting him (positive) but they were 2nd round losers which is a slight disappointment for a 2nd place team (negative).

Fraud? I don't want to steal away from the conversation at hand, but can I get the cliff's notes on these fraud charges? Unless you mean, the Panthers defrauded the Blackhawks in the Brian Campbell trade which propelled the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade...then I understand just fine. /intentionally obtuse
Here are the cliff’s notes as I posted them in the chat thread back in April:

They will probably win their division, but with more OT/shootout loss points than anyone else in the league, and a -24 goal differential. No one in that division actually has a positive goal differential.

This brings me back to how ridiculous it is to reward the winner of a terrible division with a 3rd place spot. They are only 3rd because they got to play these other bad teams, more than other teams did. the fact that the division has negative goal differentials across the board means the other teams ran the table against them (because the divisional goal differential in all games within the division is obviously zero). If the schedule was truly balanced, all teams in the southeast would have a few fewer points than they do, and all other teams would have a couple more, and the division would look as bad as it actually is, instead of all teams having their point totals padded by games against eachother.

I'll defer to you on this point then if you did the leg work. I was incorrect, point retracted. Any determination on McCabe's regular partners (outside of Kaberle) in that pre-lockout stretch?
No, I wasn’t paying too much attention. I was just watching for how often 15 and 24 were together for even strength goals for and against. The only thing that popped out at me was how much Kaberle and Svehla were an item in 2003.

I don't want that to be my point at all (that it's worthless to be a #1 d-man on a bad team...*glancing up at the Jay Bouwmeester jersey hanging on my wall* no not at all...) it's that you throw the two and a half minutes (or whatever it is) around and, as I said above, it's just not worth what it looks like. One guy is a top pairing d-man on bad teams for most of his career, playing ahead of bad competition.
First point, you’re overstating how “bad” McCabe’s teams were over his career. Obviously the 01-04 Leafs were good, but average them in with 11 other years of hockey and the GF:GA ratio of his teams, weighted for his career, is 0.99. And you’re definitely overstating the competition piece, at least as it relates to Campbell.

One guy is a top pairing d-man on a few teams and played like a hundred playoff games in 7 years...and I think was top-10 for the Norris 3 times, was a 4x all-star
“number of playoff games played” has to be a pretty small piece of what goes into evaluating a player.

McCabe was also top-10 for the Norris twice with two seasons that wash out with Campbell’s best, and his level of play in whatever you believe was his 3rd best was certainly comparable to Campbell’s 9th-place 2007 finish playing just 21 minutes. And the all-star game part makes perfect sense, does it not?

McCabe was “unlucky” enough to have best-on-best tournaments cancel his potential all-star games (one of which was an absolute lock) and injuries another. But it works both ways. Of course, in one of those seasons he was actually in the 2006 tourney, even if he wasn’t any good there. And he was 30. Campbell’s age 30 season was 2010. Was he even on Canada’s radar? At all?

...the way it seems to work here, Campbell might have been better off being drafted in 2004 (without moving his age) so people could go "well, in 7 years, he was top-10 for the Norris 3 times, and a 4x all-star and a Cup winner..." I think he'd be in the ATD already...but because the same coaches that know better than us held him out of that clutch and grab garbage because it didn't suit him, he's penalized.
Is that what happened, though? I mean, let’s be honest, had he cracked that illustrious 2002-2004 Buffalo lineup, he wouldn’t have been the only sub-6’0” offensive defenseman in the NHL.

And maybe that's fair, maybe...but it seems like some other players get a free pass for not being good enough for a long time and then getting to the show (Tim Thomas, for instance) and then Campbell emerges and it's like luck and fraud and fruity coco puffs and the whole thing...but really, it just so happened that two of his crucial developmental years saw the league played in a quagmire of slush and a size 14 skates and 76" wingspans...what did we want to happen?
Please don’t misrepresent my position. I never said Campbell was lucky. Florida was lucky.

2004 ES ATOI leaders among D (top 10):
- Willie Mitchell - 6'3/210 - big, physical, defensive d-man
- Sergei Gonchar - 6'2/210 / just below HHOF caliber
- Scott Hannan - 6'1/225 - big, physical, defensive d-man
- Scott Niedermayer - HHOF d-man
- Ruslan Salei - 6'2/215 - big, physical, defensive d-man
- Roman Hamrlik - 6'2/210 - big, physical two-way d-man
- Mattias Ohlund - 6'4/230 - big, physical defensive-minded d-man
- Scott Stevens - 6'2/220 - big, physical, defensive d-man
- Nicklas Lidstrom - HHOF d-man
- Adrian Aucion - 6'2/215 - McCabe-ish

So were either a big, physical d-man...or you were a HHOFer (or both, in the case of Stevens).

