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Round 2, Vote 7 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
12-28-2011, 04:05 PM
  #101
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Good post on Kasatonov. I think he appeared as an option right around where he should - which means I think it's a round or two too early to vote him in.

I can't see ranking Kasatonov, the 2nd best member of his pairing over a guy like Chara or Laperriere who was in the conversation for the best defenseman in the world for a few seasons. And right now, I'm finding it tough for either Chara or Laperriere to make my top 5.

A Larry Murphy vs. Alexei Kasatonov comparison might be interesting - their careers overlapped quite a bit, though in seperate leagues. I think I prefer Kasatonov to Murphy, though I haven't looked at it in detail.
Here's a Kasatonov vs Murphy comparison. Kasatonov was better in his 20s (the 1980s) and Murphy was better in his 30s (the 1990s.)

Your opinion on Kasatonov will probably depend on what you think of the 1980s Soviets, their dominance as a team, and their struggles to adjust to the NHL.

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12-28-2011, 07:40 PM
  #102
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Good post on Kasatonov. I think he appeared as an option right around where he should - which means I think it's a round or two too early to vote him in.

I can't see ranking Kasatonov, the 2nd best member of his pairing over a guy like Chara or Laperriere who was in the conversation for the best defenseman in the world for a few seasons. And right now, I'm finding it tough for either Chara or Laperriere to make my top 5.

A Larry Murphy vs. Alexei Kasatonov comparison might be interesting - their careers overlapped quite a bit, though in seperate leagues. I think I prefer Kasatonov to Murphy, though I haven't looked at it in detail.
Just my opinion, but I'd be really troubled by Savard getting in last round and Laperriere still not getting in this round.

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12-28-2011, 09:02 PM
  #103
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Just my opinion, but I'd be really troubled by Savard getting in last round and Laperriere still not getting in this round.
Laperriere might be in tough his career was short and he was one dimensional, a very good dimension mind you but he is in tough to make the top 5 I'm thinking.

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12-28-2011, 09:37 PM
  #104
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Laperriere might be in tough his career was short and he was one dimensional, a very good dimension mind you but he is in tough to make the top 5 I'm thinking.
I wouldn't mind if Laperriere made it. But I think I like J.C. Tremblay better

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12-28-2011, 09:54 PM
  #105
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Laperriere might be in tough his career was short and he was one dimensional, a very good dimension mind you but he is in tough to make the top 5 I'm thinking.
How is he one dimensional?

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12-28-2011, 10:37 PM
  #106
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How is he one dimensional?
He was more of a defensive defense man than a strong 2 way threat like some of the others being considered, Lapointe for one.

I actually like him a bit better than JC Tremblay but the short career is concerning.

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12-28-2011, 10:56 PM
  #107
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I like Carl Brewer he has an interesting story but twice he quit on teams, for different reasons, and that doesn't help his case here.

604 games and take away that comeback joke at age 41 and you ahve a really short career.

I'm going to consider his other hockey playing years but I'd be really surprised if he makes the aggregate top 10 this round.

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12-28-2011, 11:39 PM
  #108
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He was more of a defensive defense man than a strong 2 way threat like some of the others being considered, Lapointe for one.

I actually like him a bit better than JC Tremblay but the short career is concerning.
And Serge Savard was more of a two-way player? His offensive numbers are pretty much the same as Laperriere's playing on the same team at the same time.

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12-29-2011, 01:16 AM
  #109
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And Serge Savard was more of a two-way player? His offensive numbers are pretty much the same as Laperriere's playing on the same team at the same time.
Over 300 more games and a Conn Smythe makes it a distinct even if small separation.

And yes Savard only has 1 2nd team all star but I doubt Laperriere would have fared much better against serge's competition and the climate of voting in the 70's.

I might actually prefer Lapointe over both of them but not sure and JC Tremeblay is defientley last in the group of 4

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12-29-2011, 09:53 AM
  #110
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Good to see Rob Blake's name up for inclusion this time. He was always a favourite of mine when I was younger. Don't know if he'll get selected this time but I hope to see him selected soon. Blake had it all as it came to defenseman. Good at offense and good at defense.

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12-29-2011, 10:09 AM
  #111
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Over 300 more games and a Conn Smythe makes it a distinct even if small separation.

