Monday, 23 January 2012

Percy Traub - the Value of the Stay at Home Defenceman

Percy Traub, a blueliner who played mostly with Regina in the 1920s, is an excellent example of a player whose value can really be revealed by the historical Point Allocation system.

We know he was a very able defender. For example, when the Regina Leader was naming its 1923 All-Star team for the 1922/23 WCHL season, it named Bullet Joe Simpson as the league's best overall right defenceman (due to his offensive ability), but notes that "[t]here is none better than [Traub] at the art of checking and intercepting..." (11 Jan 1923). His obituary in the 8 May 1948 edition of the Edmonton Journal said:
Back in the early 1920's when the Western Canada Professional Hockey League was in its fullest flower and fragancy [sic], “Puss” Traub was one of the circuit's outstanding defencemen with Regina Caps...Traub was the steady rock at the Regina blue line. Never a showy player – he couldn't carry the puck like Joe Simpson, Red Dutton or Harry Cameron for example – Traub nevertheless was a standout in most games in which he played because of his checking. He could “lay the body” and it was seldom a forward got past him without being tagged in some degree...It's seldom they come as rugged and durable as the late Percy Traub.
So Traub was a steady, hard-hitting, stay-at-home defenceman, which we know has a great deal of value to a hockey team, now as then. But if we look at his traditional stats, we see that in 262 major-league games, he recorded 21 goals and 22 assists, along with 451 minutes in penalties. Nothing noteworthy. His Point Allocation, results, however, help to reveal his true value:

1916Regina VictoriasSSHL119481200-1.15.2-
1917Regina 217th BattalionSHL320802000-1.9-0.9-0.7-3.5-1.75
1918Regina DepotRMHL321802000-2.12.6-1.0-0.5-0.25
1919Regina VictoriasSIHL322561400-0.76.3-
1920Regina VictoriasSSHL323802000-0.88.9-
1921Regina VictoriasSSHL3247518750.95.9-
1922Regina CapitalsWCHL3258020000.65.9-
1923Regina CapitalsWCHL3266917250.95.0-
1924Regina CapitalsWCHL3277218001.06.8-
1925Regina CapitalsWCHL3287418501.26.0-
1926Portland RosebudsWHL3297518750.43.3-
1927Chicago Black HawksNHL330761900-0.13.1-
1928Detroit CougarsNHL331802000-0.25.4-
1929Detroit CougarsNHL332802000-0.95.6-

There you have it: Traub was just below replacement level on offence, but was all kinds of good in his own end, especially during his peak years. His utter lack of scoring ability prevents him from ever being one of the very best blueliners in the game at any time, but he had very real value that is not captured by traditional stats. One of the purposes of Point Allocation is to reveal the value of players below the level of the Hall-of-Famers, and Traub is a nice example of that.

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