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Statistical peak vs physical peak : Discuss

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Old
10-28-2012, 10:30 AM
  #1
livewell68
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Statistical peak vs physical peak : Discuss

Having read through so many threads and topics both on here and in the general section has got me thinking about this:

For instance some want to argue that Ovechkin's career as an elite player is done because he's not scoring at a 50 goal clip anymore or 100 Pts clip.

Crosby's peak offensively has yet to be hit because he's so young.

I however think that a player can continue to improve physically, he can get stronger, smarter, improve on his passing and what not as he hits his mid to late 20's but this doesn't mean that he will continue to improve statistically.

Take some of the best hockey players to have played in the last 2 decades for instance;

Jagr hit 62 goals and 149 Pts at age 24 but this was not the best hockey we saw from him. Jagr was better for instance between 1997-2000 and even some would argue in 2005-06 compared to 1995-96.

Selanne scored 76 goals and 136 Pts when he was 23 but seemed to become a better player as he hit his prime.

Heck even Gretzky and Lemieux peaked statistically in their early 20's.

There are so many factors coming in to play here; scoring trends, league wide systems, health, competition...


My question is then, why is it that people point to Crosby as an example of someone that has yet to score the most in his career simply because he's in his mid 20's?


Last edited by livewell68: 10-28-2012 at 10:36 AM.
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10-28-2012, 10:56 AM
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Darth Yoda
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Perhaps a player like Ovechkin starts loosing some speed after 25, hampering his prowess. Crosby is a much smarter player that does not rely on top speed, even if he carries the puck real well.

In many of your other examples they simply played in higher scoring era while young and thats pretty much the answer there. For example, for sure Selanne was better in the second half of the nineties then in his rookie season. Not by much, but still. Jagr also had some good support in 1995-96...

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10-28-2012, 11:12 AM
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Hardyvan123
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With Crosby, he is still only 24 and has only played in parts of the last 2 seasons, so it's entirely feasible to say that his best seasons are ahead of him.

Scoring goals and points isn't all about physical fitness either. There are many factors that affect levels of scoring for players both in terms of helping and hindering their ability to do so.

There is no doubt though that father time and the decrease in physical peak does catch up to all players at some point.

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10-28-2012, 11:20 AM
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It seems as though a persons fast-twitch muscles are in prime condition in their late teens to early twenties and then begin to fade or regress. A great example of this is the NBA's slam-dunk contest. Contestants are usually quite young when they participate because that's when they appear to be the most explosive jumpers.

I think goal-scorers in particular rely an awful lot on their fast-twitch muscle fibre and that's why they peak goal-wise early on. This doesn't mean they've peaked as players though. Players often add elements to their game over the years (play-making, defense, physicality, face-offs, leadership) that contribute to their overall game.

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10-28-2012, 03:58 PM
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Big Phil
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Crosby is a better all around player than in 2007 when he hit his career high of 120 points. At that time we all thought the sky was the limit for the Kid. Turns out he has had a career that has been incredibly injury prone and sadly is more similar to Lindros than anything close to Lemieux and especially Gretzky. With the season expected to be cancelled we are looking at the earliest of a 26 year old Crosby playing in the NHL in 2013-'14. Hard to imagine him doing anything better statistically than 120 points again since he is often his own worst enemy with his injuries and with the players not budging on their lockout stance there are going to be a lot of players that will never be the same again, not just perhaps Crosby. So yeah, I don't know how much better Crosby could get. Probably not much at all. Gretzky was probably at his best in 1987 in the Canada Cup after a 183 point season. He was 26 then as well.

