Filler: Looking back at some of the Canucks' best scorers

Blake Murphy
August 29 2013 11:52AM

 

There's been a lot of talk about the future around these parts lately. With today being an off day for the prospect series and the top TWO prospects coming at you tomorrow, I figured the hole in the schedule today would be an appropriate time to look backwards.

I recently queried all of Hockey Reference's player season data going back to 1942, creating the most cumbersome Excel file in existence. While I have longer term plans for what to do with that data, for today I kept it simple - I tried to identify the top Canuck seasons in history when adjusted for league scoring context.

Some of the methodology I used isn't great -- it doesn't separate forwards from defenseman and simply uses "total league points / total league games" rather than any sort of minute-adjusted production measure. That's all stuff to come (eventually), so for today take these highlights as nothing more than a fun trip down memory lane.

Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, given the decline in goal scoring in the NHL since the early 1990s, that the top two seasons belong to current Canucks. The 2009-10 seasons for Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin top the list as the best league-adjusted point totals in Vancouver Canucks history.

That season, Henrik posted 112 points in 82 games at a time when the average NHL player was only producing 0.42 points per game. That means Henrik's output was about 327 percent of what an average player produced, or 227 percent above league average. While Daniel's season was shortened to just 63 games due to injury, he managed 85 points, a pace that was 322 percent of what an average NHL player produced that year, or 222 percent above league average. Daniel Sedin's 2010-11 season als ranks as the fourth best season for a Canuck player using this metric, and both brothers litter the top-25.

But what about number three, that spot between Daniel seasons? That belongs to Markus Naslund's impressive 2002-03 season. At a time when the average player produced less than 0.4 points per game, Naslund put up 104 in a full 82 game slate, a mark 219 percent above league average. Not surprisingly, Naslund is another name that litters the leaderboard here.

Two other names you were likely expecting are Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny, players who played the bulk of their careers when scoring was slightly higher but still produced large point totals. Bure's 1993-94 season (107 points in 76 games) is hit best at 194 percent above average, while Mogilny's 1995-96 (107 points in 79 games) follows right behind at 190 percent above average.

There's a name between the Sedin-Naslund grouping and the Mogilny-Bure grouping, though, and it's a name I had kind of forgot was really good for two seasons. Todd Bertuzzi's 2001-02 and 2002-03 are the fifth and sixth highest marks on this list, respectively, as Bertuzzi combined for 182 points in 154 games, outproducing the average player by about 200 percent for the two-year span.

Some other interesting notes:

*Ed Jovanovski's 2003-03 and 2005-06 top the list for defenseman as Jovo outproduced an average player (not defensemen, all skaters) by about 70 percent.

*The top "old guy" season goes to Mark Messier's 1998-99 when, at age 38, he scored 48 points in 59 games, more than doubling the production of an average skater.

*Shawn Antoski scored three points in 55 games in 1993-94 when NHL scoring was much higher, producing just 10 percent of what an average skater would have produced.

*The Sedin's outproduced the league average by 134 percent (Henrik) and 112 percent (Daniel) this past year.

Here's a table of the top-20 individual seasons:

name year age gp g pts gpg ppg gcpg spg season scoring GPG+ season ppg PPG+
Henrik Sedin 2009-10 29 82 29 112 0.35 1.37 0.46 2.02 0.15 227.77 0.42 327.50
Daniel Sedin 2009-10 29 63 29 85 0.46 1.35 0.48 3.57 0.15 299.35 0.42 322.72
Markus Naslund 2003-03 29 82 48 104 0.59 1.27 0.5 3.59 0.15 399.87 0.40 318.52
Daniel Sedin 2010-11 30 82 41 104 0.5 1.27 0.47 3.24 0.15 329.28 0.41 308.74
Todd Bertuzzi 2001-02 26 72 36 85 0.5 1.18 0.45 2.82 0.15 343.63 0.39 302.81
Todd Bertuzzi 2003-03 27 82 46 97 0.56 1.18 0.47 2.96 0.15 379.54 0.40 295.95
Pavel Bure * 1993-94 22 76 60 107 0.79 1.41 0.61 4.92 0.18 438.06 0.48 294.05
Alexander Mogilny 1995-96 26 79 55 107 0.7 1.35 0.56 3.7 0.17 400.48 0.46 290.49
Markus Naslund 2001-02 28 81 40 90 0.49 1.11 0.43 3.73 0.15 336.75 0.39 284.84
Pavel Bure * 1997-98 26 82 51 90 0.62 1.1 0.48 4.01 0.15 422.92 0.39 282.72
Markus Naslund 2003-04 30 78 35 84 0.45 1.08 0.41 3.79 0.14 315.34 0.38 280.91
Henrik Sedin 2010-11 30 82 19 94 0.23 1.15 0.37 1.91 0.15 151.47 0.41 279.57
Markus Naslund 2000-01 27 72 41 75 0.57 1.04 0.44 3.85 0.15 371.94 0.41 251.67
Henrik Sedin 2011-12 31 82 14 81 0.17 0.99 0.31 1.38 0.15 115.02 0.40 247.04
Pavel Bure * 1992-93 21 83 60 110 0.72 1.33 0.56 4.9 0.20 356.74 0.54 246.62
Andrew Cassels 2001-02 32 53 11 50 0.21 0.94 0.31 1.21 0.15 144.32 0.39 241.22
Daniel Sedin 2006-07 26 81 36 84 0.44 1.04 0.39 2.91 0.16 274.95 0.44 237.07
Henrik Sedin 2012-13 32 48 11 45 0.23 0.94 0.32 1.46 0.15 156.01 0.40 234.53
Daniel Sedin 2011-12 31 72 30 67 0.42 0.93 0.36 3.18 0.15 284.16 0.40 232.07
Daniel Sedin 2008-09 28 82 31 82 0.38 1 0.37 3.48 0.16 240.05 0.43 231.80

