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Round 2, Vote 12 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
02-06-2012, 07:21 PM
  #1
TheDevilMadeMe
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Round 2, Vote 12 (HOH Top Defensemen)

Before we begin, just a recap on how Round 2 will operate:

Round 2
  • The top ranked players from the aggregate list will be posted in a thread
  • Players will be listed in alphabetical order to avoid creating bias
  • Voters will rank their top 10 of the available defensemen
  • Final results will be posted and the top 5 vote getters will be added to the final list in order.
  • The process will be repeated for the next 5 places with remaining players until a list of 60 players is obtained
These might be tweaked to allow longer or shorter debating periods depending on how the process moves along.

Additionally, there are a couple guidelines we'd ask that everyone agree to abide by:
  • Please try to stay on-topic in the thread
  • Please remember that this is a debate on opinions and there is no right or wrong. Please try to avoid words like "stupid" "dumb" "wrong" "sophistry" etc. when debating.
  • Please treat other debaters with respect
  • Please don't be a wallflower. All eligible voters are VERY HIGHLY encouraged to be active participants in the debate.
  • Please maintain an open mind. The purpose of the debate is to convince others that your views are more valid. If nobody is willing to accept their opinions as flexible there really is no point in debating.
Eliglible Voters (23):
BiLLYShOE1721; Canadiens1958; chaosrevolver; DaveG; Dennis Bonvie; Der Kaiser; Dreakmur; Epsilon; Hardyvan123; Hawkey Town 18; Hockey Outsider; intylerwetrust; JaysCyYoung; McNuts; MXD; overpass; pappyline; reckoning; seventieslord; TheDevilMadeMe; tarheelhockey; tony D; VanIslander

All posters are encouraged to participate in the debates and discussions, but only those listed above will be eligible for the final votes.

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02-06-2012, 07:28 PM
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Vote 11 will begin now. Votes must be submitted between 3PM EST on Tuesday 2/14/12 and 6PM on Thursday 2/16/12. Votes received outside this time frame will not be accepted unless you make prior arrangements with me via PM. Voting will run until the deadline or until all voters have sent their vote in, whichever comes first. THESE DEADLINES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE SO PLEASE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE THREAD.

Please PM me your votes during the above timeframe.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 10 OUT OF THE POOL OF ELIGIBLE PLAYERS.

Vote 21 will be for places 56 through 60 on the Top 60 list.

Here are the candidates, listed alphabetically:

Harry Cameron
Hap Day
Fern Flaman
Mike Grant
Phil Housley
Harry Howell
Vladimir Konstantinov
Vladimir Lutchenko
Sylvio Mantha
Frantisek Pospisil
Babe Pratt
Harvey Pulford
Alexander Ragulin
Allan Stanley
Pat Stapleton
Bill White
Sergei Zubov

Please note that you are voting for your top 10 of the 17 available candidates.


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02-06-2012, 07:35 PM
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seventieslord
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cue the "OMGZ Housley had so many points lets vote him in"

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02-06-2012, 07:35 PM
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Lots of interesting names up for consideration this round.

Pospisil is a strong candidate to jump right into my top 5, and I'm almost certainly going to rank him ahead of Ragulin. I'm also looking forward to hearing a few people make the case for Mike Grant.

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02-06-2012, 07:50 PM
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Norris/All Star voting records:

Parenthesis indicated range of consideration. Note that when Norris votes aren't available, I'm using all-star votes indicated by italics. Mike Grant, Harvey Pulford, Alexander Ragulin, Frantisek Pospisil, and Vladimir Lutchenko never played in the NHL and are not included. Harry Cameron retired from the NHL in 1923, before the Hart Trophy was awarded, so he is not included.


Sylvio Mantha (1929-1934): 2nd^, 3rd, 4th, 7th
^2nd in Hart voting among dmen in 1929

Hap Day (1931-1935): 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th*
(Note that we don't have much beyond the top 2-4 Hart getters from 1923-1930).

Babe Pratt (1940-1947): 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 8th

Fern Flaman (1955-1959): 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th
Allan Stanley (1956-1968): 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 8th, 8th, 10th, 12th**
Harry Howell (1956-1968): 1st, 5th, 6th, 6th, 9th, 9th, 10th

Pat Stapleton (1966-1972): 3rd, 4th, 4th, 7th, 10th (plus 1st, 3/4 in the WHA)***
Bill White (1968-1974): 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 7th, 7th, 9th

Phil Housley (1985-1999): 3rd, 5th, 5th, 5th, 9th, 10th

Sergei Zubov (1994, 2000-2007): 3rd, 4th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th

Vladimir Konstantinov (1996-1997): 2nd, 4th****

*Hap Day was 6th in Hart voting in 1924-25 as a left wing. We don't have records of him having any high Hart votes as a defenseman before joining the NHL.

