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10-27-2012, 09:39 AM
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I've compared Gretzky's 92 to Howe's 49.

Howe scored .23% of the .22% that the top 5% scored in his season.
Gretzky achieved .066% of the .21% that the top 5% scored in his season.

Howe scored .14% of the .35% that his top 10% peers acieved.
Gretzky scored .038% of the .36% that his top 10% peers achieved.

92 gs is the gold standard of a single season but clearly Howe was much more dominant against his peers. It has been pointed out that using percentages would see odd numbers as the number of players decreased. But that is the nature of outliers. This just shows how (likely) impossible it is to state that player x would score y goals in season z.

Howe's production compared to his peers was equivalent to scoring 540 goals within the top 5% in Gretzky's season. While Gretzky's production compared to the top 5% of peers is worth 14 goals in Howe's season.

Of course the top 5% is only about 7-8 players in Howe's era and 31 in Gretzky's. But adding more players so both are compared to about 1.5 players per team doesn't do much considering Howe scored .049% of a group representing 70% of his peers. Gretzky scored .013.

One should also notice how the percentage of goals scored by each grouping is pretty consistant across the eras. 70% of the players scored 99% of the goals in each era.

In Howe's season nobody scored at a pace of half a goal a game. In Gretzky's season I stopped counting around 30, about 5%. The same as 7 players in Howe's era.

This dominance cannot be quantified and converted to reasonable looking values in other seasons. 65 goals is only realistic if his peers (every NHL player ever?) all scored less than 45 I'd guess. Number 65 does not in any way capture just what Howe did that year.

Compared to the number 2 scorer, Howe scored just over 50% more goals while Gretzky scored slightly less than. An argument for making the sample size smaller maybe but Howe still outperforms compared to peers.

I can certainly see why people would want to normalize the data to bring these outlying numbers into a more reasonable range but that approach has been discredited.

The magnitude of Howe's performance just serves to prove that even more. A single outlier can have a huge impact on averaging. Every player in his season must see their gs increase thanks to him. Haven't even looked at goalies or the impact of scheduling.

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