Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Tciso » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:56 pm

Farhan Lalji wrote:
ESQ wrote:
I think Forsberg has been considered the best passer of the post-Gretzky/Lemieux era - I'd say Henrik is a superior passer (and all-around player at this point) to Forsberg.


Sorry sir but we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Henrik definitely is one of the greatest passers in the game, but Gretzky and Forsberg were still a notch higher in this department. Not a big notch mind you....but a notch nonetheless.

Also - as much as I love Hank, Forsberg was the better all around player in my opinion. I believe that Forsberg, in his prime, was the most complete player to ever play in the NHL.


Bang on Farhan!! Those other guys wre good, but none of them could dive or embellish a hit like Foppa could. Hank might be better at a lot of things, but not being a gutless diving puke. Floppa gets full marks on diving in my books.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Canuck-One » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:44 pm

In todays game Gretzky would have lasted a few short years and then retired with a concussion. When the Great One played HE HAD A BODY GUARD. No one went near Wayne for fear of Semenko and then McSorley. If those two didn't get you the Refs did as the league edict was "no one touches him!" Can you imagine the guy who head hunted Gretzky getting out of the game without being beaten to a pulp? Now imagine what Sedin could do with the time and protection that Gretzky was afforded. I am saying that Sedin is a better pure playmaker than Gretzky. He isn't anywhere as good at putting the puck in the net though.

Forsberg played a different style entirely, he was the Ovechkin of his era. A crash and bash player with skill. Trying to compare them is apples and oranges.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:58 pm

Canuck-One wrote:In todays game Gretzky would have lasted a few short years and then retired with a concussion. When the Great One played HE HAD A BODY GUARD. No one went near Wayne for fear of Semenko and then McSorley. If those two didn't get you the Refs did as the league edict was "no one touches him!" Can you imagine the guy who head hunted Gretzky getting out of the game without being beaten to a pulp? Now imagine what Sedin could do with the time and protection that Gretzky was afforded. I am saying that Sedin is a better pure playmaker than Gretzky. He isn't anywhere as good at putting the puck in the net though.

Forsberg played a different style entirely, he was the Ovechkin of his era. A crash and bash player with skill. Trying to compare them is apples and oranges.



Hank is a fantastic player and a great play-maker. Sure, Gretzky played with a body-guard, but he also played in an era where you could hook, clutch, grab, slow up and maul anyone remotely close to the puck. Is Henrik Sedin even a shoo-in for the HHOF? That might be worth discussing before we anoint him the best passer in hockey history. Joe Thornton has a 92 assist season. Let's get real here, if Sidney Crosby is healthy this debate isn't happening. Enough of this.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Tciso » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:19 pm

Island Nucklehead wrote:
Canuck-One wrote:In todays game Gretzky would have lasted a few short years and then retired with a concussion. When the Great One played HE HAD A BODY GUARD. No one went near Wayne for fear of Semenko and then McSorley. If those two didn't get you the Refs did as the league edict was "no one touches him!" Can you imagine the guy who head hunted Gretzky getting out of the game without being beaten to a pulp? Now imagine what Sedin could do with the time and protection that Gretzky was afforded. I am saying that Sedin is a better pure playmaker than Gretzky. He isn't anywhere as good at putting the puck in the net though.

Forsberg played a different style entirely, he was the Ovechkin of his era. A crash and bash player with skill. Trying to compare them is apples and oranges.



Hank is a fantastic player and a great play-maker. Sure, Gretzky played with a body-guard, but he also played in an era where you could hook, clutch, grab, slow up and maul anyone remotely close to the puck. Is Henrik Sedin even a shoo-in for the HHOF? That might be worth discussing before we anoint him the best passer in hockey history. Joe Thornton has a 92 assist season. Let's get real here, if Sidney Crosby is healthy this debate isn't happening. Enough of this.


