Wednesday, 8 February 2012

1985/86 Point Allocation

With any new valuation system, it's important to establish baselines that allow people to interpret the results. It's all fine and good to say Joe Power had a 4.81 TPAK season, but unless you know how good that is, it's basically meaningless. One way to help modern hockey fans to understand the results of historical seasons is to show the equivalent numbers for more recent years.

The Point Allocation results for the 1967/68 NHL season have already been published here, and I'm going to show a couple more seasons, specifically to discuss the upper bounds of performance. What better place to examine that than Wayne Gretzky's 215-point season? So let's look at 1985/86.

First, here are the results of the Edmonton Oilers, who recorded 119 points on the strength of scoring 72 more goals (close to a full goal per game) than the second-best offence in the league. It's no surprise that Gretzky is on top. It should also be no surprise that his TPAK score of 7.00 is the highest we've seen so far. A rate of 6.00 is the level of the superstar; beating that by a full point (standings point, not scoring point) per 1,000 minutes puts you in the absolute upper stratosphere of hockey performance.

GRETZKY, Wayne58016009.22.1-
COFFEY, Paul37919757.74.4-0.311.85.97
KURRI, Jari77815606.61.6-
MESSIER, Mark56312605.31.4-
ANDERSON, Glenn77214406.11.1-
MOOG, AndyG6437960.
FUHR, GrantG5231120.
NAPIER, Mark68016004.
HUNTER, Dave66212403.01.1-
MacTAVISH, Craig57414803.31.4-
FOGOLIN, Lee38020002.14.1-
GREGG, Randy36416001.43.0-
SMITH, Steve35513752.31.9-
HUDDY, Charlie37619001.73.2-
KRUSHELNYSKI, Mike65410802.30.4-
LUMLEY, Dave7469201.80.5-
SUMMANEN, Raimo67314602.70.4-
LOWE, Kevin37418500.83.3-
McCLELLAND, Kevin57915803.40.7-
TIKKANEN, Esa7357000.90.2-
JACKSON, Don34511250.51.2-
McSORLEY, Marty75911801.70.4-
SEMENKO, Dave66913800.20.5-0.8-0.1-0.07

And now, the league leaders in TPAK for 1985/86. Gretzky's Number One, of course, but the Number Two in this case is surprisingly close:

GRETZKY, WayneEDM58016009.22.1-
HOWE, MarkPHI37719254.98.2-
COFFEY, PaulEDM37919757.74.4-0.311.85.97
ROBINSON, LarryMTL37819504.07.0-
McCRIMMON, BradPHI38020002.88.4-0.310.95.45
KURRI, JariEDM77815606.61.6-
MESSIER, MarkEDM56312605.31.4-
BOURQUE, RayBOS37418503.66.0-
HRUDEY, KellyNYIG6136520.
BOSSY, MikeNYI78016006.
ANDERSON, GlennEDM77214406.11.1-
HAJT, BillBUF35814500.95.9-
LEMIEUX, MarioPIT57915806.11.1-
POTVIN, DenisNYI37418503.65.0-
WAMSLEY, RickSTLG6035860.
CHELIOS, ChrisMTL34110251.82.9-
MURRAY, TroyCHI58016005.41.9-
MURPHY, LarryWAS37819503.84.9-
LANGWAY, RodWAS37117750.77.2-
FROESE, BobPHIG6538870.
NASLUND, MatsMTL68016005.
RAMAGE, RobSTL37719253.05.6-
LOOB, HakamCGY76813604.51.4-
FRANCIS, RonHAR55310603.51.1-
SAVARD, DenisCHI58016006.40.8-
PROPP, BrianPHI67214403.92.3-
HAWORTH, AlanWAS57114204.71.5-
QUENNEVILLE, JoelHAR37117751.56.4-
GUSTAFSSON, Bengt-AkeWAS57014003.72.3-
CHRISTIAN, DaveWAS78016004.
MALARCHUK, ClintQUEG6437860.015.9-
MacINNIS, AlCGY37719254.24.0-
POULIN, DavePHI57915803.33.4-
BABYCH, DaveHAR38120253.25.2-
TROTTIER, BryanNYI57815604.52.2-
SINISALO, IlkkaPHI77414804.21.9-
STASTNY, PeterQUE57615205.31.0-
STEVENS, ScottWAS37318252.55.3-
PATRICK, JamesNYR37518752.55.4-
LUDWIG, CraigMTL36917250.07.1-
DINEEN, KevinHAR75711403.81.1-
CARBONNEAU, GuyMTL58016002.73.8-
BEAUPRE, DonMING7343780.017.3-
MOLLER, RandyQUE36917251.16.1-
MIDDLETON, RickBOS7499802.
LINSEMAN, KenBOS56412803.71.5-
MANTHA, MoePIT37819503.34.4-
FRASER, CurtCHI66112204.40.6-
TIPPETT, DaveHAR68016001.94.2-

Mark Howe is certainly an underappreciated player, but I don't think anyone realizes how good he really was. Now, although Howe is only 0.25 TPAK behind Gretzky in this season, you do have to remember it's only one season. Gretzky was putting up seasons like this all the time at this point in his career, while this was clearly Howe's best. He scored over a point per game while being the top defenceman for a dominant defensive team. In the six seasons from 1981/82 to 1986/87, the league leader in plus-minus was an Oiler (Gretzky four times and Charlie Huddy once); only Mark Howe was able to take spot for another team in 1985/86.

Howe was a First-Team All-Star, but it seems he deserved the Norris Trophy as well, over Coffey.


  1. It's interesting that their best offensive players were also their best defensive players.

    Coffey is their best defensive defensemen - not Fogolin or Lowe, and Gretzky/Kurri/Messier are their best defensive forwards - not Hunter or MacTavish.

    1. Gretzky and Coffey appear as the best defensive players because of how they were used. The Oilers killed penalties largely by not letting the other team have the puck. The best defence was a good offence. The opponents can't score if they puck is on Gretzky's stick.

  2. What formulas did you use for allocating defensive points between skaters and goalies?


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