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Vulgar Statistics: The Best Stat Ever

12/05/10
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Earlier this week, Phil sent me this article.  In addition to being a nice piece that highlights the excellent play of Steve Montador, it also gives the interesting statistic of points per sixty minutes of play.  (Note: While the article confines this to five on five play, there is a limit to what I can do, and I simply do not have the time to go through and discount all power play goals like the article does.)

Phil thought it was be interesting to come up with an excel sheet capable of calculating any given player’s points per sixty minutes of icetime (pp60) since the lockout and I (being me) agreed wholeheartedly.  The main idea behind such a chart is that it gets guys on as level a playing field as possible.  Comparing goals and points is tricky due to games played and icetime, but this stat eliminates those discrepancies.  So I created that chart…and thus a legend, whose power can rival The Ruiner, was born.  I’ve basically been using this stat nonstop to prove how awesome Thomas Vanek is because…well…Thomas Vanek is awesome.

When making the chart, it made sense to also track goals and assists per 60 minutes of ice time (gp60 and ap60).  Now we all know that Thomas Vanek is more of a scorer than a playmaker so I’m going to start with gp60.  When names like Heatley, Crosby, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, Malkin, Gaborik, Stamkos, Staal, and a number of other superstars come up, you wouldn’t think Thomas Vanek would even be a lock to place in the top 20 in gp60 since the lockout.  You would be wrong.

The Top 15 (As of 11-29-10):

1). Alexander Ovechkin – 1.80 gp60 (no surprise here)

2). Marian Gaborik – 1.74 gp60

3). Steven Stamkos – 1.69 gp60

3). Alexander Semin -1.69 gp60

5). Thomas Vanek – 1.59 gp60

6). Dany Heatley – 1.58 gp60

7). Ilya Kovalchuk – 1.54 gp60

8). Bobby Ryan – 1.52 gp60

9). Sidney Crosby – 1.44 gp60

10). Rick Nash – 1.42 gp60

11). Marian Hossa – 1.40 gp60

12). Daniel Briere – 1.36 gp60

13). Henrik Zetterberg – 1.35 gp60

14). Zach Parise – 1.33 gp60

14). Eric Staal – 1.33 gp60

14). Jarome Iginla – 1.33 gp60

Pretty shocking, especially since Vanek also trumps the two guys that people often wish we had in his place (Bobby Ryan and Zach Parise) in pp60 as well (2.91 to 2.81 and 2.78 respectively).  The list for ap60 becomes even more interesting.  Before get to it, I must admit I may have missed a few guys since I have to put everyone in by hand.  There are many players in the league who are great playmakers who fly under the radar like…well…you’ll see.

1). Joe Thornton – 2.77 ap60

2). Henrik Sedin – 2.63 ap60

3). Sidney Crosby – 2.46 ap60

4). Nicklas Backstrom – 2.31 ap60

5). Pavel Datsyuk – 2.29 ap60

6). Jason Spezza – 2.19 ap60

7). Evgeni Malkin – 2.17 ap60

8). Ryan Getzlaf – 2.12 ap60

9). Daniel Sedin – 2.09 ap60

10). Patrick Kane – 2.00 ap60

10). Tim Connolly – 2.00 ap60  (OH GOD IT’S THE APOCALYPSE!)

12). Daniel Alfredsson – 1.99 ap60

13). Daniel Briere – 1.82 ap60

13). Alexander Ovechkin – 1.82 ap60

15). Martin St. Louis – 1.75 ap60

Yeah…about that…

One of the more interesting things to come out of this chart was what Phil and I dubbed the “superstar index.”  Basically, if a player has above 3.00 pp60 then he is a superstar.  If not, he’s merely very good.  There are nineteen players that reach this “superstar status” as forwards since the lockout.

1). Sidney Crosby – 3.90 pp60

2). Joe Thornton – 3.66 pp60

3). Alexander Ovechkin – 3.61 pp60

4). Evgeni Malkin – 3.47 pp60

5). Pavel Datsyuk – 3.45 pp60

6). Jason Spezza – 3.41 pp60

7). Daniel Sedin – 3.36 pp60

8). Marian Gaborik – 3.35 pp60

9). Henrik Sedin – 3.34 pp60

9). Alexander Semin – 3.34 pp60

11). Steven Stamkos – 3.21 pp60

11). Dany Heatley – 3.21 pp60

13). Daniel Briere – 3.18 pp60

13). Nicklas Backstrom – 3.18 pp60

15). Daniel Alfredsson – 3.17 pp60

16). Henrik Zetterberg – 3.13 pp60

17). Ryan Getzlaf – 3.09 pp60

18). Marian Hossa – 3.04 pp60

19). Patrick Kane – 3.01 pp60

(For the record, Ilya Kovalchuk, Eric Staal, and Thomas Vanek are next at 2.95, 2.92, and 2.91 respectively.)  I think, looking at that list, that no one would have a problem calling them all elite NHL players.  I also think there are a few players that many would consider superstars regardless of their points totals such as Iginla (2.90) or Lecavalier (2.88) or Nash (2.68), but it’s a pretty good list nonetheless.

The bottom line is that it’s damn near impossible to put everyone on a level playing field.  There are differences in icetime, games played, linemates, schedules, and offensive systems.  The “per 60″ method is one of the best I’ve seen in attempting to compare apples to apples when putting players alongside one another.  Perhaps someone can come up with a formula that accounts for the point totals of linemates.  I’ll get right on that…maybe…

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