Brian Rafalski's Legacy

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by RECsGuy*, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. RECsGuy*

    RECsGuy* Guest

    37 years old (38 next Sept.)

    Career (Reg. + PO): 955 GP - 104 G - 489 A - 593 PTS
    Averages 8.93 G - 41.99 A - 50.92 PTS / 82 GP

    (3) Stanley Cups
    -'00: 2nd among Devils dmen in playoff points (rookie season)
    -'03: 2nd among Devils dmen in playoff points
    -'08: 2nd among Red Wings dmen in playoff points (1st season w/ Detroit)
    (1) Olympics - Best Defenseman

    How will he be remembered?
     
  2. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Definitely better than Ron Greschner - a little better than Carol Vadnais.
     
  3. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Truly underrated puck moving defenseman in my opinion. Very smart.

    Guy is a winner and very cool in big games that I have seen him in.

    His totals will get hurt by starting late and playing through pre-lockout years but he's been a very good player.
     
  4. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    Above-average complementary player.
     
  5. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    I was doing a Sporcle quiz a while back that had you name the 5 highest scoring defensemen from each decade. The quiz listed a team beside each blank space as well, to make it easier. For 2000-2009 there was an empty spot for a Devils player. I definitely spent a few minutes trying every different spelling of "Niedermayer" before I realized that Rafalski was the higher scoring of the two.
     
  6. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    He'll definitely be remembered by Devils fans as a key part of their 3 Cup finals and 2 wins in 4 years.

    One of the best complimentary players ever. By that, I mean that he isn't the type of defenseman to really lead a pairing (mostly due to lack of size), but he's smart and just might be the best I've ever seen at complimenting a superstar defenseman. Scott Stevens had a rotating array of partners until Rafalski settled in and stayed there through the mini-dynasty.
     
  7. lazerbullet

    lazerbullet Registered User

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    Perfect No.2 who can run PP as good as anybody. Still... a clear notch below franchise dman, because can't kill penalties and is not good in his own end. Oh... winner and is somewhat clutch when it matters.
     
  8. mrhockey193195

    mrhockey193195 Registered User

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    At first I was taken aback by this, but then I actually sat down and thought about Rafalski's career...He has accomplished quite a bit in such a short amount of time. It just still feels like yesterday that he was a rookie playing for the Devils in the finals against Dallas.
     
  9. The oldest player to reach 1000 games played? What'll he be 38 when he plays his 1000th game?
     
    Last edited by moderator : Jan 11, 2011
  10. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    Yup I'd take him on my team any day.

    His only drawback is what kept him out of the NHL a while in the first place - his size.

    That isn't as much a factor post lockout, either, but he's getting older now too which doesn't help. Still doing pretty well though!
     
  11. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    A very good player who tended to be under-rated. One of the better offensive defenseman of his era.
     
  12. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Trend

    His success started the trend back to the "smallish" d-man.
     
  13. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    Rafalski has gotten a bum rep by Detroit fans but it sounds like he is more rightfully appreciated by New Jersey fans.

    Your typical Detroit fan says he sucks defensively, and that is ridiculous - they are comparing him to Lidstrom (every Detroit defenseman for the past 15 years has 'sucked' defensively). Rafalski is at the very least average defensively and excels at keeping the puck in at the blue line. Not a shut-down guy by any means, but amongst the elite in moving the puck and running a power play.

    Rafalski is more than capable of carrying a blue line on his own and carrying them deep into the playoffs (see most recent Olympics), but is the perfect #2 on a Championship team.

    Twice the player of Schneider, IMO, he has been severely underrated for most of his career. I don't think that much separates him from someone like Gonchar.
     
  14. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    He will be remembered as the man who murdered Martin Brodeur's career in Vancouver.
     
  15. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    70s is a mod. :help:

    :sarcasm:

    chelios and konstantinov were both great defensively. chelios was still very good even in 2007.

    rafalski does not suck defensively, but he is average/above average defensively, imo, and should only face top scorers if paired with a strong defender like stevens or lidstrom or ryan suter (imo, suter was as important as rafalski and miller was more important in olympics).
     
  16. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    70s was made a mod to help out in the ATD. He's a mod here too? :shudder: :sarcasm:

    Anyway, I've said before that Rafalski is very good at systems defense - playing great positional defense within a system. His weakness is that he's pretty terrible 1-on-1, so the times when he is burned, it's really noticeable. And that's all a lot of fans can see. It's also why he's so effective when paired with Lidstrom or Stevens - guys who will rarely leave him to fend for himself.

    A lot of Devils fans are really down on Rafalski because he was a failure as a #1 defenseman after Stevens and Niedermayer left.

    He really was overpowered by Lecavalier and Heatley in the playoffs and ended up having to be hidden from them.

    In my opinion, that was more a problem of asking him to do too much.

    As soon as Rafalski left, the Devils PP went from average to bottom of the league, and it really didn't recover, no matter how many fancy forwards they brought in.
     
  17. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Brodeur recovered from Vancouver just fine and finished a well-deserved 3rd in Vezina voting. He was in the middle of a month long slump which the Olympics fell in the middle of. ANd yes, Rafalski was brilliant in exploiting the weakness of Marty's style.
     
  18. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Don't worry, I can only moderate the ATD section... where no actual moderation is required.

    This probably deserves his own thread, but... what??

