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What Constitutes A Number 1 Player

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Old
09-07-2012, 03:29 PM
  #1
glenngineer
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What Constitutes A Number 1 Player

Taking this out of the Weber thread since it doesn't need to be hijacked anymore than it already has been.

There is always a debate on who is a number 1 center or player in general on these boards. I've seen a lot of different ideas on this topic. Some use stats to portray their beliefs. Some use pure numbers in the sense that there are 30 teams so the top player on each team is considered a number 1 at their position. Defensemen excluded since they are usually paired so there are more of them so to speak. Others look at the play of the players on the ice and come to some conclusion not based on stats but more of a feel thing, much like scouts do. So how do we quantify what a player really is on a team and versus players around the league.

1. If we base it purely on 30 teams and that means there are 30 number 1 centers in the league, does that work? I don't think we can because there are teams in this league who have players that more than definitely number 1's but the depth on the team allows them to play on the second line. For instance, Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh and Kopitar and Richards in LA. I think most would consider all 4 players number 1's in this league but if we use the 30 teams and there are 30 slots open, we are doing these guys a disservice and not giving them their due.

2. If we solely go on stats, what stats do we take? Do we just take point totals? Do we use other things like faceoff percentage, corsi, plus/minus? If we do that, how do we break it down to make it appear fair and really quantify the stats? Say we go alone on point totals, does that really give us an idea of who the top 30 centers are in the league? If we do that, David Legwand is number 30 in the league. Mike Fisher is slightly behind at 34. If you look at the players around both of them, that's about right but does anyone really believe Legwand is a truly a number 1 center in this league? If we go simply by the top 30 point scorers at their position, that would be the case but I don't think anyone in here truly believes that to be the case. Same could be said for Fisher but if we go by these stats, I think it's fair to say that both are solid number 2's. Some may agree or disagree but that's where this gets tricky, what stats should we use. Not sure I'm sold on this way of doing things either.

3. If we go by gut instinct, what we see on the ice, kind of like a scouting report, how can we do this accurately? Do any of us have time to watch every game and analyze every player on every team? That's really the only way to do it and we have a bias or anti-bias for our own team so are we really giving guys like Legwand and Fisher a fair shake? Regardless, it's a tough job for anyone to do.

I've always gone more on the gut than anything but don't quantify players as number 1's, 2's, etc. I usually have categorized players from elite all the way down to scrubs/grinder types. You could almost say elite, very good, average, below average, borderline players and use a scale of 1 to 5 with the guys of 1 being the best and 5 being the worst. How does one quantify by doing it this way. Once again, hard to do but I like to think I know a little bit about the game and try to fit guys in the best way I can.

Who are the elite centers in this league? A case can be made for quite a few players. I'm sure I'll leave someone off or put someone on this list that someone doesn't agree with but bear with me. This is in no particular order, just trying to see how many I would consider elite talents.
1. Malkin
2. Crosby
3. Stamkos
4. Spezza
5. H. Sedin
6. Tavares
7. Thornton
8. Kopitar
9. E. Staal
10. Datsyuk
11. Toews
12. Backstrom
13. Giroux
14. Zetterberg

To me, these guys are the best of the best. These are guys that you build teams around. It's a pretty short list but looking at other players that could be considered, I just don't see them as elite. Some are guys that are up and comers like Seguin, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle but they haven't reached that other level yet. So is this a complete list of number 1's in the league? Depending on how you quantify it, yes and no. There are other guys that are a notch below this group. Guys like:

1. Eberle
2. Seguin
3. B. Richards
4. Flippula
5. Couture
6. Marleau
7. Bergeron
8. Ribeiro
9. Krejci
10. Jokinen
11. Pavelski
12. Desharnais
13. Weiss
14. Getzlaf
15. O'Reilly
16. Stastny
17. Plekanic
18. Briere
19. Lecavalier
20. Kesler
21. Koivu

I'd probably stop about there. So this gives us 35 players. Now once again, we can play he shouldn't be on here or someone else should be here but for the sake of this discussion, let's just stay here for a moment. Are most of these guys good players. I'd say so. I'd say they're all great players. I'd say a bunch are elite talents. So how do we break it down from here? I have a hard time myself with this sort of thing. It's hard for me to look at guys like Malkin and Crosby and a few others who are elite players and then say, well, O'Reilly and Stastny are in the same class as they are. Now granted, Malkin and Crosby may be the best players in the league but does anyone confuse Toews with O'Reilly and Stastny?

Let me equate this to school for a moment. We had a different grading scale in our dept than the rest of the school. Most of the school was using a scale of 90-100 for an A whereas we used 94-100. While it still wasn't perfect, I think it gave a more accurate representation of people's work. Did someone who received a 90 really deserve an A just the same as someone who received a 100 and received an A? We felt there was too much discrepancy so we used our own scale to dictate grades.

Once again, I'm sure we can sit and go nuts with my list but this is not an exact science by any means. I wish there was some magically way to really define what made a number 1 versus a number 2 player in this league and so on. I think using the amount of teams is flawed because I don't think there are 30 number 1's in this league at this time. I think using pure point totals is flawed because it doesn't take into account the all around game and leadership qualities of a player. I don't think using ones gut makes for a great system either because everyone sees the game differently and with different biases.

