by PuckStopsHere on 08/05/14 at 02:25 PM ET
A few days ago I posted the top 20 players by excess defensive zone starts in 2013/14. Leading the league was Boyd Gordon of the Edmonton Oilers who had 487 excess defensive zone starts (defensive zone - offensive zone). This gives him a well over 100 zone start lead over anyone else in the league. Boyd Gordon played the most defensive role in the NHL (at least by zone starts) and he did so by a significant margin.
Part of the reason Gordon was on the ice for so many defensive zone faceoffs is that Edmonton was a poor team and had more defensive zone starts as a team than any other. Gordon is the Oilers best faceoff man and they used him for key defensive zone faceoffs. This put him in a very tough role.
Statistically it is easy to overlook Gordon. He scored eight goals and 21 point. He posted a -15 +/- rating. These numbers do not suggest anything special. The fact that he played such a tough role shows that he had a significant value to his team that isn't shown in these numbers.
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