And yes Savard only has 1 2nd team all star but I doubt Laperriere would have fared much better against serge's competition and the climate of voting in the 70's.

I might actually prefer Lapointe over both of them but not sure and JC Tremeblay is defientley last in the group of 4
And yet Savard is already in and Lapointe is no guarantee to be in this time either.

As for Savard's 300 more games, about 250 of them were after he should have retired. He was mediocre at best his last 4 years. The same could be said for Lapointe also.

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12-29-2011, 02:05 PM
  #112
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
And yet Savard is already in and Lapointe is no guarantee to be in this time either.

As for Savard's 300 more games, about 250 of them were after he should have retired. He was mediocre at best his last 4 years. The same could be said for Lapointe also.
The overall group in this project obviously preferred Savard to Lapointe.

As for your 2nd point C1958 will argue that they were still important guys. I wouldn't go that far but they were still playing in the NHL and they did have larger bodies of work both in the regular season and playoffs.

C1958 would have more information than me on it but didn't Jacques best plus/minus season come playing with Serge and Serge was a bit higher as well?

I think it's been mentioned a couple of times but guys getting up for the vote and voted in have a swing factor of 30 or more spots at this point as there is greater divergence on the value and ranking of players being discussed right now.

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12-29-2011, 02:20 PM
  #113
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Serge Savard finished 3rd in All Star voting once and 5th 3 times, all of them behind Borje Salming. If Salming had chosen to stay in Sweden, Savard would have a 1st Team All Star and 3 2nd Teams. Salming's decision as to whether or not to leave Sweden doest have any effect on Savard's worth as a player does it? (and this isn't even talking about the fact that Savard was part of probably the greatest generation of Canadian defenseman).

Would anyone have a problem with a guy who was a 1st Team All Star and a 3 Time 2nd team all star, had a Conn Smythe and numerous other excellent playoff runs and excellent durability? Then you shouldn't have issue with Savard being added. The only thing Laperriere might have over Savard is regular season peak. Savard wins easily in durably, consistency, leadership, and playoffs.

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12-29-2011, 03:53 PM
  #114
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Structured

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This doesn't pass the eyeball test at all and especially not if talking about the entire structure of the league and not just individual coaches like Bowman or Blake.

Roger Nielson changed the entire nature of coaching with the breakdown on watching tapes and teams playing a more structured disciplined style of play. NHL hockey before that had a more organic "outdoor rink" feel to it than it does the further you get past Roger to today where everyone is buying into the system.

Just ask any NHL player that played as little as 20 years ago about the "systems they played then compared to today, Ray Ferraro has great insight on this as he had no idea on what type of system his teams played (because they didn't really play with them back then).
1945 thru 1967 Leafs were very structured and that was before the advent of TV ley alone video. For the most part today's coaches are interchangeable parts.

30 team league but beyond Babcock,there is little to distinguish one from the other. Guy Boucher has some potential.

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12-29-2011, 03:58 PM
  #115
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Top Dmen

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
If Conacher actually placed higher compared to peers than Rob Blake, that would be true. But I'm not seeing it.

Lionel Conacher
  • 1st Team All Star (1934)
  • 2nd Team All Star (1926*, 1929*, 1933, 1937)

Rob Blake
  • 1st Team All Star (1998)
  • 2nd Team All Star (2000, 2001, 2002)
  • Blake also finished 5th in both Norris and All-Star voting in 2003, narrowly missing out on a 4th 2nd Team nod.

*reconstructed based off Hart voting

Now consider their competition for these awards:

Lionel Conacher
Eddie Shore (always an all-star but not really in his prime until 1933 or so)
King Clancy (PRIME)
Ching Johnson (PRIME)
Sylvio Mantha (PRIME)
Lionel Hitchman (PRIME)
A few years of Sprague Cleghorn and Herb Gardiner

Rob Blake
Raymond Bourque (post-prime but still sometimes an All-Star)
Nicklas Lidstrom (PRIME)
Chris Chelios (post-prime but still sometimes an All-Star)
Al MacInnis (post-prime but still sometimes an All-Star. Won the 1999 Norris)
Scott Stevens (post-prime but still somtimes an All-Star)
Chris Pronger (PRIME)
Brian Leetch (post-prime but still put up points)
Scott Niedermayer (pre-prime but had a couple of good seasons)
Eric Desjardins (PRIME)
Derian Hatcher (PRIME)
Sergei Zubov (PRIME)
Sergei Gonchar (PRIME)

I think it's clear that Blake faced stronger competition, and I think it makes up for the 1 additional 2nd Team All Star that I've give Conacher.

