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05-22-2013, 07:41 AM
  #43
Crease
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Originally Posted by Cake or Death View Post
Regarding O'Connor, he did have two top 10 playoff scoring finishes in his 4 seasons here. And it seems worth noting that all three of him, Raleigh, and Laprade were top 10 point guys in the 1950 playoffs and lost the Cup in a game 7 double OT. When you have the craptastic Cup history we do, losing a game 7 in double OT seems worth mentioning. And scoring-wise at least, O'Connor's held his own playing his last four seasons here against prime Raleigh and Laprade, playing more games and scoring more points than the latter two:

PlayerGPGlsAsstPtsPPGPO GP GlsAsstPts
O’Connor238621021640.69185611
Raleigh22752821350.59186511
Laprade21763811440.66184913

Not earth shattering, but also not often that we can look at three guys we're comparing when they were all playing at the same time.
Interesting. We should be careful of using "Top 10" finishes here, because in the Original Six era, only four teams qualified for the playoffs. Less competition. Easier to be a top-10 point-getter then, say, Gretzky, who competed against players from 16 teams in 1997 playoffs. I started to see a lot of parallels between the Ranger versions of Gretzky and O'Connor: Guys in the twilight of their career. One big playoff run. So I looked closer.

This table summarizes regular season performance, by year. Included is where the player ranked on the Rangers in points, where the player ranked in the NHL in points, and the percentile ranking in the league (which adjusts for league size).

Year Player Age Adj G Adj A Adj P Team Rank League Rank Percentile
1947-48 Buddy O'Connor 31 31 56 87 1 2 98th
1948-49 Buddy O'Connor 32 15 40 55 1 23 82nd
1949-50 Buddy O'Connor 33 13 31 44 6 37 75th
1950-51 Buddy O'Connor 34 20 29 49 3 26 83rd
1996-97 Wayne Gretzky 36 26 75 101 1 5 99th
1997-98 Wayne Gretzky 37 26 77 103 1 4 99th
1998-99 Wayne Gretzky 38 10 60 70 1 36 96th

O'Conner led the Rangers in points in two of four seasons. In 1947-48, he outscored the second best Ranger by 28%. In 1948-49, he outscored the second best Ranger by 13%.

Gretzky led the Rangers in points in three of three seasons. By 15%, 45%, and 13% respectively.

O'Connor finished 2nd overall in points in 1947-48. Gretzky finished 4th and 5th in seasons with 5x more players. How important do we want to make league size here? 37th in points in 1949-50 meant you were just about better than 75% of the league. 36th in points in 1998-99 meant you were just about better than 96% of the league.

Let's get back to the playoffs, because that appears to be the strongest aspect of O'Connor's Rangers resume. O'Connor had two runs: 1948 and 1950. Gretzky had one run: 1997. The table below summarizes the three runs, using real points because Hockey Reference doesn't provide adjusted points for the playoffs. Included is where the player ranked on the Rangers in points and where the player ranked in the NHL in points.

Year Player GP G A P Team Rank League Rank
1948 Buddy O'Connor 6 1 4 5 T-1 T-10
1950 Buddy O'Connor 12 4 2 6 T-6 T-10
1997 Wayne Gretzky 20 10 10 20 1 T-7

O'Connor was tied for 1st on the Rangers in playoff points in 1948. Tied for 10th for all players involved in the playoffs. A couple of things to note: Four teams make the playoffs, so less competition than Gretzky to get into the top 10. However, he did finish top 10 despite not reaching the finals, which 8 of 9 guys in front of him did.

Gretzky was far and away the Rangers best player in the 1997 playoffs. He outscored the second best Ranger by 67%. He finished tied for 7th in scoring in the playoffs despite not reaching the finals. This is a snapshot of the point leaderboard (including Gretzky) at the end of the 3rd round when the Rangers were eliminated:

Player Age GP G A P
Sakic 27 17 8 17 25
Lindros 23 15 11 12 23
Lemieux 31 17 13 10 23
Kamensky 30 17 8 14 22
Gretzky 36 15 10 10 20
Leclair 27 15 7 11 18
Brind'Amour 26 15 10 7 17
Fedorov 27 16 5 9 14

Leclair and Brind'Amour leapfrogged Gretzky during the finals. Fedorov finished tied with him.

O'Connor was pretty much a given for the top 10 when this project started. Gretzky not. So do we have O'Connor too high? Or Gretzky too low?


Last edited by Crease: 05-22-2013 at 10:17 AM.
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