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Round 2, Vote 11 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
01-30-2012, 05:53 PM
  #26
vadim sharifijanov
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to those advocating zubov this round, is zubov really any better than gonchar? they were very different players, and zubov has the better playoff record and all-round game, as well as higher peak offensive seasons (both in high scoring years), but gonchar was more consistenty elite on the offensive side and i'd consider him the better offensive defenseman all-time. his consistent 55+ point production through the entire DPE was remarkable, one dimensional though he admittedly was.

those two seem really close to me anyway.

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01-30-2012, 05:59 PM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
to those advocating zubov this round, is zubov really any better than gonchar? they were very different players, and zubov has the better playoff record and all-round game, as well as higher peak offensive seasons (both in high scoring years), but gonchar was more consistenty elite on the offensive side and i'd consider him the better offensive defenseman all-time. his consistent 55+ point production through the entire DPE was remarkable, one dimensional though he admittedly was.

those two seem really close to me anyway.
I think I might have had Zubov and Gonchar #78 and #79 on my submitted list (McCrimmon was #80). I think Zubov's 2005-06 was better than any season Gonchar had, but that was just one season. I think that Zubov is a lot like Niedermayer in that one of our last memories of him was his elite season and it's easy to think he was always that good. I think we did a good job of ranking Niedermayer appropriately in the end, hopefully we do the same for Zubov. I don't think either Zubov or Gonchar is a top 60 defenseman of all time.

Like I said above, Doug Wilson is probably getting added in the 51-60 range, and he's definitely at least one step up from Zubov.


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01-30-2012, 08:57 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Vladimir Lutchenko played against elite NHL players and held his own.

Problem with Alexander Ragulin is that he was able to dominate the Soviet league and show reasonably well against 1960's international competition BUT when he played against the Junior Canadiens with minor pros including Doug Harvey in 1964 and 1965 against Jacques Plante with CHL pros he was not impressive.He would have graded out 3-4 amongst the Soviet dmen. Basically looking at the 4-5 dman types who managed to hang around for parts of a season in the late O6 era because the team needed size.

I'm with C1958 on Ragulin and really not sure what the case is that he has over over Russians like Zubov or Konstaninov, both of whom ironically are getting punished or pushed down the line for their NHL performances, which were better thean the two Russians already in with NHL experience and arguably that of the "hypothetical NHL careers" of Vasilev and almost most certainly Ragulin.

Sure the two guys in this round came into the NHL in younger parts of their careers but the irony is noted.

If there is a case for Ragulin, I'd sure love to hear it.

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01-30-2012, 09:08 PM
  #29
Dennis Bonvie
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At this point I'm wide open to anyone being in the top 5 (or bottom 5).

There are 3 Norris Trophy winners, which should mean something at this stage. But, it really doesn't seem to be a big factor with this group.

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01-30-2012, 09:53 PM
  #30
seventieslord
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Zubov averaged 25.55 minutes per game in his career, for teams that were 17% better than average.

Gonchar averaged 23.54 minutes per game in his career (so far) for teams that were 1% better than average.

In other words, Zubov was much more important to significantly better teams.

Zubov contributed more to better powerplays:

82% to PPs 14% better than average as opposed to 76% and 8% better.

Zubov also contributed more to better penalty kills:

33% to PKs 14% better than average as opposed to 21% for average PKs.

Heck, Gonchar is only really in the conversation for top-80 because he has a ton of points. But Zubov scored more points in less games, so......

Zubov also had 37 more points in 46 more playoff games.

Just more all-around contribution to success.

I already said Zubov was a lock not to make it this round. I don't think he and Gonchar should even be within 15 spots of eachother.

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01-30-2012, 10:05 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Zubov averaged 25.55 minutes per game in his career, for teams that were 17% better than average.

Gonchar averaged 23.54 minutes per game in his career (so far) for teams that were 1% better than average.

In other words, Zubov was much more important to significantly better teams.

Zubov contributed more to better powerplays:

82% to PPs 14% better than average as opposed to 76% and 8% better.

Zubov also contributed more to better penalty kills:

33% to PKs 14% better than average as opposed to 21% for average PKs.

