Friday, November 24, 2006

Adjusted Point Scoring: Career

I have written a series of posts that look at the sabermetrics and hockey problem of adjusting scoring from different eras. These posts have used the normalization method of the hockey outsider (Peter Albert). I have written posts on the best single season goal, assist and point scoring efforts and the career leaders in adjusted goals and adjusted assists. These lists have given us some very good players, but they are not without problems. The single season assist and point lists are overly dominated by 1920's players who falsely benefit from a false normalization problem. Basically, there were so few assists in that era that those who were the leaders at that time are normalized to look like they had tremendous assist totals (despite often having single digit totals in reality). This problem goes away on career lists (for the most part) because careers in that era were not as long as they are today. There is also a problem that the original six era is underrepresented. This lead to a discussion of strength of competition adjustments.

Today, I will look at the top 10 career adjusted point leaders. Here they are:

Top 10 Adjusted Point Scoring Careers of All Time
Name Teams Seasons Adjusted Points Actual Points
Wayne GretzkyInd(WHA) Edm(WHA) Edm LA StL NYR2126092967
Gordie HoweDet Hou(WHA) NE(WHA) Har3125602358
Mark MessierCin(WHA) Edm NYR Van2617781898
Bobby HullChi Win(WHA) Win Har2317711808
Ron FrancisHar Pit Car Tor2517381798
Steve YzermanDet2216851755
Mario LemieuxPit2215771723
Joe SakicQue Col1715551489
Jaromir JagrPit Was NYR1515551432
Phil EspositoChi Bos NYR1815171590

Points from this season are not included in the totals. This affects both Joe Sakic and Jaromir Jagr (who are tied going into this year with 1555 career adjusted points).

Its no surprise that Wayne Gretzky leads this list by a significant margin. He is the best scorer in hockey history. It is suspicious that few original six players are represented on this list (in fact every player that made it had a career that lasted until the 1980's at least). This does correspond to the time when careers began to grow in length, however I think is partially an artifact of the way this normalization method undervalues the high competition in the original six era.

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