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HOH Top 60 Defensemen of All-Time

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Old
12-08-2011, 03:36 PM
  #76
TheDevilMadeMe
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
This is the final list of the top defensemen from all of hockey history, as determined by the History of Hockey community at HFBoards:

NOTE: Please report any errors via PM to TheDevilMadeMe

Top 60 Defensemen of All-Time
RankNo.PlayerHeightWeightBornDiedCareerNationality
14Bobby Orr6'0"1991948 1966-1977;1978-1979Canada
22Doug Harvey5'11"190192419891947-1969Canada
377Raymond Bourque6'0"2191960 1979-2001Canada
42Eddie Shore5'11"194190219851924-1944Canada
55Nicklas Lidström6'2"1901970 1991-PresentSweden
65Denis Potvin6'0"2051953 1973-1988Canada
74Leonard "Red" Kelly6'0"1951927 1947-1967Canada
82Viacheslav Fetisov6'1"2151958 1974-1975;1976-1998Russia
919Larry Robinson6'3"2201951 1972-1992Canada
1024Chris Chelios6'1"1901962 1983-2010USA
1122Brad Park6'0"1901948 1968-1985Canada
127Francis "King" Clancy5'7"155190319861921-1937Canada
137Paul Coffey6'0"2001961 1980-2001Canada
143Pierre Pilote5'10"1781931 1955-1969Canada
156Sprague Cleghorn5'10"190189019561910-1928Canada
1617Earl Seibert6'2'198191119901931-1946Canada
177Tim Horton5'10'180193019741949-1974Canada
182Al MacInnis6'2"2041963 1981-2004Canada
194Scott Stevens6'2"2151964 1982-2004Canada
2044Chris Pronger6'6'2201974 1994-PresentCanada
IN PROGRESS

Interesting to see that out of the top 20 defensemen, not a single one was born between 1931-1948. At first I wondered if we as a group underrate players born during that time, then I realized the time period corresponds almost perfectly with the Great Depression and World War 2.

(You can sort the table by headings such as "birth year.")

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12-08-2011, 05:29 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Interesting to see that out of the top 20 defensemen, not a single one was born between 1931-1948. At first I wondered if we as a group underrate players born during that time, then I realized the time period corresponds almost perfectly with the Great Depression and World War 2.

(You can sort the table by headings such as "birth year.")
As I tried to explain in post #11 in this thread, I think birthyear adds good information. When covering 100+ years of hockey, I think a "timeline" such as birthyear makes things much easier to overlook, plus that it may make it easier to estimate strength of eras (more and more the more players that are added to the table). Whoever/Whatever made you change your mind (it likely wasn't me), it was a change for the better, I think.

I notice the links are sortable. How it is being done is so far beyond me, but I suppose if I want the same effect I just copy the code immediately after "table". ? (I hope I don't break any rule by asking, and I ask here because you mention the table being sortable and I'm pretty sure some think that's good and want to try it themselves when for example posting tables during the discussions.)

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12-08-2011, 05:33 PM
  #78
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I have no idea how to make a sortable table on my own. I just copied the code from the 2009 project.

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12-09-2011, 08:08 AM
  #79
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For comparison purposes, it would be interesting to include a column in the table showing the ranking from the 2008 top 100 list(Defenseman only not overall). It looks like quite a few shifts so far.

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12-11-2011, 01:01 AM
  #80
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Lidstrom was recognized and honored accordingly based on his performance in his early career. Contrary to what some believe, he did not spring from the womb as a fully-formed Norris contender.
Rob Blake was given the Norris ahead of Lidstrom in a situation where voters were basically looking for "anyone but Lidstrom" to give it to. Blake was much worse defensively, and not as productive offensively. The only things he did better were hit and score goals.

As for the "spring from the womb" comment...

Lidstrom was 8th in postseason AS voting in his rookie year. He didn't receive a Norris vote, but that still makes him one third place vote behind Al MacInnis that season. Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias. Lidstrom likely wins the 98 Norris and possibly one or both of 99 and 2000 if there were less "Damn Euros are taking are game" and more "I love hockey, hockey is great!" Not calling anyone or their suit out, but they should know who they are.

