Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who's your pick for the Selke?
A look at the NHL's top defensive forwards

I honestly can't recall if I've done this before, but I took the method I used in finding the Rod Langway Award candidates, applied it to forwards, and came up with a list of players who have had statistically strong seasons on the defensive side of the puck.

I'm afraid I don't have oodles of time to devote to this at the moment, but I'd certainly be interested to hear others' suggestions for potential Selke candidates this year. I discounted quite a few guys, like Chicago's Patrick Sharp, for not playing enough at even strength, but maybe that's a bad call.

Here's my Top 20, based on goals against at even strength and penalty killing, as well as strength of competition:


Behind the Net Statistics





NAME TEAM QUAL COMP Rk Top 60 EVGA
Rk Top 60 SHGA
Rk Top 60
1 HENRIK ZETTERBERG DET 0.14 14 1.24 9 3.12 8
2 TRAVIS MOEN ANA 0.26 3 0.60 2 6.47 33
3 PAVEL DATSYUK DET 0.11 18 1.27 10 4.22 17
4 MIKE GRIER S.J 0.08 21 2.05 22 1.79 4
5 STU BARNES DAL 0.10 19 2.11 26 1.70 3
6 SAMI PAHLSSON ANA 0.32 1 1.38 12 7.19 38
7 MARCEL HOSSA NYR 0.06 26 0.46 1 5.30 24
8 JEFF HALPERN DAL 0.22 4 1.78 16 7.00 36
9 JAY PANDOLFO N.J 0.22 4 1.78 16 7.13 37
10 RICK NASH CBJ 0.19 9 2.79 47 1.19 2
11 ROB NIEDERMAYER ANA 0.27 2 1.37 11 8.10 46
12 BRIAN ROLSTON MIN 0.06 26 1.21 7 5.62 27
13 MIKKO KOIVU MIN 0.06 26 1.45 13 5.30 24
14 MARIAN HOSSA ATL 0.20 7 2.45 38 4.35 18
15 CHRIS DRURY NYR -0.01 42 1.81 18 2.68 5
16 BRENDAN SHANAHAN NYR 0.01 38 1.71 15 3.78 13
17 MARTIN ST. LOUIS T.B 0.19 9 3.01 53 3.36 10
18 P.J. AXELSSON BOS -0.01 42 1.09 5 5.71 28
19 DAVID LEGWAND NSH 0.02 36 2.32 32 3.07 7
20 CHRIS KELLY OTT -0.01 42 1.81 18 4.06 16

Of the 60 eligible players (based on even strength and shorthanded ice time), here are a few other notables: #23, Daniel Alfredsson; #24, Vincent Lecavalier; #25, Nikolai Antropov; #27, John Madden; #42, Rod Brind'Amour; #43, Jere Lehtinen.

The Hurricanes' penalty kill has been dreadful, which holds back Brind'Amour from being a middle-of-the-pack guy.

I honestly didn't realize players like Hossa, Shanahan and Antropov were picking up quite that many minutes shorthanded.

29 Comments:

At 9:00 AM, November 29, 2007, Blogger WufPirate said...

Don't worry, Rod Brind'amour and his nose will take the Selke once again this year.

 
At 9:34 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Wayne from Alabama said...

"I honestly didn't realize players like Hossa...[was] picking up quite that many minutes shorthanded."

Have you seen our d-men, James? Have you seen their +/- stats? Thrasher d-men have consistently sucked throughout the franchise's history...

 
At 9:59 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous penaltyshots.ca said...

Even if Brind Amour is not yet a Selke Trophy candidate, I would rather have him on my team than every player on this list. Yes, I am including Zetterberg.

 
At 10:26 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brind'Amour will win it again, becasue this is one of those awards that gets handed out in succession. Win it once and you're probably good for three . They should actually just bundle it up and give three at a time and do the same with the Norris.

 
At 11:21 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous iwocpo said...

Even if Brind Amour is not yet a Selke Trophy candidate, I would rather have him on my team than every player on this list. Yes, I am including Zetterberg.

Oh my.

