Catch-all statistics

Does hockey have an equivalent to baseball’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR)? We get this question a lot. The answer is that hockey has a few catch-all statistics intended to estimate a player’s overall contributions in a single number.

The first is Goals Versus Threshold, or GVT, invented in 2003 by Tom Awad. It is available right here on Hockey Prospectus. Years later Tom also developed the short-lived shot-based metric called DeltaSOT.

It’s only real predecessor to GVT was Point Allocations, developed in 2002 by Iain Fyffe. It has since fallen into disuse.

Another one is Player Contributions, developed by Alan Ryder later in 2003. It is much more detailed than GVT, and available at Hockey Analytics.

Years later, in 2010, Justin Kubatko developed Point Shares, which is still available at Hockey Reference.

And most recently, a group led by Michael Schuckers developed THoR, a shot-based statistic not unlike Awad’s DeltaSOT.

Some people also use a player’s individual Relative Corsi as a catch-all statistic, though it was never intended that way by its developers Vic Ferrari and Gabriel Desjardins. That information can be found at Behind the Net and Extra Skater.

That’s about it.

While widely accepted in baseball, the usage of high-level estimates like these is a point of some controversy in the world of hockey analytics. This is most often due to their lack of precision, and the excessive faith some readers may place in them.

For more information about these analytics, including their history, their proper usage, their limitations, and recent leader boards, check out chapter 13 of Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract.

Rob Vollman is one of the founding authors of Hockey Prospectus, long-time contributor at ESPN Insider, author of Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract, an author of all four of our annuals, and the creator of all of the great charts you find in Hockey Prospectus 2013-14.


Follow Rob on Twitter at @robvollmanNHL.


4 thoughts on “Catch-all statistics

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  4. Thanks for this overview – I’ve tried to keep up with hockey analytics the last few years and figured at this point I really don’t have anything to contribute to the community with skills. However, I recently launched a project that uses the elo formula to assign a player rating based on user input. Ideally users will have access to advanced stats but can give those stats – crowd wisdom would hopefully create something comprehensive. Let me know where this fits into your thinking.

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