**Stanley actually finished 3rd in All Star voting when he was 7th in Norris voting. It his very unusual for the difference to be that high. He was a 2nd Team All Star 3 times.

***Stapleton jumped to the WHA, where he won the Dennis A Murphy Trophy for best defenseman and was a 1st Team All Star and 2nd Team All Star once each.

****Konstantinov only received Norris votes during two seasons. In 1997, 2nd-5th were only seperated by a few points well behind 1st place Leetch; Vlad finished 2nd in Norris voting, but was a 2nd Team All Star. In 1996, he was 4th in Norris voting but barely missed out on being a 2nd Team All Star. He was also Soviet League All Star in 1990 and 1991.

Obsevations:
  • Babe Pratt's two All Star nods (represented as 1st and 3rd above) were in 1944 and 1945, the two really War depleted years
  • Fern Flaman has a very impressive 5 year run, but got no consideration outside that run.
  • Sergei Zubov had a spectacular offensive season in 1993-94 - he finished 4th in Norris voting but missed out on being a second team All Star. His defense was very poor at this point and his teammate Brian Leetch (who Zubov outscored) was a 2nd Team All Star. Zubov regularly got a handful of All Star votes again starting in 2000 and had the best season of his career in 2006.

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02-06-2012, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
cue the "OMGZ Housley had so many points lets vote him in"
Lead the way.

Seriously though it's not like all the guys in so far were defensive wizards either and scoring is part of hockey even from the back end.

Given the treatment Zubov got last round no doubt Housley will lead the "he definitely isn't in my top 60 list" that has gained popularity in the last few rounds form some posters including myslef.

Honestly though there a good h2h case between Howell, Stapleton and Housely and maybe Cameron and Pratt as well.

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02-06-2012, 07:56 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
cue the "OMGZ Housley had so many points lets vote him in"
Phil Housley is a perfect example of a guy whose Norris votes were entirely stat-driven. I can't wait for overpass's stats, but I'm pretty sure they'll show that Housley was rarely a top 2 defenseman at even strength (and if he was a top 2 defenseman, the team pretty much was terrible). And I know he effectively never penalty killed.

IMO, Housley is up for consideration largely because he played in the 80s and early 90s and had the chance to put up great raw numbers. Other offense-only defensemen like Flash Hollett and Sergei Gonchar play in lower scoring eras and don't have the raw stats, but were arguably as good (at least with Gonchar, I think he was better than Housley).

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02-06-2012, 08:00 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Phil Housley is a perfect example of a guy whose Norris votes were entirely stat-driven. I can't wait for overpass's stats, but I'm pretty sure they'll show that Housley was rarely a top 2 defenseman at even strength (and if he was a top 2 defenseman, the team pretty much was terrible). And I know he effectively never penalty killed.

IMO, Housley is up for consideration largely because he played in the 80s and early 90s and had the chance to put up great raw numbers. Other offense-only defensemen like Flash Hollett and Sergei Gonchar play in lower scoring eras and don't have the raw stats, but were arguably as good (at least with Gonchar, I think he was better than Housley).
Do you mean Gonchar was better all-around or better offensively?

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02-06-2012, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
cue the "OMGZ Housley had so many points lets vote him in"
I'm glad Housley has come up for voting. We really should discuss him, whatever the outcome.

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02-06-2012, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epsilon View Post
Lots of interesting names up for consideration this round.

Pospisil is a strong candidate to jump right into my top 5, and I'm almost certainly going to rank him ahead of Ragulin. I'm also looking forward to hearing a few people make the case for Mike Grant.
Pospisil enters this round #1 on my list. The more I looked at European defensemen this project, the more he stood out.

The captain and the best defenseman on the Czechoslovakian national team in the 1970s when they won 3 World Champinships over the Soviet Red Machine. The only defenseman of the era other than Vasiliev to win Best Defenseman at the World Championships more than once; also the only defenseman of the era other than Vasliev to be on a WC All Star team more than once (Pospisil did this one 3 times).

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02-06-2012, 08:02 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Lead the way.

