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10-18-2012, 09:31 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
Brutal line of reasoning. There's plenty of defensive-minded defensemen who are "top-tier" without finishing in the top 10 or 20 in scoring.

We know how perilous judging defenders we see by points is so it's pretty mind-boggling you'd attempt to it justify this way.
It's the ideal metric, but at least it's objective, unlike the votes of a bunch of hacks that might see half the league for one or two games per season. The problem with Norris/AS voting, is not just that the qualifications of the voters are in question, but also that there is little depth in the results.

Another metric would be to use the leaders in ice time amongst d-men (top 2-3 per team), but this is only useful as far back as the data goes (late 90s?). It also would be predicated on the assumption that defensive talent is spread evenly amongst teams, which is obviously not the case.

There is no easy solution. Norris/AS voting could be of some use for determining the top 5-6 d-men in the NHL... one could also measure the overall representation of non-Canadian d-men in the NHL (using a minimum number of games each season)... but that leaves a huge range in between, and any method for estimating this is going to be far from perfect in the case of d-men IMO.

Again, I'm not sure just how important this is to the Ovechkin vs. Lindros question, except in determining just how much greater the defensive quality of the league was/is compared to previous eras. It's apparent to me that the defensive quality improved substantially, given that:

A) scoring declined substantially from the time Lindros entered the league, and has never recovered to pre-'94 levels

B) the influx in overseas/US talent was disproportionately composed of top tier scoring forwards, at least in the earlier stages of the exodus

One would have expected league scoring to increase, but instead it decreased. This may have been due more to defensive coaching/systems, changes in goalie equipment and technique, and lack of rules enforcement, as opposed to an increase in defensive (goalie/d-men) talent (since there was a proportionally larger influx of offensively talented forwards than defensive players).

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