Heck, Gonchar is only really in the conversation for top-80 because he has a ton of points. But Zubov scored more points in less games, so......

Zubov also had 37 more points in 46 more playoff games.

Just more all-around contribution to success.

I already said Zubov was a lock not to make it this round. I don't think he and Gonchar should even be within 15 spots of eachother.
I agree with everything here besides the bolded part, how is he a lock not to make it?

It's not that this round has slam dunk guys and while you're at it please give us some reasoning on Ragulin's inclusion in your top 5 in this round as I don't get the gap between Zubov (or Konstaninov and Ragulin that makes it that obvious.

Ragulin's 5 straight appearances at the world championships all star teams from 63-67 are in a considerably weaker European hockey environment from all the accounts that I read here and elsewhere.

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01-30-2012, 10:06 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Zubov averaged 25.55 minutes per game in his career, for teams that were 17% better than average.

Gonchar averaged 23.54 minutes per game in his career (so far) for teams that were 1% better than average.

In other words, Zubov was much more important to significantly better teams.

Zubov contributed more to better powerplays:

82% to PPs 14% better than average as opposed to 76% and 8% better.

Zubov also contributed more to better penalty kills:

33% to PKs 14% better than average as opposed to 21% for average PKs.

Heck, Gonchar is only really in the conversation for top-80 because he has a ton of points. But Zubov scored more points in less games, so......

Zubov also had 37 more points in 46 more playoff games.

Just more all-around contribution to success.

I already said Zubov was a lock not to make it this round. I don't think he and Gonchar should even be within 15 spots of eachother.
Add to all of that that Gonchar's best seasons all came in the East when it was the weaker conference (roughly post-2000.)

Zubov played in the East when it was the stronger conference, and then moved west as the Western conference passed the East.

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01-31-2012, 01:48 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
At this point I'm wide open to anyone being in the top 5 (or bottom 5).

There are 3 Norris Trophy winners, which should mean something at this stage. But, it really doesn't seem to be a big factor with this group.
At this point, Reardon and Coulter are the only locks for my top 5. I'll post more about Coulter later. I kind of also like Tom Johnson and the fact that the only season he had a chance to emerge from Harvey's shadow, he delivered.

Zubov and Howell - both of whom are one-season wonders basically (Zubov's 1994 was great offensively but not good all-round, his Norris votes were just stats votes; 2006 was his only great all-round season) - and Stapleton - who never really had a super peak - are three easy not top 10s. Leaning towards Konstantinov as not top 10, but I'm open to arguments otherwise since he had such a unique career.

After that, I'm definitely open. Hardest round so far.


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01-31-2012, 11:45 AM
  #34
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We know that the best of the Soviets were roughly on part with the best Canadians, as evidenced by the 1972 Summit series.

On paper, the Canadians had the better goalie (Dryden vs Tretiak) and the better forwards (Esposito, Clark, Cournoyer, Ratelle, Mahovlich plus two games each from Mikita and Perreault vs Kharlamov, Mikhailov, Petrov, Yakushev, Starshinov, Maltsev).

The Canadians already have three of their defensemen on this list (Park at #11, Savard at #28, Lapointe at #32) and Stapleton is now eligile for voting as well. The Soviets have a single defenseman on the list (#25).

Given that the Soviet stars proved that they were virtually even with Canada's stars, and given that the Canadians have a clear advantage in net and upfront, it doesn't make sense to imply (as our list does) that the Canadians also had a clear and decisive advantage on the blueline as well. Ragulin, the #2 defenseman on the Soviet team and the man given the "unenviable" task of playing against Phil Esposito, deserves credit for his important role on that team.

If the Canadians had such a massive advantage on the blueline (in addition to their advantages up front and in net), they probably would have won the series 7-1. Are we sure we're giving the Soviet players (particularly their defensemen) enough credit for their individual talents?

Counter-argument #1: perhaps the Soviets played far better than their true talent level implied, so their team was actually weaker than it appeared. I'd dismiss this by showing that the Russians won the 1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup, showing on multiple occasions that their best players were roughly on par with Canada's best players.

