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07-30-2014, 11:27 PM
Hockey Outsider
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I think "rank vs all Canadians" is an interesting and useful cross-era starting point. Here's an excerpt from a post I did in January:

2. Scoring ranking compared to Canadian players

This is an indirect method of taking into account the fact that Jagr played against a larger talent pool in a larger league. For those curious, there were no adjustments to any of the rankings for Howe, Beliveau, Hull or Esposito (let me know if I missed anything that should have been adjusted). Jagr's "Canadian only" rankings are as follows: 6th (1994), 1st (1995), 2nd (1996), 4th (1997), 1st (1998), 1st (1999), 1st (2000), 1st (2001), 3rd (2002), 8th (2003), 7th (2004), 2nd (2006), 7th (2007).

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Howe 6 1 5 3 5 1
Esposito 5 3 1 1
Jagr 5 2 1 1 1 2 1
Hull 3 3 1 1 1 1 1
Beliveau 1 2 4 1 1 2 1

1. Howe: clearly in a class above the rest. He has more than twice as many top five finishes as any other player! Any way you analyze the data (Art Ross trophies, top three finishes, top ten finishes) Mr. Hockey is no worse than tied for first in any category (EDIT: I realized he's actually tied for second in top two finishes, but otherwise this statement is accurate).
2. Jagr: the great Czech fares very well according to this metric. He's second in number of top five and top ten finishes.
3. Esposito: surprisingly poor longevity (the fewest top ten rankings in the group), but I rank him ahead of the others because it's hard to overlook 8 top-twp finishes. We'll get to teammate context later.
4. Hull: very similar numbers to the great Hab, but gets the edge due to having a more dominating performance over his best years (6 top two finishes compared to 3).
5. Beliveau: see above.

Jagr makes up some ground compared to using the "unadjusted" (official) scoring results, but Mr. Hockey is still ahead, regardless of if you're looking at wins, top threes, top fives or top tens. (They are tied for top twos though).

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