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Why Zajac Should Win the Selke

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04-08-2010, 12:10 AM
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Classic Devil
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Why Zajac Should Win the Selke

Borrowing this from In Lou We Trust:

http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2010/4/5...elke-contender

Quote:
The numbers amaze me. The only "contender" facing tougher competition is Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers, but has decreased DIFF GA/60. The only "contender" with a better DIFF GA/60 is S. Pahlsson, but faces much worse competition than Zajac does.
Zajac won't win it. We know this. But this is a guy who's a better defensive center than anyone this team has ever had short of a in-his-prime Bobby Holik. Better than Madden, although I'll get knocks for that.

In terms of pure defensive play, Travis Zajac is the best forward in the league.

The fact that when he's on the ice our goals against/60 minutes falls by .62 goals/60 minutes and he's the one who goes up against the prime competition on the other side is nothing short of astounding. For comparison, HFBoard's prime candidate for the Selke, Ryan Kesler (who I love as a player) gives up 1.25 goals/60 minutes more than his team average against competition that is half as difficult as the competition Zajac faces on a normal shift.

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04-08-2010, 12:13 AM
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love travtrav. hes really transformed himself. hell get his kudos one of these days. maybe not this year, but the hardware is in the mail if he keeps it up.

oh and imagine if he is able to become dominant on faceoffs. schwing schwing.

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04-08-2010, 12:14 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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If Zajac killed penalties more often, I think he'd be more in the conversation.

Hopefully he actually gets more Selke votes than Parise this year. Parise is very good defensively, but Zajac is better.

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04-08-2010, 12:15 AM
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This is Main Board worthy. You should drop the bomb Classic

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04-08-2010, 12:17 AM
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Zajac is a great defensive centre, which is how he primarily describes himself. I'm even more impressed with how far his offensive game has come. I'll take a reliable 60 points from a "defensive centre" any day.

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04-08-2010, 12:24 AM
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Omar Little
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I dont understand why kesler is the favorite...no doubt he's good defensively but he has more points than travis and a lower +/- and arguably a better defensive core

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04-08-2010, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils13 View Post
I dont understand why kesler is the favorite...no doubt he's good defensively but he has more points than travis and a lower +/- and arguably a better defensive core
Isn't that supposed to be good?

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04-08-2010, 12:38 AM
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This is a little OT, but should generate some discussion.

In terms of overall play, taking everything into account, who is the more complete player, Parise or Zajac?

Parise is the faster skater, is better along the boards, better around the net, and seems to have an unrivaled hockey IQ and will to win.

Zajac, however, has better stick handling, is a beast in the neutral zone, has the better shot, and is better defensively in all zones.

So who is the more complete player?

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04-08-2010, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MONEYMO View Post
Isn't that supposed to be good?
the selke is best defensive forward and considering he has more points and has been on the ice for more goals and yet has a lower +/- than travis implies he has been on the ice for more goals than travis making him a worse defensive forward

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04-08-2010, 12:39 AM
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I really think the meaning of the award Selke has been lost over the year. It's no longer about defensive forwards but offensive players who can play adequate defense. Unless Zajac puts up some big numbers and keeps his defensive excellence, I can't see the league moving away from the usual suspects.

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04-08-2010, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils13 View Post
I dont understand why kesler is the favorite...no doubt he's good defensively but he has more points than travis and a lower +/- and arguably a better defensive core
Reputation. Kesler is relied on in a shut down role for Vancouver, but he's never actually put up defensive results better than the team average. This year, he's actually done a downright poor job at being the shutdown guy, but he's added some extra offence to hide that. He's actually undeserving for the Selke, but he's got the two-way reputation, a great offensive season, and the hype from a great olympic performance so he'll probably win.

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04-08-2010, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilersrule14 View Post
Reputation. Kesler is relied on in a shut down role for Vancouver, but he's never actually put up defensive results better than the team average. This year, he's actually done a downright poor job at being the shutdown guy, but he's added some extra offence to hide that. He's actually undeserving for the Selke, but he's got the two-way reputation, a great offensive season, and the hype from a great olympic performance so he'll probably win.
completely agree

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04-08-2010, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils13 View Post
I dont understand why kesler is the favorite...no doubt he's good defensively but he has more points than travis and a lower +/- and arguably a better defensive core
Vancouver's defense is easily the weakest part of this team, there is no way our D-core is worse than yours. everyone knows this and come playoff time they'll try to exploit it


Also you are completely agreeing with the Oilers above which I DISAGREE with. Kesler is as valuable as the Sedins and Luongo. Our core right now is Luongo, Sedins and Kesler I don't think anyone will disagree with that fact.

I think Kesler provides more grit and toughness then Zajac, I could be misled because I haven't seen every Devils game so this is just my opinion.

If you bring stats into play Kesler has the best takeaway and giveaway which is better then the useless +/- stat, also he has brought career years to Raymond (who woulda thought) AND Samuelsson

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04-08-2010, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgson View Post
Vancouver's defense is easily the weakest part of this team, there is no way our D-core is worse than yours. everyone knows this and come playoff time they'll try to exploit it


Also you are completely agreeing with the Oilers above which I DISAGREE with. Kesler is as valuable as the Sedins and Luongo. Our core right now is Luongo, Sedins and Kesler I don't think anyone will disagree with that fact.

