Everyone, from the most hardened old-stock scout to the most data-savvy stats nerd, can agree that defencemen are more difficult to evaluate than forwards. It’s one of the few areas where those two camps can find common ground.
The things a forward does to help his team win are measured with relative ease. Does he help his team put the puck in the net, set his teammates up to put the puck in the net, and prevent the other team from putting the puck in the net? For all their flaws, points are generally somewhat representative of the first two aspects, and we can use other tools to estimate the latter. The ultimate result is that even a relatively analytics-tilted ranking will look fairly similar to one made by your average fan, assuming you don’t get too excited about a fourth-line play-driv