Friday, February 15, 2008

And the top defensive forward would be...

Using the same formula I used in the previous post on defensive defencemen, here's a look at what the numbers say about who are the best defensive forwards so far this season:

1 TRAVIS MOEN LW ANA 56 0.20 1.27 5.08
2 PAVEL DATSYUK C DET 59 0.09 1.61 5.06
3 STEPHANE VEILLEUX LW MIN 55 0.12 2.43 4.77
4 CRAIG CONROY C CGY 57 0.09 2.34 4.83
5 ROB NIEDERMAYER C ANA 57 0.20 1.45 6.89
6 DANIEL CLEARY RW DET 57 0.04 1.85 4.70
7 HENRIK ZETTERBERG LW DET 52 0.12 1.87 6.17
8 JASON POMINVILLE LW BUF 57 0.13 2.41 5.36
9 KRIS DRAPER RW DET 50 0.03 1.86 3.51
10 JEFF HALPERN C DAL 61 0.13 2.32 5.96
11 TORREY MITCHELL LW S.J 57 0.06 1.99 5.44
12 DAVID LEGWAND C NSH 55 0.04 2.44 3.21
13 P.J. AXELSSON C BOS 50 0.07 1.89 6.17
14 PATRICK SHARP RW CHI 55 0.07 2.61 3.80
15 SERGEI BRYLIN C N.J 57 0.04 1.94 5.31
16 STEVE OTT C DAL 55 0.11 2.03 6.69
17 MARCO STURM LW BOS 55 0.08 1.77 7.10
18 JOHN MADDEN C N.J 55 0.17 2.49 6.43
19 ALEX BURROWS RW VAN 57 0.09 1.93 6.90
20 MICHAEL GRIER RW S.J 55 0.04 2.50 4.11

There's an awful lot of Detroit in there at the top, which is to be expected given the season the Red Wings have had (up until recently, I suppose).

Players had to put in a certain amount of minutes per game on the penalty kill, which leaves us with quite a few unheralded defensive players. I'd also give a lot of credence to the quality of competition numbers, as forwards used in a shutdown role obviously have a tougher task when matched up against the best snipers in the league.

Anaheim's defensive crew apparently hasn't missed a beat even with Sami Pahlsson missing considerable time due to injury.

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At 3:08 p.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Anaheim's defensive crew apparently hasn't missed a beat even with Sami Pahlsson missing considerable time due to injury.

Their offense has certainly suffered without Sammy, but swingman Todd Marchant has been a capable replacement, and new guy Ryan Carter has been a pretty good fill-in (for a guy I'd hardly ever heard of, but I generally don't pay enough attention to the Pirates).

At 10:08 p.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Moen and (Rob) Niedermayer don't get enough credit in my books: sure, Pahlsson's great, but those three together are the best checking line in the league in my opinion: just look at the job they did on Ottawa's top line last June. As Earl pointed out, Todd Marchant is also no slouch defensively and a capable fill-in for Pahlsson. Also, I was a bit surprised Burrows made the cut and Ryan Kesler didn't.

At 10:34 p.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:58 p.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous Matt Saler said...

Anyone surprised about Datsyuk? We here in Detroit have known about his two-way play for a while now, but it seems to me that Zetterberg gets the credit league-wide for being a defensive forward while Pavel is generally considered more of an offensive guy.

I think both should get Selke consideration, but reputations will probably preclude Pavel from getting that. He's one of the most dangerous backcheckers in the League because of his ability to steal the puck so well.

At 12:52 a.m., February 16, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

James, I found your list of the lowest-ranked defencemen interesting. Who are their counterparts among the forwards?

At 9:50 p.m., February 16, 2008, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

#11 on the list, Torrey Mitchell, is a rookie. Extremely fast, and throws his body around like he is a much larger player.

Give him a couple of years with the San Jose's strength and conditioning coach Mike Potenza and he is going to develop into a dominant player.

At 4:24 p.m., February 17, 2008, Anonymous Jerseys Benchwarmer said...

If I were building a team and needed to pick one guy off that list as my checking centre, it'd be Niedermeyer. Skates so well, hits hard and plays the game like a veteran. Pahlsson does deserve a lot of credit himself for being an elite shutdown guy.

Datsyuk is responsible, but I just have a hard time grouping him with some of the defensive stalwards.


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