Seriously though it's not like all the guys in so far were defensive wizards either and scoring is part of hockey even from the back end.

Given the treatment Zubov got last round no doubt Housley will lead the "he definitely isn't in my top 60 list" that has gained popularity in the last few rounds form some posters including myslef.

Honestly though there a good h2h case between Howell, Stapleton and Housely and maybe Cameron and Pratt as well.
Let me be first to say he was in my top 60 list.

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02-06-2012, 08:02 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Do you mean Gonchar was better all-around or better offensively?
Equal offensively, better all-round. Not that Gonchar was an all-rounder, but for a few years in Pittsburgh, he was pretty good in his own end. Housley is one of those rare cases of a defenseman who never seemed to get better in his own zone even as he aged.

Gonchar is more accomplished in the playoffs too.

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02-06-2012, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Do you mean Gonchar was better all-around or better offensively?
This is going to sound kind of wishy-washy but my gut instinct (for whatever that's worth, which is probably not much) is that Gonchar was more of an "impact player" than Housley. Regardless of whatever the numbers say, from years of watching both I felt like Gonchar was the more likely of the two to really take over a game, be one of his teams key contributors in a big win, and so on. Whereas Housley compiled a lot more "meaningless" points, Gonchar was a scarier player to go up against if you were a fan of the team he was opposing.

I know that's almost entirely opinion/feeling-driven reasoning and probably has holes in it so big you can drive a truck through them, but that's one argument I can see for Gonchar over Housley.

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02-06-2012, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Equal offensively, better all-round. Not that Gonchar was an all-rounder, but for a few years in Pittsburgh, he was pretty good in his own end. Housley is one of those rare cases of a defenseman who never seemed to get better in his own zone even as he aged.

Gonchar is more accomplished in the playoffs too.
I agree that Gonchar was better all-around.

But to me Housley was clearly better offensively.

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02-06-2012, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Epsilon View Post
This is going to sound kind of wishy-washy but my gut instinct (for whatever that's worth, which is probably not much) is that Gonchar was more of an "impact player" than Housley. Regardless of whatever the numbers say, from years of watching both I felt like Gonchar was the more likely of the two to really take over a game, be one of his teams key contributors in a big win, and so on. Whereas Housley compiled a lot more "meaningless" points, Gonchar was a scarier player to go up against if you were a fan of the team he was opposing.

I know that's almost entirely opinion/feeling-driven reasoning and probably has holes in it so big you can drive a truck through them, but that's one argument I can see for Gonchar over Housley.
I understand that instinct.

The one thing that's a negative result of that is Gonchar had a tendency to try for the home run too much. He'd stay out for longer shifts than he should have and really put his team in a hole because of it.

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02-06-2012, 08:39 PM
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A bit disappointed that Herb Gardiner didn't make it --- though he should've deserved a look, considering the guys that are available and the ones that made it (yeah, looking at you, Babe Siebert) ... and considering the fact he'd be the tentative 3rd on my list for this round.

But... damn, I completely forgot Hap Day actually existed.

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02-06-2012, 08:49 PM
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A bit disappointed that Herb Gardiner didn't make it --- though he should've deserved a look, considering the guys that are available and the ones that made it (yeah, looking at you, Babe Siebert) ... and considering the fact he'd be the tentative 3rd on my list for this round.

But... damn, I completely forgot Hap Day actually existed.
I also expected to see Gardiner on the ballot

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02-06-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally I had Bill White and Pat Stapleton in my top sixty, but I'm not sure why. Do either of them have a case for the top sixty?

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02-06-2012, 09:12 PM
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Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


Stapleton, Konstantinov, and Zubov stats and commentary are a repeat. Housley and White's info is new.

Career Stats
Player Start year End year GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Pat Stapleton 1968 1973 420 51% 1.38 1.22 38 18 67% 1.03 44% 0.84
Bill White 1968 1976 604 49% 1.24 1.05 29 10 44% 0.94 65% 0.88
Phil Housley 1983 2003 1495 38% 1.06 0.97 35 33 84% 1.01 11% 0.95
Vladimir Konstantinov 1992 1997 446 35% 1.56 1.29 29 4 13% 1.21 41% 0.76
Sergei Zubov 1993 2009 1068 42% 1.25 1.13 33 34 82% 1.14 33% 0.86

Prime Stats
Player Start year End year GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Pat Stapleton 1969 1972 278 53% 1.51 1.33 41 22 79% 1.02 49% 0.80
Bill White 1970 1974 345 48% 1.48 1.29 30 9 39% 1.07 73% 0.78
Phil Housley 1987 1996 686 42% 1.07 0.95 41 35 87% 1.03 16% 0.98
Vladimir Konstantinov 1996 1997 158 36% 2.31 1.14 32 8 22% 1.23 43% 0.62
Sergei Zubov 1998 2007 705 41% 1.25 1.16 29 35 84% 1.14 41% 0.85

Stats Glossary
EV%: The percentage of the team’s even-strength goals the player was on the ice for, on a per-game basis.

