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Interesting article by Cory Pronman that presents the hypothesis (and some data to support it) that forwards are more important than defensemen.  Here's an excerpt of that part. The article is about whether Marner and Strome should be drafted before Hanafin, but if there's anything to the relative value of the O vs. D positions we may want to factor it in if we deal any of our top forwards.

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Forwards are more important than defensemen

In the 2014 edition of Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract, Tom Awad unveiled one of the most important pieces of research in hockey analytics in the past few years, titled “What Makes Good Players Good?” As you might expect, it asked a simple yet extremely important question: Who are the "good" players, and what attributes make them "good"?

 

One of Awad’s conclusions -- that forwards are much more important than defensemen -- was initially jarring:

“Results at even strength are driven primarily by forwards. This is not to say that offensive play is more important than defensive play; simply that, in the NHL, the players who contribute the most to outscoring the opposition at even strength are first-line forwards, not top-pair defensemen.”

 

To show this, Awad split up the leaguewide ice time for forwards and defensemen into quarters and thirds, respectively, and analyzed the differences between the tiers of ice time and their performance. With forwards, there were noticeable differences between the four tiers, but this was not the case for defensemen in the first two tiers, with only a moderate drop-off to the third. Awad showed that the difference between the highest- and lowest-tier forward groups was a 0.76 goal differential per 60 minutes, but the difference between the highest- and lowest-tier defenseman groups was only a 0.13 goal differential -- six times less!

Another way to look at this is to take individual splits of shot differential for players when they were on the ice compared with their team when they were off the ice. To determine the role of players in the chart, I used each player's ranking within his team by even-strength ice time.

 

insider_pronmanhanifin_tk_576x418.jpgCorey Pronman

 

This echoes what Awad found in his research. The even-strength effects of forwards are more pronounced at the top and bottom of performance levels than they are for defensemen. Good forwards elevate a team and bad ones crush a team, and the effect is more intense than that of their defensive counterparts.

 

This does not suggest that particular star defensemen don’t impact teams in a significant way -- Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson come to mind -- or that there are no black-hole defensemen in the NHL. But generally speaking, defensemen at the top of a team’s lineup impact their team much less than the top forwards on a team at even strength, and these differences remain even after adjusting for details like quality of competition and linemates.

 

When I asked one NHL executive what he thought about that chart, he said, “I’m not surprised. Good forwards are far more valuable than good defensemen, and if anything, when you’re drafting, forwards tend to be safer bets to pan out as well.”

Edited by LakeLivin

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I'm impressed thus far with Ron Francis. We haven't yet seen a big move and I will be first to point out that the final proof will be yearly team improvement and future success. The moves he has made some far, to me, seem to be calculated and with a goal to truly change the team culture and build a winning team.

 

The latest move replacing Daniels in Charlotte for the stated reason of getting a coach more in tune with Peters system and coaching philosophy was the correct one in my opinion. 

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I think you put your finger on it from my point of view OBXer. Francis has been deliberate and a plan is unfolding slowly. The small moves seem to be pointing in a direction. The organizational moves seem to follow suit. So far so good. But, the big moves will be the key ones and how he handles those will really begin to show his stuff. I do think we will see more and more this offseason, but we shall see.

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I think we have to keep in mind that the people he has moved out aren't "his" people. I suppose in the broadest interpretation everyone with the Canes are now Francis people but until he has to make a decision on someone he brings in, either player or coach, we won't be sure how he will handle the tough decision.

 

Still so far so good.

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"Let me ask you one. If Eric would waive would you do Eric for the #4 pick straight up?"

 

Hmm . . .I don't think so.  McDavid or Eichel, yes.  But I think there's more development risks at that age for the next tier of prospects than I'd be willing to accept.  I think I'd prefer a package with players that have proven thay can play at the NHL level. I have no doubt that Leafs have talent within their organization; sifting through the wreckage they've become might be a great way to take advantage of the franchises mistakes.  I guess it's kind of how you weigh the risks; the chances (and timeframe you're willing to accept) of a kid reaching "star" status vs. the chance that E regains his pre injury form.

 

I think the issue has become much more difficult than when we first started talking about it, though.  We know that most players peak as far as scoring in their mid to late 20s.  That, combined with his post injury performance, makes me a bit leery about E if I'm a GM looking at a trade.  I get your point when you say "If Toronto's first rounder is off the table, then I'm not sure what can be worked out."  But with our contract issues, how does this team move forward?  The only valuable trade pieces we'd consider moving are E and Skinner.  And I have to keep reminding myself that Skinner is still only 22 years old.  Given his enthusiasm (even at this point of the season), and with Peters at the helm, I'm hopeful that he might still become at least defensively responsible.  And if not Toronto, are there other candidates that might give us as much in return and that E will accept going to?  

 

I guess the first question is: at this stage, can we realistically hope to rebuild around E?  If the answer is "no", what are our options at this point?   

What is   Toronto recent  history of winning?  Not saying they dont have players, but just saying..

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What is   Toronto recent  history of winning?  Not saying they dont have players, but just saying..

 

But when it comes to potential trade partners, that's the nature of the beast, isn't it?  It's the Maple Leafs of the league who are looking to trade, not the Ducks or Lightening . . .

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Why did we let Frederick Anderson walk after drafting him?

