Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ms. Conduct's Rookie Rankings

TSN released their player rankings, including their rookie rankings, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to compare Cal to his peers and maybe debunk some of the myths around how great these other guys are.

First of all, here's the extent of TSN's ranking explanation: "Player rankings are based on statistical production and are intended to value the impact a player has on the game."

Well, there's your first problem. Statistical production and impact on the game are, in some cases, mutually exclusive. There is no stat for how many players you get looking over their shoulders or how many you get into a hot-potato mentality, unloading the puck too quickly for fear of getting plastered into the glass.

There's no stat for how much time the opponent spends seeking revenge rather than playing hockey or getting out of position to give some lip and a shove. There's no stat for leadership or for being exactly what a team needed even when they didn't know they needed it.

Not that I have an angle here.

So, for our analysis, we're going to look at REAL impact, which is about more than stats. Here's the list they came up with:

1. Steve Mason Columbus 88.13
2. Bobby Ryan Anaheim 81.88
3. Kris Versteeg Chicago 79.26
4. Blake Wheeler Boston 77.98
5. Patrik Berglund St. Louis 75.61
6. Alex Goligoski Pittsburgh 74.34
7. James Neal Dallas 72.62
8. Troy Brouwer Chicago 71.50
9. Michael Frolik Florida 70.93
10. Jakub Voracek Columbus 69.41
11. Drew Doughty Los Angeles 69.15
12. Kyle Okposo N.Y. Islanders 69.15
13. Mikkel Boedker Phoenix 67.88
14. Adam Pardy Calgary 66.66
15. Jannik Hansen Vancouver 66.46
16. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay 65.92
17. Mikhail Grabovski Toronto 65.92
18. Cal Clutterbuck Minnesota 65.70
19. Kevin Klein Nashville 64.60
20. Luke Schenn Toronto 64.39

I have no idea, nor do they disclose, what these numbers mean. Therefore, I can only assume they randomly picked numbers.

"Hey, Gord, what do you think aboat putting Wheeler aboat a point n'a half behind Versteeg?"
"Yup, sounds aboat right to me. Throw me a beer eh."
I'll assign them new numbers in the following categories (1-10 for more important categories, but 1-5 for less important categories, so I have a way of weighting the categories):
  • Expectation Level - If you were a lower draft pick, weren't expected to make the team, came out of nowhere, then you get a high score here. If you're meeting expectations, you'll get right in the middle. If you're, say, Stamkos... no soup for you.
  • Badassness (aka the Chuck Norris Scale) - It's nice to be skilled but if you can be skilled AND bring the pain, you'll do well in this category.
  • Nice Stats - The more ways in which your stats are impressive, the better you'll do here.
  • Team MVP Status - The more valuable you are to your specific team, the higher you'll be ranked in this category. If your solitary superstar is out recovering from hip surgery, this bodes well.
  • Moment-Making - When the season ends, how many of the big moments and lasting memories did you make for fans? How many times will your name come up in this context: "Dude, you remember the game where ____ did ______? Holy crap, that was nuts!"
  • Fan-Base Adoption - Do you lead your team in t-shirt sales?
  • Foxiness - Oh don't act surprised. Of course it matters.
  • Scorn from Hockey Legends - If you've make Gretzky turn purple with rage or gotten your own segment on HNIC calling your cowardly ass out, you'll rock this category.
  • Name Game - How much game does your name have?
  • Adorableness - I actually added this category in honor of Kris Versteeg, who couldn't be more charming and adorable if he tried (but also because Cal does well here, though the perma-smirk did lose him one point).
Here's how my ranking sorted out, but I should add that I got bored near the bottom and it was just painfully clear that Grabovski and Schenn and Kevin Klein (who?) weren't gonna rate, and also Goligoski isn't even in the NHL right now, so he got DQ'd:

Cal Clutterbuck 61
Should surprise no one. Though I though it was interesting to discover that not only does Cal lead rookies in hits by about 80 hits, he also leads in Shots Missed. Maybe that's not something you write home to mom about, but hey, he SHOOTS! Anyway, he kicked ass in every category except Nice Stats.

