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Round 2, Vote 7 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
12-17-2013, 12:11 AM
  #1
Hawkey Town 18
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Round 2, Vote 7 (HOH Top Centers)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Post 2 of every voting thread will contain instructions as to who to send your votes to. If you send your votes to the wrong person, we can't guarantee that they will be counted.

MOD: This is a strictly on-topic thread. Posts that don't focus on the centers listed in Post 2 will be deleted or moved at the discretion of the moderators. This will be strictly enforced in every Round 2 voting thread, regardless of who the OP is - TDMM

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

Round 2
  • The top 8-10 ranked players from the aggregate list will be posted in a thread
  • Players will be listed in alphabetical order to avoid creating bias
  • Player merits and rankings will be open for discussion and debate for a period of at least five (5) days. Administrators may extend the discussion period if it remains active
  • Final voting will occur for two (2) days, via PM. Everyone ranks their top 8 players.
  • Top 4 players will be added to the list
  • Final results will be posted and the process repeated for the next 4 places with remaining players until a list of 60 centers is obtained
  • If there are major breaks in the Round 2 voting totals, we may add more or less than the targeted 4 players in certain rounds
  • The number of players available for discussion at once will increase from 8 as we move down the list, based on natural breaks in the aggregate list put together in Round 1

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):
bigbuffalo313; BillyShoe1721; Canadiens1958; DaveG; Dennis Bonvie; hardyvan123; Hawkey Town 18; intylerwetrust; Jigglysquishy; MadArcand; Mike Farkas; MXD; reckoning; Rob Scuderi; seventieslord; Sturminator; tarheelhockey; ted1971; the edler; TheDevilMadeMe; tony D; VanIslander; vecens24

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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Old
12-17-2013, 12:17 AM
  #2
Hawkey Town 18
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Vote 7 will begin now and debates are scheduled to run through Monday, December 23rd at 10PM EST. You may PM votes to Hawkey Town 18 starting on Sunday, December 22.

We will be sending out confirmations when we receive ballots from the voters. Any voter who does not get a confirmation within 24 hours of submitting a ballot should assume we never received it and should either resubmit it or contact the person collecting ballots to arrange a different method to submit the ballots.

Vote 7 will be for places 24 through 28 (5 places) on the Top 60 list.

There are 12 eligible candidates for Vote 7. You will still only rank your Top 8 when voting.

Here are the candidates, listed alphabetically:

Sid Abel
Max Bentley
Bill Cowley
Alex Delvecchio
Elmer Lach
Sergei Fedorov
Ron Francis
Dave Keon
Nels Stewart
Peter Stastny
Norm Ullman


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 12-17-2013 at 10:07 AM.
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Old
12-17-2013, 10:07 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Post 2 has been updated with the candidates for this round.

I moved the discussion on last week's results (and who to officially add to the list) to the results thread, which is probably where it should have been to begin with.

Let's focus on the candidates for this round.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 12-17-2013 at 10:30 AM.
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12-17-2013, 10:32 AM
  #4
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Preliminary thoughts: I had Bentley, Ullman, Cowley, and Lach a small tier ahead of everyone else last time, so those 4 will likely be in my top 5 this round (remember, we are adding 5 this round). I guess Stewart should join them, since I don't see why he should fall much behind Joe Malone.

Not impressed with the 2 new candidates (Francis and Delvecchio). Both are the type of players I tend to rate lower than other people do - both were very good for a long time, but I don't think either was really a superstar on his own at any point in time. Elite complementary players if you will. I doubt either one finds his way onto my ballot, but I'll see what the arguments are.

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12-17-2013, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Not impressed with the 2 new candidates (Francis and Delvecchio). Both are the type of players I tend to rate lower than other people do - both were very good for a long time, but I don't think either was really a superstar on his own at any point in time. Elite complementary players if you will. I doubt either one finds his way onto my ballot, but I'll see what the arguments are.
I know the Jagr thing will get trotted out yet again but Francis absolutely was a star player on his own.

Just because his prime years were spent in Hartford and behind one of the greatest players of all time doesn't change this for me.

In before secondary assists..

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12-17-2013, 10:39 AM
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We have very little data on power play scoring for Abel, Bentley, Cowley, Lach, and Stewart, because the information wasn't reported consistently in newspapers and the HSP hasn't tracked the seasons in which they played.

We do have power play scoring for the 1952-53 and 1953-54 season, the last two seasons Max Bentley played. His 1953-54 season is very interesting because he scored 9 of 14 goals and 23 of 32 points on the power play. He appears to have been somewhat of a power play specialist in his final season.