And if Lindros's head was not as fragile as Sid's, he would be part of this discussion too, so Sid's head is happening, and is totally relevant.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Meds » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:12 am

Island Nucklehead wrote:Hank is a fantastic player and a great play-maker. Sure, Gretzky played with a body-guard, but he also played in an era where you could hook, clutch, grab, slow up and maul anyone remotely close to the puck. Is Henrik Sedin even a shoo-in for the HHOF? That might be worth discussing before we anoint him the best passer in hockey history. Joe Thornton has a 92 assist season. Let's get real here, if Sidney Crosby is healthy this debate isn't happening. Enough of this.


Gretzky started his career in an era that saw top goalies posting GAA's in the 3.00+ range. It was wide open, end-to-end hockey where the hockey gods always catered to the run-and-gun team with most flash and dash. Gretzky was also passing to some top end talent. The clutch and grab hockey became more common around the time Gretzky was in his last season in LA and moving on to St. Louis. Gretzky did not play against defensive systems like we see today, in fact, most players skating in todays NHL would probably be scoring 20-30% more points than they do now if they had played in the NHL during Gretzky's first 6 or 7 years. It is always very hard to compare players from two totally different era's of pro hockey.

As for Thornton, yes he did have a great season. But since then he has steadily declined, and I don't recall seeing Jumbo Joe make the kind of passes that Henrik does. Hank saucers a backhand pass from one side of the ice to the other while making a move to the outside of a defender, the puck clears two defender's sticks and lands perfectly on the tape of his intended recipient who is on the rush up the other wing. Most of Thornton's passes that have garnered him his playmaking accolades have come from his spot in the corner or behind the net to a player coming into the slot, and they are forehand passes while he is usually standing still or barely moving. Thornton also has nearly 3 inches and 30 pounds on Henrik, this makes life much easier for him when he's trying to make a pass to a scoring position when under pressure. I often wonder why Thornton has such a hate on for Hank.....

Crosby is simply the best player in the league. It's not just his skill that sets him apart, it's his leadership, his hockey sense, his level of intensity at both ends of the ice, his athleticism.....I don't think he's as good a passer as Henrik, but he has a better shot, he's faster, and he's more aggressive going to the net. He has better hands in that they are quicker, but I think Henrik's are more subtle. Crosby is also better in his own end. But to simply passing, Henrik is better.

It's obviously pure speculation and debatable opinions, but Henrik is as good as they come, maybe not better than Gretzky, but Gretzky may not be better than Henrik. Either way, I'd hate to live on the difference.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Per » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:24 am

Island Nucklehead wrote:
Canuck-One wrote:In todays game Gretzky would have lasted a few short years and then retired with a concussion. When the Great One played HE HAD A BODY GUARD. No one went near Wayne for fear of Semenko and then McSorley. If those two didn't get you the Refs did as the league edict was "no one touches him!" Can you imagine the guy who head hunted Gretzky getting out of the game without being beaten to a pulp? Now imagine what Sedin could do with the time and protection that Gretzky was afforded. I am saying that Sedin is a better pure playmaker than Gretzky. He isn't anywhere as good at putting the puck in the net though.

Forsberg played a different style entirely, he was the Ovechkin of his era. A crash and bash player with skill. Trying to compare them is apples and oranges.



Hank is a fantastic player and a great play-maker. Sure, Gretzky played with a body-guard, but he also played in an era where you could hook, clutch, grab, slow up and maul anyone remotely close to the puck. Is Henrik Sedin even a shoo-in for the HHOF? That might be worth discussing before we anoint him the best passer in hockey history. Joe Thornton has a 92 assist season. Let's get real here, if Sidney Crosby is healthy this debate isn't happening. Enough of this.


Henrik Sedin is a shoo-in for the HHOF.

Anyway, I looked at the stats for the 120 people with most career assists in the NHL and recalculated the A/GP ratio.
Henrik comes in 32nd place in that list (0.64), just behind Brian Leetch and just ahead of Linseman and Kurri. The numbers for Gretzky (1.32) and Lemieux (1.13)stand out of course. Orr is in 3rd place with 0.98 and Forsberg 4th with 0.90.

