How Do We Determine Greatness?

How Do We Determinate Greatness in Hockey?

Listen to our introductory episode:

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We think about this as three general sets of criteria each with their own set of problems:

Overall Career:

  • How long was the career? How long was the player average or good?
  • Total stats – where do they rank all time? how do we compare over eras? What weight do we put on longevity stats? Is longevity less important now than it was? Can we ignore longevity?
  • How good was the player relative to their era?
  • What is the player’s 82-game average? (where does he rank all time?)
  • What was the player’s 3 year peak? How do we determine this with D and goalies when we don’t have enough information?
  • What the playoff stats? What do we do with limited to no playoff appearances in a sport where D play barely more than 1/3 of the game and forwards play even less?
  • Adjusted Stats: these are highly flawed (especially for before roster size was normalized) but can we use these to compare eras?
  • If the player was traded a lot, can we use this as a character assessment?


Individual Accomplishments

  • How many awards? Can we take them at face value? What do we do with non-play based awards?
  • Can we use Point Shares (or some other historical metric) to determine true greatness in a given season?
  • How many stellar goal-scoring seasons did they have?
  • How many stellar assist tallying seasons did they have?
  • How many stellar point-amassing seasons did they have?
    • What do we do with D when we only have their offensive stats?
  • Have they ever led the league (or finished Top 5 or Top 10) in anything? What do we do about comparing league leaders from a 6 team league with league leaders in a 30 team league?
  • How many All Star team finishes? Can we trust the votes?
  • How many All Star games? Can we trust that?
  • How many monthly/weekly stars? What value does this have?
  • What do we do with players who have won individual awards in other professional leagues?


Membership on Great Teams

  • Did the player excel on a great or very good team? What is the cutoff for team success in a league where nearly 50% of the teams miss the playoffs ever year? What’s the cutoff in a league when 2/3 or more of the teams make the playoffs?
  • What value do we put on success in international tournaments? What value do we put on team success in other pro leagues or for something like the Memorial Cup?

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