Camille Henry also played a similar role on that team, with 20 of 24 goals scored on the PP. Henry played around the net and Max played the right point, as he had in Toronto. The Rangers also brought Doug Bentley in toward the end of the season.Doug played the left point and scored 8 of 12 points on the PP.

Not that the 1953-54 season was a big part of Max Bentley's resume, but it's interesting that 1. He was good enough on the PP that he was kept around as a specialist despite not taking a regular shift, and 2. He wasn't taking a regular shift at age 33. Maybe all his aches and pains caught up with him.

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12-17-2013, 10:39 AM
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NHL All-Star Teams (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) 1930-31 to 2012-13

Third Team All Stars are unofficial, but derived from the same voting that gives us the First and Second Team All Stars. I was able to award a 3rd Team All Star in every year but 1941, 1952, 1953, and 1958

Note on Bill Cowley and Elmer Lach = each man acquired a 1st and a 2nd Team AS in 1944 and 1945, when just about every other notable center (including Abel, Apps, Bentley, and Schmidt) was off to war. Edit: Their second numbers below are their totals with 1944 and 1945 removed.

Note on Sid Abel = he was a LW in the NHL before the War, and was converted to C shortly after coming back. For him, the second numbers are his totals including his 2nd Team AS as a LW.

Note on Alex Delvecchio = he spent 2 years as a LW with Ullman and Howe before moving back to C. For him, the second numbers are his totals including his 2nd Team AS as a LW.

Player First Second Third Total
Wayne Gretzky 8 7 1 16
Jean Beliveau 6 4 1 11
Mario Lemieux 5 4 0 9
Stan Mikita 6 2 0 8
Phil Esposito 6 2 0 8
Bobby Clarke 2 2 3 7
Bill Cowley 4 : 3 1 : 0 1 6 : 4
Syl Apps 2 3 1 6
Milt Schmidt 3 1 2 6
Henri Richard 1 3 2 6
Norm Ullman 1 1 4 6
Ted Kennedy 0 3 3 6
Elmer Lach 3 : 2 2 : 1 0 5 : 3
Joe Sakic 3 0 2 5
Marcel Dionne 2 2 1 5
Bryan Trottier 2 2 1 5
Sidney Crosby 2 1 2 5
Joe Thornton 1 2 2 5
Gilbert Perreault 0 2 3 5
Peter Forsberg 3 0 1 4
Frank Boucher* 3 1 0 4
Hooley Smith* 1 1 2 4
Max Bentley 1 1 2 4
Dave Keon 0 2 2 4
Steven Stamkos 0 2 2 4
Sid Abel 21 : 203 : 4
...    
Peter Stastny0033
Ron Francis0033
Alex Delvecchio01 : 201 : 2
Sergei Fedorov1001

Nels Stewart won 2 Hart Trophies before 1930-31. The highest he finished in All-Star voting was 4th in 1930-31 (when he was also 5th in Hart voting).

Note on Sergei Fedorov = The only time Fedorov finished top 3 in All-Star voting was when he won the Hart in 1993-94. 1995-96 did have insane competition for center, however, and Fedorov was 5th in Hart voting that year. I believe that Fedorov spent part of 1995-96 as RW on the Russian Five unit.

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12-17-2013, 10:47 AM
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Hart voting Records

We have Hart voting for every year of the careers of every player here.

As before, a number below listed in italics indicates a voting points total of less than 10% of the leader.

*indicates a year before 1926-27 when there was still a large amount of talent in the Western leagues (Stewart) or one of the two worst War years (1943-44 and 1944-45 for Lach and Cowley).

Players are listed in rough chronological order

Nels Stewart: 1, 1*, 5

Bill Cowley: 1, 1, 2*, 3*, 7
Sid Abel: 1, 4
Max Bentley: 1, 3, 4
Elmer Lach: 1*, 2, 2, 6*

Alex Delvecchio: 9, 13
Norm Ullman: 2, 5, 9
Dave Keon: 4, 6

Peter Stastny: 4, 7, 7, 11, 11
Ron Francis: 6, 15
Sergei Fedorov: 1, 5, 9

Alex Delvecchio never received more than a handful of Hart votes. Francis' one season of Hart recognition (where he barely crossed the 10% threshold required to have his number bolded) was actually his age 38 season in 2002 in Carolina.


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12-17-2013, 11:11 AM
  #9
seventieslord
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Initial thoughts:

- I agree with TDMM in that I’m not thrilled with the two new candidates. At first glance I prefer everyone else here to these two. We can’t vote in a player yet, who would never have been a top-10 scorer until a spike at age 37 in a weak season. Unless he was, like, Dave Keon level defensively. But Francis wasn’t.

