So, Crosby vs Ovechkin then...
I'm definitely not claiming this as an original thought, but it never really seems fair to award as many points for an assist as for a goal, especially when two assists can be awarded for each goal. Is a secondary assist (often not a huge part in creating the goal) really as worthy as the act of actually putting the puck between the posts?
My motivation for looking at this? Although goalscorers do get their own trophy to chase now, I still think players who score a higher than average proportion of goals in their points tally are underappreciated to a degree. To risk one Ovechkin reference (not the best example of an underappreciated player, I know), I think his current (lower) points tally is much more impressive than Malkin's or Crosby's since he has so many more goals.
There are numbers, of course...
A simplistic way of adjusting points totals is to give a higher weighting to goals compared to assists. Rather than a subjective choice of, say, 2pts per goal and 1pt per assist, I've based my figures on a goal being worth 1.75 times an assist.
The reason? This season, there have been approximately 1.75 times as many assists awarded as total goals scored. No real reason to suspect this number has varied too much over time. This weighting only really allows for the fact that multiple assists are awarded instead of saying goals are intrinsically "worth" that much more than assists, but it's simple and fairly objective.
Putting it to use
I thought it would be interesting to see how the scoring races in years past (since Gretzky's first season in 1979/80) would've ended up if this theoretical weighting was applied. Yeah, basically I wanted to steal Joe Thornton's 2005/06 scoring title from him, but indulge me.
So, the chart below shows the actual Art Ross winner on the left, with the revised "winner" on the right, where a change would've occurred:
AdjP = adjusted points (goals + (assists/1.75))
- As expected, Joe Thornton misses out
- Forsberg and Crosby lose their only scoring titles but Lecavalier, Naslund, Bure, Fedorov, Hull and Yzerman all join the club
- The Great One is hit hardest, losing a whole 30% of his scoring titles (the guy was clearly waaay overrated)
- The 80s and early 90s probably aren't the best years to illustrate this, given Gretzky and Lemieux's dominance in many of those years
- Even where the Art Ross winner loses out, they still finish second in every year except for Forsberg in 2002/03, who drops to fifth (though, strangely, that Forsberg season was the most point efficient in the last 10 years using the highly-accredited WPEF method seen in my blog HERE)
- None of the new "winners" come from any lower than third in the actual scoring race
- Ovechkin would be leading the scoring race this season using the adjustment