I don't know anything about this but how would it balance out over time? the top pair will always play against the top line of the other team, or as much as possible anyway. It's not like both teams just roll all 4lines equally which would have to be the case for it to even out.
A first dpair will always have a tougher matchup than a third pair will.
It balances because over time, there will be shifts where the opposing team gets their top players out against your bottom players, or vice-versa. Injuries/line-juggling move a player up/down in the lineup.
And it's not like teams have only one good player or line. A top player may have a lot more time against a specific player (like Dekeyser may play more minutes against Crosby), but if you look more of an overall picture (like Dekeyser against "good offensive players") it will be more even.
Yes, if you compare a player with a coach making a concerted effort to shelter him to a player with a coach giving them all the toughest assignments, there will be a difference (though I'd bet less than you'd think). But that's the absolute extreme.
http://war-on-ice.com/series.html will show head-to-head matchups for all games between two teams in a given season. You can use that to look at who a player played with and against to get an idea. For example:
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On the actual site, you can mouse-over the squares to see actual minutes.
For the Wings, Kronwall, Ericsson, Dekeyser, and Quincey are all used about the same. Smith, Green, and Marchenko tend to be more sheltered. I'm not going to go through every bit of data for all the hundreds of players in the league, but I have to believe that if there was a big difference, it would show up in the stats.
I suspect that no matter what, people who don't like what the data says are going to dismiss it anyway.
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