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September 7, 2012, 10:58 AM ET

The Best Players in Hockey

by Ryan Wagman

A few days ago, the inimitable Joe Posnanski asked for my help in assessing the fifth best player in the sport for an article he was working on for his latest project - Sportsonearth.com. The article can be found here - http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/37922178/,

When he asked me the question, my first concern was how to measure it. After some hemming and hawing, I came up with a methodology that, while it could be questioned and is by no means scientific, I was comfortable with.

Essentially, we work with GVT. I looked at the past two seasons as well as the VUKOTA projections for this one, which include a fair bit of regression of past stats.

As last season was the most fresh and real, I weighted last year’s GVT fully. As this year is still speculative (in more ways than one) and two years ago is a little stale, in that players may have gained or lost skill as time has elapsed, I weighted them as having 75% of the value of last season.

In order to avoid penalizing a player who suffered from grievous injury (the Crosby Corollary), instead of raw GVT, I used GVT per game. Also, as goalies can have an outsized effect on a given season but tend not to maintain a given level of performance from season to season, I limitied the study to skaters.
In each season under consideration, I took the top 30 or so skaters as measured by GVT per season, and then made sure to include all three seasons of each player who appeared even once on the list (so Ryan Whitney was in my consideration poor, among other candidates). Finally, I weighted the per game results.

Here are the top 20:
Rank Player Position Weighted Score
1. Sidney Crosby F 95.43
2. Evgeni Malkin F 71.71
3. Steven Stamkos F 69.59
4. Claude Giroux F 66.77
5. Jonathan Toews F 60.91
6. Daniel Sedin F 57.93
7. Pavel Datsyuk F 57.21
8. Marian Hossa F 53.19
9. Patrick Sharp F 52.51
10. Anze Kopitar F 51.72
11. Andy McDonald F 50.85
12. Ilya Kovalchuk F 50.75
13. Erik Karlsson D 50.1
14. Jason Spezza F 50.02
15. Jordan Staal F 49.7
16. Corey Perry F 49.23
17. Alex Ovechkin F 48.95
18. Marian Gaborik F 48.86
19. Alex PietrangeloD 48.8
20. Henrik Sedin F 48.27

Other than Andy McDonald, I think my “system” passes the sniff test. McDonald makes it in as he has consistently been very productive while healthy, but has rarely was healthy enough to slump.
What do you think? Anyone my system unfairly overlooks?

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