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Happy Sleek Day! Kariya and Selanne, Together vs. Apart

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Like I say every year, I'm a pretty lucky dude, and I credit too much of that to my lucky-sounding birthday.

What's Barstool Bob going to get me this year?

7/11/77 -- it rhymes, it multiplies, and numerically it's lucky as hell.  And sure, I'm getting old -- this will be the last year I can sign an NHL contract without invoking the "35+" clause.  I think I can pass an Edmonton Oilers physical, though -- act now, idiot GMs!  :)

Anyways, I do have some hockey content for this post -- BoC reader Hollander put this question in the comments of my Kariya retirement question fanshot:

What I’d like to see is a detailed (spreadsheet anyone?) analysis of PK’s points etc. with and without Teemu; should give a good idea of his contributions. Can’t think of a better person to do this than Earl himself… ;-)

After the jump, a bit of "on demand" analysis, plus some old fan art.

The table below includes the statistics for Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne in games played (regular season and playoffs) only in an Anaheim sweater -- any games played for other teams are ignored.  Thanks to the individual game logs at, I've been able to isolate the stats from games that Kariya and Selanne both appeared in and compared that to the games where only one of the two superstars was dressed.

First, the "together" portion: Between 1995-96 and 2000-01, Kariya and Selanne both appeared in 322 games for the Mighty Ducks, each ending with eerily similar points totals.  Both players scored 183 goals in those "together" games and were within a handful of assists of each other, too -- Teemu has the slight edge in points, while Paul has a slight edge in plus-minus.  Not much to choose from, though -- both were really impressive.

GP G - A - Pts +/- G/g - A/g - Pts/g
Kariya with Selanne 322 183 - 221 - 404 +79 0.57 - 0.69 - 1.26
PK without TS (overall) 319 131 - 163 - 294 -29 0.41 - 0.51 - 0.92
PK without TS (95-96 to 00-01) 87 50 - 55 - 105 +6 0.58 - 0.63 - 1.21
Selanne with Kariya 322 183 - 227 - 410 +74 0.57 - 0.70 - 1.27
TS without PK (overall) 529 259 - 262 - 521 +40 0.49 - 0.50 - 0.99
TS without PK (95-96 to 00-01) 87 51 - 35 - 86 -20 0.59 - 0.40 - 0.99

When looking at their performances apart, though, it can get a little bit tricky -- most of Selanne's games-played without Kariya happened after the lockout, of course, and it's natural to expect a scoring decline based on age.  Then again, Kariya had some tough seasons impacted by post-concussion effects -- it wasn't just Teemu's departure that hurt his numbers.  At any rate, the second row encapsulates what each player did in a Ducks sweater in games without the other -- both have a points-per-game average that's more than a quarter-point lower than the games they played together.  Kariya seems to be the more impacted player here, as his plus-minus went from a +79 in games with Teemu to a -29 in games without Teemu.  However, this comes from couple of particularly rotten seasons, including Kariya's first, while Selanne does get benefit from a few post-lockout years where Anaheim iced a really good team.

What becomes more interesting, perhaps, is limiting their "games apart" to the seasons covering Teemu's first stint on the Mighty Ducks, 1995-96 through 2000-01.  During these six seasons, each superstar played 322 games with the other and 87 games without the other.  Most of Paul's games without Teemu occurred before and after the Selanne trades, whereas Teemu's games occurred during Paul's injuries, but in either case, they were playing in similar situations.  What's interesting in this third row is that both players actually increased their goals-per-game in the absence of the other, but because of the missing passing option, their assists-per-game saw a decline.  In looking at this subset of games apart, Kariya comes out ahead; his scoring rates don't seem as impacted by Teemu's absence during this stretch.

I don't know that there are any hard conclusions to draw in terms of "which player needed the other more", though -- even with this data split out, there's still enough caveats that we'll probably never get a clean answer.  And I'm not really sure it's an important question to answer, either -- as players they both benefited from playing with each other, and as fans we benefited as well.

Thanks again, Paul and Teemu -- here's an old tribute from a one-year-older fan:

Drawn sometime around 1998-99; ballpoint pen on paper.

Go Ducks.