Penguins' Crosby outplaying Jagr through age 25
Sidney Crosby has achieved so much since a fortuitous bounce of a pingpong ball brought him to Pittsburgh as the first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft. He led the Penguins to a championship in 2009, won two Ted Lindsay Awards (the most outstanding player as voted on by the Players' Association) and took home a Hart Trophy (MVP) and Art Ross Trophy (scoring title).
Given that success, it's easy to forget Crosby celebrated just his 26th birthday in August.
While hockey's sabermetric revolution is still in its early stages compared to baseball, a new-age statistic sheds light on Crosby's all-around excellence. Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) compares a player's offensive, defensive and shootout value, expressed in goals, to that of a fringe NHL player.
Despite missing time during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season due to a broken jaw, Crosby paced the Penguins in GVT (nearly 16 goals above what a replacement-level player would have provided) and ranked in the top 10 among NHL players. Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang also were among the game's 30 most valuable players.
Conspicuously absent is Evgeni Malkin, who dropped from fourth in the league in GVT during the 2011-12 season to 100th last season.
Pens' GVT leaders last season
Player GP GVT NHL rank
Sidney Crosby 36 15.7 7
Chris Kunitz 48 14.5 12
Pascal Dupuis 48 11.7 25
Kris Letang 35 11.1 30
James Neal 40 9.9 38
Source: Hockey Prospectus
Through his first eight seasons, Crosby has been the Penguins' best all-around player on a per-game basis since Mario Lemieux. While he hasn't been on the ice as much as Jaromir Jagr due to injuries, Crosby is providing more value per game played.
Player Years GP GVT/G
Mario Lemieux 1984-92 517 .365
Sidney Crosby 2005-13 470 .306
Jaromir Jagr 1990-98 581 .294
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.