I think Kesler provides more grit and toughness then Zajac, I could be misled because I haven't seen every Devils game so this is just my opinion.

If you bring stats into play Kesler has the best takeaway and giveaway which is better then the useless +/- stat, also he has brought career years to Raymond (who woulda thought) AND Samuelsson
I'm not sure how grit and toughness add anything to the Selke discussion. Not criticizing your point, I'm just curious why you made note of it.

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04-08-2010, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgson View Post
Vancouver's defense is easily the weakest part of this team, there is no way our D-core is worse than yours. everyone knows this and come playoff time they'll try to exploit it


Also you are completely agreeing with the Oilers above which I DISAGREE with. Kesler is as valuable as the Sedins and Luongo. Our core right now is Luongo, Sedins and Kesler I don't think anyone will disagree with that fact.

I think Kesler provides more grit and toughness then Zajac, I could be misled because I haven't seen every Devils game so this is just my opinion.

If you bring stats into play Kesler has the best takeaway and giveaway which is better then the useless +/- stat, also he has brought career years to Raymond (who woulda thought) AND Samuelsson
We're not using +/-. In this thread we're analyzing the difference between the team's goals against/60 minutes while the defensive center is on the ice to the team's goals against/60 without that center. Then we're comparing quality of competition.

Zajac's Quality of Competition: 0.089
Kesler's Quality of Competition: 0.034

Zajac's quality of competition is more than double Kesler's.

Zajac's Goals Against/60 Minutes while on the ice - New Jersey's Goals Against/60 Minutes:
1.65 - 2.27 = -0.62

Therefore: While Zajac is on the ice, New Jersey gives up 0.62 fewer goals/60 minutes, and that's with the opposition's prime skaters on the ice.

Kesler's Goals Against/60 Minutes while on the ice - Vancouver's Goals Against/60 Minutes:
3.13 - 1.84 = +1.29

Therefore: White Kesler is on the ice, Vancouver gives up 1.29 more goals/60 minutes, and that's with the opposition's middling skaters on the ice.

Kesler has more point production, and more hitting, but in terms of preventing goals against Zajac is the far better forward.

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04-08-2010, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgson View Post
Vancouver's defense is easily the weakest part of this team, there is no way our D-core is worse than yours. everyone knows this and come playoff time they'll try to exploit it


Also you are completely agreeing with the Oilers above which I DISAGREE with. Kesler is as valuable as the Sedins and Luongo. Our core right now is Luongo, Sedins and Kesler I don't think anyone will disagree with that fact.

I think Kesler provides more grit and toughness then Zajac, I could be misled because I haven't seen every Devils game so this is just my opinion.

If you bring stats into play Kesler has the best takeaway and giveaway which is better then the useless +/- stat, also he has brought career years to Raymond (who woulda thought) AND Samuelsson
I really dont think your d-core is worse than ours, the argument is not which center is bringing career years to who the argument is who the best defensive center is and its a fact that zajac is on the ice for less goals against. How can I guy who is almost a ppg player and is supposedly a stud defensively only be a +1...and dont give me the +/- is a bad stat argument anyone who is nearly even while putting up that many points isnt that good defensively

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04-08-2010, 01:05 AM
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Plus/minus usually isn't a useful stat to analyze defensive ability. But it is a useful stat when comparing one player's plus/minus to the rest of his team's.

Zajac is 2nd behind Parise with 2 less. Kesler isn't even in his team's top 10

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04-08-2010, 01:08 AM
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Those statistics are a bit deceiving, since you need to understand just how much effect a center has on a goal being scored. Goaltenders, defenseman, centers, and wingers all contribute to team defense. The trick is to come up with a weighted average that accurately represents the the portion of the GA figure that the center is responsible for.

But yeah, Travis is great defensively. He's deserve it.

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04-08-2010, 01:09 AM
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I don't understand the point of Kesler winning it either, he's more of a 50/50 guy, but I've never quite understood the Selke trophy anyway. You can go from a John Madden type winning it one year, to a Pavel Datsyuk type winning it the next. Completely different players, completely different situations.

Honestly, I don't think a puck possession scoring player should *ever* win it. Why not give it to Ovechkin, then?

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04-08-2010, 01:19 AM
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Kesler's QOC is the highest on Vancouver. If you look the QOC's for each team, NJ's are markedly higher. I'm not sure what this means, because I sincerely doubt the Devils have played tougher teams (to that extent at least), however I don't think Kesler is out there against "middling" skaters.

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04-08-2010, 01:19 AM
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the Selke trophy goes to "the best defensive forward"

but yes I agree with some of your sentiments that the award takes in more consideration in other areas as well. Much like the Hart but emphasized on how much they're responsible in there own end. That is why Datsyuk and Brind'amour won it twice since the lockout. What I mean to say is that I believe the voters takes in other areas of the player and not just defense.