080b400962217afff9510ac849d7e000
Blake is a news editor at The Score and also writes basketball for Raptors Republic and baseball at Fangraphs/Rotographs. As such, he doesn't write at TLN nearly as much as he should. Give him a follow @BlakeMurphyODC.
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#1 DubiousRhino
August 29 2013, 01:54PM
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Yep, yep, mhmm, yep....Andrew Cassels?

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#2 Nat
August 29 2013, 03:21PM
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"The top "old guy" season goes to Mark Messier"

Who? I think I blacked out those years.

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#3 Matt
August 29 2013, 12:43PM
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Interesting - the general consensus around these parts is that offensive players hit their peak in the 23-26 age range, but the average for these top 20 seasons is 28, with Pavel Bure significantly skewing that average and almost every other top season by a Canuck coming outside that "peak" range.

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#5 PB
August 29 2013, 03:28PM
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So I'm curious in terms of this metric as to what happens in the 80s when you have a Gretzky and a Lemieux whose production must skew league averages. How does Sundstrom's 91 point season in 83-84 or Gradin's 86 in both 81-82 and 82-83 stack up?

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#6 Matt
August 29 2013, 07:17PM
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PB wrote:

So I'm curious in terms of this metric as to what happens in the 80s when you have a Gretzky and a Lemieux whose production must skew league averages. How does Sundstrom's 91 point season in 83-84 or Gradin's 86 in both 81-82 and 82-83 stack up?

I know this isn't really your point, but Lemieux's rookie season was 84-85.

More to your point: There were 21 teams in the NHL in the early 80s, meaning there were about 450 regular players in the league. Gretzky scoring sixty points more than anyone else might skew the league average up a quarter or a half of a point, but not enough to really matter.

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#7 Cam Charron
August 29 2013, 07:40PM
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Why is it the old white guys in this town reminisce about players from the 70s and 80s again?

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#10 Austin Wallace
August 30 2013, 04:06AM
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^As he said, he has more in depth (read: robust) plans for this data. This is an interesting piece that would be easy to do with the data at hand.

By the way, I would be interested in "hiring" (as I am not currently paid, neither will you be) someone to help me with the excel side of things. I am going to be doing a monthly feature for dobberhockey, and becoming an expert at Excel is not something I have prioritized while at UBC. I will need one time work setting up a formula. If you are interested, please email me: austeane at gmail.com .

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#11 Fogghorn
August 29 2013, 12:52PM
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It would be interesting to do a comparison of players against the average of the top 10 in the league in any given year. As the size of the NHL has grown over time presumably there are more players of lesser quality thus bringing down league averages. Maybe a top 10 comparison would give a more consistent baseline or maybe not.

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#12 Stats Cop
August 29 2013, 11:51PM
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Using a nominal percentage with no context is suspect. I'd suggest normalising the data and then measuring standard deviations from the mean (for example a T score). This will give a more robust and relative view on seasons vis a vis historical context. And it can be done gracefully in Excel.

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#13 PB
August 30 2013, 01:27PM
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@Cam Charron

As opposed to the young white guys obsessing about the last decade?

Not that I'm white. Or in this town. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

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#14 Stats Cop
August 30 2013, 07:11PM
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@Austin the best job skill I learned at Uni was power Excel use. Would love to help you but day jobs and that. Go to Chandoo.org for the basics.

But, it's all about methodology. Excel has led to many bad decisions.

Big data is bollocks ;)

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