One of the defining characteristics of my power rankings on TSN.ca is that they are highly dependent on player values and, as a result, when players move in and out of the lineup, it can greatly affect a team's value.
After all, if it doesn't matter who is playing, then we're really just evaluating the laundry, right?
So, each year I like to go through and examine player won-loss records to see if there are some players that might have had a surprising effect on their team's success.
Of course, there are many factors that go into a team's record over short periods, so the team record with one individual player in or out of the lineup may not tell the whole story, but these numbers may offer some insight.
A couple of the more notable caveats: When dealing with small sample sizes, schedule (home vs. away) and opposition will play a role in a team's record, as will other injuries. It stands to reason that a team missing five players might have a harder time filling the holes in its lineup than a team missing one.
To be included in these measures (for the team-by-team list, click here), players had to play 25 games for a team and have missed at least 10 games -- for any reason -- be it trade, injury, scratched from the lineup, whatever.
But then, I made exceptions for the trade deadline acquisitions who would have played fewer than 25 games, because it seemed worthwhile to find out if the team was performing better or worse after they arrived.
First up, the players with the best won-loss records with a team this season:
The Capitals' playoff disappointment is only more upsetting when looking at the records compiled with late-season acquisitions Jason Arnott and Marco Sturm in the lineup.
The takeaway from this may be that the Vancouver Canucks were really good this year -- which isn't particularly noteworthy, I'll admit -- but Alex Bolduc had one regulation loss (3-2 at home against St Louis on December 5th, as if it wasn't entirely memorable for all) in 24 games? He really must have been doing something right in the 7:26 per game he was playing, though not enough right to remain in the NHL.
On the other hand, it's probably fair to say that San Jose's in-season acquisitions worked out well. Kyle Wellwood, Ben Eager and Ian White aren't necessarily glamourous additions, but there's no denying that the Sharks played well with them in the lineup.
Brad Boyes also seemed like a good addition to the Sabres, or they at least played well once acquiring him.
Some surprises, particularly from players that don't play all that much, include: Arron Asham, Dan Carcillo and Vladimir Zharkov.
Now, to the other end of the spectrum, players with the worst won-loss records with a team this season:
Jamie Langenbrunner got out of New Jersey before they made their big midseason charge, perhaps figuring that he had a better shot at the playoffs with Dallas. Admittedly, it would be easy to be frustrated with a 6-23-2 record.
Like Vancouver's dominance on the previous list, the Edmonton Oilers have a strong grip on the worst records, though it's surprising to see Ales Hemsky this low; usually the Oilers' swoon occurs once Hemsky gets hurt.
Next, a look at the difference in a team's record (or point percentage) when a player is in or out of the lineup. The Top 50:
Zharkov only had four points in 38 games, while playing 11:20 per game, so he likely wasn't the driving force behind the Devils' improvement; more likely, he was a helpful part of the roster once Jacques Lemaire took the reigns and the team's performance, as a whole, improved dramatically. Rookies Mark Fayne and Nick Palmieri may have contributed slightly more, but they would benefit from the same effects.
The Islanders clearly missed defencemen Andrew MacDonald and Milan Jurcina, but it's an interesting list with a number of role players. Some that stand out to me are tough guys Francis Lessard and Jay Rosehill, who happened to be along for the ride as the Senators and Maple Leafs had decent finishes.
Shawn Horcoff appeared to be a difference-maker for the Oilers, while the Blue Jackets got better results when checking centre Andrew Murray was playing.
The bottom 50 in point differentials, as it pertains to won-loss record, for this past season:
For a complete list of the players' won-loss records, sorted by team, click here.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.