Counter-argument #2: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Due to spending much of the year playing together and/or through superior coaching, perhaps the Soviet team as a whole was as good as a hastily-assembled Canadian team, even though the Canadian players were individually much better than their counterparts. I think there's some truth in this notion (the Soviets did have an advantage in training together) but it can't account for Canada's apparently overwhelming advantage in talent (unless we're overrating the Canadian players and/or underrating the Soviets).

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01-31-2012, 12:02 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
you are right i had the year wrong although in 03 he was a top 4 Dman in Alan Ryder eyes and the top guy by quite a bit in 2006, in fact he writes



the link can be found here and he does an extensive statistical analysis covering basically every factor that can be measured and has unfortunately only from 2003 onwards but people should really check it out IMO.

[url]http://hockeyanalytics.com/2007/03/2006-nhl-review/[/url
Although I have a great deal of respect for Alan Ryder and his research, I don't think we should be using his work to make a case for/against specific players.

1. The formula is extremely complicated and technical. I doubt anybody here (myself included) fully understands the details. I don't like the idea of relying on a mathematical formula to "prove" a player's value when the formula itself is not fully understood.

2. People pick and choose when they want to use Alan Ryder's research, and when they want to ignore it. I'm sure that if I said that Zubov was ranked higher than Lidstrom in 2005-06, or Jagr only being the 7th most valuable forward in the league, they would dismiss it.

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01-31-2012, 12:09 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Although I have a great deal of respect for Alan Ryder and his research, I don't think we should be using his work to make a case for/against specific players.

1. The formula is extremely complicated and technical. I doubt anybody here (myself included) fully understands the details. I don't like the idea of relying on a mathematical formula to "prove" a player's value when the formula itself is not fully understood.

2. People pick and choose when they want to use Alan Ryder's research, and when they want to ignore it. I'm sure that if I said that Zubov was ranked higher than Lidstrom in 2005-06, or Jagr only being the 7th most valuable forward in the league, they would dismiss it.
I remember Zubov being the #1-ranked player in the league, and it was because of his shootout prowess.

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01-31-2012, 12:22 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Given that the Soviet stars proved that they were virtually even with Canada's stars, and given that the Canadians have a clear advantage in net and upfront, it doesn't make sense to imply (as our list does) that the Canadians also had a clear and decisive advantage on the blueline as well. Ragulin, the #2 defenseman on the Soviet team and the man given the "unenviable" task of playing against Phil Esposito, deserves credit for his important role on that team.

If the Canadians had such a massive advantage on the blueline (in addition to their advantages up front and in net), they probably would have won the series 7-1. Are we sure we're giving the Soviet players (particularly their defensemen) enough credit for their individual talents?
Counterargument #3: Consider the 2010 Olympics. I remember some discussion around here about how many Americans would make the Canadian team. I think most posters felt that it would be limited to a goalie or two, and maybe Kane and Kesler.

And yet the US played Canada basically to a draw over two games, losing the important one. It doesn't mean we should rate Brian Rafalski even with Shea Weber, or Jack Johnson even with Chris Pronger.

A team with less talented parts can still play a more talented team close over the course of 2 games or 8 games.

Add to that the difference in conditioning, and the lack of chemistry or structure on the Canadian side (which mostly showed itself on special teams, where the Soviets outscored Canada something like 9-2 over the series.)

That said, when you consider that Stapleton was at his peak in 1972 and was only the #5 or #6 defenceman on Team Canada, it's not a great endorsement for him.

Edit: The Soviets outscored Canada 9-2 on the PP and 3-1 shorthanded. Yes, Canada's power play was -1 on the series. At even strength, Canada outscored them 28-20.


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01-31-2012, 12:44 PM
  #38
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Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


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
Doug Wilson 1978 1993 1024 40% 1.08 0.90 31 29 76% 1.01 41% 1.02
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
Doug Wilson 1980 1990 754 41% 1.14 0.93 34 32 79% 1.04 44% 1.04
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 teamís even-strength goals the player was on the ice for, on a per-game basis.

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

R-OFF: The teamís 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 teamís power play goals for which the player was on the ice.

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

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

TmSH+: The strength of the playerís 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.

Doug Wilson was an all-around #1 defenceman for about a decade, and was a Norris and all-star contender when he could stay healthy. Staying healthy was the major challenge in his career and is the reason he isn't in the HHOF.