Now look at where we're at (same criteria as above):
- Brian Campbell - I think you know him now, smooth-skating offensive d-man
- Duncan Keith - Smooth-skating offensive d-man
- Dan Girardi - Defensive d-man, but not very big. He'd be the smallest defensive d-man on that list above
- Ryan McDonagh - Not a monster like Stevens or anything...he wouldn't look out of place on the list above to be fair...not right in line, but not far off...
- Erik Karlsson - smooth-skating offensive d-man
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic - smooth skating, defensive d-man, maybe like 6', 6'1, 200
- Jay Bouwmeester - smooth skating, defensive-minded d-man - big guy, but doesn't use it...
- Ryan Suter - defensive d-man, 6'/195
- Shea Weber - Ok, McCabe-ish...big guy, chases the big hit, takes the big shot.
- Dustin Byfuglien - McCabe-ish...offensive d-man, horrid defensively
- Dan Boyle - smooth-skating offensive d-man can's not what it used to be.
Did you include Boyle (who appears to have been 11th) by accident or to strengthen the case? Regardless:

It does look different, but not to the degree that you overstate it. The difference is more in the way you describe each of them, than the actual makeup of the lists.

Remove Salei and Mitchell from the first list and Campbell and Vlasic from the bottom list and there hasn’t really been much turnaround in the rest of the top-10s (11).

Gonchar-Niedermayer-Lidstrom-Aucoin to Boyle-Karlsson-Bouemeester-Keith doesn’t represent a major ideology shift, nor does Hannan-Hamrlik-Ohlund-Stevens to Girardi-McDonagh-Suter-Weber-Byfuglien (obviously).

In closing - on the other side of the great divide, when it opened up, Campbell wasn't handed anything. He rose through the ranks and became more prominent than McCabe ever was and had more success than McCabe ever had...
Yes, good for him for rising through the ranks, he deserves credit for that and for the success he attains. The logical breakdown is where that makes him better than a guy who achieved pretty much the same personal successes and rose through the ranks much faster – and has a much longer and more established track record currently.

Originally Posted by vecens24 View Post
Yeah I'm going to tend to agree with Mike Farkas about Campbell. I think he's been underrated for a while. I honestly feel he was a top 4 defenseman in the NHL last year (right behind the three Norris finalists, ahead of Girardi and Pietrangelo). So, so, so valuable to that Florida team (that by no means is a "fraud").
I’m really surprised Florida’s 2012 season being a fraud is not more of a mainstream opinion. I’m even more surprised that you outright dismiss it so casually.

Take a look at’s “simple rating system” which ranks the teams based on their goal differential versus strength of schedule. Florida was 24th overall at -0.33.

To dismiss the idea that they were a fraud so easily, is to look only at the point total that they finished with, and ignore the other factors, like that they got there extremely ugly (18 OT/shootout losses, -24 goal differential) and with the softest schedule (the entire division had negative goal differentials, indicating the other divisions all owned them)

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Florida didn't look like a fraud in the playoffs.

IMO, Jason Garrison can thank Campbell for his big contract, but we'll see if I'm right.
He can thank Campbell and extra PP time. He had just 5 more ESP than the season before (11% more ES minutes should lead to 11% more ESP, so the “Campbell effect” at ES was likely 3-4 points) ; the perceived spike was due to getting 9 more PP points. Allthough having Campbell next to you at ES or on the PP is going to lead to more points, going from 3 to 12 PP points can likely be traced mostly to the rise in PP time from 113 minutes to 194.

Keep in mind it wasn’t like that was a season for the ages or anything… he had 33 points, 31st among defensemen and 43rd at even strength. Still I agree that if you can trace 3-4 ESP and 4-5 PPP to the addition of Campbell, then Garrison should be sending him fresh baked cookies, because with 24-26 points there’s no way he gets that contract. Campbell likely got him over that tipping point.

On a side note, it’s honestly amazing what some teams will shell out the big bucks based on. I was shocked PA Parenteau got only $4M; it looked like the teams viewed a UFA in context for a change.

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I'm not sure what list you're talking about.
“the big defensemen study” from late in this year’s ATD.

It ranks a number of similar modern defensemen by their adjusted prime ice time weighed with the strength of the teams that gave them all this ice time. It also provides some other numbers for consideration that don’t affect the order in which it’s lists. Campbell looks pretty mediocre on it. Basically when you look at McCabe on there, there’s a feeling of “yeah, what makes him significantly worse than Ramage? Or at least Korab, and Jovanovski. And certainly Zhitnik, Kubina, Hamrlik and Aucoin.” But Campbell’s way down the list, not too far ahead of others I’ve appropriately criticized for not being typically utilized heavily by strong teams, like Persson and Visnovsky.

Ultimately, It’s shorthand, yes, but I get the sense that the numbers can only lie to us to a certain degree. Are they lying enough that there are other subjective factors to be weighed in that would put Campbell ahead?

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