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02-02-2013, 02:27 AM
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Country: Canada
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First thing I'd like to illustrate is our depth on defense compared to our opponents.

Leo Reise Sr. is the best defenseman here. His offensive numbers are outstanding, he was incredibly fast and also physical. It looks like he was a bit of a risk-taking rusher, but we have the right partner for him. There is no one on Buffalo who compares to Reise as an all-time player.

Hamhuis and Rolfe are pretty comparable at this point. Similar career length, career team strength, and ice time (Rolfe has a few minutes more but also back then the top-4 tended to play a couple minutes more). Very steady, no nonsense defensive guys who weren't hugely physical and had underwhelming offensive numbers that are actually much more impressive when you realize they were all scored at even strength. Very strong PK numbers as well. The big difference is size. Hamhuis is a bit of a fire hydrant by today's standards. Rolfe was incredibly large for the 1970s. Overall they have about the same value.

Luke Richardson is a poor man's Harold Snepsts. Anyone disagree?

Murphy is actually a better all-around player than Poti, but Poti has the offensive specialist skills we needed.

Back to Snepsts, even O'Donnell, who is on Buffalo's 2nd pairing, doesn't compare very well. At Snepsts' best, he got into two all-star games, anchored a defense to the finals, was named the team's best defenseman that time and 3 others, averaged 23 minutes a game (over 6 years) and was a legitimately feared player. O'Donnell did have a four-year peak where he averaged 22 minutes a game, but he was never spoken of as one of the best of anything in the game, got to the finals as a #6 defenseman, and was obviously never close to the ASG. Also, young Hal Gill, old Don Sweeney, and post-injury Berard were the best players he managed to match from a minutes standpoint. After that, we're talking about guys like McGillis, Boynton, and Leschshyn - hardly strong competition for minutes. Aside from this peak, O'Donnell was almost always a 3rd pairing player.

It just seems that O'Donnell, as an all-time player, is another poor man's Snepsts (though he's better than Richardson, IMO) - and this is Buffalo's 2nd pairing guy compared to our 3rd.

I already said Murphy was better than Poti - he was a very astute late pick. But Poti is better than the other guy on Buffalo's 2nd pairing: Moe Mantha. Poti seemed to be a much more useful player overall, averaging 22.7 minutes a game, for 811 games, for teams that averaged 12% above average. Mantha played just 656 games, averaged 21.5 minutes a game, and played for teams 12% below average. Sounds like a slam dunk. Poti, of course, had his defensive issues for the first 2/3 of his career, but did eventually level off, and Mantha was a pure offensive guy himself. The scouting reports talk about how good he was offensively, particularly on the PP, but defensively, he's "average at best", "nothing to write home about", has trouble applying himself, makes risky passes, weak physically, allows the opposition to camp out in front, etc. Career-wise, I wouldn't give him any sort of defensive edge on Poti. Offensively he does have a peak that looks nice but after considering the era, it's not really better either. From 1984-1987, Mantha had 99 adjusted ESP and 78 adjusted PPP in 283 games. In Poti's best 4 years, he had 102 and 89 in 305 games. Per-game, this is pretty much even, with the edge to Poti for doing this over more games, plus he had more seasons as a good puck mover in addition to those four.

So the guys on our 3rd pairing are better than guys on their 1st, 2nd and 3rd pairings, we have a guy they can't match with any player and the other 1st pairing players are a wash. Pretty clearly a far superior defensive corps. I haven't even talked about Lidster and Hardy, two 23-minute, 900 game players who had decent offensive peaks, Lidster being the nimble, quiet, nonphysical guy who anchored a top defensive team for a few years, Hardy being the highly physical, shot-blocking meat and potatoes kind of guy. Gord Murphy, more or less, is the answer to Lidster, but who's the answer for Hardy?

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