Since hockey in the 70's and 80's was so different from the game we see today, it may be a good idea to just look at more recent numbers. When eliminating all players that started playing before 1990, only three players stay ahead of Henrik:
Peter Forsberg 0.90
Jaromir Jagr 0.74
Joe Thornton 0.70

This tells me that Henrik's numbers are very good in deed, but it also shines a bright light on Forsberg, who is teh only "recent" player who is up there with the all time greats... :o

Mind you, this was just including the 120 players with most career assists of all time though. Looking at active players today and calculating their A/GP ratio all three of Crosby (0.87), Bäckström (0.73) and Malkin (0.69) have a higher career A/GP ratio than Henrik, and he's tied with Ovechkin.

Henrik's numbers will continue to improve though, as he's a bit of a late bloomer. His ratio after the lockout season is 0.83, last season 0.91 and so far this season 0.93.

I'd say he is the best passer in the game at present, but probably not of all time. If he has a few more good seasons he'll definitely be among those mentioned when discussing that distinction though.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Meds » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:39 am

Per wrote:Henrik's numbers will continue to improve though, as he's a bit of a late bloomer. His ratio after the lockout season is 0.83, last season 0.91 and so far this season 0.93.


That is an interesting stat, particularly useful if you wanted to compare Henrik's passing ability to that of players like Lemieux, Orr, and Gretzky. Henrik and Daniel both played their first 4 seasons during the dead puck era. I think it is no coincidence that their games improved dramatically after the NHL opened up the ice and started enforcing interference, hooking, holding, tripping, etc. They suddenly enjoyed the same freedom that Gretzky and Lemieux got early in their careers, and their numbers took off.

Also, many European and Scandanavian players do tend to be somewhat late bloomers here in the NHL as they adjust to a different brand of hockey that is more physical and on a smaller playing surface. Most of the exceptions to this are players who crossed the pond to play their junior hockey in the CHL, but even many of them seem to fall short of expectations for a season or two.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby ESQ » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:28 pm

Tciso wrote:And if Lindros's head was not as fragile as Sid's, he would be part of this discussion too, so Sid's head is happening, and is totally relevant.


Exactly. Longevity/durability are skills that, in my own opinion, set somebody apart as an all-around great hockey player. Gretzky had it, Hank has it, while Lemieux was utterly cursed. Forsberg clearly did not have it, I don't think Kesler has it, and probably the best example is Mike Bossy. He was so dominant, and I believe still holds the career-goals per game record and most consecutive 50-goal seasons, but had to retire at 30.

I don't buy that Gretzky would have been out in a few seasons in this NHL with injury/concussion. He had a style of play much like Nik Lidstrom - almost impossible to hit. Also, lets not forget Gretzky played 4 seasons after the Devils cup win in 1995 which is seen as the start of the turning point towards the Dead Puck Era. He still put up 90+ points playing in the Devils' division in 97 and 98.

Forsberg for sure had his power moves that were nigh-unstoppable and that Hank can't touch. But was he a better passer? Keep in mind too that his numbers were put up on teams loaded with first-ballot Hall of Famers - that's no knock on Hank's teammates but they're no Bourque, Sakic, Blake, possibly Foote.

At the end of the day, Forsberg always left you wanting more, and that was due to his health problems. I don't dispute that his "peak" was greater than Henrik's, but the key difference is Henrik's prime is so much longer. His prime was so brief that in my books, the edge for "all around" player goes to Henrik.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Per » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:21 pm

ESQ wrote:
Tciso wrote:And if Lindros's head was not as fragile as Sid's, he would be part of this discussion too, so Sid's head is happening, and is totally relevant.


Exactly. Longevity/durability are skills that, in my own opinion, set somebody apart as an all-around great hockey player. Gretzky had it, Hank has it, while Lemieux was utterly cursed. Forsberg clearly did not have it, I don't think Kesler has it, and probably the best example is Mike Bossy. He was so dominant, and I believe still holds the career-goals per game record and most consecutive 50-goal seasons, but had to retire at 30.

