September 17 2013 10:59AM
Dan Hamhuis' perpertual sadness is finally starting to make sense.
Putting together a rankings list is a pretty thankless job. It's far from an exact science - it's subjective, for the most part - meaning that everyone will have differing opinions and beliefs as to how the list should look. But that doesn't mean that they aren't fun to do, because they definitely are. They can lead to good discussion and provoke thought that may not have been had otherwise. We know a thing or two about publishing rankings around these parts.
Anyways, in an attempt to get people ready for the looming NHL season, a team of hockey analysts working under the banner of the worldwide leader in sports has been charged with ranking the best players in the league by position. So far their Top 50 defensemen and Top 25 goaltenders have been revealed. There are some things I take issue with on each list, and conveniently enough, they're Canucks-related.
Read on past the jump for the lists.
All I can tell you in terms of methodology is that the "experts" were asked to rank each player on a scale of 1 to 10 based on current quality of play. I have to assume that means that age and contract status weren't taken into consideration, making this a purely results-based vote. Unfortunately the people tasked with submitting their votes weren't revealed, so we can't lambast specific individuals, but instead have to settle for taking issue with the list as a whole..
Here are the Top 50 defensemen:
|39||6.38||Michael Del Zotto|
There are so, so, so many ways to go with this. But considering that this is a Canucks blog, let's focus on Vancouver's blueliners. It's quite possible that the most egregious miscalculation of the bunch was ranking both Kevin Bieksa and Alexander Edler ahead of Dan Hamhuis. Or maybe it was the oversight leaving Jason Garrison entirely off of the list only to include a Jake Muzzin. What? I can't decide which was worse, quite frankly.
It's definitely a little upsetting just how routinely Hamhuis' contributions and abilities as a defender are overlooked, but not at all surprising. His game is subtle and understated, and he rarely ever makes a highlight package. But with a lot of discussion this summer regarding who should make Team Canada for the Sochi games, I've given Hamhuis' place amongst the league's elite some thought, and I've come to the realization that there aren't 15 defensemen I'd take over him for next season.
As for Bieksa's ranking, it's quite possible that none of the people involved in the process actually watched a Canucks game this past season, because he was very subpar for his standards. Garrison, on the other hand, finished tied for 7th in goals scored by a defenseman despite being poorly utilized, and getting off to a slow start. Think about how many v-necks the poor guy will have to buy to take his mind off of missing the cut.
Here are the Top 25 goaltenders in the league according to the voters:
If you're discluding factors like age and contract, I don't understand how Roberto Luongo doesn't crack the Top 10. I have him pretty clearly in my Top 5. Amidst the entire crapstorm that has been the past 15 months or so for Luongo, his ability to stop the puck from entering his team's net has become grossly undervalued. I mean, people are seriously publishing things like this without even a hint or irony or sarcasm.
This particular list has "small sample size" written all over it, and I'm sure by this time next year most of the rankers will want to forget the day they ranked Sergei Bobrovsky over Pekka Rinne, or Corey Crawford over Roberto Luongo, or Viktor Fasth over a proven starter like Kari Lehtonen. Or you know, maybe they'll want to put more thought into it.
Anyways, I'm looking forward to the release of the forward rankings. It's not a matter of "if", but more a matter of "how much" Henrik Sedin will be underrated.