 
At 11:40 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't base the Selke on just numbers because defense is a team thing. A weak defensive team will easily negate the impact of a excellent defensive forward.

 
At 11:47 AM, November 29, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Antropov is part of the Leafs' revitalized PK.

Leafs fans need something to be happy about. :(

 
At 11:53 AM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous shick_bc said...

I'm curious as to where Ryan Kesler came in your statistics. In the last couple of weeks, there has been a bit of a buzz in Vancouver that he could be a Selke candidate this year.

I'm aware that he doesn't get much coverage through the eastern media, so I'm not surprised that he hasn't been mentioned out there. However, he has been tasked with shutting down the opposition's top-line and star players (Iginla, Sakic, Gaborik) as well as being Vancouver's top penalty-killer and faceoff center.

Here are some stats that have been tossed around here which leave me a little curious as to why he failed to make this list:
- +7 on the season playing against top lines
- Most average ice-time by any Canuck forward by over a minute
- 15 pts (7-8-15) on the season, with only 4 pts (2-2-4) on the powerplay
- Doing it with Brad Isbister as a linemate...

 
At 12:31 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous BDH said...

Even if Brind Amour is not yet a Selke Trophy candidate, I would rather have him on my team than every player on this list. Yes, I am including Zetterberg.

Well, that's all folks! It's had a nice run, but the blogosphere (or whatever it's called) is now officially done.

I'm going to use my new free time to take up knitting and and reconnect with old friends and family. I suggest you all do the same.

 
At 12:47 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Zetterberg vs Brind' Amour that much of a stretch? Maybe only for Wings fans.
The only other players on the list that I would argue with penalty shots over is St. Loius, Nash and possibly Marian Hossa.

Either way BDH if you spend enough time commenting on the blogosphere you'll find that everyone steps on their tongue every so often. Take it with a grain of salt.

 
At 12:50 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Karina said...

Wow. Hitchcock's doing well if Nash is ranked that high.

 
At 1:04 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Kesler comes in just below Jere Lehtinen; his rates on the penalty kill are awful, the worst in the league, actually.

 
At 1:05 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You can't base the Selke on just numbers because defense is a team thing. A weak defensive team will easily negate the impact of a excellent defensive forward.

Do you see a lot of Vezina/Norris winners on bad teams? How about Hart or Art Ross winners on weak offensive teams?

 
At 1:08 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous DR said...

Patrick Sharp.

 
At 1:12 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yeah, Sharp should be there. I think he was just short of the 11.5 minutes of even strength ice time a game I was looking for; my guess is if I ran this again next week, he'd be in the top five or six.

 
At 1:18 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Nathan said...

Look, Rod the Bod is a great player, will probably end up making the HOF, and has truly had a rebirth late in his career.

But you'd have to be considered clinically retarded to select him over Henrik Zetterberg at this point in their respective careers.

When both players are long since retired, Brind'Amour could very well have the better career and could very well be looked back on as the better player. But today, there is no question that Zetterberg is a better player in almost every measurable way than Brind'Amour.

 
At 1:28 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger Matt said...

Have you seen our d-men, James? Have you seen their +/- stats? Thrasher d-men have consistently sucked throughout the franchise's history...

Look at the list, bud. He meant Marcel.

 
At 1:35 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous chlammy said...

hate to be a prickly pear, but aren't forwards who are usually the single forrward on a 5-on-3 getting the shaft in your calculation? ie, if a guy spends a greater proportion of his sh minutes on 5-on-3's, he's going to be scored on more even though he might be the best otherwise at 5-on-4.

 
At 1:37 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous BDH said...

It is true that I'm a Wings fan, and it's also true that Rod is having a great season.

But I just don't believe there are many people out there who, right now, are going to take 37 y/o Rod Brind'Amour over a 28 y/o who will likely be contending for the Hart Trophy and various scoring titles for the next 5 or 6 years.

 
At 1:53 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Behind The Net statistics do not use 5-on-3 play as part of the calculations, so no, that forward will not be getting the shaft.