I don't buy that Gretzky would have been out in a few seasons in this NHL with injury/concussion. He had a style of play much like Nik Lidstrom - almost impossible to hit. Also, lets not forget Gretzky played 4 seasons after the Devils cup win in 1995 which is seen as the start of the turning point towards the Dead Puck Era. He still put up 90+ points playing in the Devils' division in 97 and 98.

Forsberg for sure had his power moves that were nigh-unstoppable and that Hank can't touch. But was he a better passer? Keep in mind too that his numbers were put up on teams loaded with first-ballot Hall of Famers - that's no knock on Hank's teammates but they're no Bourque, Sakic, Blake, possibly Foote.

At the end of the day, Forsberg always left you wanting more, and that was due to his health problems. I don't dispute that his "peak" was greater than Henrik's, but the key difference is Henrik's prime is so much longer. His prime was so brief that in my books, the edge for "all around" player goes to Henrik.

Forsberg's peak was brif, and he left you wanting more, sure. But he still has two Stanley Cup rings, two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship golds. One of only two players of all time to qualify twice for the Triple Gold Club... And he has a Calder, a Hart and an Art Ross trophy.

Oddly, only three Swedes have ever won Art Ross, and all three hail from Örnsköldsvik - a town with just 28 991 inhabitants (dec 31, 2010). :|

Two of them are brothers.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby mathonwy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:14 pm

1. Best All Around Passer in present-day NHL
2. Best All Around Passer ever
3. Player that you would most want on your team to put you over the top
4. Player you would select first to build your team around

IMO, Hank is #1 for #1, "maybe" top 10 in #2 and not in #3 or #4.

Hank's ability to thread the puck through traffic is getting better and better as he matures. Case in point last night's Wild game. His passes are almost unstoppable and only injuries and/or world class players can shut him down. IE Keith & Seabrook, Chara, Weber, Lidstrom.
Last edited by mathonwy on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby UWSaint » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:16 pm

Meds wrote:
Island Nucklehead wrote:Gretzky started his career in an era that saw top goalies posting GAA's in the 3.00+ range. It was wide open, end-to-end hockey where the hockey gods always catered to the run-and-gun team with most flash and dash. Gretzky was also passing to some top end talent. The clutch and grab hockey became more common around the time Gretzky was in his last season in LA and moving on to St. Louis. Gretzky did not play against defensive systems like we see today, in fact, most players skating in todays NHL would probably be scoring 20-30% more points than they do now if they had played in the NHL during Gretzky's first 6 or 7 years. It is always very hard to compare players from two totally different era's of pro hockey.


Yes, Gretzky's career was in a different era of pond hockey and worse goaltending. And yes, it is hard to compare different eras.

But say you are right and that most players would score 20-30% more points -- which I think is not an unreasonable assumption. Take Gretzky's top 5 seasons (total of 1036 points, 2.63 ppg), lop off 30% of his points to compare with today's NHL, and he scores an average of 145 points adjusted points per season. (Crosby, who was unreal last year, was on a 132 point pace). No player has cracked 130 points since Lemiuex in 95-96 -- the beginning of the dead puck/big pads/butterfly era.

Well, he just had great teammates, right? Well, he did. But no teammate over that span ever got within 73 points of Gretzky. 73 points -- basically the difference in points between 2010-11 Daniel Sedin and 2010-11 Raffi Torres.

Still, what's more instructive as to how great Gretzky was is by comparing him with other top players of his era, because its easier to compare those pond hockey players together. In 81-82, Gretzky had 212 points; Mike Bossy was second in the league with 147, a difference of 65 points or just less than 70 percent of output. Daniel won the Art Ross last year. 65 fewer points? There were 175 players between Sedin and Anthony Stewart and the others with 39 points. As a percentage, 19 players were within Sedin's total. And I am not cherry picking seasons for Gretzky. In 82-83, for example, the nearest point-getter to Gretzky (Stasny) produced only 63% of his point total.