He was a power play mainstay over his whole career, with his offensive skills and hard shot. But he also had a large role on the penalty kill and was solid defensively.

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. (Yes, I know about Alan Ryder's player contribution. No, I'm not a fan of stats that include skills competition results in rating hockey players.)

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01-31-2012, 12:56 PM
  #39
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Counterargument #3: Consider the 2010 Olympics. I remember some discussion around here about how many Americans would make the Canadian team. I think most posters felt that it would be limited to a goalie or two, and maybe Kane and Kesler.

And yet the US played Canada basically to a draw over two games, losing the important one. It doesn't mean we should rate Brian Rafalski even with Shea Weber, or Jack Johnson even with Chris Pronger.

A team with less talented parts can still play a more talented team close over the course of 2 games or 8 games.

Add to that the difference in conditioning, and the lack of chemistry or structure on the Canadian side (which mostly showed itself on special teams, where the Soviets outscored Canada something like 9-2 over the series.)

That said, when you consider that Stapleton was at his peak in 1972 and was only the #5 or #6 defenceman on Team Canada, it's not a great endorsement for him.
That's a valid counterpoint - obviously the Summit Series is based on a small sample size and flukes happen.

My response is that the Soviets continued to prove that they were close to the best Canadian players over the next fifteen years (winning the 1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup, losing the 1987 CC by a single goal, and losing the 1976 Summit Series and 1984 CC). I realize that it wasn't always the same group of players, but it shows that the best of the Russians were close to the best of the Canadians from 1972 to 1987.

Overall, the Canadian teams were a bit better than the Soviet teams over those fifteen years, and the Soviet teams did have certain advantages (conditioning, coaching and chemistry as discussed). That being said, we have 23 defensemen active between 1972 and 1987 - 15 Canadians, 3 Russians, 3 Americans, 1 Czech and 1 Swede. I'm not disputing that we shouldn't have more Canadians than Russians, but I can't justify us having five times as many.

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01-31-2012, 01:01 PM
  #40
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My response is that the Soviets continued to prove that they were close to the best Canadian players over the next fifteen years (winning the 1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup, losing the 1987 CC by a single goal, and losing the 1976 Summit Series and 1984 CC). I realize that it wasn't always the same group of players, but it shows that the best of the Russians were close to the best of the Canadians from 1972 to 1987.
For sure, we have to give the Soviets some credit.

But I think the Soviets really improved between 1972 and 1979. And Canada's player development was a disaster during the 1970s, with the entry draft channeling the best North American talent to a bunch of expansion teams with little organizational or developmental strength, and leaving all player development before age 20 to junior organizations focused on winning over player development. Canada's talent level might have been worse in 1979 than it had been in 1972.

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01-31-2012, 01:18 PM
  #41
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obviously the Summit Series is based on a small sample size and flukes happen
Then again, eight games in a row is more than any NHL Playoff matchup has. How many times did the Canadians play against the Soviets during a Canada Cup tournament? The maximum is four games (in 1987).

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01-31-2012, 01:44 PM
  #42
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But I think the Soviets really improved between 1972 and 1979.
While I agree with you, doesn't that only shift the problem to the later 70s and the 80s? Wouldn't it mean the likes of Bilyaletdinov and Pervukhin should be in the discussion?

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01-31-2012, 01:51 PM
  #43
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While I agree with you, doesn't that only shift the problem to the later 70s and the 80s? Wouldn't it mean the likes of Bilyaletdinov and Pervukhin should be in the discussion?
Maybe. Konstantinov ended up being pretty good in the NHL. Maybe Bilyaletdinov and Pervukhin would have done so as well.

I have a hard time ranking Soviets relative to North Americans. It seems like most of the big names we know the best are from the 1970s, but the team was better in the 1980s.

Same things with North American hockey to some degree - you have a lot of big name stars in the 1970s and 1980s, but I think average level of play was probably higher in the 1960s and the 1990s.

It really makes projects like this one complicated.

