Coyotes on NHL Network Best of Lists....
The NHL Network has recently counted down their lists of top twenty players at each position, and I thought it would be fun to see where the Coyotes land on these lists. If they do.
I am pretty skeptical about lists like this. Or I guess I should say cynical. Probably both. I'm skeptical because I don't think anyone ranks these properly, and I'm cynical because I think they probably do it on purpose.
Clearly the main focus of such pieces is to trigger discussion and (hopefully) send the article on a viral spin that make whoever wrote it some coin, so I have no problem with these tactics, I just make sure I'm conscience of it when I read and discuss the articles.
Nearly every list like this will be controversial. I have published many, and they probably weren't any good either, but it's all about how you look at them. There is no definitive master list.
There can't be because people care about different things. I personally feel these lists massively underrate defense and are too reputation based.
But then again, if you're not going to making biased decisions, all you can do is pick your favorite all encompassing stat (WAR, GAR, GWAR, Game Score etc) sort the column and there you have it. And that itself would be biased. Those stats are nice, but they certainly aren't any more definitive than anything else. (Except random opinions that ignore stats completely, that is).
By Corsica.hockey's WAR, Auston Matthews is the second best player in the NHL, and yet people talk like its ridiculous to say anyone is better than Crosby other than McDavid. Which is now apparently OK to say, but was pretty stupid last summer when I kept saying it.
All I'm saying is that these lists are inherently problematic, and we shouldn't get too worked up about them. But they are fun.
NHL Network Wingers List
Knowing full well that anyone could say the same thing about the guy who thinks the Coyotes are going to be one of the NHL's best teams next year (though how quickly people forget that an expansion team just nearly won the Cup) I will say that my first thought about this list is that it's hard to take anyone seriously who thinks that Artemi Panarin is the tenth best winger, and not say, a top five or ten overall player.
But I didn't come here to rip the list, I just came to note the Coyotes players on it.
There are none and there shouldn't be.
But do some people honestly think that Rickard Rackell is better than Nylander or Marner? Or that there are twenty wingers who are better than those guys?
The top 20 defenseman list wasn't much better.
Drew Doughty is not the second best defenseman in the NHL. No statistical analysis will suggest that he is. This is all reputation and that's frustrating because when these come from NHL.com they become that much more encoded in the conversations.
Drew Doughty is a great player. He's one of the best, but he's probably overrated.
Two defenseman I won't name scored the same amount of points, but the guy not on this list scored more at even-strength and put up better defensive numbers across the board. Why is one so overrated and the other not even on this list?
Who cares who they are, someone explain to me how that makes any sense?
If you scroll way down, you'll find Oliver Ekman-Larsson at #15 on the list. This means that the NHL Network underrates OEL to the same degree that Drew Doughty underrates the importance of dentistry.
OEL plays on an unpopular team that hasn't made the playoffs in years, so I forgive people for not knowing more about him. But they are completely wrong.
If you ever saw him play for an extended period of time, you wouldn't rank him below ten.
This is a list, however that thinks that Dougie Hamilton is the 19th best, as opposed to say the best, or at worst, third best defenseman in the NHL.
Gators gonna gate, noamsayin?
If you want to know just how out-to-lunch these are, they rated Aaron Ekblad as a bubble player to the top twenty. Aaron Ekblad has potential, but if he wasn't the number-one overall pick, he might not even get named to the top 75. He has not been good the last couple of years. Certainly if you are even considering putting him in the top twenty you might as well just dust off the old Ouija Board and call up Miss Cleo.
(And for the record, that ___ still costs $4.99 / minute, somehow).
Raw talent? Sure. Top 20. Actual performance? Let's just say that he's moving ever closer to Eric Johnson territory than you're comfortable with for a #1 pick overall.
As for the centre list, there were no Coyotes. There should not have been.
Anyways, as much as I rip these lists, every does and for different reasons. They're pretty fun and it'd be boring if we all agreed on everything.
Still, OEL has to be ranked higher than 15. That's just loco.