I know this thread is more than about passing or Henrik Sedin (but if we are talking passing, in 85-86 Gretzky had 70 more assists than the second best set up man in the league (Lemieux)...). But I cannot emphasize enough that there is a reason Wayne Gretzky was the GREAT one. And while I get the arguments there were better all around players, they focus on attributes/skills without appreciating that those things are only helpful towards what hockey is about: scoring more goals than the other team. Gretzky has no historic peer except for brief periods of time (Lemiuex and Orr come to mind -- Crosby is the only modern player with the potential).

Wayne Gretzky is to superstars as the NHL is to the AHL, and Wayne Gretzky is to a typical NHL player as the NHL is to a beer league.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby UWSaint » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:24 pm

Waffle wrote:Update:  Eric over at Broad St. Hockey has an interesting post looking at individual shooting percentages as opposed to on-ice shooting percentages as I did above.  Four of the players he looked at are H. Sedin, Crosby, Thornton and Datsyuk and for each he looked at a number of teammates with at least 30 shots with and without.  Taking it a step further I think it is necessary to average across players to get a better idea of what is happening.  If you do that, this is what you get:

With Without Boost
Sedin 11.19% 6.81% 64.28%
Crosby 9.14% 7.55% 21.17%
Thornton 9.69% 7.27% 33.19%
Datsyuk 9.36% 6.98% 34.09%

Wow, that might make Sedin the best playmaker in the league, by a significant margin.  Crosby doesn’t look quite as good as my “on-ice” analysis but that is because much of the reason why Crosby improves his linemates on-ice shooting percentage is because he is such a great shooter himself.
The point still stands, without considering shooting percentages we aren’t getting anywhere close to having a complete analysis of a players impact on the game.

The BroadStreetHockey post
Do Playmakers Drive Teammates' Shooting Percentage?
Dec 9, 2011
http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2011/1 ... percentage


This is really interesting, though I am not sold on the methodology. Henrik almost always plays with his brother and rarely double shifts. Outside a handful of games, Burrows has been their linemate.

So, what players are often on the ice other than the regular linemates? Kesler. On the power play, but almost never even strength. Of course his shooting percentage is going to be remarkably better in that situation than it is 5 on 5. I just don't know whether those other players looked at have different power play forwards as compared with regular linemates to explain this huge difference.

The other players affects are defensemen. The Sedins are *great* at using point men, and I would love to see this broken down only on shooting percentage of defensemen.
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Re: Henrik Sedin - best passer.... ever?

Postby Island Nucklehead » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:50 pm

UWSaint wrote:I know this thread is more than about passing or Henrik Sedin (but if we are talking passing, in 85-86 Gretzky had 70 more assists than the second best set up man in the league (Lemieux)...). But I cannot emphasize enough that there is a reason Wayne Gretzky was the GREAT one. And while I get the arguments there were better all around players, they focus on attributes/skills without appreciating that those things are only helpful towards what hockey is about: scoring more goals than the other team. Gretzky has no historic peer except for brief periods of time (Lemiuex and Orr come to mind -- Crosby is the only modern player with the potential).

Wayne Gretzky is to superstars as the NHL is to the AHL, and Wayne Gretzky is to a typical NHL player as the NHL is to a beer league.


Thank you. Watching Hank is something special, but we have to keep things in perspective. Hank is ONE of the best players in hockey today, and he's arguably the best passer in the game today. But we need to realize that Gretzky had literally nobody near him, and was tied for the league lead in assists as late as his second to last season (37 years young).

http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/assists_season.html

I'm not sure if folks have seen this site yet... but Gretzky holds the top 7 assist seasons outright, and of the 13 times 100 assists has been passed in a season, Wayne has 11 of them (Lemieux and Orr one each).

Joe Thornton has two seasons in the top 21, and is the only current player inside the top 30 (96 and 92 assist seasons). Jagr and Crosby are also ahead of Sedin's best season. At his current rate, Hank would have the 84th best season.

Should Hank keep this up he'll win the "playmaker of the year" award for the third straight year, something only Joe Thornton has done (05/06 to 07/08) recently. Then again, Gretzky did it 13 years in a row (tied Mario once). Perspective.
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