Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Top 10 Forwards: Schilling vs. Pnep

In this post on sabermetrics and hockey, I will compare the top 10 forwards of all time by Daryl Shilling's hockey project rating method and Pnep's Hall of Fame Monitor.

By Daryl Shilling's method, the top 10 forwards of all time are:

1. Wayne Gretzky 1501 points
2. Gordie Howe 1398
3. Cyclone Taylor 1124
4. Mario Lemieux 1027
5. Bobby Hull 978
6. Phil Esposito 902
7. Jean Beliveau 799
8. Stan Mikita 784
9. Rocket Richard 767
10. Jaromir Jagr 765

Pnep's top 10 forwards are:

1. Wayne Gretzky 8827.02
2. Gordie Howe 6171.61
3. Mario Lemieux 4586.35
4. Jean Beliveau 4253.44
5. Phil Esposito 4096.48
6. Maurice Richard 3829.98
7. Bobby Hull 3671.88
8. Stan Mikita 3583.61
9. Jaromir Jagr 3237.64
10. Guy Lafleur 3060.04

Numerical values are not comparable in the two systems, but relative differences in them can be.

Comparing these two, Wayne Gretzky is picked as the best forward of all time by both methods.

Gordie Howe is picked as second best by both methods (although I think his longevity overrates him and I would pick Mario Lemieux).

Shilling picks Cyclone Taylor as his third best forward of all time, Pnep does not rank players who did not play NHL. I think this is much higher than he should be ranked. I don't think he faced the level of opposition that more recent players did. This is a topic worthy of its own post and I will do so in the future.

Both systems rank Mario Lemieux next.

Bobby Hull is next according to Daryl and Jean Beliveau according to Pnep. I feel Beliveau was a better player then Hull, although Hull produced better offensive numbers in his career. Pnep ranks Beliveau higher, but I think he does this for the wrong reason. Pnep overrates players who are on teams that have playoff success. Beliveau was part of ten Stanley Cup champion teams. Beliveau should be ranked higher than Hull because Beliveau was a far better defensive player. This is something that is hard to measure statistically and gets lost. Also, I think Bobby Hull benefits more than he should by attempting to measure the "undocumented" part of his career spent in the WHA (and documented there). This topic also deserves a separate post.

Next is Phil Esposito in both systems, which is probably a reasonable choice.

Next is Jean Beliveau according to Shilling and Maurice Richard according to Pnep. Again, I like the choice of Richard over Bobby Hull (again due to Hull's weaker defence) although I think Pnep selected Richard due to his 8 career Stanley Cups.

Next is Bobby Hull according to Pnep. Stan Mikita according to Shilling. I think Richard should be ahead of Mikita. Mikita might be overrated a bit because of his longevity in this method.

Next is Maurice Richard according to Shilling and Stan Mikita according to Pnep. Who are both people we saw earlier on the other list.

The final man on Shilling's list is Jaromir Jagr. He is the next man on Pnep's list also.

Pnep has a final man since he is missing Cyclone Taylor. That final man is Guy Lafleur.

The biggest difference is that Shilling rates Fred "Cyclone" Taylor. I think its an interesting, but incorrect, pick. That will get its own post. The next biggest difference is the rating of Bobby Hull. It will get its own post also. With the lack of Cyclone Taylor, Shilling ranks him 3 places higher.

Both started from approximately the same assumptions thus has similar order in their lists. Does that mean they are both mostly correct or that they are both making the same mistakes? I'm not sure, but will write a lot of words trying to figure it out,

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