I don't see any edge for Conacher in the regular season.

Big Games

Conacher was awarded a Retroactive Conn Smythe by the HHOF website for 1934. I've read newspaper articles from that playoff year and think it's questionable, but needless to say, Conacher was Smythe-worthy in 1934.

Conacher switched teams and won another Cup in 1935, but I don't think he was necessarily a key player (defenseman teammate Cy Wentworth outscored him 5-0 in the playoffs and the HHOF website awarded forward Baldy Northcott the Retro Smythe).

Overall, Conacher has 4 points in 35 career playoff games, which appears quite poor for the 3rd best offensive defenseman of his era. By contrast, defensive defenseman Ching Johnson scored 7 points in 61 career playoff games, almost the exact same PPG.

Rob Blake didn't have any Smythe-worthy runs, but he was excellent in the 1993 trip to the finals and the 2001 Cup winning run. He had several mediocre playoffs in between, but was named best defenseman at the 1997 World Championships and 1998 Olympics.

I don't see any advantage for Conacher in big games.

Overall

I see Rob Blake and Lionel Conacher as players who should probably be ranked quite close to each other. Both had similar strengths - a deadly slapshot in the offensive zone, and the ability to physically dominate in his own zone. The neutral zone game was the weakest part of Blake's game and appears to be the weakest part of Conacher's as well. Blake was a pretty good skater and Conacher was a poor skater, but Conacher seems to have been a smarter player.

I think I might actually (slightly) prefer Rob Blake, since his play never dropped to the point of being waived in the middle of his prime.
More of Blake's contemporaries have been ranked and higher in this project to date than Lionel Conacher's

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12-29-2011, 04:01 PM
  #116
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J.C.Tremblay

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I wouldn't mind if Laperriere made it. But I think I like J.C. Tremblay better
Entitled but J.C. Tremblay is vastly overrated here.

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12-29-2011, 07:04 PM
  #117
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Entitled but J.C. Tremblay is vastly overrated here.
I would like to hear more on this, Tremblay has been a difficult player for me to rank

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12-29-2011, 09:07 PM
  #118
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And yet Savard is already in and Lapointe is no guarantee to be in this time either.

As for Savard's 300 more games, about 250 of them were after he should have retired. He was mediocre at best his last 4 years. The same could be said for Lapointe also.
Savard? mediocre, only if compared to his old self. in Savard's last 4 seasons, he was still a 22+ minute defenseman. In 1980, he held onto the #3 spot on a (still) very powerful Habs team, before giving way to Langway and Engblom in 1981, becoming the #4. No shame in being the #4 on a very strong team, behind two multiple norris winners and a future 2nd all-star team member. He then cut Winnipeg's goals against by 78 when he went there (obviously he was not the only reason) as a #3 behind Babych and Watters. He capped off his career at age 37 as a #2 behind Babych. Most defensemen don't have a "best 4 years" as impressive as these 4, which would be Savard's four worst.

Lapointe was a #5 defenseman with the Habs, in 1981 as he struggled through injuries, then a #4 for two seasons with the Habs and Blues, finishing as little more than a depth player for Boston in 1984. Yeah, that is mediocre.

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More of Blake's contemporaries have been ranked and higher in this project to date than Lionel Conacher's
Exactly! So Blake's competition was tougher, then, correct?

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12-30-2011, 04:51 AM
  #119
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I'm not sure if Kasatonov should be voted in here, but it's worth discussing him.
I think he seems very underrated here. I would probably rank him ahead of all players here. I've followed hockey since the late 1970s.

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It's hard to place Kasatonov. He was part of the best defensive pairing in the world from 1981 to 1988. While he was the second best player on the pairing, he was still an important part and a great player.
Here I think about all the the Montreal defencemen that have been voted in, or soon will be voted in. Several of those players weren't their team's best defenceman either.