 

We didn't. The question is, Why did Frederick Andersen walk after we drafted him?  Andersen and his agent apparently decided his route to the NHL would be better served with a team other than the Canes. He never signed and reentered the draft the next season.

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Andersen and his agent apparently decided his route to the NHL would be better served with a team other than the Canes.

 

He's starting goalie for a Western Conference team, and Cam is dropping off the kids at pre-school.

 

You have to admit...

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I don't blame Anderson one bit for leaving.  This franchise doesn't have the best of history for developing its own talent, and if there's anything that's been certain post-cup era, it's that Eric would be the #1 center and Cam would be the #1 goalie.  And I believe his contract negotiations were right around the time JR signed Cam to that gigantic extension.

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Litttle off topic but I didn't see any IIHF discussions here so since the talk is about goalies...whats up with Anton Khudobin's classless move leaving the ice after the gold medal game with about three quarters of russia's team instead of lining up at the blue line and finishing the ceremony including Canada's national anthem?  It was that POS Kovalchuk waving the team off the ice while standing at the open gate in the corner.  I thought Dobby was a better person than that.  Thats a big thumbs down on him.  Thumbs up to Ovi, Malkin and the few others who stayed out there (about 6 or 7 of them).  US or Canadian National team would have never pulled that cheap stunt if they had lost.  Dobby needs to man up and apologize.

 

We already have one too many russians on this team (you know, the overpaid warrior/poet Semin). Stick with Canadians, Americans, Swedes. Swiss and Finns - you know what your getting.

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I'm a huge Jagr fan, so throw in the Czechs.

 

It is my understanding that Russia shook hands and stayed out for the medal ceremony and the individual awards before most of the team left the ice prior to O Canada being played.  Russian officials are saying it was an organizational blunder if you buy that.

 

http://rt.com/news/259689-russia-canada-hockey-anthem/

 

Ovie and Malkin, and a few others stayed out for the anthem, so hats off to them.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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100% agree with including the Czechs.  My miss.  There is no excuse.  Classless. Russians like every other country knew/know the after game drill.  Dobby allowed himself to be led/manipulated. Weak.

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I'm starting to get a feel for Francis but I'm not sure if my feeling are correct. He appears to me to be more of a chess player than gambler. Certainly he gives off the impression of being all business and it appears to me he is always thinking two and three years down the road. Careful, Calculating and business like.

 

Does anyone else see it this way?

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I'm starting to get a feel for Francis but I'm not sure if my feeling are correct. He appears to me to be more of a chess player than gambler. Certainly he gives off the impression of being all business and it appears to me he is always thinking two and three years down the road. Careful, Calculating and business like.

 

Does anyone else see it this way?

For sure. I get the feeling he will let players know he can not be manipulated by sentimentality or misplaced loyalty, like JR oft was.

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the only measure of "success" is if he has the team go into the at least the second of the playoffs on an ongoing basis

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I think he's had a very good start. Measured moves, no panic. Still think Peters was a great hire. He has drafted very well in terms of filling the defensive and goalie pipeline. Of course it stinks that we couldn't hold Sekera, but not much Francis could probably do about that, and McKeown and that extra first rounder next year could loom large. We still have a defense of Faulk plus to an extent for at least this year at this point. I'm still hoping he can find one more D guy in UFA, but depending on how one feels about JML and Wiesneski, and to some extent Murphy..I guess we could cobble together a defense this year...

 

I am really interested to see how Aho works out. Several writers have suggested he was a big reach, but that they reached, combined with his being outside the size trend of the rest of the draft just really make me think that they were in love with him. At that point in this draft they'd almost have to be since so many good options were also there.

 

Still it does appear there is a clear plan. Structure and a good coach. Better scouting (adding Mike Vellucc) and now in Charlotte, with a new coach maybe a different development plan, and drafting guys from the back out. And certainly a better culture of accountability. All suggest that Francis is building an organization, not just a team.

 

If he can make get us through the E and Ward issues and either get return, or get them on much more reasonable deals, and get the most out of the low expectation of what to do with Semin....that would seal the deal on Francis for me.

 

 

Edited by remkin

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I think RF will get Staal and Ward to resign reasonable contracts. They have to know they already got lots of money from this org that they didn't exactly earn. I think they both will be good with taking a little less, so that he can afford get them a better supporting cast for them. It will be in their best interest, if they ever want a hope of winning anything again. If they don't see the light, I don't see our new GM having any problem with cutting them loose for the good of the teams future.

Semin...ugh, Semin. I trust he'll think of something to get us out from under that contract. I pray Semin has one **** of a start to the season, so he ups his trade value and we start getting some bites on him, even if they're not great offers. Go, Semin, GO!

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Well, I guess he made his decision on Semin. Not sure I'd do a buy out if it means carrying this burden for six years, but I'm not the GM.

JR ****s. He should be the one stuck with this.

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Ok.  After the draft and the trades and now the move with Semin, it's official, I am ready to have GMRF's baby.

That Supreme Court ruling last week was really far reaching....

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...not that there's anything wrong with that

absolutely, just shocked at your speed.  I mean ruling, draft, trades, and sudden talk of birthing....breathtaking.

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In case you didn't see it, Michael Smith sat down with Ron Francis for a three part interview. RF plays it close to the vest but you get some idea of what he is thinking and why no big moves yet.

 

 

CanesVision

 

After watching it I now want to call RF.. Socks.

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