Who gets the Toughest Matchups: Defensemen

I hope you're familiar with the concept of "Quality of Competition" at behindthenet.ca. (You can find a short primer on it here.) At any rate, I wanted to post the rankings for defensemen on every team through Saturday's game. This list uses opposition Corsi +/- (shot differential) rather than goal differential - shot total is less-influenced by luck, so it gives a better indication of how a player has performed:

Team #1 #2 Team #1 #2
ANA Niedermayer Wisniewski MTL Markov Spacek
ATL Hainsey Bogosian NJD Greene Mottau
BOS Chara Morris NSH Klein Hamhuis
BUF Myers Tallinder NYI Sutton Hillen
CAR Gleason Corvo NYR Staal Girardi
CBJ Hejda Klesla OTT Volchenkov Phillips
CGY Regehr Phaneuf PHI Pronger Timonen
CHI Seabrook Keith PHX Jovanovski Michalek
COL Hannan Quincey PIT Orpik Gonchar
DAL Grossman Rodibas SJS Murray Boyle
DET Lidstrom Rafalski STL Jackman Polak
EDM Souray Staios TBL Ohlund Meszaros
FLA Leopold Ballard TOR Beauchemin Komisarek
LAK Scuderi Doughty VAN Mitchell Bieksa
MIN Zanon Zidlicky WSH Poti Schultz

One thing I like about "Quality of Competition" is that if you don't watch a team very often, you can get a quick sense of how that team's players are used. Did you ever wonder if Mike Green's ice time is a little soft? Did it seem weird that Rob Scuderi - who has 18 goals over all levels of hockey since he started college - was a good free agent pickup? Were you concerned about who would pick up the slack after Kurt Sauer was injured in Phoenix? Well, probably not that last one - but Quality of Competition gives you insight into the first two...

There are some imperfections in the system - it's difficult to compare across teams, and even within teams, players who have a shutdown role but also play so many minutes that they're bound to face some weaker competition, like Jay Bouwmeester, are underestimated. But by and large, as long as a player plays regularly, this is a reliable system to compare players on the same team - I'm interested to hear if any of the #1 and #2 defensemen above are misevaluated in terms of their usage this season.

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