Blog Entry

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:00 am
 
NL2By: Adam Gretz

Earlier this week the folks at Japers' Rink put together a sensational breakdown (you can view the entire analysis right here) on how the Detroit Red Wings have "protected" their older defensemen in recent years, particularly Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, and how it relates to the Capitals and their own offensive-defenseman, Mike Green.

Basically, what the Red Wings did was split the two veterans apart (in past years Lidstrom and Rafalski were typically paired together) and made their new partners, usually Jonathan Ericsson and Brad Stuart, go back retrieve the puck in the defensive zone and take the physical pounding from oncoming forecheckers. By doing so they limited the number of hits Lidstrom and Rafalski had to take over the course of a game and season, further allowing them to be among the most prolific scoring defensemen in the league. It didn't necessarily increase their offensive ability, but it may have saved a few unnecessary hits, which is always a good thing for players in their mid-late 30's and early 40's.

During the 2010-11 season Lidstrom finished near the top of the points list for defensemen, as he's usually done throughout his Hall of Fame career, with 62 points, trailing only the 68 that Anaheim's Lubomir Visnovsky recorded. Sixty-two points is an impressive number for any defenseman in any era, but for a player that was 40 years old it was incredible.

Rafalski ended up retiring earlier this summer, while Lidstrom is coming back for another year at the age of 41, and it's probably a good bet that these two things will once again happen in 2011: 1) Lidstrom likely won't be asked to retrieve the puck on dump-ins, and 2) He'll probably be one of the top-scoring defensemen in the league if he stays healthy.

Last month we took a look at the top scoring forwards over the age of 40, and I wanted to take a similar look at defensemen to see where Lidstrom's '10-11 performance ranked. 

I went all the way back to 1970 and pulled the top-10 individual scoring seasons for defensemen age 40 and older. Have a look.

Top Scoring Seasons For 40-Year-Old Defensemen Since 1970
Player Age Year Games Goals Points
Nicklas Lidstrom 40 2010-11 82 16 62
Ray Bourque 40 2000-01 80 7 59
Chris Chelios 40 2001-02 79 6 39
Rob Blake 40 2009-10 70 7 30
Chris Chelios 42 2003-04 69 2 21
Tim Horton 41 1970-71 78 2 20
Chris Chelios 41 2002-03 66 2 19
Teppo Numminen 40 2008-09 57 2 17
Tim Horton 43 1972-73 69 1 17
Harry Howell 40 1972-73 73 4 15

Since 1970 there have only been 30 defensemen to play in the NHL over the age of 40, so you're only looking at, on average, about one per season. The number of players that have actually been productive while doing so is even smaller. And that makes Lidstrom's point total from last year even more incredible. The only other player on the list to top even 40 points was Ray Bourque back in 2000 when he finished in a tie for third among defensemen, while only six have managed to top 20 points.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 6:12 pm
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Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 8:32 am
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Orr clearly #1 defenseman all time.   Only a complete imbecile who has never played or watched real hockey would argue otherwise.




Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Bobby Orr is easily the best defensemen to ever play the game, there is no question about it.



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Ha....the Art Ross in the 70's is what you are basing your argument on???  When the league had a third of the amount of players it does today......as well as now being a global game with the best players from all over the world playing in the NHL.  Buddy....your argument has a few holes in it.  The NHL today is 10 times tougher than the NHL in the 60's and 70's.  Orr was great, yes.  But Orr would never have been the same Orr in today's NHL.  Lidstrom is #1 of all time, have a nice life.



Actually money I think your argument works against you. There are so many more players now that the talent pool is lessened rather than better. You are right about players from all over the world being in the NHL now but the fact is that with so many less teams and players  back then all of the teams were made up of all-star caliber players and that is who Orr played against every game. Also the game was much harder physically for hits and such. Lastly you cannot know for certain that Orr would not have been the same player today, just as I have no clue what Lids would do back then.  Good try man but Orr is still number one. One quick question. Why is it that Orr gets talked about as being one of the top players ever (usually in the top 3-4) and Lids does not?  Lids is awseome but he would not be in the top 30 all time players. Just calling it like it is.




Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Ha....the Art Ross in the 70's is what you are basing your argument on???  When the league had a third of the amount of players it does today......as well as now being a global game with the best players from all over the world playing in the NHL.  Buddy....your argument has a few holes in it.  The NHL today is 10 times tougher than the NHL in the 60's and 70's.  Orr was great, yes.  But Orr would never have been the same Orr in today's NHL.  Lidstrom is #1 of all time, have a nice life.



Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Goonball...you have to be the dumbest person on this website to say "Detroit is a '0' class organization.  Probably the dumbest thing I have ever read on here.  It's one thing to not like a team, or root against a certain city.  But it is quite another to call a FIRST CLASS organization like the Red Wings a "0 class" place.  It's obvious you know nothing about hockey with a remark like that



Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2011 8:54 am
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Stanley Cup MVPs?  Who cares?  He was the best player on the best team for a Cup run?  Great, but not really indicative of anything.  Art Ross says you were the best player in the entire league, not just on one team.  How many of those does Lidstrom have?  How many scoring titles?  How many consecutive Norris trophies?  How many total?

Never mind - every '100 greatest of all time' list places Orr no lower than #4 among everyone to ever lace up skates, and Lidstrom no higher than #20.  Have a nice life.




Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Goon-Wow what a tool. If you think Orr was weak defensively you never saw him play. Also to the poster who thinks Lids is hands down better on defense than Orr I say you are sadly mistaken. Lids is great but having seen both play I can tell you that Orr was every bit the defender that Lids is. To the poster who said Bourque may be the best ever, I can see the argument but would put him in a tie with Lids. I look at it like this. If I were drafting these guys who would I want? For me its Orr then the rest. I would not want him just because of his offense (as awesome as it was) I would want him because he was also a great defender. Lastly goon-I realize you are a typical hater but man I have to say that you are just overboard. Take a pill and relax and stop dinking the hatorade bro.



Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:35 am
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Sir, how many stanley cup finals m.v.p.,s does Mr Orr have? If Im not mistaken, wont nick lids tie Mr Orr
if he was to win the norris this year? I was not fortunate enough to see Mr Orr play, (wish I would have!!)
But I have been fortunate to See Mr Lids Play! and its been my pleasure!!!!!I have seen alot of taped old games,
watching Mr orr play, and although there style of play differed Mr Orr was outstanding!!, but since I am a Detroit
Fan I am going to be a homer and go with Our guy Nick Lids as the greatest there ever was!!! IMHO. 




Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:34 am
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

Chelios is just a glorified cheap-shot artist who enjoyed ramming the unprotected forehead of players like harmless Rick Middleton into the edge of the boards.
He's a no-class player who enjoyed playing for no-class organizations like Detroit.

Lidstrom has the most talent, but like Chelios, is guilty of playing for a zero-class organization like Detroit.
They get away with a lot of dirty play, but they do it very well.


GoonBall,

You are a complete idiot. To sit there and say Detroit is a no class organization just proves how dumb you really are.
The Detroit red Wings are a 1st class organization that players want to come and play for.
They are treated very well by ownership and respected by them.

Chris Chelios has played this game with heart which is something that can't be taught. He is respected by his teammates and his piers.

Im not even going to go into the comments you made about Bobby Orr because your so stupid you wouldnt understand anyway.

So why dont you go to Amazon.com and get the book " Hockey for Dummies" then sit down and read it.
Once you have done that then come back and talk to us when you know more about the game of hockey and its players.

Until then STFU



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