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Hockey Prospectus 2010-11 Paperback – September 15, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453817840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453817841
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,766,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Full disclosure: I am a member of Hockey Prospectus and one of the co-authors of this book. The Hockey Prospectus 2010-11 gives an objective look at the upcoming NHL season, using both standard hockey statistics and some, including GVT, developed by our team. The book contains reports on all 30 teams, expected rankings for each one in the upcoming season, and 2010-11 projections for every player in the NHL, as well as commentary from our team of experts. While the book is more analytical than most hockey annuals, the light tone should make it an enjoyable read for any hockey fan. As a bonus, there are also essays covering a broad range of subjects in hockey such as shot quality, Corsi numbers, how injuries are reported and the history of hockey statistics. If you enjoy hockey or are a fan of sabermetrics and want to learn the state of analysis in other sports, this is the book for you.
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I've been following the Puck Prospectus website since it went up, so how could I resist the book? I'm glad I didn't. Like most annuals, each team has its own write-up, with individual players getting blurbs ranging from a couple lines to nine or ten, as well as prior seasons' stats and the editors projections for the coming season. Goals, assists, +/-, average time on ice are standard, but they also throw in a new statistical metric, VUKOTA, which is used on their site, but now gets its own 4-page explanation. Stats like the VUKOTA GVT CORSI etc are new, for sure, but they add intangibles into the mix that definitely make me think about players in ways I hadn't before.

Excellent multi-page articles on topics such as Shot Quality, League Equivalencies, and my favorite "An Argument For A Balanced Schedule" are more than mere filler; they're thought-provoking pieces that flesh out an already info-dense book.

I didn't get the standard preview feeling out of this book that I normally get when I get other annuals. Whether comparing Jonathan Cheechoo to past 50 goal scorers like Bobby Carpenter and Gary Leeman, or the now-famously-controversial listing of Kiril Kabanov as the 8th most promising prospect, what other hockey guide is going to let me know opponents scored on only 4.7% of shots when Tanner Glass was on the ice, or who was 15th in the league in hitting the post (Mitch Raymond) and that Mike Green led all defensemen in even strength points per 60 minutes?

And there's bits of odd humor scattered throughout. For example, why would the info on David Clarkson have multiple references to Rush? I have no idea, but it was so out of left field I couldn't help but laugh. Or even the "!" whenever Darroll Powe!
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Sometimes a book carries a very unexpected treat in it. Like this one, for me.

It's the first book I've ever bought as a computer file. I wasn't sure how big or good it would be, and a $10 savings is always welcome. When I downloaded it and locked through it, and I noticed a chapter called "A Brief History of Statistical Analysis in Hockey." I turned to it quickly.

There, I was rather surprised to see my own name mentioned. I had worked with an editor of Baseball Prospectus about 11 years ago about the possibility of coming out with a hockey book along those lines. I struck out, in part because I couldn't find a team of writers to help.

It's nice to be remembered. And it's nice to see they kept at it, until a book was created. "Hockey Prospectus 2010-11" is that book. I'm much less of a hockey follower than I was back then, so it's a little more difficult to judge its merits. But, the people in this book are on the right track. There's more data available now than there was 11 years ago (ice time, hits, etc.), and it helps. Each player in the league, then, receives a paragraph, and each team receives a few pages.

Like the Baseball Prospectus, there are plenty of numbers. Some are easily followed, some will need some more time to digest. But most of the fantasy projections seem more or less on target. I used to do that sort of thing, and the predictions fit into what I found to be a rational range -- which is all you can expect.

The team comments are less satisfying. Many of the teams simply get a review of last season. How did the offense do? Defense? Goaltending? Special teams? And what's the outlook. The comments often mirror what is in the player comments' section. There are exceptions.
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This book is definitely a very in depth statistical view of the NHL. No doubt about that. However, as with any statistical analysis, there needs to be a human element, and this book lacks that. A player that really stood out as being purely a result of statistical numbers crunching was Brayden Schenn. This book prorates him as playing 23 or so fames in the upcoming season. This is obviously the result of just a numbers dump with no real world rules and regulations taken into account. Unless he suffers a huge injusry, there is no way Schenn plays that number of games. As he is ineligible to play in the AHL, he will either play 9 games and be sent back to his junior club, or play the whole season with the Kings. Brayden Schenn is a perfect example of what this book is lacking. There is no double check to make sure the numbers dump makes sense, and therefore the book is nothing more than that, a numbers dump.
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