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01-31-2012, 01:57 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


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
Doug Wilson 1978 1993 1024 40% 1.08 0.90 31 29 76% 1.01 41% 1.02
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
Doug Wilson 1980 1990 754 41% 1.14 0.93 34 32 79% 1.04 44% 1.04
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 teamís even-strength goals the player was on the ice for, on a per-game basis.

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

R-OFF: The teamís 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 teamís power play goals for which the player was on the ice.

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

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

TmSH+: The strength of the playerís 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.

Doug Wilson was an all-around #1 defenceman for about a decade, and was a Norris and all-star contender when he could stay healthy. Staying healthy was the major challenge in his career and is the reason he isn't in the HHOF.

He was a power play mainstay over his whole career, with his offensive skills and hard shot. But he also had a large role on the penalty kill and was solid defensively.

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. (Yes, I know about Alan Ryder's player contribution. No, I'm not a fan of stats that include skills competition results in rating hockey players.)
my concern with Stapleton is, was he even the most valuable player on his pairing while in Chicago? Bill White must have just missed being added to the discussion for this round, because IIRC the two were separated by one spot on a good number of lists, including my own.

From 1968 to 1973, Bill White finished ahead of Stapleton in all-star voting four of six times, despite clearly contributing less offensively. (and, as they say, the voting tends to favour offense)

In total, White had 291 voting points in these years, compared to 190 for Stapleton. White also earned 170 more voting points in the 1974 and 1975 seasons without Stapleton, who had bolted for the WHA. (that is 83-51 if you go by norris voting points, with White earning 44 more after Stapleton left)

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01-31-2012, 02:02 PM
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As for Wilson and Zubov. Perception seems to be that Wilson was a much more high impact player than Zubov when healthy (1, 3, 4, 4, 8 norris record versus 3, 4, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 12, 13). If you toss out the lower results - and not sure if you should, since many of them include significant votes - Wilson's advantage really comes down to one big season in voting, driven by a massive outlier of a goals total.

To compare Wilson to Zubov in the same way I did Gonchar:

Zubov averaged 25.55 minutes per game in his career, for teams that were 17% better than average.

Wilson averaged 25.11 minutes per game in his career for teams that were 2% below average.

It seems Zubov was approximately equally important to significantly better teams.

Zubov contributed more to better powerplays:

82% to PPs 14% better than average as opposed to 76% and 1% better.

Zubov contributed to better penalty kills but not contribute more to them:

33% to PKs 14% better than average as opposed to 14% for PKs 2% worse than average. Also, much like, say, Stapleton, you can probably point to other players as to why Zubov's PKs were that good (even though he did play his part)

Zubov played in a much tighter era but had just 56 fewer points in 42 more games. He outscored Wilson 33-31 on an adjusted ES basis per year, and 34-29 on the PP.

Zubov also had 37 more playoff points in 69 more playoff games, in a lower scoring era, in a time when a much lower percentage of teams in the league made the playoffs. Wilson also had a guaranteed playoff spot for 14 years just by being in the Norris, where the Wings, Leafs and North Stars took turns bending over for the others.

The biggest thing here is, how good defensively were they both? They are close enough by the above comparison, that their defensive records can really serve as the tiebreaker. One thing I can do to start is look at their adjusted even strength goals against:

Zubov: 944 in 1056 games (0.89/game)
Wilson: 947 in 1024 games (0.92/game)

Factor in that Zubov may have played about 2% more per game, and Wilson was likely allowing goals at a rate of about 5% more than Zubov. It's not so much that it would be a tipping point, but it's something.

But then you throw in the team factors:

- how good were their defensive records compared to when he was off the ice? Zubov, for example, may have been the most porous player on an otherwise stingy team.
- how tough were the defensive matchups they received?
- how strong were their defensive partners throughout their careers?

With all else seeming to be so close, as long as you don't put too much weight on that aberrational norris, the three questions above are probably what determine who is better among these two.

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01-31-2012, 02:10 PM
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I don't put any stock into whose team had better powerplays. In New York, Zubov played with Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, and Adam Graves. In Pittsburgh, he had Lemieux, Jagr, and Francis. In Dallas, he had Modano, Nieuwendyk, and Hull. Did Wilson ever have that kind of support on the powerplay?

