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05-19-2013, 08:10 AM
I voted for Kodos
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BBS has talked about scoringline forwards a lot, which is great for him because that's where Pittsburgh focused in the draft, and that's where they hold the advantage in this matchup. On the other side of the coin, Montreal's defense is easily the better unit. I'm not going to go into a deep comparison between Ray Bourque and Brian Leetch. Suffice it to say, Bourque is probably a bit better offensively, and much, much better defensively. Ultimately, I think the skaters on the respective top units here match up very evenly:

- Bourque is clearly better than Leetch
- Beliveau is clearly better than Boucher
- Jackson - Mikhailov are a bit better than Olmstead - Bathgate
- Kasatonov is a bit better than Coulter

As far as I can tell, the first units here are a toss-up.


It ends up being much the same on the 2nd units. Schriner is the best forward on either unit, and therein lies the AC's advantage, but Thomson - Mortson are clearly better than Stapleton - Beck. I'll go into the comparison of defensemen in a little more depth here:

Jimmy Thomson:

All-star placements: 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6* [1952 ASG]
Scoring [defensemen]: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Pat Stapleton:

All-star placements: 4, 4, 4, 7, 8
Scoring [defensemen]: 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 9

WHA Best Defenseman x 1


Note that I ignore the following AST voting finishes for Stapleton: 12th (1969), 13th (1968), 13th (1973). In none of these seasons, did Stapleton get as many as 10 points in the end of seasons voting, and 10 is probably the correct threshold to use for Whitey's era. These were essentially "token" vote finishes, and Thomson has a couple of those, as well, in spite of playing in an era with shallower voting records, overall. Winning the best defenseman award in the WHA does add something to Stapleton's career, IMO, though how exactly that should be translated into an NHL all-star voting finish is beyond me. At any rate, I think it's pretty clear that Jimmy Thomson had a somewhat better on-paper career. As far as intangibles go, both men were strong puckmovers, but Thomson was by far the more physical player. Stapleton was a top pairing defenseman on an excellent regular season team, while Thomson was the #1 defenseman on a dynasty. I don't want to belabor the point because I like Pat Stapleton, but Jimmy Thomson is pretty clearly the better player here.

Mortson vs. Beck is similarly in Montreal's favor. A quick breakdown:


All-star placements: 1, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9
Scoring [defensemen]: 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10


All-star placements: 5, 6, 6, 8, 9


In spite of Mortson's seeming on-paper advantage in terms of all-star placements, I think their respective top-5 seasons are probably about equal. Mortson was the best defenseman in the league one season, but Beck competed in a much tougher era, and has really been underrated around here for some time. I placed them one tier apart in my list some time ago, and I'll stand by that assessment now. Mortson's main advantage on Beck is that he has better longevity as an impact player.

Assessing the second units as a whole, it looks like another saw-off to me.

- Schriner is better than Balderis
- Roenick and Kapustin are about equal to Morris and Larmer
- Thomson and Mortson are better than Stapleton and Beck


These teams look very evenly matched among the skaters at even strength down through the top-2 units. There are small advantages on either side, but neither team is clearly superior to the other, overall.

Last edited by Sturminator: 05-19-2013 at 02:03 PM.
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