Here's some interesting data from last year.
The top 90 forwards produced at 0.66 points per game or at around 54 points (or greater) over 82 games.
Forwards ranked 91-180 produced at 0.47 points per game or at around 38 points (or greater) over 82 games.
Forwards ranked 181-270 produced at 0.31 points per game or at around 25 points (or greater) over 82 games.
From that data......
A 1st line forward is about 50 points or better
A 2nd line forward is about 40 - 49 points.
A 3rd line forward is about 25 - 30 points.
A 4th line forward is about 24 points or fewer.
These are all just rough estimates of course.
No offense, but this is exceptionally rosy thinking. Averaging all data from all forwards across all ice times and then to count them up as they are here and drawing arbitrary dividing lines... seems to really skew the data. For one, because this doesn't take into account playoff teams vs non playoff teams. Who cares what "a 1st line forward" means if the definition of 1st liner includes "anything from a Penguin top line to a Sabre top line"? And this also doesn't account for the fact that the top 30 forwards in your data (of the top 90) will have a huge deviation from the bottom 30 (of the top 90).
More meaningful is to look at our own division - and the teams that are playoff teams - and to compare them against our players...
Right now, here's what that looks like:
- Islanders: 2 players averaging nearly a point per game (or 82 over 82) [Tavares/Okposo]
- Ragss: 1 player who will finish 70+ [Nash] and who will finish 60+ [Brassard]
- Pens: 2 players averaging over a point per game [Crosby/Malkin], and 2 in the 0.8 ppg (or 65+ pts) [Hornqvist/Letang]
- Caps: 2 players at a point per game [Ovechkin/Backstrom]
So by my estimation, if you want to make the playoffs in our division, it'd be wise to have at least two players averaging 0.8 ppg, and there's a huge difference between the definition of "50 or better" and "0.8 ppg [65pts] or better".
Adam Henrique and Mike Cammer are clipping at 0.62 points per game (well below 0.8) and are the only NJ players anywhere near the above range of 0.8. Point and case, NJ has two forwards that project out to 51 points, and every other "good" team in our division has at least has two guys that are in the 65 to 85 point range. Within our division, Henrique and Cammalleri are only "first line forwards" based on production averages in the sense that sure, they could play first line minutes on other bad teams too and produce at their current clip. If however NJ wants to make the playoffs, they need their "1st line forwards" to be better. We don't need a Tavares or a 90 point player, but we absofruitly need guys who can put up 65 points that are chewing up the big top line minutes. It's not okay to have 50 pointers and nothing better, and it's arbitrary as all heckfire to say "we're good... when compared against this large set of meaningless league data."
Oh and for the record, even the non-playoff teams in our division have much better forwards. Phili has 2 at nearly ppg. Columbus has about 3 around or above the 0.8 ppg. Only Carolina is as piss-pathetic as NJ, except for them their Henrique is Eric Staal (around 0.65 ppg). Henrique and Cammalleri are 2nd liners based on divisional scoring. NJ lacks 3 "1st line" players.
And hopefully *that* puts things in perspective, because those other #s are really nonsense IMO. Not trying to be doom-and-gloom, because I think guys like Henrique and Cam *could* put up 65 points if things were going well for NJ, but this team is far from ok, and league numbers broken up in chunks of 90 don't paint our picture at all.