CSKA of the 1980s probably were about as good as the 1970s Montreal. From Montreal, there have been several defencemen been voted in, while there from CSKA have so far been Fetisov. When it comes to other Russian defencemen, it is being held against them that they played together all the time in a great system, but so did the Montreal defencemen (Scotty Bowman might be considered the best coach in NHL history).

Trying to find more reasons why the CSKA defencemen should be ranked lower, one can argue that they had better forwards. Montreal had Lafleur, who was good enough to be considered the best forward/player in the NHL during his prime, and they had a great defensive forward in Gainey and some other good players. If CSKA was considered having forwards of the caliber of Robinson, Savard, Lapointe, etc., those forwards might logically end up high in the forwards alltime rankings. (That is, one might expect some of them to be top-25, just like the best Montreal players are in their category.)

Tretiak might also have been a factor. If so, he might end up ahead of Dryden et al on the goalie alltime rankings.

Quote:
Accomplishments:

Kasatonov scored 125 goals, 213 assists, and 338 points in 569 Soviet League games. He scored 56 goals in 299 games with the Soviet national team.

Soviet league all-star - 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
Canada Cup tournament all-star – 1981
World Championship all-star – 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991
Best defenceman, World Championship - 1985
Wow. Can it even be imagined what a great accomplishment it is to become a soviet league all-star during 9 straight seasons?

What can be said about the 1981 Canada Cup all-star team election? Obviously he was his team's best defenceman, on a team that defeated Canada 8-1 in the tournament final. Kasatonov assisted on the 2-1 and 3-1 goals (his only points in the final).
In the scoring, he finished 5th of all players in the tournament. He was the leading Soviet scorer. He was the only defenceman to finish top-10 in the scoring.
He was the only player from the "green unit" to reach the tournament all-star team.


Before arriving in the NHL, the gap between Kasatonov and Fetisov wasn't huge. Kasatonov was considered a very steady defenceman on his own, who could also contribute offensively.

In the NHL, they appeared pretty equal (which I think might be supported by the quotes - basically all from his NHL time - you provide). Fetisov continued to play longer than Kasatonov (who had to retire due to a a severe shoulder injury), and won the Stanley Cup (on stacked Detroit), but during their best years, Fetisov and Kasatonov was fairly equal but in different ways. I'm actually a bit surprised to in hindsight see how highly regarded Fetisov is when compared to other Soviet defencemen. (It's a bit like Charlamov/Kharlamov may seem a bit overrated compared to the other great forwards he played with.)


Regarding Europeans discussed in this thread, I would definitely rank Kasatonov ahead of Chara. As a comparison, I would likely rate Chara ahead of Blake.


As mainly a reader here, I was hoping to see more research being done into European hockey. (I know I may be welcome to do it myself and write about it, and I'm not blaming anyone in particular. It just seems a few guys pay attention to it, while the rest don't.)


Last edited by plusandminus: 12-30-2011 at 05:25 AM.
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12-30-2011, 09:46 AM
  #120
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Here I think about all the the Montreal defencemen that have been voted in, or soon will be voted in. Several of those players weren't their team's best defenceman either.

CSKA of the 1980s probably were about as good as the 1970s Montreal. From Montreal, there have been several defencemen been voted in, while there from CSKA have so far been Fetisov. When it comes to other Russian defencemen, it is being held against them that they played together all the time in a great system, but so did the Montreal defencemen (Scotty Bowman might be considered the best coach in NHL history).
I thought of the same thing. We've already voted Serge Savard to the list, and he was also the second best defenseman on his pairing. 1980s CSKA Moscow could be compared to 1970s Montreal Canadiens as a great team. Fetisov-Kasatonov and Robinson-Savard were the best pairings of their respective decades.

The quotes I posted are basically all from 1987 to 1990 simply because that's when Kasatonov and the rest of the Green Unit were most prominent in the North American media. There's very little on him before 1987, although we know from his accolades that he was a great player.

Watching old CSKA or international games might be the best way to do research on Kasatonov beyond what I have already posted.