- I did a big comparison between Francis and Delvecchio in ATD 2010, I’m sure someone could find it if they looked. I can’t recall how extensive or scientific it was but I recall coming out of it thinking Francis was clearly yet narrowly ahead of Delvecchio as an overall player. I’m open to changing that. (In the same ATD my 2nd round opponent did a fine job of bringing Francis' job down to earth, a perfect example of the scientific nature of these projects; when more evidence is uncovered, opinions change, and well-made points backed up by fact and logic become more prevalent)

- Francis’ defensive ability is well-documented. In that same ATD I did a very long bio (info dump) regarding Francis and that’s a good place to start if you want a refresher on things that were said about him during his career. Delvecchio sometimes seems to be talked about here as though he would have won a handful of Selke trophies. When researching players in books, newspapers and whatever else, I don’t get that impression. He seems to have been a smart two-way player, but I’d really like to get to the bottom of his all-around play and exactly what level it was at. How often is it mentioned when talking about him, and what level of superlatives are used?

- Despite the career totals and 1994-1998 spike, I’m also not convinced that Ron Francis was ever truly considered a better or more valuable player than Doug Gilmour by those in the know. Francis isn’t a danger to get voted in this round, however, and this project will benefit from a thorough comparison of these two at that time.

- In fact, it rubs me the wrong way just a little that Fedorov is going to likely be voted in this round, when a thorough comparison to Gilmour would have been a great project for us to undertake. I don’t see the major edge that round 1 voting indicates – even if I could be ultimately convinced an edge is there. I’m not going to strategically vote Fedorov lower or anything silly like that. If he deserves to get in with this group, then he should – but I will miss the chance to assist in a Feds/Gilmour discussion.

- With Francis/Delvecchio decidedly out (at this point), it’s likely that a one-dimensional player is my other player on the outside looking in. That means Nels Stewart, Bill Cowley, Peter Stastny or Max Bentley. I’m already feeling the “blend in” effect when looking at these four – I see their offensive achievements as fairly similar. Am I crazy? Someone make a good case as to why I should see one or two of these guys as decidedly ahead of (or behind) the others.

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12-17-2013, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Initial thoughts:

... - In fact, it rubs me the wrong way just a little that Fedorov is going to likely be voted in this round, when a thorough comparison to Gilmour would have been a great project for us to undertake. I donít see the major edge that round 1 voting indicates Ė even if I could be ultimately convinced an edge is there. Iím not going to strategically vote Fedorov lower or anything silly like that. If he deserves to get in with this group, then he should Ė but I will miss the chance to assist in a Feds/Gilmour discussion. ...
This whole long unedited post was nice. I would have liked to see a Feds/Gilmour discussion also. I think any non-best player who plays on multiple Cup winners may get a little bit too much extra credit.

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12-17-2013, 11:34 AM
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This whole long unedited post was nice. I would have liked to see a Feds/Gilmour discussion also. I think any non-best player who plays on multiple Cup winners may get a little bit too much extra credit.

I'm a little unsure why Fedorov is up so long before Gilmour when their results are essentially equal in many respects imo.

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12-17-2013, 11:42 AM
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Context

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Initial thoughts:

- I did a big comparison between Francis and Delvecchio in ATD 2010, Iím sure someone could find it if they looked. I canít recall how extensive or scientific it was but I recall coming out of it thinking Francis was clearly yet narrowly ahead of Delvecchio as an overall player. Iím open to changing that. (In the same ATD my 2nd round opponent did a fine job of bringing Francis' job down to earth, a perfect example of the scientific nature of these projects; when more evidence is uncovered, opinions change, and well-made points backed up by fact and logic become more prevalent)

- Francisí defensive ability is well-documented. In that same ATD I did a very long bio (info dump) regarding Francis and thatís a good place to start if you want a refresher on things that were said about him during his career. Delvecchio sometimes seems to be talked about here as though he would have won a handful of Selke trophies. When researching players in books, newspapers and whatever else, I donít get that impression. He seems to have been a smart two-way player, but Iíd really like to get to the bottom of his all-around play and exactly what level it was at. How often is it mentioned when talking about him, and what level of superlatives are used?


- With Francis/Delvecchio decidedly out (at this point), itís likely that a one-dimensional player is my other player on the outside looking in. That means Nels Stewart, Bill Cowley, Peter Stastny or Max Bentley. Iím already feeling the ďblend inĒ effect when looking at these four Ė I see their offensive achievements as fairly similar. Am I crazy? Someone make a good case as to why I should see one or two of these guys as decidedly ahead of (or behind) the others.
Alex Delvecchio was very good defensively during the O6 era but he was not elite - Henri Richard, Keon, Mikita level. Defensively elite centers would never be moved to play LW in favour of a Parker MacDonald type.

