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11-20-2012, 12:28 PM
  #76
overpass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Some data to consider:

Personal even-strength GAA, 1998

defenseman TGA PPGA ESGA ESTOI ES GAA
stevens 71 30 41 1521 1.62
pronger 84 28 56 1721 1.95
nummine 84 38 46 1411 1.96
murphy 73 24 49 1466 2.01
hatcher 62 16 46 1340 2.06
bourque 87 26 61 1695 2.16
zubov 58 13 45 1220 2.21
lidstrom 75 19 56 1459 2.3
niedermayer 71 14 57 1375 2.49
chelios 112 38 74 1643 2.7
macinnis 78 17 61 1235 2.96
svehla 107 36 71 1364 3.12
blake 111 36 75 1427 3.15
leetch 120 25 95 1525 3.74

This shows the personal GAA for each defensemen at even strength (technically I haven't backed out any goals against that the defensemen were on the ice for while on the powerplay - not sure if this is material).

Personal PK GAA, 1998

defenseman TGA PPGA PKTOI PK GAA
lidstrom 75 19 338 3.37
hatcher 62 16 240 4
macinnis 78 17 239 4.27
murphy 73 24 321 4.49
niedermayer 71 14 187 4.49
stevens 71 30 367 4.9
leetch 120 25 305 4.92
zubov 58 13 146 5.34
pronger 84 28 298 5.64
bourque 87 26 273 5.71
chelios 112 38 374 6.1
blake 111 36 325 6.65
nummine 84 38 342 6.67
svehla 107 36 281 7.69

Lidstrom has almost as good a personal GAA while on the penalty kill compared to Blake at even strength! That has to be a big argument in Lidstrom's favour. Let's not blame the difference on goaltending either. At even strength, both teams had virtually the same save percentage (91.9% for LA, 91.7% for Detroit). The Kings' goalies actually have a better save percentage while on the penalty kill (88.7% for the Kings, 88.1% for the Wings). So the huge disparity in their GAAs can't be explained due to goaltending.

I'm results-oriented and it seems clear that Lidstrom was better at keeping the puck out of his team's net, at even-strength (Lidstrom was 27% more effective) and on the PK (49% more effective). As I showed above, the difference in the numbers can't be attributed to goaltending. Can someone make a case that the difference is explained due to their roles (did Blake consistently get tougher defensive assignments?) or teammates (it's clear that Lidstom played on a better team, but does this explain the disparity?)

I'll be honest, for a long time I've rejected the "Lidstrom was robbed of the 1998 Norris" position as revisionist nonsense. Now that I've done some digging, it's clear that Lidstrom has a legitimate claim - he led all defensemen in scoring, was extraordinary on the penalty kill, and played a lot (#5 ice time in the league) on an excellent team. Lidstrom's main weakness was even-strength defense (his personal GAA is mediocre despite playing on an excellent team), but I'm not sure if Blake makes up any ground in this category (it's clear that he falls behind statistically, but I'll keep an open mind in case someone can argue that Blake's teammates are so poor that, after taking the context into account, he actually performed at a higher level than Lidstrom defensively).

Does anybody else have other interpretations?
If icetime and GAA point to Lidstrom over Blake, they may also put Pronger and/or Stevens over Lidstrom, as long as PP contributions aren't a deal-breaker.

One more relevant stat: minor penalties taken. Pronger took 65, Blake took 37, Stevens took 25, Lidstrom took 9. I'd want to see how many were coincidental and how many actually put the team down a man, but it's an advantage for Lidstrom that he could get the results he did while taking so few penalties.

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