Rank these defensive defenseman

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by John Flyers Fan, Nov 5, 2011.

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  1. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Four of the best defense first guys of the last 30 years. All very good, but not quite Hall of Fame level.

    Kevin Lowe

    Brad McCrimmon

    Adam Foote

    Derian Hatcher
     
  2. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    man, that is tough. i'd go:

    mccrimmon
    hatcher
    lowe
    foote

    but there is so little separating any of them. mac is at the top because he made every d partner better. hatcher may have had as much of an impact as a defender and leader, but i take a bit off of hatcher because he had matvichuk helping him form the most fearsome shutdown pairing in the league, instead of carrying an offensive guy like mccrimmon in calgary. but this is really just quibbling.

    lowe i have the least to say about. he was what he was, big, dependable, strong, mean, and a guy you went to war with. but i can't think of anything that distinguishes him from any of the other three guys. and foote feels to me like a clone of hatcher, but slightly less scary, less big, less strong, less unbeatable. and, in my opinion, the best we ever saw of foote was when he was paired with bourque. he was a great defensive defenseman on his own, mind you, but those other three could be true number ones on less stacked teams. and hatcher was a true number one. foote was slightly below, i think.
     
  3. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    I would rank Hatcher and Mcrimmon 1 and 2, with the Stars homer in me probably ranking Hatch #1. Then rank Foote and Lowe 3 and 4 in either order.
     
  4. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    McCrimmon
    Lowe
    Foote
    Hatcher
     
  5. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    McCrimmon was the best at complimenting a more puck-rushing partner.

    Hatcher was the best at being the catalyst for controlling the defensive zone.
     
  6. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    McCrimmon, underrated star of defensive defensemen. Perfect man to pair with a offensive rushing d-man.
    Lowe, same thing here really.
    Hatcher, incredible at clearing anyone from anywhere of puck possesion but had a bit lower hockey IQ than Lowe and McCrimmon.
    Foote, safety first guy at all times.
     
  7. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    Esplain
     
  8. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    might we say, for hatcher, that he was probably the least likely to be as good in a different era? he may have been, after scott stevens, the ideal defense-first guy for the dead puck or clutch and grab era. but we saw his game turn to crap after the lockout. i'm sure a peak hatcher could have been fine post-lockout, but i don't think he would have been as good as he was in the late 90s.

    even though lowe and mccrimmon didn't really make it to the DPE, their games seem tailor made for it. and they both proved they could be all-stars in the more wide open 80s. foote was great on marc crawford's run and gun avs team, and he was great when the avs tightened up the year after bourque retired, with forsberg out all year and hejduk also hurt.

    another reason why for me hatcher may be as high as second, but not first.
     
  9. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    That's exactly why I ranked him as the worst one. His peak is arguably better than Foote's one, but Foote was good during his whole career.
     
  10. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    Hatcher suffered a major knee injury though. Hence only playing 15 games with Detroit. That set him back big time and ultimately lead to his retirement. He did have a bit of a resurgence towards the end of his Philly tenure and was even given the temporary C, but his knee was just to bad for him to continue. He was a much better puck mover and heads up guy than what most give him credit for too as stated also by Ken Hitchcock.
     
  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    What different era? Post lockout hockey is post-lockout hockey, it isn't the norm of history. For the vast majority of hockey history, slow defensive defensemen did just fine for themselves.

    (And it's not like Hatcher was THAT slow before his knee injury)
     
  12. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    That's right. As well, he played in the OHL in the late 80s early 90s and managed to make himself the 8th overall pick in the draft in '91. He made enough of an impact in the early 90s to warrant being given the C when Broten was traded in 95 too. He was a very good Dman before the DPE. I wont deny though that the DPE played right in to his large hands, but he was more mobile and a better all-round Dman than what he's given credit for. Like I said the only thing that slowed him down in his latter years was that knee injury. People need to consider that before they jump to the conclusion that he was just too slow for the post-lockout game.
     
  13. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    ^^ fair points, TDMM and TJC.

    i did concede that a bit when i pointed out that later hatcher not cutting it post-lockout doesn't mean, obviously, that a younger healthier hatcher couldn't have. i mean, if hal gill...

    but still, of the four guys in this thread, two of them played in the ideal era for their skillset: hatcher and foote. foote is a year older but showed himself able to excel post-lockout, as well as excelling on a rare run and gun team for a good part of the DPE. hatcher never showed that. could he have done the same?

    well here's where i admit that while i did see enough of hatcher, i think, to accurately judge his career, my most enduring memories of him are from the '94 playoffs, where he did not look good against the high powered canucks attack and especially against bure. which is to say, at that point (and i realize that he was young), he couldn't fill the void left by tinordi's absence.

    now if i'm going to compare hatcher's mobility to the other guys in this thread, or to, say, rod langway or post-'94 scott stevens, i don't know that hatcher was ever really that slow, but his lateral mobility seemed behind those other guys. again, part of this is coloured by '94 bure dancing around the ice making young hatcher look pretty pylon-esque. hatcher had the great reach and the positional smarts to compensate in a big big way, but while i don't think a prime hatcher in the 80s would have been harold snepsts (and there's no shame in being harry snepsts), i'm not certain he would have been kevin lowe either.

    but again, these four guys are so close and i'm looking for small degrees of distinction between them.
     
  14. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    McCrimmon
    Hatcher
    Foote
    Lowe
     
  15. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    that is often forgotten.

    hatcher was never fast or quick, but he was incredibly slow with DRW after his knee injury. i cannot think of a slower player. he made old chelios look like leetch.
     
