Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Normalized Career Player Stats



Who is the greatest goal-scorer of all-time? What about playmaker? Hockey like all sports has evolved so much over the years that it is extremely hard to compare individuals in different eras. With the help of Rob Vollman's database and Hockey-Reference's Normalized Data I have compared the career's of every player over the past 47 years (since the 1967 expansion) to help shed some more light on these debates.

The Normalized Data is presented just like any player stats except all the stats are scaled to reflect certain changes throughout the league's history. The most common adjustments are to account for different lengths of schedules, amount of players carried on each roster and era adjustment to account for the amount of goals being regularly scored in those games (ex. it was easier to score a goal in 1981 than it is in 2014).

You can filter and sort this table at your own discretion and pleasure, enjoy!


*Players needed at least 300 Games Played by the end of the 2013-2014 season to qualify
**Even if a player's career began before 1967 this chart will only reflect their stats since 1967

Observations

  • The data is obviously skewed towards players whose careers have yet to end. It is extremely hard to maintain high levels of play throughout your entire career which is why active players still in or near their primes will see their stats slightly inflated. 
  • Bobby Orr was amazing. He absolutely dominated the game from an offensive stand point that we will probably never see again. 
  • Sidney Crosby is the greatest player alive and one of the best ever.
  • Ovechkin is probably one of the greatest goal scorers to ever lace up the skates. It still amazes me how much garbage is thrown Ovechkin's way by people who have a seriously flawed understanding of the game of hockey or are simply trying grab a headline. Ovechkin is one of, if not the most, lethal goal scorer in the leagues past half-century and we should all just appreciate the opportunity to bear-witness. 
  • Kovalchuk's stats will forever be skewed from the fact that he essentially played out his best years in the NHL before bolting to the KHL which essentially ensures that his career rate stats will never suffer as he ages. He did have a great run though, while it lasted. 
  • Lemieux and Gretzky come down to the wire here. Lemieux has the better era-adjusted PTS/Game due to his big years occurring in the 90s as opposed to Gretzky who succeeded in the high flying 80s. Gretzky however, played about 500 more games which has to be considered as a positive when considering the two.
  • Jagr is ageless. He keeps on clicking at a ridiculous rate despite taking 3 years off to play in Europe only to come back and put up unheard of numbers for a player older than 40.
  • Cam Janssen just nudges out Colton Orr for worst PTS/Game of any regular forward in the last half decade. Likewise, Wade Belak takes home the title of least offensive defenceman of the modern era.

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