Max Bentley pales defensively compared to Ted Kennedy who would draw the Production Line, but this does not make him a one dimensional offensive center. Specifically during the Leafs dynasty from 1948-51 the Leafs GAA dropped significantly in the playoffs compared to the regular season. Given Bentley's role and estimated time on ice this would not happen if he was a one dimensional offensive player as alleged.

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12-17-2013, 12:16 PM
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I thought it would have been the round where Were we could've had a significant debate regarding positions. Namely, a player who didn't spent his whole career at C and who isn't necessarily known as a C. At least in the most famous line he played on.

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12-17-2013, 12:21 PM
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I'm just going to post the 7 year VsX scores for these 11 guys. These are the same numbers Sturminator has been posting, but without all the unavailable players.

Remember, VsX is basically how close a player was to the 2nd best scorer in a given year*. And VsX-7 is just a measure of a player's best 7 years by this method.

*unless #2 was an outlier, then a semi-complicated formula determines the comparable.

Top-7 weighted VsX for Centers (1926*-2013):

QUESTION: DO these numbers omit Stewart's Art Ross winning rookie season?

6Bill Cowley103.5(95.8)
11Elmer Lach95.4 (83.3)
12Max Bentley94.9
18Nels Stewart90.5
23Norm Ullman88.7
25Peter Stastny88.3
26Sid Abel87.8
28Ron Francis87.6
34Alex Delvecchio84.9
45Sergei Fedorov81.0
69Dave Keon73.2
  • Note that the above numbers do NOT adjust for linemates - Francis's prime numbers spent with Jagr and sometimes Lemieux, Delvecchio's with Howe, SOME of Abel's with Howe.
  • Note that the above numbers do NOT adjust for coaching strategies - the Punch Imlach Leafs playing very defensively (Keon) and the Hap Day Leafs playing fairly defensively (SOME of Bentley).

The second numbers for Cowley and Lach are with their 1944 and 1945 WW2 seasons removed. Based on discussions last round (involving the stages those players were in their careers and their injury histories, etc), I think Cowley's true value is closer to his number with those seasons removed, while Lach's is in the middle.

Based on this method, with the possible exception of Nels Stewart (the value of goals vs assists, his 1925-26 season being potentially omitted from the above study), Cowley and Bentley are clearly the best 2 regular season offensive players in this round. Cowley a little bit ahead. The case for Bentley over Cowley? Playoffs, less bad defensively, and put in a team situation much less favorable for offense after he was traded to Toronto.

Cowley spent his whole career playing all-offense - first with Milt Schmidt taking the defensive draws, then against a watered down WW2 league. And the stories about Cowley's lack of backchecking are hilarious.

Max Bentley likely played all-offense in Chicago, but then was traded to a very defensive minded Toronto team. Regardless, nobody ever talks about Bentley's defensive abilities, so while we can assume he was nothing special without the puck, I think it's clear he wasn't a liability like Cowley.

Cowley and Bentley both deserve to go this round on the strength of their offense alone, but hopefully this explains why I ranked Bentley 2 spots over Cowley last time.

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12-17-2013, 12:28 PM
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Hawkey Town 18
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Bill Cowley didn't make my top 8 last round. I don't see how after taking into account the war and his non-existent defense he isn't very close to Joe Thornton and Adam Oates. Obviously a lot of you disagree...someone convince me.

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12-17-2013, 12:30 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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I know the Jagr thing will get trotted out yet again but Francis absolutely was a star player on his own.

Just because his prime years were spent in Hartford and behind one of the greatest players of all time doesn't change this for me.

In before secondary assists..
Agreed.

I'm very much a prime & peak guy and thus (I think) in a minority here. Most seem to favor high quality longevity.

And here is Ron Francis, 2nd in assists only to Gretzky and 4th in points only to Gretzky, Howe and Messier in his career. A Selke Trophy winner. Was great on face-offs. A clutch player who scored big goals, and a captain.

Yet he is being dismissed immediately as a possible top 30 center.

I realize I am clearly biased here. I saw more of Ron Francis live than any other great player. But it should be noted that I was not a Whalers fan. I was not rooting for him as I would an Esposito. Still, I fully understand how underwhelming Ron Francis could seem to fans that didn't see that much of him.

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12-17-2013, 12:57 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Bill Cowley didn't make my top 8 last round. I don't see how after taking into account the war and his non-existent defense he isn't very close to Joe Thornton and Adam Oates. Obviously a lot of you disagree...someone convince me.
3 reasons: higher peak in the regular season, higher peak in the playoffs, MUCH better awards record.