R-ON: The team’s GF/GA ratio while the player is on the ice at even strength.

R-OFF: The team’s GF/GA ratio while the player is off the ice at even strength.

$ESP/S: Even strength points per season, adjusted to a 200 ESG per team-season scoring level.

$PPP/S: Power play points per season, adjusted to a 70 PPG per team-season scoring level and a league-average number of power play opportunities.

PP%: The percentage of the team’s power play goals for which the player was on the ice.

TmPP+: The strength of the player’s team on the power play. 1.00 is average, higher is better.

SH%: The percentage of the team’s power play goals against for which the player was on the ice.

TmSH+: The strength of the player’s team on the penalty kill. 1.00 is average, lower is better.


What does it all mean?

Pat Stapleton played 215 NHL games before expansion, and 372 games in the WHA. Those stats are not included here. He finished 3rd in Norris voting in 1965-66, so that year should ideally be included in his prime. That said, in the NHL stats I have, he shows a clear peak from 68-69 to 71-72.

Stapleton played huge minutes in his prime years, as you can tell from the usage statistics. This was more common at the time, as teams were still using four or five regular defencemen, not six, and Stapleton and his fellow defencemen were just starting to be used more on the power play. But even considering the era, Stapleton probably played as many minutes as any player in the league.

He was a tremendous skater and an effective puck mover, putting up a lot of points at even strength. He was also used on the power play and penalty kill extensively in his prime years, starting in 1968-69, when he stepped into Pierre Pilote's old role as Chicago's #1 defenceman.

Drawbacks? Well, he wasn't on either top special teams unit prior to 1968-69 - maybe a similar situation to Scott Niedermayer on the Devils? And his numbers started dropping off in 1972-73 before he went to the WHA, although he did score 10 goals that year.

Important to remember that is was easier for stars to put up good numbers in some of these stats in the 1970s, especially team based stats, because of the lack of parity.

Bill White was an outstanding defensive defenceman who still had respectable offensive skills. He played big minutes on a very strong Chicago team in the early 1970s, especially on the penalty kill.

Even after considering that the best defencemen were able to play more minutes in the 1970s (longer shifts, 5 defencemen instead of 6 as the norm, and less parity), White must be considered one of the best penalty-killing defencemen ever, in my opinion.

Phil Housley was an extreme offensive defenceman. Great offensively, not-so-great defensively.

He played some centre in his first two years in Buffalo, and in the following two years was a bit of a power-play specialist, playing bottom-pairing minutes at even strength. He had a solid 10-year prime as one of the top scoring defencemen in the league before his scoring numbers dropped off to the 40-50 point level.

Very few defencemen played more than Housley on the power play. Here are the leading defencemen in career PP%, minimum 1000 GP post-expansion.

Player GP PP%
Ray Bourque 1612 87%
Brian Leetch 1205 87%
Denis Potvin 1060 86%
Al MacInnis 1416 86%
Phil Housley 1495 84%

And very few established NHL defencemen played less time on the penalty kill. Here are the 1000 GP post-expansion defencemen with the lowest SH%.

Player GP SH%
Phil Housley 1495 11%
Sergei Gonchar 1058 21%
Fredrik Olausson 1022 22%
Petr Svoboda 1047 25%
Ed Jovanovski 1019 25%

His special teams numbers are interesting not only in and of themselves, but also because they give an idea of what type of player he was.

But I have to give him credit - among post-1980 defencemen, only Coffey, Bourque, and Leetch had better adjusted even-strength points in their prime. On the power play, Housley's numbers were behind Coffey, Bourque, Leetch, Lidstrom, and Gonchar, and similar to Reinhart, Suter, Pronger, Zubov, Markov, and Boyle. Was Housley (relatively) better at even-strength scoring because he traded defence for offence more than others? Or because his power play teammates weren't as good?

Vladimir Konstantinov is a hard player to rank. Short career, and he played in a bit of an extreme team situation.