Possible big difference between Zubov and Wilson: Did Wilson got the toughest defensive assignments on his team? Zubov only did after Hatcher left Dallas. A lot easier to put up good numbers when you are playing a more offensive role. In Dallas, Matvichuk-Hatcher took the key defensive assignments and Zubov-Sydor took the key offensive ones until Hatcher left.

And the less said about Zubov's play in his own zone before Dallas, the better.

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01-31-2012, 03:48 PM
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I feel comfortable saying Wilson was better defensively than Zubov, and by a significant margin.

That said, both players had one season where everything fell perfectly into place. If you eliminate those outlier seasons, I think Zubov has a better career overall. So it's down to whether Wilson's peak closes the gap with Zubov's longetivity. I dunno, I could probably go either way but neither of them is knocking down the door for top-5 here.

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01-31-2012, 03:53 PM
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Sylvio Mantha

I think Sylvio Mantha is a guy who could get overlooked. I'm not sure if he goes this round (he's no Coulter or Reardon), but I'd like to include him in the top 60 if possible, since I do value contribution to team success and Mantha has a lot of it. Just some brief quotes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOH
One of the best two-way defensemen of his era, Sylvio Mantha enjoyed plenty of individual and team success in 14 stellar NHL seasons. He spent most of his big-league tenure with the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he was an important component of three Stanley Cup teams.
...
Mantha became a fixture on the Habs defense, pairing with Western Canada Hockey League veteran Herb Gardiner. On November 20, 1928, Mantha scored the first-ever goal in Boston Garden in a 1-0 Canadiens triumph over the Bruins.

Arguably, Mantha's two most rewarding seasons were 1929-30 and 1930-31. He contributed to consecutive Stanley Cup triumphs and was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team both years. By this time, Mantha was entrenched as one of the most revered defensive defensemen in the game. Further satisfaction came from sharing this success with his younger brother Georges, who was a defenseman and left wing for the Canadiens from 1928 to 1941.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Born in Montreal in 1902, Mantha became a Canadien when he was only 21 years old. He was a fine defenseman as is reflected by his team's successes - five first place finishes and three Stanley Cup championships. A physical player, Mantha, who played forward until he turned pro with the Habs, was paired with Herb Gardiner and the two formed a fantastic defensive partnership. Mantha, one of the all time best defensive blue liners, was twice named to the Second All Star team.
Mantha is listed in one of the two now-famous quotes listing defensemen better defensively than Eddie Shore, but not listed in the other

Mantha was captain of the Canadians from 1926-1932 and again from 1933-1936 (it appears that goalie George Hainsworth was made captain for one season in the middle). He won Cups with the Canadiens in 1924, 1930, and 1931, the last two as captain.


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01-31-2012, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I feel comfortable saying Wilson was better defensively than Zubov, and by a significant margin.

That said, both players had one season where everything fell perfectly into place. If you eliminate those outlier seasons, I think Zubov has a better career overall. So it's down to whether Wilson's peak closes the gap with Zubov's longetivity. I dunno, I could probably go either way but neither of them is knocking down the door for top-5 here.
You eliminate their best seasons, and these are their Norris records:

Wilson: 3rd, 4th, 4th, 8th
Zubov: 4th, 8th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th.

Eliminating identical finishes:

Wilson: 3rd, 4th
Zubov, 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th

For me, that's an easy win for Wilson - I don't consider 8th and 9th place finishes very meaningful for offensive defensemen - writers often throw a couple of third place votes at someone who put up good stats.

Leaving in their best seasons, and this is how they compare (eliminating identical finishes):

Wilson: 1st, 4th
Zubov: 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th

Edit: I disagreed with some of HO's comparison of Wilson to Blake, but I think Wilson is closer to Blake than he is to Zubov.


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01-31-2012, 03:58 PM
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this won't add to the conversation, but I am constantly impressed with the depth of knowledge expressed by the members on these threads. especially the balanced and detailed information on players from the deep past, where it takes some serious dedication to dig up enough meaningful information to give them proper consideration. It is hard to fight the urge to heavily favour the people you have actually seen, and not give weight to those from prior eras.

Kudos, and thanks to all of you who have put in the effort for the informative and entertaining reads

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