Ironically, Lidstrom also suffered from being (post 97) the core of a great team. There was such a feeling about the Wings having "so many good players" that it was as if you could plug in any old 15-point 3rd pairing defenseman and make him a Norris contender, or grab a winger from the beer leagues and put him on your checking line for a Cup run. Actually, scratch that last one.

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12-11-2011, 08:13 AM
  #81
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Lidstrom was 8th in postseason AS voting in his rookie year. He didn't receive a Norris vote, but that still makes him one third place vote behind Al MacInnis that season. Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias. Lidstrom likely wins the 98 Norris and possibly one or both of 99 and 2000 if there were less "Damn Euros are taking are game" and more "I love hockey, hockey is great!" Not calling anyone or their suit out, but they should know who they are.
Are you suggesting 1998 is early in Lidström's career? He was 28 years old and had played 450 games in the NHL.

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12-11-2011, 11:13 AM
  #82
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Rob Blake was given the Norris ahead of Lidstrom in a situation where voters were basically looking for "anyone but Lidstrom" to give it to. Blake was much worse defensively, and not as productive offensively. The only things he did better were hit and score goals.

As for the "spring from the womb" comment...

Lidstrom was 8th in postseason AS voting in his rookie year. He didn't receive a Norris vote, but that still makes him one third place vote behind Al MacInnis that season. Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias. Lidstrom likely wins the 98 Norris and possibly one or both of 99 and 2000 if there were less "Damn Euros are taking are game" and more "I love hockey, hockey is great!" Not calling anyone or their suit out, but they should know who they are.

Ironically, Lidstrom also suffered from being (post 97) the core of a great team. There was such a feeling about the Wings having "so many good players" that it was as if you could plug in any old 15-point 3rd pairing defenseman and make him a Norris contender, or grab a winger from the beer leagues and put him on your checking line for a Cup run. Actually, scratch that last one.
Could you please tell us who some of the voters were you knew personally that exhibited this well-known Euro bias you so matter-of-factly attribute to them?

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12-11-2011, 11:31 AM
  #83
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Could you please tell us who some of the voters were you knew personally that exhibited this well-known Euro bias you so matter-of-factly attribute to them?
I was waiting for this response as it always comes out when the anti Euro opinion comes out.

Sure the OP comments are an opinion that he can't back up, just like 99% of us that don't know any or all the voters, but let's get real here.

Anyone in North American hockey circles and especially Canada is aware of the lingering myth that Swedes are soft yada yada yada.

Heck in Vancouver this is still often recited by loudmouth radio sportscasters about the Sedins in last years final.

The early 90's is 20 years back in the PC revolution that there was still a large segment of voters that grew up with the rockemsockem hockey and the broad street bullies of the 70's. Even some guys who are PC love rough tough Dmen, as we saw in the last thread with the Salming manliness comment.

Agree to disagree as there will always be two sides of the fence on this topic but it's not an unreasonable opinion that Eva puts out there is it?

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12-11-2011, 11:45 AM
  #84
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I was waiting for this response as it always comes out when the anti Euro opinion comes out.

Sure the OP comments are an opinion that he can't back up, just like 99% of us that don't know any or all the voters, but let's get real here.

Anyone in North American hockey circles and especially Canada is aware of the lingering myth that Swedes are soft yada yada yada.

Heck in Vancouver this is still often recited by loudmouth radio sportscasters about the Sedins in last years final.

The early 90's is 20 years back in the PC revolution that there was still a large segment of voters that grew up with the rockemsockem hockey and the broad street bullies of the 70's. Even some guys who are PC love rough tough Dmen, as we saw in the last thread with the Salming manliness comment.

Agree to disagree as there will always be two sides of the fence on this topic but it's not an unreasonable opinion that Eva puts out there is it?
If the OP stated it as his opinion, I would not have responsed.

"Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias." The OP

That is a statement of fact, not opinion.

As for the opinion that Swedes are soft, that does not neccessarily translate into biased voting. I see Salming garnering enough votes to be on 6 post season all-star teams back as far as the Neanderthal '70s. Also see some Euro named Federov winning the Hart Trophy in '94 and Hasek a whole bunch of awards in the 90s.

