The Top Inflated Outlier Seasons: Historical Context and the Meaning of 50 Goals/100 Points

Hockey fans have a thing for nice big round numbers when they rate accomplishments, the most famous of which is “50 goals in 50 games.” The problem is that scoring rates have varied drastically across time, most notably in the period from the NHL-WHA merger to the strike of 1994-95, when everything went crazy.

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Does Vaclav Nedomansky Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Vaclav Nedomansky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. Perhaps you’re wondering why. We know we were.

In this episode, we look at his case for induction and try to come up with an explanation as to why he is in and numerous other WHA and European stars are not.

Listen here:

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Wilfred Shorty Green

Shorty Green is in the Hall of Fame for a very specific thing, for being one of the leaders of the first ever NHL players strike.

But he’s in the Hall as a player, so how does his career stack up?

In this episode we discuss his actual hockey career. (And, to be clear, we strongly believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame for what he did off the ice.)

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Does Ty Arbour Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Ty Arbour might be the All Time leader in Games Played for the WCHL. Does that mean he belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

We discuss his case in our latest episode:

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Does Dave Taylor Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Aside from Marcel Dionne and Luke Robitaille, perhaps nobody is identified is identified with the pre-Gretzky Los Angeles Kings as King lifer Dave Taylor.

Despite never playing a full season, Taylor put up impressive numbers throughout his career, much of it spent on the first line of the kings.

But are his stats enough to get him in the Hall? We discuss his case in our latest episode:

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Does Mathieu Schneider Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

In journeyman career that saw him play for way too many teams, Mathieu Schneider amassed enough points to make him one of the top 25 offensive defensmen in NHL history (if you go by totals, not per game). That surprised us.

by James Teterenko / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

But Schneider has few individual accolades and not a lot of team success.

So does he belong in the Hall of Fame?

We discuss it on our latest episode. Listen here:

Schneider’s stats:

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Does Shane Doan even have a case for the Hall of Fame?

The idea of Shane Doan being in the Hockey Hall of Fame may strike you as absurd. It strikes one of us that way. The other of us tries to persuade us all that there is actually a case fr Shane Doan to be in the Hall of Fame.

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Defensive Defensemen

Since the position of defenseman was created, there have been defenders who contributed to the team’s offense and there have been players who didn’t much. But this difference was exacerbated by the expansion of the NHL in 1967 and the phenomenon of Bobby Orr, who destroyed scoring records for defenders, and showed that teams could expect scoring from the back-end in ways they never imagined.

This change essentially created a dichotomy between “offensive” defensemen, who scored a lot, albeit not quite as much as Bobby Orr, and “defensive” defensemen, who didn’t score much at all. For our purposes, we’ve arbitrarily assumed that a “defensive defenseman” is a defender which manged .35 adjusted PPG or less throughout their NHL career.

The Hall of Fame’s attitude towards defensively inclined defenders also changed since expansion. The Hall of Fame has inducted six NHL defensemen from that era who scored less than .35 adjusted PPG (of a total of 16 legitimate candidates they could have inducted). But the Hall of Fame has inducted exactly one player who fits the bill, Rod Langway, to play the majority of his career since expansion.

This leads to three possible conclusions:

  • Rod Langway was the best defensive defenseman since expansion, significantly better than any other, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame while no other player with a similar skill set deserves the honour. OR
  • There are other players of Rod Langway’s ability who have been forgotten or overlooked because they didn’t get the awards votes (Norris and Hart) that Langway got, and they deserve to be in. OR
  • Rod Langway’s awards votes are a historical curiosity that won’t happen again and he didn’t necessarily deserve them, nor do other players who fail to contribute offensively, and no defensive defensemen should be inducted into the Hall of Fame going forward.

How do we sort out this problem?

That’s the topic of our latest episode. Listen here:

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Does Sergei Gonchar Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

We doubt Sergei Gonchar is a name many would have considered for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame. But he had a rather great career despite his lack of accodalades. In our latest episode, we debate whether or not he deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Listen here:

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Does Jack Walker Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Of all the players to be featured on The Back Check so far, Jack Walker has, by far, the least impressive stats we’ve seen. So why the hell is in?

Listen here to hear if we can figure it out:

Jack Walker’s stats:

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