Kris Versteeg 44.5
Low expectations, incredible stats, almost a 6 out of 5 on the adorableness meter... what's not to love with this one? He could make me a Hawks fan. Proof: (oh yeah, and can I please be Sarah Spain when I grow up?)

Michael Frolik 41
His extras, such as adorableness and foxiness and name game (any name that connotes frolicking and licking is a big time winner), boosted him up from fairly average ratings elsewhere. Look how adorable:

James Neal 39
Neal flies under the radar a bit but he's big and tough and handsome and has a hat trick among his above average stats, so he did will in these rankings.

Patrik Berglund 38.5
I was having trouble rating Bergie until I saw this video that a fan made. That plus nice stats and relatively high importance on a team that needed something to smile about, oh yeah, and being very easy on the eyes...

Steve Mason 38
Goalies are tough to rank among skaters, and it's even tougher to rank young goalies because those guys don't usually hit their stride until their late 20s. But his amazing stats and fairly clear cut MVP status on his team has him ranked pretty high in spite of being weakened by mono and not particularly attractive, even for a goalie.

Drew Doughty 37.5
To just be 19 and a defenseman, Doughty's success this season exceeds expectations big time, IMO, even though he was a high pick. This, along with average rankings elsewhere for Drew, put him right here.

Bobby Ryan 36.5
You've all seen that sick hat trick Ryan got a few weeks ago. This put him high on the Moment-Maker rankings. If a guy plays for a team you don't follow and you're still thinking about his goals, that's a moment-maker. That, plus very nice stats and a fairly gritty style, overcame a low Expectations ranking. Seems like fans were getting impatient for him to meet expectations and felt like he was a little behind the curve. He's caught up this season though.

Blake Wheeler 36.5
You'd think Blake would be higher because I'd sure love him on my team, and not just to get folks who bitch about not having a Minnesota player on the Wild to STFU already (though that's part of it for sure). But apart from making some great moments (anybody with a hat trick got ranked well here) and amazing stats, he was at or below average in other categories.

Troy Brouwer 35.5
I almost threw this one out. Why is he on this list? Yeah, he's a pretty tough dude and was a very good AHLer, but I'm not seeing how he's exceptional in the NHL. And yet he has surpassed expectations a bit and he's a major badass. It was funny to finally get to him after researching several of the other rookies. He looks about 10 years older than the rest of them.

Steven Stamkos 35.5
I like Stammers. Poor kid was thrown into the water with a big-dollar Stamkos for Savior campaign on his shoulders when the season started. No fair. But he was a trooper and a professional, from all I've heard, and now he's starting to get comfortable and find his game. He pretty much hit the average on most categories but blew the top out of the Foxiness and Adorableness categories, which made up for a low expectations score.

Kyle Okposo 34
Average pretty much across the board. Meeting expectations on a really bad team but not really blowing anyone away.

Adam Pardy 33
Another "filler" player on the list, IMO. If this were a "Most Improved" list or a "Late Bloomers" list, yeah, he's on it, but I guess they wanted another defenseman on the list. He'd be at the bottom if he weren't so good looking and adorable and if he didn't have a name that reminds you of, well, a party. Win!

Mikkel Boedker 30.5
The extra half point for Danish adorableness and the quite good stats can't make up for below average everything-else. Or I may just be bitter because he's been relatively useless on one of my fantasy hockey teams.

Jakub Voracek 25.5
Above average stats but below average on most everything else. I do have him at least meeting expectations based on age and draft status.

Jannik Hansen 22.5
Though he is exceeding expectations and is averagely cute (and got the .5 Danish bonus), he's just not pivotal to his team and isn't a badass at all. Sorry Jannik. But don't feel bad. I didn't even bother to rank some of the guys, so you're not really at the bottom.

Anyway, because I'm all about transparency, here's the spreadsheet where the magic happened.

Feel free to argue a rating in the comments here. Obviously I don't watch these other boys on any regular basis (though I've seen quite a few of them in the AHL), so I was having to use stats and scouting reports and YouTube and other resources to figure out where to rank them. It was a real pain in the ass, I have to say.