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12-11-2011, 11:47 AM
  #85
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It's interesting that the following Europeans won awards before Lidstrom won his first Norris:

- Bure won the Calder (1992)
- Fedorov won the Hart (1994) and Selke (1994, 1996)
- Hasek won the Hart (1997, 1998) and Vezina (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999)
- Forsberg won the Calder (1995)
- Samsonov won the Calder (1998)
- Lehtien won the Selke (1998, 1999)
- Jagr won the Hart (1999)
- Kolzig won the Vezina (2000)
- Demitra won the Byng (2000)

All three Hart trophy finalists were European in 1998 (Hasek, Jagr, Selanne) and 1999 (Jagr, Yashin, Hasek), and two out of three were European in 1994 (Fedorov, Hasek, Vanbiesbrouck) and 1995 (Lindros, Jagr, Hasek) and 2000 (Pronger, Jagr, Bure). There was one European finalist in 1997, and none in 1996. Over this period, 13 out of 21 Hart finalists and 4 out of 7 Hart winners were European.

European players had a stranglehold on the RW all-star position from 1993 to 2000 (Jagr x6, Selanne x4, Bure x2, Mogilny x2, all other non-Europeans x2).

Interesting how the anti-European bias apparently only affected Lidstrom.


Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 12-11-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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12-11-2011, 12:09 PM
  #86
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
If the OP stated it as his opinion, I would not have responsed.

"Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias." The OP

That is a statement of fact, not opinion.

As for the opinion that Swedes are soft, that does not neccessarily translate into biased voting. I see Salming garnering enough votes to be on 6 post season all-star teams back as far as the Neanderthal '70s. Also see some Euro named Federov winning the Hart Trophy in '94 and Hasek a whole bunch of awards in the 90s.
You are correct, I was being generous to the OP since the English language has many nuances and subtleties that are often missed.

Salming also played a physical style that would have endeared him more to the "typically" NA voter at the time.

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12-11-2011, 12:15 PM
  #87
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
It's interesting that the following Europeans won awards before Lidstrom won his first Norris:

- Bure won the Calder (1992)
- Fedorov won the Hart (1994) and Selke (1994, 1996)
- Hasek won the Hart (1997, 1998) and Vezina (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999)
- Forsberg won the Calder (1995)
- Samsonov won the Calder (1998)
- Lehtien won the Selke (1998, 1999)
- Jagr won the Hart (1999)
- Kolzig won the Vezina (2000)
- Demitra won the Byng (2000)

All three Hart trophy finalists were European in 1998 (Hasek, Jagr, Selanne) and 1999 (Jagr, Yashin, Hasek), and two out of three were European in 1994 (Fedorov, Hasek, Vanbiesbrouck) and 1995 (Lindros, Jagr, Hasek) and 2000 (Pronger, Jagr, Bure). There was one European finalist in 1997, and none in 1996. Over this period, 13 out of 21 Hart finalists and 4 out of 7 Hart winners were European.

European players had a stranglehold on the RW all-star position from 1993 to 2000 (Jagr x6, Selanne x4, Bure x2, Mogilny x2, all other non-Europeans x2).

Interesting how the anti-European bias apparently only affected Lidstrom.
Look I don't necessarily agree with the OP's anti European opinion but in the above list it's pretty glaring that Dman are missing don't you think?

There is less expectation for the forwards to play a physical game than for Dmen and for goalies it's a non factor.

Maybe it's not so much that Lidstrom was from Sweden but rather his style of play and his supporting cast that influenced voters when it came to the Norris in those years.

also it might be that Eva is a little sensitive about protecting and hyping Detroit players, as evidenced by his Yzerman thread but that's just a guess on my part.

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12-11-2011, 01:20 PM
  #88
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Look I don't necessarily agree with the OP's anti European opinion but in the above list it's pretty glaring that Dman are missing don't you think?

There is less expectation for the forwards to play a physical game than for Dmen and for goalies it's a non factor.

Maybe it's not so much that Lidstrom was from Sweden but rather his style of play and his supporting cast that influenced voters when it came to the Norris in those years.

also it might be that Eva is a little sensitive about protecting and hyping Detroit players, as evidenced by his Yzerman thread but that's just a guess on my part.
My post wasn't intended for you, specifically. I don't think that an objective person could look at the evidence I presented and seriously believe that there's a bias against Europeans when they won so many awards and dominated the voting for the Hart trophy, the most prestigious personal regular season award.