  16. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    Fair points. I think that although Foote was on a more offensive team in Colorado, he wasn't expected to be that. Same as when he was chosen for the Olympics. Kind of a "just bring YOUR game" thing.

    Hatcher was good back in 1994, but yeah he wasn't yet in his prime and of course Bure would make most guys look foolish. Tinordi was more mobile than Hatcher yes. We missed him big time those playoffs.

    I'm a Stars fan so I'm gonna like Hatcher more than the others so I'm trying hard not to be bias here, but I loved Hatcher's physicality and downright meanness. He could log 30 minutes a night and pound the heck outta the other team, a definite difference maker. I posted it in the best Dmen of all-time thread without my source yet because I'm still trying to find it, but he was second in voting for the Conn Smythe because of his physical dominance.

    As you said though, theyre close and you can almost throw names in a hat and pick them and then come up with arguments afterwards then do it again with them in a different order.

    But like I said, I would have Hatch and McCrimmon as my top 2 either order, and Foote and Lowe as 3 and 4 in either order.
     
  17. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    Hatcher was the most physically dominating but not sure about the McCrimmon thing, he was very slow and would have the toughest time pairing with a rookie poorer quality Dman IMO.

    Foote probably had the least amount of offense in him or at least his teams didn't want it from him or need it.

    Hatcher was made for clutch and grab and Brad would have loved it as well, both Lowe and Foote were better skaters and had better feet.

    Injuries are part of the game and diminish overall careers, post lockout Hatchers liabilities were exposed more than the other players would have been except maybe McCrimmon but Brad had more hockey IQ and could have fared better in the right situation IMO.

    IMO I'd have Foote 1st as he had the best feet and was a 3 time Olympian for Canada.

    Hatcher 2nd
    McCrimmon 3rd
    Lowe 4th

    but you really could mix these guys up in any order depending on team needs and the criteria one is looking at.
     
  18. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    Injuries are part of the game yes but his was major and slowed him down even more so. Its the reason he had to retire. Its not really fair to label him as too slow for the post lock out game. As Vadim stated, Hal Gill can play and Hatcher is/was better than Gill for sure.

    And I dont get the IQ thing. Hatcher was a lot smarter than what people give him credit for. After all, if his skating is being criticized so much, he had to have had something besides just size and strength that allowed him to be so effective for so long.
     
  19. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    McCrimmon
    Foote
    Hatcher
    Lowe
     
  20. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    Hatcher was hurt and aging after the lockout and still arguably the best PK skater in the league. In any era other than the modern one, nothing would hamper his game. (Clutch and grab dates back to the twenties as an individual strategy, rather than a team one.) And even in the modern one, back when he had his mobility, he'd still be a beast in the modern game.
     
  21. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    The IQ is extremely subjective but when you watch some players you can tell that they are better at thinking out the game and can play better than their skill set would allow if they had average hockey IQ.

    Lidstrom comes to mind as the most extreme example of this as there are other Dmen with better tools and capabilities and physical packages but he is one of the all time best 1st and foremost because of his hockey IQ.

    Brad McCrimmon had excellent hockey IQ as he excelled defensively as he was sloe even for the era he played in and didn't have great mobility.

    Wayne is the best example of this with the forwards as far as having excellent hockey IQ, Toews might be the best example if it today.
     
  22. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    I'm curious on what you are basing that on, personal viewing or something else?
     
  23. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    I get the IQ thing, and Im glad you pointed out it can be subjective, but I just disagree that Hatchers wasnt up there. He was very underrated as far as making quick decisions on getting the puck out of the zone whether it be a tape to tape pass up the ice or simply clearing it to the exact spot it needed to be depending on game situation. He wasnt easily rattled and if he didnt have a lane at all, he knew to eat the puck and keep it to the outside. Though is it wasnt his strong point, he also knew when to skate with it and he wasnt as bad as some may think.
     
  24. Clown Baby*

    Clown Baby* Guest

    Except for the games played post-lockout, but who's counting.
     
  25. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    Since penalty killing is a major part of defensive play, here are the numbers for these four d-men during their primes.


    SH%: The percentage of the team's PPGA the player was on the ice for. Can be seen as an estimate of SH ice time, with a bonus for playing first-unit minutes against the top scorers.

    TmSH+: the rate at which the team's penalty kill performed over this time. 1.00 is league average, lower is better

    Primes have been subjectively estimated to capture a sufficient sample of peak-level play, without including pre or post-prime play


    Hatcher's Stars were among the best penalty killing teams in the league during his prime, and he played probably the biggest role of any skater in that.

    Foote's Avalanche weren't as strong as the Stars, with only an average performance on the penalty kill. And Foote may not have been their top d-man there until after Ray Bourque left.

    Both Lowe and McCrimmon played a smaller role on their teams' penalty kills than Hatcher and Foote. This is not simply an era issue, as other 80s d-men like Langway, Ramsey, and Robinson had 55-60% SH% over the same time period that McCrimmon and Lowe played. However, it may be a team philosophy issue. Both the Oilers and Flyers spread their penalty killing duties around more, instead of rely heavily upon one player or unit. Was this because they lacked top-end defensive players, because they had a lot of depth, or simply a team philosophy to spread the PK duties around more in regular season play? I don't know. They were the two best penalty killing teams in the league during this time, so whatever they did worked.

    Penalty killing numbers for other top defensive defencemen during this time:


     

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