I've isolated his 95-96 and 96-97 seasons as his peak. But his usage numbers in those seasons are pretty similar to the rest of his career - the main difference is that his plus-minus skyrocketed. A sudden change like that makes me wonder if was a change in the team situation or context. Did playing with the Russian Five make a big difference?

Konstantinov probably could have played a larger role on the power play and scored more points on a weaker team, but that wasn't necessary on a stacked Detroit team. He also had some seasons in Russia that are not included here.

Sergei Zubov was a very good offensive defenceman for a long time. He went from being poor defensively to being a useful defender later in his career, and was a plus defender under post-lockout rules when skating ability became more important than size and strength.

But he never really had a big season where he was a legitimate Norris contender.


Last edited by overpass: 02-07-2012 at 11:07 PM.
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02-06-2012, 09:52 PM
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What did Phil Housley do when he wasn't scoring points?

Here's a rough look to answer that question.

From Housley's prime years (1986-87 to 1995-96), I selected all defencemen who had at least 600 GP (Housley had 686), had an R-OFF of 0.85 to 1.05 (to minimize team effects, Housley had 0.95) and scored at least 10 adjusted power play points per season and 20 adjusted even strength points per season (to leave out defensive d-men who aren't really comparable.)

Then I calculated their adjusted ESGF and adjusted ESGA per season - and then calculated their adjusted ESGF minus their adjusted even-strength points. So we have a record of the goals for which they were on the ice and did not score a point on, both for and against.

The results:
Player GP $ESGF/S $ESP/S Diff $ESGA/S Ratio R-OFF
Ray Bourque 726 101 45 56 71 0.79 0.90
Larry Murphy 763 94 36 59 76 0.77 1.00
James Patrick 694 69 25 44 60 0.74 1.00
Calle Johansson 645 67 22 45 63 0.71 1.05
Steve Duchesne 687 88 37 51 73 0.70 0.97
Dave Ellett 705 74 21 53 77 0.69 0.86
Garry Galley 691 70 25 44 66 0.68 1.02
Jeff Brown 678 71 27 44 70 0.62 0.89
Al Iafrate 607 84 33 51 88 0.59 0.96
Michel Petit 610 70 22 48 83 0.57 0.86
Phil Housley 686 85 41 44 79 0.56 0.95

OK, it's a bit of a junk stat in that it doesn't have an inherent meaning, but it shows that Phil Housley did very little when he wasn't scoring points. His ratio of non-point GF to all GA was the worst of any comparable d-man, most similar to Michel Petit (who played for 10 different NHL teams) and Al "Wild Thing" Iafrate.

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02-06-2012, 10:32 PM
  #21
Hardyvan123
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Let me be first to say he was in my top 60 list.
I know that he was in my top 80 but no idea where I had him since I'm not referring back to my list until after this is over.

I know that he was pretty one dimensional but so are some of the D first guys of the past as well and he played fro an awfully long time.

His value or placement on this list is not the worst of this group, not sure where he belongs yet.

Does anyone prefer Howell over him and why?

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02-06-2012, 10:41 PM
  #22
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Here's an attempt at contextualizing the offensive output of Housley, Zubov and Gonchar.

The charts below show the % of their team's overall offense that they contributed each season. For the sake of clarity I included only complete or relatively-complete (ie, 70+ games) seasons and those in which they played for only one team.

Note that all numbers below are raw and unadjusted. I bolded the top-10 single seasons.

Phil Housley

Season Team GP Points Team Goals %
1982-83 BUF 77 66 318 20.8
1983-84 BUF 75 77 315 24.4
1984-85 BUF 73 69 290 23.8
1985-86 BUF 79 62 296 20.1
1986-87 BUF 78 67 280 23.9
1987-88 BUF 74 66 283 23.3
1988-89 BUF 72 70 291 24.1
1989-90 BUF 80 81 286 28.3
1990-91 WIN 78 76 260 29.2
1991-92 WIN 74 86 251 34.2
1992-93 WIN 80 97 251 38.6
1994-95 CGY 43 43 163 26.4
1996-97 WSH 77 40 214 18.7
1998-99 CGY 79 54 211 26.0
1999-00 CGY 78 55 211 26.1
2001-02 CHI 80 39 216 18.1
TOTAL TOT 1197 1048 4136 25.3