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12-30-2011, 10:05 AM
  #121
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[QUOTE=seventieslord;41625627]Savard? mediocre, only if compared to his old self. in Savard's last 4 seasons, he was still a 22+ minute defenseman. In 1980, he held onto the #3 spot on a (still) very powerful Habs team, before giving way to Langway and Engblom in 1981, becoming the #4. No shame in being the #4 on a very strong team, behind two multiple norris winners and a future 2nd all-star team member. He then cut Winnipeg's goals against by 78 when he went there (obviously he was not the only reason) as a #3 behind Babych and Watters. He capped off his career at age 37 as a #2 behind Babych. Most defensemen don't have a "best 4 years" as impressive as these 4, which would be Savard's four worst.
Lapointe was a #5 defenseman with the Habs, in 1981 as he struggled through injuries, then a #4 for two seasons with the Habs and Blues, finishing as little more than a depth player for Boston in 1984. Yeah, that is mediocre.

In his last 4 years Savard was a -22.

His last year in Montreal he was a +12 while Engblom, Langway and Robinson were +63, +53 and +46 respectively playing against the opponents top players. Clearly he was hanging on along with Lapointe (-6).

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12-30-2011, 10:13 AM
  #122
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Serge Savard finished 3rd in All Star voting once and 5th 3 times, all of them behind Borje Salming. If Salming had chosen to stay in Sweden, Savard would have a 1st Team All Star and 3 2nd Teams. Salming's decision as to whether or not to leave Sweden doest have any effect on Savard's worth as a player does it? (and this isn't even talking about the fact that Savard was part of probably the greatest generation of Canadian defenseman).

Would anyone have a problem with a guy who was a 1st Team All Star and a 3 Time 2nd team all star, had a Conn Smythe and numerous other excellent playoff runs and excellent durability? Then you shouldn't have issue with Savard being added. The only thing Laperriere might have over Savard is regular season peak. Savard wins easily in durably, consistency, leadership, and playoffs.
Great argument.

If the guys ahead of him didn't play, he would have ranked higher.

As for durability, Savard had seasons of 37, 23, 46, 47, 46, 67 and 67 games played.

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12-30-2011, 11:33 AM
  #123
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Kasatonov was a USSR all star in 9 straight seasons, like with Fetisov we should take an educated guess if he was better than his NHL contempories in the same time period.

It's not an exact science but we are being asked to compare players here, if not for those 9 seasons then for the 80's at least, is he a 1st or 2nd team all star for that decade?

Also the 9 straight all star selections sound great on the surface but who exactly were the 3rd and 4th best Dmen in Russia during those years?

Like it or not Kasatonov played on a system that made the whole better than the individual parts. Or is Krutov going to get a top 10 LW selection with his miserable career outside of the "system?"

These are things to consider IMO.

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12-30-2011, 11:50 AM
  #124
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The overall group in this project obviously preferred Savard to Lapointe.

As for your 2nd point C1958 will argue that they were still important guys. I wouldn't go that far but they were still playing in the NHL and they did have larger bodies of work both in the regular season and playoffs.

C1958 would have more information than me on it but didn't Jacques best plus/minus season come playing with Serge and Serge was a bit higher as well?

I think it's been mentioned a couple of times but guys getting up for the vote and voted in have a swing factor of 30 or more spots at this point as there is greater divergence on the value and ranking of players being discussed right now.
Laperriere had a +78, Savard a +70. But Laperriere only played 57 games. This would seem to imply when Laperriere was hurt, Savard's numbers did not continue at the same pace.

Up to that point, Laperriere's +/- was better than Savard's every year.

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12-30-2011, 11:59 AM
  #125
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Here's a Kasatonov vs Murphy comparison. Kasatonov was better in his 20s (the 1980s) and Murphy was better in his 30s (the 1990s.)

Your opinion on Kasatonov will probably depend on what you think of the 1980s Soviets, their dominance as a team, and their struggles to adjust to the NHL.
Well, we also have some basis for comparison in his team-mate Fetisov. I am somewhat surprised by the percieved gap between them in this project. Fetisov was clearly the leader of that team, and the better player, but Kasatonov was a great defenceman in his own right. Ranking Fetisov 30 steps above Kasatonov does not pass the eye-ball test for me. Either we are overrating Fetisov or underrating Kasatonov.

I'd certainly take Kasatonov over Murphy or Blake.

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