August 11th, 2010, 10:01 am
I’m only partly joking. The cornerstone of sports fandom, especially hockey fandom, is argument. Who’s better this year, the Caps or the Canucks? Who’s the best player of all time, Gretzky, Orr, or Lemieux? While the first question will be easy enough to answer (look at the eventual standings and playoff achievment), the second is just good clean fun. Corey Pronman, over at Puck Prospectus, has modified a scale used for baseball prospect scouting to break hockey into tools and ratings, called the 20-80 system.
- Skating (Acceleration, stride, top speed, turning/edge control)
- Puck Skills (Passing, stick-handling etc.)
- Shot (Accuracy, velocity, release)
- Physical Game(Size, strength, able to handle physicality)
- Hockey Sense (Decision-making, awareness, smarts
- 20: Can barely perform this skill, there are 13 and 14 year old amateur players who can do this skill better. Think Derek Boogaard’s hockey sense for example.
- 30: Significantly below average (minus minus), isn’t beer league quality but it’s nowhere near the NHL level. Think Georges Laraque’s puck skills or Hall Gill’s skating.
- 40: Below NHL average (minus), this skill isn’t completely out of the league but it’s still a good notch below. Examples are Marc Andre Fleury’s rebound control or Jack Johnson’s hockey sense.
- 50: NHL average, think Marco Sturm’s puck skills, Justin William’s shot.
- 60: Above NHL average (plus), this is an all-star level skill. Examples are Jonathan Toews’ skating, Mike Richard’s physical game, David Booth’s shot.
- 70: Significantly above average (plus plus), this skill is one of the best in the game and is in an elite class. This is a grade rarely given out. Steve Stamkos’ shot, Chris Prongers’, physical game, Nicklas Lidstrom’s hockey sense, and Alex Ovechkin’s skating are examples.
- 80: Generational talent, an extremely rare grade to be given out for any skill. Examples of what an 80 grade is include Bobby Orr’s skating, Al MacInnis’ shot, Wayne Gretzky’s hockey sense.
This could be fun. Read the article for an example of a rating for a current NHL player, and how one might rate prospects and players. Also, Corey is now involved in a website called premiumscouting.com, which is currently doing team reports, and hopefully will soon have scouting reports (and ratings) for individual prospects.
Even though I’m not a scout, and have no history of rating players, and no training in doing so, I DO have a blog! That means I can speak with authority on damn near anything! I’m going to try and rate Joe Thornton, and maybe that’ll start an argument in the comments.
- Skating – 45. Joe can get around just fine, but won’t win any speed or agility contests. He doesn’t pivot on a dime or get around anybody due to his skating, more his body.
- Puck Skills – 65. I’m only going 65 here because although his passing is maybe the best of his generation, his puck handling isn’t. He’s able to protect the puck well, but I wonder if that’s hockey sense and physicality rather than puck skills.
- Shot – 40. Joe can shoot? Accuracy is probably about league average.
- Physical Game – 60. While Joe doesn’t level too many hits, he’s extremely difficult to knock off the puck, and has an incredible reach that he can use on either the forehand or backhand side.
- Hockey Sense – 60. Excellent at finding the open man and knowing where his teammates are. Couple that with his passing skills, and you get highlight reel clips fairly often. What doesn’t make Sportscenter are his turnovers, sometimes in particularly devastating areas of the ice. Those happen too often for his hockey sense to be considered ‘elite’ in my view.
Remember I have my dispassionate hockey hat on. What do you think? Too harsh? Too lenient?