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10-29-2012, 01:27 AM
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Czech Your Math
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
For instance some want to argue that Ovechkin's career as an elite player is done because he's not scoring at a 50 goal clip anymore or 100 Pts clip.
Ovechkin is still a star. I guess it depends on one's definition of "elite", but there's little doubt that he's not nearly as elite as he was from '08-'10. He's still one of the best goal scorers, but not at the very top the past two seasons. In the current scoring environment, it might be a coin flip as to whether he hits 50 goals again. He's basically a goal scorer that relies heavily on speed, and those type of players tend to peak quite early. I do believe he has peaked, but that doesn't mean he can't continue to be a star for many more seasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
Crosby's peak offensively has yet to be hit because he's so young.
If Crosby can stay healthy, I would expect him to match or exceed his previous peak in adjusted terms. I wouldn't say he's "so young" in hockey terms though. He's probably around the midpoint of his hockey peak/prime. He could have the majority of his peak/prime ahead of him or already played the majority of his peak/prime, depending on how his health issues resolve over the upcoming seasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
I however think that a player can continue to improve physically, he can get stronger, smarter, improve on his passing and what not as he hits his mid to late 20's but this doesn't mean that he will continue to improve statistically.
I basically agree with you. It depends on what you mean by statistically: raw or adjusted? points or adjusted plus-minus type of data? Also, as you point out later, there are extraneous factors which will influence the raw statistics. Forwards almost all peak in their 20s, but some do so in their early 20s (esp. goal scorers), while most do so in their mid-late 20s. Generally, I'd say the more a forward relies on pure talent/speed, the earlier he tends to peak. Two exceptions to the rule of forwards peaking in their 20s are Esposito and Messier. It seems clear that Esposito's peak had a lot to do with a change in environment (new team in expanded league with disparity in talent), while Messier had been in Gretzky's shadow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
Take some of the best hockey players to have played in the last 2 decades for instance;

Jagr hit 62 goals and 149 Pts at age 24 but this was not the best hockey we saw from him. Jagr was better for instance between 1997-2000 and even some would argue in 2005-06 compared to 1995-96.

Selanne scored 76 goals and 136 Pts when he was 23 but seemed to become a better player as he hit his prime.
Jagr's absolute peak was probably '99 (and '00 on a per-game basis), but he was very close to that level in '96. He was definitely better in '96 than '06 IMO. In '96 he was faster, a much more dominant player at even strength... while in '06 he was particularly good on the PP and perhaps a smarter player. He had good chemistry with some quality linemates both years (Francis/Nedved & Nylander/Straka), although none were really all-star quality (Francis was close though).

Selanne was better on an adjusted basis in the late '90s than he was in '93. I think in many cases, the discrepancy you're trying to resolve has mostly to do with changes in league scoring environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
Heck even Gretzky and Lemieux peaked statistically in their early 20's.
It's difficult to pin down exactly when Gretzky peaked, but I agree with Phil that '87 seems to be his last peak-quality season.

At least on a per-game basis (but it was still 3/4 of a season), most would agree that Lemieux's '93 season was his best.

One could argue that both Gretzky and Lemieux were in peak form in their mid-late 20s, which is not at all unusual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
There are so many factors coming in to play here; scoring trends, league wide systems, health, competition...
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livewell68 View Post
My question is then, why is it that people point to Crosby as an example of someone that has yet to score the most in his career simply because he's in his mid 20's?
First, most players' peak/prime is in their 20s. It certainly wouldn't be unusual for a player to have as good of a season as he will ever have from ~25-28, which would give Crosby 4-5 seasons to surpass his current peak level.

Second, he's worked hard to improve his game, which gives reason to believe that he can/will improve on his previous peak level.

Third, he's been injured the past two seasons, so his last full season was when he was 22. Since Crosby is not primarily a goal scorer (he's at least as much a playmaker), it would be surprising for him not to have at least as good a season after age 22 as he did up to that point.


Last edited by Czech Your Math: 10-29-2012 at 01:34 AM.
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Old
10-29-2012, 01:46 AM
  #7
TAnnala
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Perhaps a player like Ovechkin starts loosing some speed after 25, hampering his prowess. Crosby is a much smarter player that does not rely on top speed, even if he carries the puck real well.

In many of your other examples they simply played in higher scoring era while young and thats pretty much the answer there. For example, for sure Selanne was better in the second half of the nineties then in his rookie season. Not by much, but still. Jagr also had some good support in 1995-96...
Definitely. Selanne had a Hart caliber performances in the late 90's. He had amazing rookie year, but i consider 1997-1999 Selanne as a better player, by a good margin.

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