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September 16, 2011
Hockey Prospectus 2013-14
Overview

by Timo Seppa

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It's here!

Well, pretty much.

I'm dearly hoping that you'll have Hockey Prospectus 2011-12 (the .pdf version, that is) in front of you within about 24 hours. Some of that's out of my hands, but things are in the final stages of layout tweaks.

Our own authors have been marveling over the final draft version since last night…If that sounds like patting yourself on the back, that's not really the case. It's really because we've all been in our separate man-caves working hard on the project for months now—most of our authors are getting a look at each other's work for the first time. I guess the big picture of the project has been mostly between my ears for the past few months.

We've had a great crew working on the book:

The Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) ratings and VUKOTA projections, as you know, are from the mind and laptop of our resident stats guru Tom Awad. This time around, not only did Tom provide us the mental grounding of an introductory essay on GVT and VUKOTA, but he pitched in on the Los Angeles Kings chapter. And wait until you see who's ranked second (and last) among teams by VUKOTA! They will be topics of conversation, no doubt. Hints: High-spending Eastern Conference franchise in the offseason; and a sinking Western Conference team.

Another founding author of Hockey Prospectus, Rob Vollman, did a lot of the heavy lifting, as we say (Rob had the best relative Corsi of all of our writers, despite a poor zone start percentage and high quality of competition). Not only did Rob write all of the Central Division chapters, but he also took time out to bash last season's Anaheim Ducks and to give us his latest thoughts on "Goaltender Quality Starts". Rob's Snepsts projection system and league translations also complemented VUKOTA, as necessary, on the projections of players that didn't get an NHL minutes in 2010-11. Rob can't resist a good quip: "Marty Turco is looking for work-o!"

Newcomer Jonathan Willis, well known around the blogosphere, played the rover position, writing team essays from a variety of Divisions: Boston and Buffalo from the Northeast, Carolina and Florida from the Southeast, and Dallas from the Pacific. And maybe a bit on Los Angeles as well.

First-timer Kent Wilson also played top-pairing minutes (sniff, like Robyn Regehr), covering his beloved Calgary Flames and their rivals in the Northwest Division. You'll either chuckle or wince when reading about the last-place Edmonton Oilers ("There is something grotesque about being hired to fail spectacularly. That has more or less been GM Steve Tambellini's mandate since he was installed as the Oilers general manager a couple of years ago.")

Long-time Hockey Prospectus writer and Winnipeg radio personality Richard Pollock lets us know what it's like to have hockey back in the 'Peg and gives us the outlook for his hometown team, as well as the prospects of other…Southeast Division (sigh)…teams Washington and Tampa Bay. Can the Bolts take it a step further this year? VUKOTA's betting on a small step backwards actually.

Founding author and resident hockey historian Iain Fyffe not only gives us an update on the "Hostulence" of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Montreal Canadians, but gives us a historical perspective on the move of the Jets back to Winnipeg ("Coming Home: Winnipeg's Place In Hockey History").

Prospect maven Corey Pronman is back and better than ever, as they say, doubling his output to cover the Top 100 NHL Prospects, and tossing in the Top 5 NHL Goaltending Prospects for good measure—since we know you'd ask, anyway!

Philip Myrland gives us his take on the San Jose Sharks, and their prospects for a championship (chokers, again?) after their offseason deals with the Wild. Ryan Popilchak not only covers the Ottawa Senators, but collaborates with Kent on "Possession Is Nine-Tenths Of The Law: Corsi Revisited". And Matthew Coller…well, he got some playing time as well, filling in on some penalty killing, and dropping the gloves once or twice.

For my part, I covered the Atlantic Division again, and took a stab at a couple of essays this time around, discussing my advanced faceoff metric, UFO% ("No Advanced Faceoff Metric?"), and also looking at where NHL teams stand strategically by both Core Age and skater GVT ("Core Age and the Strategic Direction of NHL Teams"). Can the New York Islanders grow along the same path as the Los Angeles Kings of the past few seasons? Find out!

We've also got some enhancements and surprise guests to let you know about:

TSN's stat guru Scott Cullen was kind enough to write our Foreword, giving us some context of where advanced stats stand in hockey on the eve of the 2011-12 season.

Our old friend Gabriel Desjardins—the secret's out now—returned to pen the essay "The Statistical Revolution", giving us a peek into the next generation of possession stats.

For the player profiles, we've added a couple of columns that will add some context to your viewing and analysis of them: power play and short-handed time on ice for skaters (PPTOI, SHTOI) and even strength save percentage (ESSV%) and Qualty Start percentage (QS%) for goaltenders. The TOI stats for the skaters gives you, the reader, a better idea of how each player is utilized on special teams, at even strength, and overall. Even strength save percentage, coupled with overall save percentage, provide a much better idea of whether a netminder happened to have a fortunate season on special teams. QS% lets you know about a goalie's consistency—how often did he give his team a chance to win?

We also take the bold step of…labeling defensemen as either Left Defensemen (LD) or Right Defenseman (RD), something I've always hoped for a publication to do. That's how they give league stats in Europe, you know. We also try our best to label players by actual usage. Every other forward can't be a center—it just doesn't work out that way.

Overall, we've given you a ton more content as well. You'll be enjoying about 480 pages of Hockey Prospectus 2011-12, over a hundred pages more than last year, and we cover over 1,000 players overall, between the team chapters and the prospects.

It's almost here. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

Timo Seppa is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Timo by clicking here or click here to see Timo's other articles.

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