I think Zajac is a great fit for Parise (or so I've heard), and just judging by limited games and judging from opinions from others I guess you can say he is similar to Lehtinen who won the Selke 3 times for Dallas Stars.

I wouldn't be surprised if Zajac is nominated but I do expect Kesler to be nominated again as well, because I'm a nucks homer :p

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04-08-2010, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat View Post
Kesler's QOC is the highest on Vancouver. If you look the QOC's for each team, NJ's are markedly higher. I'm not sure what this means, because I sincerely doubt the Devils have played tougher teams (to that extent at least), however I don't think Kesler is out there against "middling" skaters.
Point. I didn't compare the QOC on the list to the QOC of the rest of the team. That is strange - although it may have something to do with facing Crosby six times? It may also be that Vancouver doesn't line-match as much as Lemaire does. Anyway, it doesn't negate the second half of the argument.

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04-08-2010, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by hodgson View Post
Also you are completely agreeing with the Oilers above which I DISAGREE with. Kesler is as valuable as the Sedins and Luongo. Our core right now is Luongo, Sedins and Kesler I don't think anyone will disagree with that fact.
No, he's not. You, me, and everyone else in the world knows it. Henrik Sedin may possibly win the Art Ross Trophy, Kesler is not as valuable as him. But I will agree with you about your core.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgson View Post
I think Kesler provides more grit and toughness then Zajac, I could be misled because I haven't seen every Devils game so this is just my opinion.

If you bring stats into play Kesler has the best takeaway and giveaway which is better then the useless +/- stat, also he has brought career years to Raymond (who woulda thought) AND Samuelsson
He does bring more physical play, and he does seem to be better at takeaways. But those are just two aspects of defensive play. All these aspects combine to achieve an ultimate goal, and that is to keep the puck out of the net. And if you look at the ultimate goal, there's no argument, Zajac does a better job at that than Kesler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic Devil
Zajac's Goals Against/60 Minutes while on the ice - New Jersey's Goals Against/60 Minutes:
1.65 - 2.27 = -0.62

Therefore: While Zajac is on the ice, New Jersey gives up 0.62 fewer goals/60 minutes, and that's with the opposition's prime skaters on the ice.

Kesler's Goals Against/60 Minutes while on the ice - Vancouver's Goals Against/60 Minutes:
3.13 - 1.84 = +1.29

Therefore: White Kesler is on the ice, Vancouver gives up 1.29 more goals/60 minutes, and that's with the opposition's middling skaters on the ice.

Kesler has more point production, and more hitting, but in terms of preventing goals against Zajac is the far better forward.
While I agree with your general assessment, to be fair to Kesler, there's not a single forward on his team that faces better players than he does (he has the highest quality of competition among Canucks forwards). He's facing the opposition's prime skaters too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MGD31
Plus/minus usually isn't a useful stat to analyze defensive ability. But it is a useful stat when comparing one player's plus/minus to the rest of his team's.
Not really, because it's still not putting into context who's out there against who. Just taking an example from my team, Horcoff is -28, and Nilsson is -17. If you just compared the two because they are on the same team, you would come to the wrong conclusion because it's not considering that Horcoff is put out against the best opponents while Nilsson is sheltered and kept away from the best opponents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat
Those statistics are a bit deceiving, since you need to understand just how much effect a center has on a goal being scored. Goaltenders, defenseman, centers, and wingers all contribute to team defense. The trick is to come up with a weighted average that accurately represents the the portion of the GA figure that the center is responsible for.

But yeah, Travis is great defensively. He's deserve it.
Agreed. It's hard to seperate what part of the GA that Zajac's defensive play is responsible for and what part of the GA that Parise's defensive play is responsible for. Not to mention what part of the GA is due to Parise keeping the puck in the offensive zone etc. And comparing to the team without Zajac won't work, since that often means it's also the team without Parise as well. It's always more complicated than just the numbers.

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04-08-2010, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilersrule14 View Post


Agreed. It's hard to seperate what part of the GA that Zajac's defensive play is responsible for and what part of the GA that Parise's defensive play is responsible for. Not to mention what part of the GA is due to Parise keeping the puck in the offensive zone etc. And comparing to the team without Zajac won't work, since that often means it's also the team without Parise as well. It's always more complicated than just the numbers.
This is why it's always better to evaluate with your own two eyes. It's true that Zajac and Parise are often together, probably 70% of games they've played together, maybe more, but they don't play together exclusively. Zajac spent a few games centering Kovalchuk (and we used Zajac's line as the shutdown line in those games, they were on the ice when we were leading at the end of games, not Parise's unit).

And it's true while it's not just Zajac on the ice contributing to the numbers, the center does have the greatest in defensive responsibility at forward so he contributes more than either of his wingers.

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04-08-2010, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat View Post
Kesler's QOC is the highest on Vancouver. If you look the QOC's for each team, NJ's are markedly higher. I'm not sure what this means, because I sincerely doubt the Devils have played tougher teams (to that extent at least), however I don't think Kesler is out there against "middling" skaters.
This is a great point. I've always been suspicious of the ability of some square of plus/minus to accurately capture quality of competition, and this seems to prove that it probably doesn't - at least between different teams.

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