I'm even open to changing some ratings if you can convince me I'm wrong about something. A lack of objection constitutes agreement, so consider yourself on notice if one of these boys is yours and you don't defend his honor.

Anyway, the bottom line is that Cal is the bitchinest rookie in the league and the rest of them are prissy little mama's boys. (Except for you, Brouwer. I'm scared of you.)


"Dave Schultz"  February 26, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

You, my friend, are amazing. I'd vote for Cal any ol' day.

buddhafisch  February 26, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

I'm not afraid of Brouwer. They are all prissy little mama's boys. Except Cal of course.

I like the list. Matter of fact, I love the list. Well done.

And... if you grow up to be Sarah Spain... can I have your phone number? Versteeg should get extra points for having her in a video with him...


Fred  February 26, 2009 at 5:50 PM  

Might want to add some points to Frolik just for airing his jock out in that video. Care to guess a cup size? ;)

Kevin Jacobsen  February 26, 2009 at 5:52 PM  

I want to make a comment, but apart from this one, I'm not going to. Ke- no, that's all. Talk to you later.

Ms. Conduct  February 26, 2009 at 5:56 PM  

Oh Kevin... that's probably for the best.

She's totally hot, right, Buddha?? Gawd. And she's always interviewing Versteeg. It's some kind of hideous Jealousy Two-for-One. I want to BE HER and I want to be her talking TO HIM.

Riser, can we please steal Versteeg from the Hawks? Please please please?

buddhafisch  February 26, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

I've got a trade proposal:

Let's say Shep and Butch for Versteeg and Spain.

I'm willing to do her. I mean it... the trade... I meant the trade...

Ms. Conduct  February 26, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

Yep, I make that trade in a heartbeat.

Fred  February 26, 2009 at 6:16 PM  

Spain plays better than Butch anyway.

She gets hit on more often and gets more passes. I'm not sure but I bet she has no trouble scoring either.

Just thinking about it makes we want to go practice my wrister.

Ms. Conduct  February 26, 2009 at 6:23 PM  

LOL Ahh, the lovely Sarah. Glad she inspires you to improve your game, Fred. :)

Fred  February 26, 2009 at 6:24 PM  


Heather thinks I got game! ;)

Ms. Conduct  February 26, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

Careful, you're gonna make Andrew blush...

Nick in New York  February 26, 2009 at 6:52 PM  

awesome stuff here, part about the cute-reporter-du-jour is that her last name anagrams nicely to "pains."

That's hot to us werd nerds.

walkinvisible  February 27, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

AWESOME post (except i think you accidentally put clutterbuck at the top of your list)... :P

i also like that tsn threw adam pardy the devil's number.

Ms. Conduct  February 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

Talk to me about Pardy... Does he really belong in this company? I just couldn't find the justification, apart from, as I think I said, needing another d-man on the list.

walkinvisible  February 27, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

pardy beat out two veteran blueliners to be the 7th guy at the start of the season, and stepped the eff up when vandermeer went out with injury a month-or-so in. he is still prone to the obvious occasional rookie error, but for the most part is wicked steady: positionally sound, big, can hit, and is starting to find the net.

his worst games came paired with dion, who is having a crisis of a year (we blame elisha), when pardy was putting up unrealistic minutes and seeing tough competition for a rookie. having settled back to an average of about 16 mins TOI, and paired with veteran sarich against softer opposition, he's really flourishing.

he's a very interesting hybrid of regehr and phaneuf, in style. his emergence physically and his improving puck-handling skills will probably make gio redundant, i'm afraid. pardy looks to be a dependable 3/4 guy in the next years....

if sutter doesn't get him signed before july 1, i wouldn't be a bit surprised to see him get an offer sheet or eight and, yeah. i'd definitely put him in the top 20 rookies. you'll see tonight. :P

Ms. Conduct  February 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM  

Nice. Thanks for the report! We'll see if I can resist watching it during the Aeros game.

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