Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Comparison of Two "Big Threes"

It's summer.

I'm going to look at the even strength offense of the Pens' three-headed monster down the middle and of the Caps' top-three forwards.Here's a link to the spreadsheet.

By seasons:

The only argument for Crosby over Ovechkin for the 2006 Calder is that Crosby might have been a hair better even strength scorer on a worse team. Also, Backstrom and Staal are both pretty durable.

By ESG/gm:

Ovechkin is clearly in first, followed by Semin and Crosby in some order, then Malkin, Staal, Backstrom.

By ESP/gm:

Staal is pretty clearly the worst. Crosby and Ovechkin are pretty clearly the best, followed closely by Malkin.

By Adj* ESP/gm:

Sid just had to get 0.87 and 0.71, didn't he? His trajectory has been pretty straightforward, while Ovechkin's was too before this past season. Outside of a ridiculous 2009-2010 season Backstrom hasn't shown much improvement here. All these charts considered, I'm actually a bit worried about him. I think his offensive prowess may be overrated thanks to his 101 points that season. I can see (rationally) why you'd put more stock in that (recency, upward trajectory with age), but can you really take that season as more representative of his "true talent" than his three other seasons?

Then again, he's definitely shown improvement in terms of Corsi, it's just that the Capitals have been getting worse in that department as well, net effect leaving Backstrom on a plateau. I hope he's good enough to overcome it. He's stepping into his offensive prime now.

By Min/ESG:

Crosby gets better and better, while Ovechkin takes two steps forward then a step back. If that holds up he should be scoring slightly better than an ES goal every couple of games next season, getting a total around that of his magical 07-08 season (43). On the whole, Ovechkin, then Crosby/Semin, Malkin, Staal, Backstrom. Yikes, Lars. Shoot the puck some.

By Min/ESP:

Crosby is a clear #1. Staal brings up the rear. Geno and AO are neck-and-neck for 2nd. Semin is all over the place.

That's what she said.

By Min/Adj ESP:

I'm not as unhappy about Crosby coming out best here as I am about Backstrom coming out possibly last.

Nothing much novel here. Crosby is the league's best player, Ovechkin isn't too far off, Semin can get in their league for extended stretches of time but can't quite put together seasons like that consistently, Backstrom is pretty good but not at the Sid/AO level, Malkin is a little better scorer than Semin, and Staal is there more for defense than offense. What I was surprised to see is that once you factor in goal scoring and time on ice, Staal compares extremely favorably to Backstrom (even more so considering linemates and competition). Dare I say...better?

Prove to me that that's just coincidence, Nicklas. Pretty please.

*Adj crudely tries to weight goals and assists evenly by counting 1.7 assists as equivalent to 1 goal. Adjusted points are measured in goals: that is, instead of using 1.7 x goals + assists, I used (assists / 1.7) + goals. The goal to assist ratio varies year-to-year, but recently has been around 1 goal :1.7 assists.

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