Lately I have been looking at defensive portion of the point share system. This system was developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com. It is an attempt to credit the points that teams get for winning games to individual players. The defensive part of the system is somewhat problematic. It is very hard to statistically show good defensive play. This system attempts to calculate the number of goals a team prevents when compared to a team of replacement level players and credit them to all the players on the ice based upon their positions. It then adds or subtracts a portion based upon the +/- rating of the player involved.
Using this method I have listed the top 20 careers using the defensive portion of point shares. It is a list of 20 defencemen who had lengthy careers. The problem is they are not necessarily defensive defencemen. A case in point is Larry Murphy who ranks seventh all time.
Yesterday I wrote about the defensive portion of the point shares system that was developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com. The idea is to credit a team’s points in the standings to individual players to see which players are most responsible for a team winning. Defence is much harder to measure than offence and as a result, there is more room for debate about who are the best defensive players of all time and in what order they rank. We expect the top offensive players of all time to be a similar list to top scorers of all time. There is no such list to compare with the top defensive players in this system.
After the break, I will list the top 20 defensive players of all time by career defensive point shares. Longevity is important. A player who has a long career is more likely to appear on this list than a player who had a shorter career. The system is designed to select defencemen over forwards and is biased to select more modern players because they can be better evaluated by the better stats that exist. Given that, who would you guess are ranked as the best defensive players of all time by defensive point shares?
Here are the top 20 careers by defensive point shares:
Lately I have been looking at Justin Kubatko`s point shares system published at hockey-reference.com. Thus far I have looked only at the offensive portions of the system. It is an attempt to credit the points teams have in the standings to individual players. The offensive part works reasonably well given the understanding that it can only be approximate at best and that it arbitrarily sets a value for assists that is not based upon observation.
Today I will turn my attention to the defensive part of the system. This part is far more approximate than the offensive portion because it is harder to give individual credit to defensive play and because many of the numbers we ideally want to use have not been collected throughout the history of the NHL. There are four different schemes depending upon the statistics gathered in the time frame. The earlier the time frame the more approximate it becomes because of the rougher numbers used.
When I listed the top 20 seasons by offensive point shares, the most unique season on the list was Howie Morenz 1927/28 season. It places 15th on the all time list. In the season, Morenz scored 51 points while playing 43 games. This is the smallest totals of all the top seasons.
The 51 point total was a league record at the time. Morenz led the league with 33 goals and also with 18 assists to achieve his 51 point total. This was in a low scoring era. In 1927/28, there were only 3.82 goals scored per game. This had been the lowest scoring season in league history. The league was trying to increase scoring (even back then). They changed rules a couple years later to allow forward passing. Before that point, you could only pass to a player who was further away from the opponent`s goal than the passer. This reduced passing significantly and this explains the low assist total (which tied a league record at the time).
Yesterday Wade Belak, a veteran of 549 hockey games who retired last March was found dead yesterday in a Toronto hotel room. The death was reported as a suicide. This story has become all too common in the NHL recently. In mid-August, Rick Rypien who recently signed with the Winnipeg Jets was found dead in what was also reported as a suicide. In May, Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers was found dead. He died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. Tom Cavanagh, a onetime San Jose Shark was found dead of a suicide in January. Bob Probert died last summer a few years after his NHL retirement. These deaths may or may not all be related but we are starting to see a pattern. Far too many current and former NHL players are dying young.
A relationship between concussions and depression has been clearly shown medically. Hockey has a problem with concussions. For the most part these players who are dying are fighters. In normal situations NHL fighters have other NHL fighters punching them in the head, thus leading to concussions.
Lately, I have been looking into the point shares system published by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com. This is an attempt to credit the points teams have in the standings to individual players on the team. I have first looked at offensive point shares and the top individual seasons by this method. One of the more surprising results is that the season when Wayne Gretzky set the record for most points in a season in 1985/86 with 215 points is ranked tenth in the best all time seasons. Five other Gretzky seasons, two Mario Lemieux seasons and two Phil Esposito seasons rank above it.
This has to do with the way the point share system treats assists. When Gretzky set his point record he did so with a lot of assists. Gretzky scored 52 goals and a record 163 assists for his 215 points in the 1985/86 season.
I have been looking at the offensive portion of the point share system as developed by Justin Kubatko of hockey-reference.com. The idea is to determine how many points a team gained in the league standings because of the offence of an individual player. The top season by this method is Mario Lemieux’s 1988/89 season. This was Lemieux’s best offensive season of his career by raw numbers. He played 76 games and scored 85 goals and 114 assists for 199 points. This is the highest scoring season ever by somebody other than Wayne Gretzky and it was done in a lower scoring era than Gretzky’s prime.
While Lemieux was the top scorer that season, he did not win the Hart Trophy which went to Gretzky who finished 31 points behind Lemieux and was in his first year with the Los Angeles Kings. He also did not win the “players’ MVP” the Pearson Trophy went to Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings who was 44 points back of Lemieux. While it can be argued that Lemieux should have won both of those awards, it is not our emphasis here. We are looking only at offensive contributions and while Lemieux clearly had the biggest offensive contribution in 1988/89, if he lost MVP awards to lower scorers it must have been because of contributions that made that were not offensive or because voters made poor choices.
Lately I have been looking at the offensive portion of the point shares method that has been developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com to attempt to credit the points teams get from winning games to their individual players. The first test of the offensive portion of the system is to look at career offensive point share totals. This test is not too difficult. As long as it produces a list similar to the top scorers of all time, it appears to pass the test. A more strenuous test is to compare individual seasons. This will better force us to compare offensive seasons in different eras and see if the system has biases for or against certain eras.
Here are the top 20 individual seasons by offensive point shares as calculated by hockey-reference.com:
To get an idea how offensive point shares work, it is helpful to see who the career leaders are by this number and how they compare with the top scorers of all time. The idea behind point shares is to credit team points to individual players on the teams. Team`s points come from winning (and losing if you don`t do it in regulation), but on an individual basis they come from offensive play, defensive play and goaltending. Today, we are only looking at the offensive portion.
Here are the top 20 individual careers by offensive point shares as calculated by hockey-reference.com:
I started discussing point shares as developed by Justin Kubatko. It is time to dive in and discuss the details of this calculation. There are three parts to the point shares calculation: offensive, defensive and goaltending. Goaltenders get point shares only from the goaltending portion and position players get them from the sum of the offensive and defensive portions. I will start today by detailing the offensive portion of the system.
There are two ways to calculate the offensive portion. From the year 1998/99 onward, there are easily available ice time numbers so ice time numbers are used. Before that time, reliable ice time numbers are not easily available, so games played numbers are used as a proxy for ice time. This is an approximation. It would be ideal to have ice time numbers because we know that ice time does not scale perfectly with games played.
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