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11-01-2012, 01:38 AM
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The big problem with adjusted stats as HR does them is as has been noted; the fact that scoring differences are not linear.

In the 80s, depth players increased far more than top players. But top players were far more responsible for a team's success than nowadays.

A great example? The 85-86 Oilers vs. The 85-86 Maple Leafs.

Take off the top four scoring forwards and the top defenseman. Which team has the better roster, skater-wise, at that point? Toronto does. Interesting, isn't it?

Now let's look at last season and perform the same task. The Oilers were 1st overall, so we'll use the Canucks. The Leafs were 19th of 21, which translates to about 27th of 30; that's the Islanders.

Taking away the top four scoring forwards and top scoring defenseman, the remaining roster for each team features the following 20+ point players plus goaltender tandem:

F Chris Higgins
F Jannik Hansen
F David Booth
F Mason Raymond
D Dan Hamhuis
D Kevin Bieksa
D Sami Salo

F Kyle Okposo
F Michael Grabner
F Josh Bailey
D Travis Hamonic

That's really not even close. Islanders win by a small margin on forwards... but Vancouver's D and goaltending absolutely decimates New York. If you add in "remove starting goaltender" to the comparison, the '86 Oilers still have Moog and the Canucks still have Schneider. The Isles would be down to Al Montoya. The '86 Leafs would be reduced from Don Edwards to a young Ken Wregget.

Star players had far more of an influence in the 80s than they do now. That's why people talk about "diluted talent pool" and such. It's not diluted; it's overflowing. The percentage of Canadian players has dropped from 95% to 55%, while the number of teams has risen by nine. That means that there are fewer Canadians in the league than there were even though there are more teams.

3rd liners and 3/4 tweeners from the 80s would struggle to make the league now. 4th liners would be career AHLers. And with the shift to skill over brawn, you see more skilled players sticking on lower lines - teams using the DRW model of two-way skill as the number one priority.

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