Bascially, Cowley is likely the best player this round in terms of regular season offense (though Bentley and Stewart are close), and Cowley was pretty good in the playoffs too (though not as good as some others this round).

I think that once you account for Stewart's missing 1925-26 season in the study above, it becomes quite clear that Cowley, Stewart, and Bentley are a tier above everyone else offensively.

Lach, Ullman, and Stastny appear to be the next tier in regular season offense, a clear step down from the above 3, but a clear tier ahead of the rest (AGAIN REGULAR SEASON OFFENSE only) And considering Lach and Ullman were strong two-way players with playoff records at least as good as Stastny, well...

My top 5 are probably going to be Bentley, Ullman, Cowley, Lach, and Stewart, though not necessarily in that order.

Fedorov and Abel probably get my 6 and 7 spots do their all-round games, peak performances, and playoffs, which I think push them over Stastny

I think it's just a bit too early for Keon, Delvecchio, or Francis.

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12-17-2013, 01:03 PM
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Finally Francis is up. It's weird how much sooner Fedorov came up - also compared to Gilmour, as has been mentioned already.

Interesting bunch of players without too much of clear separation in the pack. Initial thoughts would be Francis, Stastny & Lach for top 3, but it's hardly set in stone for me.

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12-17-2013, 01:08 PM
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seventieslord
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I wouldn't be so sure about Stewart, personally. His 1926 season would boost his vsx7 score, but not really by much, right? Then from there, you must consider that he was a very goals-heavy player in a goals-heavy league. Vsx for points is a great starting point but we have to tweak after the fact for those types of factors. I don't think he's ahead of Ullman offensively, to be honest.

Give me some parameters that you feel are appropriate to adjust his era for assists, and I'll go do that and get back to you with the results. I'm quite confident that it would put him even with Ullman, at best. (If I'm wrong, well, There's still playoffs and defense)

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12-17-2013, 01:08 PM
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Finally Francis is up. It's weird how much sooner Fedorov came up - also compared to Gilmour, as has been mentioned already.

Interesting bunch of players without too much of clear separation in the pack. Initial thoughts would be Francis, Stastny & Lach for top 3, but it's hardly set in stone for me.
Did you mean bottom three?

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12-17-2013, 01:19 PM
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Did you mean bottom three?
Very funny. I don't understand why do you Venerators Of The Holy Peak feel the constant need to belittle anyone and anything opposing your dogma.

FYI I was one of the two who didn't vote for that three-year wonder last round.

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12-17-2013, 01:19 PM
  #22
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QUESTION: DO these numbers omit Stewart's Art Ross winning rookie season?
Unfortunately yes, as it was the final season before consolidation. Stewart led the NHL in scoring by a decent margin, though I highly doubt he'd have beaten Bill Cook that year in a consolidated league. Cook practically lapped the field in the WHL that season. So a best estimate of Stewart's theoretical VsX score in that season would probably make him the benchmark, and award him 100 points, even. As this 100 would replace Nels' 7th best season in the study, it would be enough to raise his overall 7-season number by a few points, in all likelihood, though I don't have the numbers in front of me.

It's good that you ask, because we should keep this fact in mind. Stewart's rookie season was probably his best or second best season as a professional hockey player, and it is not accounted for in the VsX numbers because it occured in a split league. I had actually forgotten this, myself, before you brought it up.

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12-17-2013, 01:23 PM
  #23
seventieslord
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By the way, here is a season-by-season summary of NHL assists per goal. It steadily rose throughout Stewart’s career, and by the end of it, it had gotten to more or less modern levels, but in his first few it was extremely low, which I can only assume benefited him in the points leaders:
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http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_AssistsPerGoal.php
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Let me know what you think is appropriate and I’ll whip something up.

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12-17-2013, 01:25 PM
  #24
unknown33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadArcand View Post
FYI I was one of the two who didn't vote for that three-year wonder last round.
Who? 5.7 seasons worth of games so your 'opinion' is based on a lack of knowledge.


Last edited by unknown33: 12-17-2013 at 01:36 PM.
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12-17-2013, 01:26 PM
  #25
seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadArcand View Post
Very funny. I don't understand why do you Venerators Of The Holy Peak feel the constant need to belittle anyone and anything opposing your dogma.

FYI I was one of the two who didn't vote for that three-year wonder last round.
Oh please. Don't take it as an attack, use it as an opportunity to defend your position.

I should point out though, that these three include a hurricane/whaler and a Slovak, two demographics you've always shown a, let's say, affinity for.

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