Sergei Zubov

Season Team GP Points Team Goals %
1993-94 NYR 78 89 299 29.8
1996-97 DAL 78 43 252 17.1
1997-98 DAL 73 57 242 23.6
1998-99 DAL 81 51 236 21.6
1999-00 DAL 77 42 211 19.9
2000-01 DAL 79 51 241 21.2
2001-02 DAL 80 44 215 20.5
2002-03 DAL 82 55 245 22.4
2003-04 DAL 77 42 194 21.6
2005-06 DAL 78 71 265 26.8
2006-07 DAL 78 54 226 23.9
TOTAL TOT 861 599262622.8


Sergei Gonchar

Season Team GP Points Team Goals %
1995-96 WSH 78 41 234 17.5
1997-98 WSH 72 21 219 9.6
1999-00 WSH 73 54 227 23.8
2000-01 WSH 76 57 233 24.5
2001-02 WSH 76 59 228 25.9
2002-03 WSH 82 67 224 30.0
2005-06 PIT 75 58 237 24.5
2006-07 PIT 82 67 235 28.5
2007-08 PIT 78 65 242 26.9
TOTAL TOT 692 489 2079 23.5


I included Gonchar because I think he makes a good reference point, but I'd like to caution against leaning too hard on him as a standard for either Housley or Zubov since he isn't in this vote. Nearly everyone left on the list has an immediate contemporary we could easily have voted in already.

I'm sure I've seen a stat on this board that accounts for the changing role of defensemen over time, so that would be a useful number to mention if anyone knows it. Regardless of that adjustment, Housley's 38.6% in 1992-93 is phenomenal.


Last edited by tarheelhockey: 02-06-2012 at 10:50 PM.
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02-06-2012, 10:46 PM
  #23
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I know that he was pretty one dimensional but so are some of the D first guys of the past as well and he played fro an awfully long time.
I think this point deserves some emphasis. There are candidates right now who went entire seasons without scoring a single goal. Flaman had a few single-digit point seasons, to say nothing of Pulford who may have gone entire seasons without carrying the puck. Unless they were playing Langway-like defense, there's no way they were accounting for as much of a positive overall impact as a guy who scores 80 points.

Extreme one-way play is an equally significant weakness in both directions.

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02-06-2012, 10:55 PM
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I'll start the discussion of Mike Grant by quoting Joe Pelletier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Grant, already an accomplished speed-skating champion, played his first hockey with the Young Crystals, the junior team to the Montreal Crystals, and was named Captain within a year. He led the Young Crystals to the championship and then its intermediate squad to two more titles. The Montreal Victorias took note of this rising young star and signed him to a contract in 1893. In his third season with the Victorias, Grant captained his team to the first of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships.
We learn here that he was a natural leader, taking the role of captain already in his junior days. He was also a winner, leading his team to multiple consecutive Stanley Cups. The first of those cups makes him the youngest player to ever captain a team to the Stanley Cup at 21 years and 2 months.

Grant was, as most sportsmen of the time, competent in many sports and was a well-known lacrosse player and a very accomplished speed skater, winning several speed skating titles in his youth. He utilized this speed on the rink as well as he became what is known as hockey's first puck-rushing defenseman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Although there is no videotape of 1890s hockey, or Grant specifically, we do know a bit about his game. He was a tremendous leader of men, played a fine brand of defensive hockey, was most likely the quickest skater in the game, and he was the finest puck-rusher of early hockey by practically all accounts. In fact, it may have been Grant who influenced later puck-rushers like Art Ross and Lester Patrick to master this art. It is safe to assume that if a Norris Trophy was awarded back in Grant's era he would have earned perhaps four or five as he was the premier dominant defensive player of his time. Similarly, it could be easily argued that Grant would have won at least one Hart Trophy and maybe even a Conn Smythe Trophy had there been such awards.
Now this may for be exaggeration (I guess it has to be, or more people would have listed him before this round!). But even if it is gross exaggeration, the kind of recognition Pelletier speaks about in his article about Grant exceeds that of any other available player by a great amount.

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02-06-2012, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I think this point deserves some emphasis. There are candidates right now who went entire seasons without scoring a single goal. Flaman had a few single-digit point seasons, to say nothing of Pulford who may have gone entire seasons without carrying the puck. Unless they were playing Langway-like defense, there's no way they were accounting for as much of a positive overall impact as a guy who scores 80 points.

Extreme one-way play is an equally significant weakness in both directions.
IMO, Housley is the only guy to come up for voting so far who was incapable of being a top pairing defenseman of a winning team in a 30 team league

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