September 17 2008 09:39AM
Let’s compare three NHL defencemen who play a similar style, all of whom will be playing for new teams this off-season:
Player A (32 years old, 5’11”, 190lbs)
2007–08: 3rd in QualComp, 0.67 PTS/60 EV, 4.48 PTS/60 PP, -2.00 2006–07: 5th in QualComp, 0.92 PTS/60 EV, 4.21 PTS/60 PP, -0.04
Player B (32 years old, 5’10”, 183 lbs)
2007–08: 4th in QualComp, 0.80 PTS/60 EV, 2.77 PTS/60 PP, -0.67 2006–07: 3rd in QualComp, 1.24 PTS/60 EV, 4.82 PTS/60 PP, +.21
Player C (39 years old, 5’11”, 187 lbs)
2007–08: 5th in QualComp, 1.15 PTS/60 EV, 2.44 PTS/60 PP, +1.33 2006–07: 5th in QualComp, 1.07 PTS/60 EV, 5.13 PTS/60 PP, +0.93
QualComp = Quality of Competition as per Behindthenet.ca PTS/60 EV = Points scored per 60 minutes of ice-time at even strength PTS/60 PP = Points scored per 60 minutes of ice-time on the power-play +/- = Goal differential per 60 minutes of ice-time
All three of these players are elite point producers at even strength, and all three of them have been above-average to elite on the power-play as well. None of them play particularly difficult minutes (ie the hard match-ups) 5-on-5, with Player B seeing the most difficult minutes, followed by Player A than Player C.
Player C destroys his soft match-ups in every category, scoring at a phenomenal rate and seeing way more goals for than goals against.
Player B treads water, still scoring at a tremendous pace but hovering around the even mark in goal differential.
Player A, on the other hand, scores at a good rate but was hammered last season in goal differential. In fairness, he played an injury-shortened season (37 games) and was close to the break even mark in 2006–07, playing easier minutes. He does, however, consistently bring an elite presence to the power-play, unlike the other two defenders, who both had off-years last season.
Now, if you were to rank these players in order of value, how would you do it? All have large contracts, albeit Player C has only one year remaining on his while the others are both long-term pacts. Player C is near the end of his career, at least by looking at age, while the other two have had injury difficulties but should at the very least play out their contracts. In any case, I’d probably go B, A, C based on age and performance, but there isn’t much separation between these players.
Player A was acquired by his new team for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart (16th overall in 2006), a 1st round pick and a 4th round pick. He is Dan Boyle, and he’s now a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Player B was picked up for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. Lubomir Visnovsky will play for the Edmonton Oilers in 2008–09.
Player C was placed on waivers yesterday by the Anaheim Ducks. It has yet to be decided where Mathieu Schneider will spend 2008–09, although the smart money is probably on Los Angeles.
Where am I going with all of this? A couple of points stand out:
Doug Wilson was taken for a ride by whoever’s making the decisions in Tampa Bay. He paid dearly in surrendering a good young blue-liner coming off a poor season, a blue-chip prospect, and two draft picks. While Tampa Bay’s treatment of Boyle was both callous and dishonest, they certainly maximized the return on the player.
Kevin Lowe did well (as most observers around here thought) in picking up a good defenceman coming off a bad year for a set of spare parts. Jarret Stoll has serious health questions, while Matt Greene has yet to show that he’ll ever be more than a bottom pairing defender.
Brian Burke’s inability to get anything in exchange for a good offensive blue-liner with one year left on his contract raises serious questions (again) about his ability to manage assets. Schneider should have value, perhaps to a team like Ottawa, or to any contender looking for a one- or two-year player to fill a hard-to-fill role.
Dean Lombardi stands to replace the player he lost (Visnovsky) with a similar player-type, for no cost whatsoever. It’s almost like he saw this coming.
—And now for Two Truths and a Lie: Jonathan Willis is the force behind Copper and Blue, the Mayor-elect of Fort St John and a frequent contributor to OilersNation.