    He was just 13th in sv% while benefitting from, as usual, the league's most-disciplined team. If he faced an average percentage of shots vs. the PP like 17.6% instead of 13.3%, he'd have a .913 sv%, 17th in the NHL. He gets credit for maintaining that for the most minutes in the league, but I fail to see how he was among the league's three best goalies last season.

    Was there a shot quality analysis done for the season yet?
     
  19. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The problem with save % here is that it's an averaging statistic. Brodeur was awful for about a month. Before then, he was probably right up there with Ryan Miller as the leading Vezina candidates. He was a big reason the Devils were 1st in the Eastern Conference at one point.

    IMO, he was overplaid in the first half and was burnt out several weeks before the Olympics. After getting pulled in the Olympics, he finally got some rest and came back very good again.

    As for the shot quality analysis, I saw something during the season that showed Brodeur faced significantly higher shot quality than the runner-up Bryzgalov (those are the only two I remember because both went against conventional wisdom).
     
  20. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I'm not sure why we would discount an averaging statistic since it will be most representative of what level of performance the player delivered all season. Every other goalie's sv% includes their worst month as well. (TBH though, I don't recall a time he was ever in the running with Miller, people were touting Miller for the Vezina and the Hart in December)

    However - I did find an adjusted sv% study from last season and it seems that Brodeur, compared to other goalies with high sv%, was facing tougher shots. Despite his "easier" PP/ES distribution, his sv% dropped by .001 when adjusted - some dropped a lot more than that.

    I looked late last night and I recall he came out 5th among goalies with 1500+ minutes, but the guy in 1st had a lot fewer minutes than 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and Brodeur. (those three were Backstrom, Lundqvist, and Mason, whose "raw" .901 really underrates him) Along with Bryzgalov, Kiprusoff, Anderson, Miller, who I saw a lot of and agree was outstanding - and Brodeur - I think those were likely the eight best goalies in 2009-10.
     
  21. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    You're talking about Ken Krzywicki's model, right? I think you misread his numbers. SQA refers only to the average shot quality against, it's not a shot-quality adjusted save percentage. According to this model the Devils allowed the fourth easiest shots in 2010 on average, behind Minnesota, Columbus, and the Rangers.
     
  22. pass the bisk

    pass the bisk Registered User

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    I agree with every saying he is an incredible "complementary" player. Just ask Nick Lidstrom.

    Anyway, he has three cups and an Olympic silver medal (where he was definitely the MVP of Team USA). He does get a bad rep among Detroit fans (tough when Nick Lidstrom is your partner and does everything flawlessly). But Devils fans sure give him respect.

    He'll be remembered as a phenomenal puck moving defenseman and a winner.
     
  23. Fugu

    Fugu Guest

    If you'd visit your welcome thread on the Mod Board, you'd see that Doctor No has designs on you, and expanding your duties at some point. :)
     
  24. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    aha, so I had it backwards. And the reports on Mason (whom I rarely, if ever, saw, but always heard was struggling) were in fact correct. the way I interpreted the results of this study was that although his numbers looked bad, Columbus was allowing very difficult shots. as it turns out, Mason was struggling in spite of easier shots, not because of tougher ones. I also assumed Rask's numers coming down to earth were feasible because there's been a lot of talk about Boston making goalies look better (which may still be true)

    I also found it pretty plausible that New Jersey's now-anonymous defense was allowing much greater shot quality than in the past, when they were typically allowing the easiest. I guess it doesn't affect Brodeur's 2010 results that much either way since his sv% was one point off where shot quality adjustment said it "should" be. But it does affect the goalies around him.

    I'm surprised this study wouldn't give a list of adjusted save percentages. I didn't read closely enough and misinterpreted. I just did a simple "actual minus SQA" calculation and determined that among 31 goalies with a realistic shot at the Vezina (1000+ shots), Brodeur was pretty average, with a sv% .001 better than expected. I'd definitely give him credit over lesser-used goalies ahead of him like Pavelec, Theodore, Niitymaki, Ward, Hiller & Hedberg (though it should be noted that Hedberg is outperforming Brodeur on the same team this season)

    I retract what I said about Mason and Backstrom. The best goalies last season, with sample size and sv% relative to shot quality considered, were Miller, Vokoun, Nabokov, Rask, Howard (the degree to which he outperformed Osgood is considerable!), Bryzgalov, Halak, Kiprusoff, Lundqvist, Anderson, Brodeur, Hiller, Luongo, in rough but flexible order.

    Brodeur clearly had an above average season but I don't see what made him a deserving finalist either, aside from reputation.
     
  25. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    Crud. I was going to tell you to sticky your save percentages post.

    Just think, Rafalski could have ended up with 45 assists and no goals. But then he went and had 3 goals in 3 games and ruined it. :(

    After further consideration, Rafalski has very good playoff numbers for his position, and given his team, he will likely build on them this year. (27G, 70A, 97PTS, +43 in 154 games). The scoring is equivalent to Scott Niedermeyer in 48 fewer games, which was a surprise to me. Also +43 is 12th all-time, 8th among d-men.

    If he gets a good playoff run, Rafalski can be remembered as a crunch time d-man as well as the man who mortally wounded Brodeur's career in Vancouver, but before it could bleed out, it was among the 20 or so Devils careers that died instantly because of the impact of the Great Kovalchuk Signing of 2010. Happy now, DMM?
     

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