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10-23-2012, 12:46 PM
  #22
seventieslord
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3rd lines – In the end I decided to just match up the lines as they are.

Sundstrom and Grosso are a good comparison to start with. Grosso does have some pretty good quotes on him that indicate he was a pesky checker. I don’t want to claim that Sundstrom wins in that regard just due to “volume of quotes” because there are many, so let’s call them even. If there’s a major difference it’s in their offensive abilities.

Basically Grosso had an excellent season in 1942, earning a percentage score of 98 but aside from that was unable to top 50%, scoring 47, 44, 34, 34, 33 (He’s a 3rd liner so his ES rate is more relevant but thanks to how long ago he played, his raw scoring totals are a reasonable proxy for ES scoring totals). Sundstrom’s best ES scoring rates were 77, 69, 68, 62, 59, 54. Just summing up their best 6 and giving Grosso a fair 12% pre-expansion boost, it still appears Sundstrom was about 20% more potent offensively. And certainly more consistent. Most of Grosso’s offensive value comes from one season, while Sundstrom’s 6th-best season was more impressive than Grosso’s 2nd-best. I’ll give Grosso one thing though, he appears to have a better overall playoff resume, which helps to lessen this gap. Overall, though, I think Sundstrom’s obviously better.

Conroy and Harris. This one is fun because although my opinion on Conroy hasn’t changed much it seems his value has really risen, as he moved up four straight times, by a total of 441 picks since then. I don’t think it’s warranted, and he wouldn’t have looked overqualified on anyone’s MLD 3rd or 4th line for sure.

Harris I had last year, and although there is much to like, he was one of the less impressive members of my squad; more passable in his role than anything. At this time, VI was selling Harris as more of a defensive player – I’m not seeing it. I ended up selecting him under that impression and in the end had to concede that wasn’t really his game – nor was the physical game – and he was best described as a “utility player”.

So, who’s better? Offensively they are pretty much even. Conroy earned ES percentage scores of 81, 63, 62, 59, 54; Harris earned 57, 55, 48, 43, 40. That looks like a slam dunk for my Conroy, except:

- Conroy’s best seasons were with Iginla, who usually outscored him by a lot, indicating Conroy was not as responsible for his offensive totals as many other players with comparable totals
- Harris deserves the pre-expansion boost
- Harris was said to sometimes play just a few shifts per game. As nice as his percentage scores look, when you consider that the anecdotes indicate he was a fairly low icetime player who could have been a starter on a team without so much center depth, there is great reason to believe he’s a more talented player than those numbers indicate.

Conroy’s apparent 30% edge is pretty much wiped out, and more. Harris almost certainly has greater potential to generate offense. Defensively and physically it is another story. Conroy was quite physical and never gave up. Harris was a bit lackadaisical and ended up in Imlach’s doghouse frequently. It’s also arguable that he was used so infrequently because he was so small and physically inadequate – the anecdotes certainly suggest as much. Defensively, there’s on quote calling him a “two way” player and it’s from LOH. Conroy, as we all know, was definitely a two-way player. 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 12th, 12th in Selke voting would make him pretty elite defensively by MLD standards and certainly elite among these two teams. Easy edge for Conroy. He’s the better overall player, and definitely better equipped for a 3rd line role.

That leaves us with two very different players, Jack McIntyre and Ray Sheppard. Right off the bat it’s clear one was drafted for offense and the other for defense. Can we determine who will be the more effective player overall? Let’s give it a shot.

McIntyre was apparently an O6 defensive specialist and secondary (streaky) scorer. Based on what’s been dug up, it’s not a great defensive resume but it does say something that he lasted a full decade in that role. His ES percentage scores are 50 (est), 48, 47, 44, 42, 29. Sheppard’s best are 81, 67, 61, 60, 50, 49. Even with a boost for McIntyre, Sheppard is a good 50% ahead offensively. That drops a little when you consider he was not a catalyst and earned extra points from elite linemates, but that doesn’t explain all of his spikes.

So, McIntyre, while far from elite, is better suited to a 3rd line, but Sheppard is definitely the better offensive and overall player.

Overall – with two decisive edges to one, Regina should have the more effective third line. (Spokane has more offensive firepower here, but the defensive gap is much, much more significant) It’s also notable that the two biggest physical presences are definitely on Regina’s line – Sundstrom and Conroy – so it is better equipped to defend skillfully or physically.

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