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12-11-2011, 01:29 PM
  #89
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Distribution of defensemen by year



- I used the seasons in the first post in this thread (i.e Bobby Orr's career spans 1966-1979, so he got credit for playing from the 1966-67 season to the 1978-79 season). I haven't taken into accounts "gaps" in players' careers (i.e. Orr did not actually play during 1977-78 season).

- Starting from 1910-1911 (Cleghorn's roookie season), only one year, 1946-47, fails to include a top twenty defenseman.

- Two consecutive seasons (1983-84 and 1984-85) feature nine of the top twenty defensemen (Bourque, Chelios, Coffey, Fetisov, MacInnis, Park, Potvin, Robinson and Stevens).

- Fifteen of the top twenty defenseman (all except Clancy, Cleghorn, Kelly, Seibert and Shore) played at least part of their career after expansion.

More comments/observations welcome.


Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 12-11-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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Old
12-11-2011, 02:21 PM
  #90
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Distribution of defensemen by year



- I used the seasons in the first post in this thread (i.e Bobby Orr's career spans 1966-1979, so he got credit for playing from the 1966-67 season to the 1978-79 season). I haven't taken into accounts "gaps" in players' careers (i.e. Orr did not actually play during 1977-78 season).

- Starting from 1910-1911 (Cleghorn's roookie season), only one year, 1946-47, fails to include a top twenty defenseman.

- Two consecutive seasons (1983-84 and 1984-85) feature nine of the top twenty defensemen (Bourque, Chelios, Coffey, Fetisov, MacInnis, Park, Potvin, Robinson and Stevens).

- Fifteen of the top twenty defenseman (all except Clancy, Cleghorn, Kelly, Seibert and Shore) played at least part of their career after expansion.

More comments/observations welcome.
Seems fairly reasonable, though I think pre-cosolidation defensemen could stand to be more represented as we move along.

The late 70s - early 90s is generally considered a sort of Golden Era for two-way defensemen, as you have players who might have played forward in the past play D instead in the wake of Bobby Orr. And the very recent years are underreprested because active players are still making their legacies.

Curious - what do the numbers look like if you only use Canadians? (which would mean no Lidstrom, Fetisov, or Chelios basically).

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12-11-2011, 03:03 PM
  #91
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Rob Blake was given the Norris ahead of Lidstrom in a situation where voters were basically looking for "anyone but Lidstrom" to give it to. Blake was much worse defensively, and not as productive offensively. The only things he did better were hit and score goals.

As for the "spring from the womb" comment...

Lidstrom was 8th in postseason AS voting in his rookie year. He didn't receive a Norris vote, but that still makes him one third place vote behind Al MacInnis that season. Lidstrom's Norris voting record early in his career has lagged beneath what he earned because of the early 90s anti-Euro bias. Lidstrom likely wins the 98 Norris and possibly one or both of 99 and 2000 if there were less "Damn Euros are taking are game" and more "I love hockey, hockey is great!" Not calling anyone or their suit out, but they should know who they are.

Ironically, Lidstrom also suffered from being (post 97) the core of a great team. There was such a feeling about the Wings having "so many good players" that it was as if you could plug in any old 15-point 3rd pairing defenseman and make him a Norris contender, or grab a winger from the beer leagues and put him on your checking line for a Cup run. Actually, scratch that last one.
Yes, because Lidstrom made SO MANY enemies over his career. His dirty play and terrible attitude probably turned many voters off

Could it have possibly been a case of both players having great years and Blake getting a little extra credit for somehow leading an awful Kings team to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? No, no, no. Surely it must have been a conspiracy.

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12-11-2011, 03:05 PM
  #92
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Curious - what do the numbers look like if you only use Canadians? (which would mean no Lidstrom, Fetisov, or Chelios basically).

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12-11-2011, 04:55 PM
  #93
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Look I don't necessarily agree with the OP's anti European opinion but in the above list it's pretty glaring that Dman are missing don't you think?
.
Ehhh...
Look, I totally see your point and think it really makes sense.
BUT

... Which european D-Men could seriously have won an award before Lidstrom?

