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Tracking the toughest players in the NHL: The Black and Blue Trophy

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Long-time readers might remember a metric we took a look at last season, the Black and Blue Trophy.  It is a simple measure of which players are blocking shots and the opposition.  It's tough, yeoman's work.  Often times those throwing their body in front of rubber and into others end up on the shelf, an unfortunate reminder that shows the Black and Blue guys have to be durable to make it on this list.

This year's official Black and Blue trophy has a new twist: defensemen are now the only players eligible.  In years past we've included forwards, but they don't block enough shots to be considered in the true spirit of what the award is trying to encompass.  This isn't about the guys who forecheck hard (like Cal Clutterbuck and Dustin Brown) but someone that embodies the sacrifice of a black and blue player.

In this day and age there are a lot of great stats out there, like Behind the Net which does awesome work and has a vast database of in depth statistics.  Here's a great resource that James Mirtle recently wrote to overview these new-age stats and metrics that are popping up more and more to judge how good players are beyond just goals and assists. 

Behind the jump, your tough-nosed leaderboard.

 Black_and_blue_dec09_medium

A little more sophisticated look at defensive defensemen is Mirtle's list, which uses a secretive formula to rank players based off the quality of competition they play and the goals allowed by their team while they're on the ice.  Brent Seabrook, Andy Sutton and Greg Zanon make both Mirtle's "best defensive defensemen" and the black and blue.

From last February's BnB list: Orpik, Greene, Robidas and Seabrook are on there, showing great durability.  Most of those guys are towards the top of the lists and both years.

As always, this isn't a list without it's limitations (hits subjective from town to town, etc, etc) but it serves a purpose to recognize guys who may not be putting up goals/assists but are still specialized defenders.

Here's the rest of the list for the Penguins:

Pens_bnb_medium 

Among BnB/games played, Orpik is still the king (other than Guenin's very short sample size).  What jumps out to me is Engelland, who did well to ring up a lot of hits in his brief time in the NHL.