ESQ wrote: ↑Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:38 pm
UWSaint wrote: ↑Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:32 am
But the edge in my view goes to Kopitar because he is a GREAT defensive center.
Well, one thing in Henrik 's favor is that his offensive peak was higher than Kopitar's. In Kopitar's best-ever season, he was 5th amongst centers for scoring, whereas Hank ran away with the Ross in his peak year.
And Kopitar's defensive play is up-and-down as well. In his down year, he finished 15th for Selke voting, and won it last year. When his offence wasn't going, his defensive play wasn't good enough to drag the Kings to the playoffs.
Anze Kopitar is everything Jonathan Toews is reputed to be (but is not as good at). He makes $500,000 less. And while Toews is showing wear and tear while being only 30, Kopitar isn't slowing down and he plays a game (like Henrik -- great awareness and ability to absorb physical play) that keeps him healthy and is the game that should translate throughout the term of his contract. Its a good contract.
I'd say Kopitar was looking far worse than Toews in 16/17, slow and battered and old. I'd say its as likely that Toews throws down a career year next year as it is likely that Kopitar goes back to 60/70 points.
I agree that Henrik's best season was better than anything Kopitar has put together. And his peak 3 were better than Kopitar's (which we may not yet have seen). But over the course of the career, I give a slight edge to Kopitar as far as their whole body of work through age 30. And I think the world of Henrik. Which says something about how much I admire Kopitar.
As for the Selke voting, it's not a great proxy for evaluating defensive play. Offense inexplicably seems to be a part of the voters' calculation; when a scorer goes quiet, he doesn't get rewarded with a Selke unless it's a career transformation.
At any rate, I don't think it is really debatable that Kopitar is consistently among the top 5 centers in the league in two way play (where one way is still offense). Bergeron is another, arguably Toews. (We don't think about Crosby or McDavid as great defensive players, but I think they have complete games when they are locked in, with McDavid more inconsistent in his effort). And I don't think its really debatable that Kopitar is better defensively than Henrik -- whose primary defensive attribute was always "keep away" possession (which I am not knocking at all; the Sedins were very effective players before their breakthrough during the wce era because they controlled the puck. I posted indefatigably about this on central during the time).
As for Toews, he's surpassed 70 points once in his career. He hasn't hit 60 for the past 3 years. Some of those numbers are influenced by injury and while injuries are largely influenced by luck, to the extent they can be minimized, Kopitar does everything correctly (always in shape, absorbs hits, awareness, body control, and sees defense as getting the puck back and not slamming his body into other players). Toews does not.