2011-12 NHL Season Review: Is Jeff Petry as Good a Defenceman as Drew Doughty?

When the average hockey fan reads the headline above, their first thoughts are to question the brand of prescription pills the writer is on and whether or not a qualified pharmacist prescribed said pills.  One is a Canadian who went the major junior route, the other American who played in the NCAA.  Doughty, after all, was drafted second overall in 2008 out of the Guelph Storm of the Canadian Hockey League.  Petry was the 45th overall selection in 2006 out of the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.  When Petry was drafted, little was known about the Oiler prospect aside from the fact that he was going to play his college hockey at Michigan State. 


Doughty stepped into the NHL immediately after he was drafted. Petry took another four full seasons before he even signed his first professional contract.  Despite Doughty being 22 years old and Petry 24 years old, Doughty has 208 more NHL games under his belt.  Those numbers tell the average fan that Doughty is the far superior player, a perception almost anyone who pays attention to the game has.  That being said, numbers from this season don't paint such an obvious picture, at least from an advanced statistics point of view.  


Defensive Comparisons

We'll start on the defensive side of the game, considering that Petry and Doughty's responsibilities are primarily in their own end.  During the regular season, it was clear that Drew Doughty was not playing up to the level that he had showed in previous seasons.  Defensively the advanced stats are limited, however there are a few numbers that can be used.  Relative Corsi is a number calculated to measure puck possession and which team controls the flow of play when a particular player is on the ice.  There is an excellent definition of the term in this piece  Relative Corsi is measured by taking the Corsi number of a player and subtra...

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