I mean... Fetisov wasn't bad, but was never really award-worthy. Gonchar wasn't quite there yet. Konstantinov was pretty solid, but guys who play the game like him usually don't win awards, Zubov was even not worthy of an AST berth in his huge season, and Leetch was better offensively AND defensively than Ozolinsh (actually, offensively superior in 1997 and defensively superior generally speaking, which actuallys says A LOT).

Actually, Ozolinsh was probably the guy who was the closer to the Norris, but if he had won that year, it would probably have been the weakest Norris choice ever and people going for a retrospective analysis would be quick to put an asterisk beside Ozolinsh's award.

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12-11-2011, 06:21 PM
  #94
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Ehhh...
Look, I totally see your point and think it really makes sense.
BUT

... Which european D-Men could seriously have won an award before Lidstrom?
Salming? (After all, he was a runner up. Although I know the posters here have written they considered him pretty far from being best.)

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12-11-2011, 06:22 PM
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Ehhh...
Look, I totally see your point and think it really makes sense.
BUT

... Which european D-Men could seriously have won an award before Lidstrom?

I mean... Fetisov wasn't bad, but was never really award-worthy. Gonchar wasn't quite there yet. Konstantinov was pretty solid, but guys who play the game like him usually don't win awards, Zubov was even not worthy of an AST berth in his huge season, and Leetch was better offensively AND defensively than Ozolinsh (actually, offensively superior in 1997 and defensively superior generally speaking, which actuallys says A LOT).

Actually, Ozolinsh was probably the guy who was the closer to the Norris, but if he had won that year, it would probably have been the weakest Norris choice ever and people going for a retrospective analysis would be quick to put an asterisk beside Ozolinsh's award.
Like I said later on I think it has more to do with his style of play rather than his nationality.

As for individual awards, especially in larger more integrated league, I place more value on guys in the top 3 and 5 in the Norris voting than just the winner. Often there is a hype machine that drives some of the voting patterns and the criteria isn't always obvious to what the voters are voting on as their tendencies have shifted over time.

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12-11-2011, 06:52 PM
  #96
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Salming? (After all, he was a runner up. Although I know the posters here have written they considered him pretty far from being best.)
Ooooops!
I actually did not consider Salming for this -- only guys from the european explosion of the early '90ies, but yeah, Salming could certainly have won it, but I don't think he was robbed of a Norris either.

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12-11-2011, 11:22 PM
  #97
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Distribution of defensemen by year



- I used the seasons in the first post in this thread (i.e Bobby Orr's career spans 1966-1979, so he got credit for playing from the 1966-67 season to the 1978-79 season). I haven't taken into accounts "gaps" in players' careers (i.e. Orr did not actually play during 1977-78 season).

- Starting from 1910-1911 (Cleghorn's roookie season), only one year, 1946-47, fails to include a top twenty defenseman.

- Two consecutive seasons (1983-84 and 1984-85) feature nine of the top twenty defensemen (Bourque, Chelios, Coffey, Fetisov, MacInnis, Park, Potvin, Robinson and Stevens).

- Fifteen of the top twenty defenseman (all except Clancy, Cleghorn, Kelly, Seibert and Shore) played at least part of their career after expansion.

More comments/observations welcome.
And yet some still push us to favour the modern players even more.

A post-WW2 player is 2-3X as likely to be on the top-20 as a pre-WW2 player. And post-expansion is clearly better represented than the O6 era.

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12-12-2011, 12:40 AM
  #98
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And yet some still push us to favour the modern players even more.

A post-WW2 player is 2-3X as likely to be on the top-20 as a pre-WW2 player. And post-expansion is clearly better represented than the O6 era.
See Hockey Outsider's second graph. Other than a brief spike in the 1980s, the representation of Canadians in the project has been fairly constant from the early 50s to the past decade. It's pre-WW2 players that aren't as represented in the Top 20.

Also keep in mind this is just defensemen only - IMO, the quality of forwards in the O6 era was higher than the quality of defensemen relative to post-Bobby Orr times.

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12-15-2011, 06:38 PM
  #99
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Can this graph (or the formula that led to the graph) be easily updated after each round?

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12-15-2011, 06:50 PM
  #100
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Can this graph (or the formula that led to the graph) be easily updated after each round?
If so, I would prefer showing more than one "line", perhaps one in blue (top 1-10/15), one in red (top 1-20/30) and one in green (top 1-40/50/60).

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