This article was prompted, or perhaps I should say inspired, by a recent thread here on Dobberhockey, so thanks to Zorro for posing the question that would serve as my muse!
I’m not sure what it is about defencemen, but I’ve always been intrigued by them; maybe it’s because it’s the position I imagine myself playing if I even played hockey (watching me skate is like watching Mike Millbury run a franchise). I’ve always tended to focus on them more than other players and have always had hunches about several young defencemen. Some of these hunches have worked out fantastically – Doughty, Byfuglien, Subban, etc. Some, such as Bogosian, Petry, Josi, Orlov, and Gudbranson are yet to come into fruition but have promise, while others yet have blown up in my face – anyone read my Franson article before he was shipped off to Toronto? Yea, don’t bother.
With all that being said, I’m certainly no scout; I’m a casual hockey fan who is in way too many fantasy hockey leagues. As a fantasy hockey fanatic, I tend to emphasize stats, provided they are taken in the proper context, which is part of the reason I decided to do this article when Murray’s fantasy worth was called into question since he posted a mere 31 points in 46 games. Well… as you’ll find out (and as you already know if you saw the original post) there’s more to it than that.
For this article I chose to focus on 2012-eligible defencemen from the WHL. Why the WHL? Simply put, I go to WHL games every once in a while and thus have some firsthand exposure to many of these players. While my emphasis is on statistics, as I mentioned before, I felt I was more qualified to write on players who I’ve had a chance to see in action, so to speak.
Lastly, this article revolves around the idea of adjusted statistics – these are by no means a 100% accurate measure of a player’s performance and are meant for relative comparison only. Also, comparables and upsides are, in my mind, best case scenarios – by that I mean if all goes right, I think that player will hover around the predicted point range during his prime years. A career year could place them above my projections, or they may never even hit my estimate.
Just a brief introduction on what some of the term/abbreviations in this article mean:
GFA – Goals for (Average)
GFA/G – Goals for (Average) per game
GF – Goals for
GF/G – Goals for per game
GP – Games played
G – Goals
A – Assists
Pts – Points
Pts/G – Points per game
Team Differential – Goals for less Goals against of the player’s team
% Scoring – The % of goals the player played a factor in (whether goal, primary or secondary assist)
Adjusted Pts – The player’s point totals adjusted for league scoring, factoring in their % scoring and GP.
Adjusted Pts/G – The player’s point per game rate adjusted for league scoring, factoring in their % scoring.
Team Scoring – Their rank overall and as a defencemen on their respective teams.
Continued on next post...