So how do we rank or grade guys like Legwand and Fisher. They are not elite or the tier below based on points and play. They do play a solid two way game which does effect their offensive production negatively but they also restrict the other team from scoring on us too which is a positive for us. It's things like this that make it difficult to judge them against their peers. My original thoughts also didn't take into account the systems that these guys play in but that should be considered as well as well the talent around ththem. At the end of the day, I think we could qualify Fisher and Legwand as both number 2's. I'd say they are below the 35 I have listed above and are definitely within the next best 25 players at the center position. Are they elite? No. Are they a tier down from elite? No. Are they in that next group of players. Absolutely.

I'd love to hear other peoples opinions on this and if they know of a good way to rank players.

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09-07-2012, 05:47 PM
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INDhockeyfan
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I think you should look at guys by skill level. Elite are guys who are go to guys who can win you the game when it is on the line. Either with a goal, pass or even a faceoff win. They are the guys you go "wow" when they make a play. Those are the ones who are 1C's. Whether they play 1C on your team doesn't matter. Some have more than one of those guys like Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin. Some don't have any. Fisher and Legwand aren't at that level and thus aren't 1C's.

A 2C is a level below in skill level of a 1C. They can score, pass, win faceoffs but not on a consistant basis and won't put up the stats as a 1C. They are more 20 goal 50 pt guys who are solid players and have other skills like defense, PK, PP, leadership that make them valuable. This is where Fisher and Legwand fit in. They are both 2C's.

3C is a skill level below and are more checking and defensive centers. They don't score a lot but can be valuable on special teams and shutting teams down. Gaustad is a 3C even though he plays a 4C role at even strength but overall he is a 3C. I think Spaling is a potential 3C

4C is a grinder. Not a lot of skill but a lot of heart. He'll hit like a beast and give you a few minutes so you can rest the other guys. Gaustad is a 4C at even strength. He has a skill set with faceoffs and PK that makes him a 3C in skill level.

Young guys will play 3C and 4C on a team but some have 1C or 2C talent. They are just playing there because they are young and the team already has guys in those positions. Wilson and Smith are in this catagory. They have the skills but just aren't there yet. The preds are hoping they will be the ones who move into the top center roles when Fisher and Leggy leave. It maybe sooner if they improve and Fish and Leggy move down a notch as they get older.


Last edited by INDhockeyfan: 09-07-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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Old
09-07-2012, 06:00 PM
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I hope your numbered ranking of players is not supposed to be in order, if so it is very off. If this is supposed to be a list of centers, which it seems to be, Eberle is not a center, and Filppula is no longer a center.

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09-07-2012, 07:17 PM
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Do you want to define #1 player at a position as elite across the league or a role on a team? Is it a guy who excels on a good team or within a certain system or a guy who can change a game no matter what?

The true greats stand up to statistical analysis as well as the personal evaluation from watching them play. If you want to use arbitrary standards such as career point per game players, the sample size is tiny.

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09-08-2012, 08:58 AM
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glenngineer
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Frk, it was not a list in order by any means. Thought I stated that in the post somewhere, maybe I didn't. Don't remember to be honest. As far as Eberle and Flippula go, I was just going by what was listed on the ESPN website as of yesterday. Marleau depending on the day or shift is sometimes a center while other times he's on the wing with Thornton so that was hard to figure out a little bit.

101, that's what makes this so hard, what do you base any of this on? That was kind of my point, is there a way to really define this sort of thing? I don't think there is because people have differing opinions of what a number 1 is. Personally, I think it comes down to talent level and not the amount of teams that are in the league so that means there should be 30 number 1 c's. That's just me though. I know others that believe that very thing and that's there right as well.

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09-08-2012, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenngineer View Post
Frk, it was not a list in order by any means. Thought I stated that in the post somewhere, maybe I didn't. Don't remember to be honest. As far as Eberle and Flippula go, I was just going by what was listed on the ESPN website as of yesterday. Marleau depending on the day or shift is sometimes a center while other times he's on the wing with Thornton so that was hard to figure out a little bit.

101, that's what makes this so hard, what do you base any of this on? That was kind of my point, is there a way to really define this sort of thing? I don't think there is because people have differing opinions of what a number 1 is. Personally, I think it comes down to talent level and not the amount of teams that are in the league so that means there should be 30 number 1 c's. That's just me though. I know others that believe that very thing and that's there right as well.
Everyone defines it differently so what we end up with is a multitude of people essentially speaking a different dialect when it comes to the subject. There are several generational level talents in the league right now ... players who aren't just excellent for their time but with stats and visible ability which puts them into the "all time" category. There is no doubt that they qualify for a "#1" distinction. Once the discussion moves beyond the obvious, it devolves into the same impossible to prove to another person discussion like best ice cream flavor, best team, best beer, best movie or any other subjective discussion.

Stats can discredit some of the "sucks" rants, but, cannot address intangibles that we all see when watching the game.

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09-08-2012, 11:45 AM
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It's not rocket science. A number one player who is someone who can consistently be depended on to create offense.

Stats are helpful, but watching the games is the most helpful. Watch a player for an extended amount of time in a scoring-line position, and the answer will liekly be there.

I'd say Erat is the closest thing we have to someone who can consisntely produce offense. Hopefully one day we can get him a true goal scorer to play to complement him a bit more.

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Old
09-10-2012, 09:51 AM
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I have to disagree that 'offense' is the measuring stick. Goals/points are not the only part of the game-- I think of #1Cs as having points talent but also having sound defensive and faceoff skills. In other words, I want that player to have it all. Perhaps not elite in just one category, but more than one. But that is just my standard. As has been mentioned, there are likely as many standards as there will be posters in this forum

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