 
At 2:46 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Brind Amour the only captain on this list? I think so. Pretty sure Jim Rutherford would pick Brind'Amour as well. A case could be made the Red Wings fans are jumping the gun some on Zetterberg because of his hot start:

"who will likely be contending for the Hart Trophy and various scoring titles for the next 5 or 6 years."

Best to wait till he has his first 90 point plus season first.

 
At 2:58 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Nathan said...

Brind'Amour only has one 90 point season, and isn't quite a PPG player. Sounds a lot like Zetterberg. The key difference is age. I could see the two players having similar career averages when they have both hung up the skates. And hey, I could certainly see Brind'Amour being the better player when you stack up their careers 20 years down the road.

But as of today, there's no way that Brind'Amour can be considered of equal value to Zetterberg, if for no other reason than the fact that Zetterberg does everything as well as Brind'Amour, and is simply younger.

The only reason Rutherford would say "No" if Kenny Holland called him up and offered Zetterberg for Brind'Amour straight up would be respect. And in the current CBA, that wouldn't even be enough for Rutherford to turn it down.

As for Wings fans jumping the gun simply because of Zetterberg's hot start... clearly you haven't watched the guy play the last 2.5 years. He's been a PPG player since coming back from the lockout and has been as good defensively as all but maybe a half dozen forwards in the league. This isn't a case of a guy having a good streak and then fading into the sunset never to be heard from again. He's been this good for 2.5 years. I certainly don't expect him to put up any more than 100 points, and I don't think he will score any more than 40 goals. But PPG players that can shutdown any opposition forward are almost as valuable as Crosby or Lecavalier.

 
At 3:09 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous PPP said...

Did I miss where he said that he'd rather have him on his team forever?

All that was written was that right now he'd prefer Brind'Amour to Zetterberg.

If you think he's wrong then provide some stats that show that the idea is so far off base rather than just a blanket "you're crazy".

 
At 3:17 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger Steve said...

If you think he's wrong then provide some stats that show that the idea is so far off base

Of the sixty forwards with sufficient ES and PK icetime to qualify for the Langway Measure, Zetterberg ranks as the best defensive forward, while Brind'Amour ranks forty-third.

If you'd like, we can also discuss offensive output.

 
At 3:33 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous BDH said...

Well, gee paw, I didn't know we were going to get all statistical on this thing. But quickly looking at traditional OFF statistics I see that with 1 less game played, Zetterberg has the edge on Points, PPGs, +/-, GWG, and shots. Brinds does a bit better in FO% and Shooting percentage.

I'm no wizard of the behindthenet site, but a quick look at some of the even strength measures... Z's team has scored 3 more goals than Rod's when they're on the ice, while giving up five fewer.

So I guess I'll stick with us sucker Red Wings fans and hang on to #40.

 
At 3:39 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger voxel said...

It's kinda of hard to separate a forward's ESGA/60 and SHGA/60 from the ES GAA and SH GAA of the goalies who play under them.

ANA has great ES goaltending, but crap SH goaltending. Who do we blame?

Tampa's goaltending numbers are bad across the board and yet St. Louis is a cut above.

 
At 3:41 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just checked, and yes Brind 'Amour is the only CAPTAIN on this list. Should probably count for something.

Here is a stat: Brind'Amour 2 Selke Trophies-the last two! Zetterbug is a fine player though.

 
At 3:48 PM, November 29, 2007, Anonymous BDH said...

Forwards that play too much 5-3, ES vs. SH goaltending, who's a captain and who's not, something always messes up the statistical analysis...

I was simply approaching the question as if the league folded today and started up again tomorrow, with all players drafted over by new teams, as GM of one of the clubs I'd pick Zetterberg before Brind'Amour. One man's opinion.

 
At 12:07 PM, November 30, 2007, Anonymous Nathan said...

BDH, Steve, thank you. I didn't think I needed to provide the stats that proved that AS OF TODAY, Zetterberg is a better player than Brind'Amour. After all, the original post took care of that for me!

BDH, you made my point in a much more elegant fashion. Thank you.

 

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