Does Brian Rafalski Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

By certain metrics – Defensive Point Shares, Point Shares, Plus/Minus – Brian Rafalski was the second best defenceman to play at least 750 games between 1999 and 2011. But if you watched him play, or you look up his Average Time on Ice (ATOI), you know he was never a #1 defenceman.

So, what gives? Was Rafalski so incredible he should have had his own team? Or did he luck out with his defence partners?

Listen to us discuss Rafalski’s case:

Career

  • 1999-2011; 11 seasons, all quality
  • 79G, 436A for 515P, +178 (5th American D All Time) in 833 games; 98.9 PS; 22:57 ATOI
  • Draft: Rafalski was not drafted; of the undrafted defensemen to play at least 750 games in the NHL since expansion, Rafalski is
    • 12th in Goals and GPG
    • 5th in Assists and Defensive Point Shares
    • 2nd in APG
    • 6th in Points, Plus/Minus, Offensive Point Shares and Point Shares
    • 4th in PPG
  • Era: Of the 23 D to play in at least 750 games between 1999 and 2011, Rafalski is
    • 11th in Goals
    • 14th in GPG
    • 2nd in Assists, Plus/Minus, Defensive Point Shares and Point Shares
    • 3rd in APG, PPG and Offensive Point Shares
    • 3rd in Points
  • 82-game average: 7G, 43A for 51P, +18; 9.7
  • 3-year peak (2006-09): 11G, 49A for 60P, +17; 11.1 PS
  • Possession:
    • 57.8% Corsi For
    • 1.9% Relative Corsi For
    • 56.8% Fenwick For
    • 1% Relative Fenwick For
  • Playoffs: 29G, 71A for 100P, +42 in 165 games
  • Adjusted: 85G, 461A for 546P
  • Adjusted 82-game average: 8G, 45A for 54P
  • Never traded.

Accomplishments:

  • Top 5 D (by DPS) four times (‘01, ‘07, ‘08, ‘10), Top 10 six times (‘03, ‘06)
  • Tallied 40 Assists seven times
  • Scored 50 points five times
  • Top 10 in APG once
  • Top 5 in Plus/Minus once, Top 10 twice
  • 1st Team All Rookie
  • 2 All Star Game appearances
  • Three Stars:
    • Rookie of the Month once
    • Weekly 2nd Star once, 3rd Star once.
  • Non-NHL:
    • SM-liiga MVP (‘99)
    • SM-liiga Norris equivalent (‘97, ‘99)
    • WCHA Defenseman of the Year (‘95)

Great Teams:

  • NHL Playoffs:
    • Top 2 D on two Stanley Cup Champions (‘03 Devils, ‘08 Red Wings)
    • Top 4 D on one Stanley Cup Champion (‘00 Devils) and two Runners up (‘01 Devils, ‘09 Red Wings)
  • Olympics:
    • “Best Defenseman” tournament all star on one Runner Up (‘10 USA)
    • Top 4 D (by points) on one Runner Up (‘02 USA)
  • World Juniors
    • Role Player (by points) on one WJC Bronze (‘92 USA)

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