GDB 45: Vincent Lecavalier

As we wait for the game against the Coyotes to begin, let’s consider two players over the past two seasons. Both are gritty, have good size, and are well-known and often mentioned as Top-10 players. Here are the numbers:

Player A

2008-09: 45GP – 28G – 21A – 59 PTS, +10

2007-08: 82GP – 40G – 66A – 106 PTS, -8

2006-07: 82GP – 56G – 54A – 100 PTS, +23

Player B

2008-09: 45GP – 15G – 22A – 37 PTS, +4

2007-08: 82GP – 41G – 44A – 85 PTS, -23

2006-07: 82GP – 49G – 57A – 106 PTS, -11

Player A is clearly superior to Player B. Outside of a slight difference in one season, he’s been a far better offensive performer, and his +/- totals are well ahead of Player B. Yet everybody, bizarrely enough, thinks that these two players are identical in ability, despite the fact that the statistics don’t support it at all.

The reason that everybody regards these two players as identical talents is because they are one player. Player A is Vincent Lecavalier, specifically his point totals against his own division, pro-rated over full seasons. Player B is Vincent Lecavalier against the rest of the NHL, pro-rated over an entire season.

I haven’t gotten into the effect of the various divisions on player performance, but it is something that we as Oilers fans should be wise to. We’ve seen the effect on Erik Cole, and it isn’t an illusion. The Southeast is the worst division in the NHL, by far, and it isn’t surprising that some of the league’s top goal- and point- scorers can be found there. It’s something that GM’s should keep in mind before making trades, at any rate.

It’s something Oilers fans should keep in the back of their mind as they watch their team play the Coyotes and fantasize about what a new addition to the lineup could do to help the cause.

  • Hippy

    @ CurtisS:

    Nobody is arguing that Lecavalier isn't a good player. He's excellent. And Ovechkin's an elite talent – top-five in the league in my opinion.

    The point still stands that Leacavlier is a much better player inside the Southeast Division than outside of it. Look at the difference to Cole – if you think it's negligible, there isn't much I can say to you, because you're clearly beyond reason.

    As for your "ask 30 NHL GM's comment" – I can't do it, but if you asked Ken Holland, or for that matter any GM in charge of a contending team if he'd rather acquire Hemsky or Lecavalier via trade, I'd wager good money he'd say Hemsky.

    Especially when you consider that Hemsky's making half the money, and for a shorter term.

    Look at the numbers this season – playing only Southeast teams, Lecavalier would be tied with Sidney Crosby for 2nd in the NHL in points scoring. Playing only teams outside of his division, he's tied for 45th, and well back of Hemsky's scoring pace. I don't argue that he's an inferior offensive player to Hemsky, but that's a big difference in his scoring ratio.

  • Hippy

    How am I the only person that mentioned Hemsky.

    Jonathon in the last blog in the comments said:

    Vinny might be a better offensive player but hemsky is a better player.

    I didnt say it. He did.

    Its not true. Vinny is superior to hemsky.

  • Hippy

    @ CurtisS:
    You are the only person who mentioned Hemsky.

    Kovalchuck, St.Loius, Vinny, Ovechkin ect have slightly inflated personal stats do to the quality of opposition. And that makes a difference when you play those teams 1/4 of the time.

    How many more goals would Edmonton Score if they played in a division where 4 out of the five teams don't make the playoffs? It's the same thing when Detroit's point totals were grossly inflated as they were playing sub par teams in Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus and Nashville. Where as everybody in the NW division is usually in the hunt for the playoffs. ie: points are harder to come by and the quality of opposition is greater.

    Give your head a shake and pull it out of your (edited with love by WG.)

  • Hippy

    CurtisS wrote:

    Lets continue this Hemsky vs Vinny argument here.
    Vinny superior to Hemsky.
    Vinny a future Hall of Famer
    Hemsky not so much.
    Enough said.

    Wow those are great arguments. At least JW provides stats to back up his point of view. What do you have besides your opinion?

  • Hippy

    CurtisS wrote:

    Lets continue this Hemsky vs Vinny argument here.
    Vinny superior to Hemsky.
    Vinny a future Hall of Famer
    Hemsky not so much.
    Enough said.

    What are you taking about – JW never even mentioned Hemsky. Give YOUR head a shake please and read what is written.

    And in answer to your post about Ovechkin, I will bet you he wouldn't score quite as many goals if he wasn't in the SE. He's still an awesome player, though.