Friday, November 03, 2006

Best Forward So Far This Season

I have already named my picks for best defenceman so far this season: Nicklas Lidstrom and the best goalie so far this season: Manny Fernandez, so now I will look at the forwards.

I think the top forward so far this year has been Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This sophomore star has 18 points in 10 games so far with a +8 +/- rating. He has scored at a better point per game than those players ahead of him in scoring (Jaromir Jagr and Maxim Afinogenov), but Pittsburgh has had less games played than their teams.

I am not prepared yet to declare the most valuable player of the season so far (a strong case can be made for Crosby, Lidstrom or Fernandez), but seeing Crosby as the top forward in the league might become a regular occurance. He has all the potential to be one of the all time greats in NHL history.

You could make a case that Malkin has been the best player on the Penguins team since he returned from injury. 7g, 11p in 6 games is awfully good. At least one goal in every game and even (once) or a plus player in every game.
I would not make that case. He had nop impact whatsoever in the 4 games he missed - and at this point in the season 4 games is a lot (its almost half of Pittsburgh's total).

The problem with using per game statistics (that you seem to ignore in some of what you do on your site) is that there IS value to playing all the games. A guy who plays 50 good games and misses 30 is less valuable than a guy who plays all 82 games but at a slightly lower level than the 50 game guy. No matter how good the player was in the 50 games he played, he was a zero in the other 30 games.
Hold on. I said "You could make a case that Malkin has been the best player on the Penguins team since he returned from injury." I never said he was the best player so far over the course of the full season. But if come seasons end he has still missed only 4 games his missed time will be pretty negligable.

And yes, I agree there is value in playing every game. No doubt about that. This is especially true in the salary cap era where you can't have a $3 million player on reserve. As for what I am doing on my site, I stated that it was on a per minute basis and that to get a players actual value to a team you would want to multiply his rating by his ice time. But determining the most valuable player and the most effective player during his opportunities to play are two different, though related, questions.
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