First assist, best assist?

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First assist, best assist?

Postby Meerschaum » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:27 pm

There's an interesting Alan Ryder column in the Globe ranking last year's assist leaders based on first assists (passing to the goalscorer) vs. second assists.

LINK

The "first" assist leader board looks like this (the number's representing "first" assists, total assists, ranking on total assist leader board and percentage of assists that were "first" assists):

1 Joe Thornton, BOS / SJ 69 96 (1) 72 per cent
2 Jaromir Jagr, NYR 46 69 (3) 67 per cent
3 Sidney Crosby, PIT 44 63 (7) 70 per cent
4 Daniel Alfredsson, OTT 43 60 (8) 72 per cent
5 Marc Savard, ATL 41 69 (3) 59 per cent
6 Brad Richards, TB 39 68 (5) 57 per cent
7 Vaclav Prospal, TB 38 55 (16) 69 per cent
8 Tomas Kaberle, TOR 38 58 (10) 66 per cent
9 Jason Spezza, OTT 37 71 (2) 52 per cent
10 Alexander Ovechkin, WAS 36 54 (20) 67 per cent
11 Pavel Datsyuk, DET 36 59 (9) 61 per cent
12 Brenden Morrow, DAL 35 42 (56) 83 per cent
13 Ales Hemsky, EDM 35 58 (10) 60 per cent
14 Paul Kariya, NAS 34 54 (20) 63 per cent
15 Peter Forsberg, PHI 34 56 (14) 61 per cent
16 Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 34 64 (6) 53 per cent
17 Maxim Afinogenov, BUF 33 51 (26) 65 per cent
18 Eric Staal, CAR 33 55 (16) 60 per cent
19 Alex Tanguay, COL 32 49 (35) 65 per cent
20 Scott Gomez, NJD 32 51 (26) 63 per cent
21 Shawn Horcoff, EDM 32 51 (26) 63 per cent
22 Patrick Marleau, SJ 32 52 (25) 62 per cent
23 Joe Sakic, COL 32 55 (16) 58 per cent
24 Brad Boyes, BOS 31 43 (52) 72 per cent
25 Henrik Zetterberg, DET 30 46 (40) 65 per cent
26 Teemu Selanne, ANA 30 50 (31) 60 per cent
27 Mike Modano, DAL 30 50 (31) 60 per cent
28 Andy McDonald, ANA 30 51 (26) 59 per cent
29 Marian Hossa, ATL 30 53 (23) 57 per cent
30 Martin Straka, NYR 30 54 (20) 56 per cent

Other than opening the traditional can of worms/debate over the appropriateness of recording that second assist, a couple of interesting observations flow from this analysis:

1) the stock of players like Thornton, Jagr, Crosby, Alfredsson, Prospal and Ovechkin should go up, and the stock of centres like Savard, Richards and Spezza should decline; and

2) No Vancouver forwards were on that list. Although, I think that there are some pretty obvious reasons for the absence of 'Nucks from that list (both Nazzy and Bert liked to hold onto the puck, and Henrik cycles . . . sometime endlessly . . . with his brother).

Thoughts?
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Postby tantalum » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:48 pm

I don't know. While a goal often results from great pass first assist I think you see just as many goals from a beautiful shot or move by the scorer and just as many again from a great play by the second assist guy who starts the play.

I honestly think the first assist thing is something people do to kill time. I really think you can tell the top point getters that you'd want on your team from the ones you don't simply by watching them play. It's a much more effective measure. I'm not sure that list provides any sort of elucidation for that determination. For example while marc Savard goes down the ranking he does so by a mere 2 spots and remains top 5. Richards goes down one spot (though i'd want him on the team anyday but not Savard). Spezza drops way too much. You only had to watch that line last year to know Spezza was integral to springing his linemates or setting up the play. There really isn't much significant movement on that list except for Brendan Morrow, Boyes and maybe Tanguay. I'm not sure anyone would be jumping to take those guys over the other guys on the new list that are below them (well maybe Morrow but not for scoring but because of intensity). When the difference between 30th and 17th is a mere 2-3 assists for either ranking system a movement of even 10 places is essentially insignificant.
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Postby Harold » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:02 pm

I like the second assist.
Take for example the Sedins when they were on the 4 on 4 last night and playing their Harlem-Globetrotter's rendition of keep-away from the Oilers. Say the Sedins are passing it back and forth for two minutes and then one shoots it towards the net and it bounces in off of Naslund's nose, or Bieksa's butt, or Cooke's....uh anyways, say that happens. The goal scorer would get a point, the last Sedin to touch the puck would get a point, and then if we are only counting first assists, the other Sedin would get no credit for that play? Even though without him the play and the eventual goal definitely would not have happened? For a team that cycles, and a pair like the Sedins, the second assist is just as important as the first and should be weighted just as heavily.
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Postby Linden Is God » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:56 am

It's ironic you bring this up, cause they mentionned it briefly on TSN about if the second assist should count or not
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Postby jchockey » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:57 am

I like the second assist too, but there are times when the third player who started the play will get shafted and at times when you just get it by passing to Ovechkin in your own zone and then he goes end to end and scores.

It's almost arbitrary how they give out the assists. IMO which is why we have a Rocket Richard trophy and not a Gretzky trophy.
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Postby tantalum » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:38 am

jchockey wrote:It's almost arbitrary how they give out the assists. IMO which is why we have a Rocket Richard trophy and not a Gretzky trophy.


Gretzky would have won the Rocket trophy 5 times if it had existed...the same number of tiem the Rocket would have won it! He was far more than assists. IN his prime Gretzky did everything well...except breakaways. he was never that good at breakaways.

Interestingly Phil Esposito would have won it 6 times and Bobby Hull 7 times.
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