The Greater Gordon?

The 2009-2010 season was comparably different for the Capitals organization’s two Gordons.  Boyd Gordon had a difficult year, struggling with back problems and found himself in only 36 regular season games for the Washington Capitals, and tallying only 10 points.  Meanwhile, down in Hershey, Andrew Gordon was having a career best season, playing in all 80 regular season games for the Bears and managing to record 71 points.  However, the playoff roles for the two Gordons were reversed: Boyd suited up for all but 1 game (playing 6 and totaling 2 points), while Andrew missed 4 games with a knee injury (but still managed to play in 17 games, and adding 20 points). 

So, because it’s the offseason, and there isn’t really much else going on, is one Gordon greater than the other?  Do the first initials A. & B. have more meaning than just a shorthand version of their given names?

These questions are hard to answer given the limited comparable data for the two.  Andrew Gordon has only played 3 NHL games, all with limited ice time on short call-up stints.  Boyd Gordon came into the organization when depth was not a strong point, and while he has some AHL data, he’s only had 1 full AHL season (in Portland at that), and spent most of his early years split between the parent club and the minor club.  Which brings me to another question:  If Andrew Gordon were a few years older, and had joined the organization when Boyd did, instead of when the prospect pool was so deep, would Andrew Gordon be a full-time NHLer by now?  Conversely, if Boyd Gordon were a few years younger, and had joined the organization when Andrew did, would he be in Hershey right now, or in Washington? 

Let’s look at the two full AHL seasons for the two of them.  For Boyd Gordon, we’ll take the only full AHL season he has on record (2004-2005 with the Portland Pirates).  For Andrew Gordon, we’ll take his most recent full AHL season (not including playoffs).

Boyd Gordon:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2004-05 Regular Season

80

17

22

39

-20

35

7

1

Andrew Gordon:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2009-10 Regular Season

79

37

34

71

+22

57

19

0


Now, taking into account that these stats were for two completely different players, in two different positions, on two different teams, is it even fair to draw a conclusion?  Is it more fair to take averages of each of their most recent AHL seasons?  Let’s try that:

Boyd Gordon Actual:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2005-06 Regular Season

58

16

22

38

9

23

7

2

By the numbers in his last season with the Bears, Boyd Gordon:
Averaged .276 goals per game
Averaged .379 assists per game
Averaged .655 points per game

Andrew Gordon:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2009-10 Regular Season

79

37

34

71

+22

57

19

0

Taking Andrew Gordon’s numbers from above and using the same formula for averages, Andrew Gordon:
Averaged .468 goals per game
Averaged .430 assists per game
Averaged .899 points per game

Does this tell the whole story?  Is Andrew Gordon > Boyd Gordon?  For all intents and  purposes, let’s say that regular season A Gordon > regular season B Gordon.  But what about in playoffs?  Both of them have raised the Calder Cup.  Is that a more comparable measure of statistics?  For this comparison, I’m talking each player’s most recent AHL playoff games and again using averages instead of actual stats.

Boyd Gordon playoffs:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2006 Playoffs

21

3

5

8

3

10

0

0

In the 2006 Calder Cup playoffs with the Bears Boyd Gordon:
Averaged .143 goals per game
Averaged .238 assists per game
Averaged .381 points per game

Andrew Gordon playoffs:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPG

SHG

2010 Playoffs

17

13

7

20

2

2

6

0

In the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs with the Bears Andrew Gordon:
Averaged .765 goals per game
Averaged .528 assists per game
Averaged 1.176 points per game

While I don’t claim to be any sort of mathematician, scientist, or stats guru – I do claim that A. Gordon > B. Gordon.  He’s averaged more goals per game, assists per game, and points per game than B. Gordon in all comparable seasons.   He’s shown marked improvement each year, developing every facet of his game. He started with the Bears on lower lines playing an incredibly physical style and excelled there.  He moved up to scoring lines and excelled there.  He takes the face-offs when the centers get kicked out of the circle and does well there.  He scores from the point with ease, and also parks himself in front of the net to bang rebounds home.  He adjusts his speed to that of his linemates (you will almost NEVER see A. Gordon offsides) – so he can streak like lightning down the ice or he can hang back and make fancy moves to get through the neutral zone.  He’s more disciplined than anyone I’ve seen in Hershey in years – probably close to Svatos (when the Avs and Bears were affiliated and Svatos was in Hershey) – so he’s rarely in the box (unless of course he’s sticking up for a teammate or using a hook for an absolute last resort to prevent a goal that one of his teammates made a mistake on).  He is incredibly effective on the PK, and defensively, aside from Steve Pinizzotto, he’s probably the best defensive forward the Bears have (had).

It’s been interesting watching the development of both the players and the organization from up here in Hershey.There are guys that would make the Caps no matter what (Mike Green, John Carlson, etc) and then there are guys that we’ve seen get called up that no one could really explain (coughSloancough).  But when you look back at guys you watched raise the Calder Cup in Milwaukee in 2006 wearing Hershey sweaters and compare them to guys that raised the Calder Cup here in Chocolatetown a few weeks ago – you get a different perspective.  You look back on the guys that were such a big part of that team in 2006 and wonder if they’d have had nearly as a big a role with all the talent in 2010.

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