Commentary

Plugging Holes: Fixing NHL teams

Analyzing NHL rosters with new-school stats and old-school savvy

Originally Published: June 16, 2009
By Puck Prospectus & E.J. Hradek | ESPN Insider

As the NHL offseason officially gets underway, Insider is offering a look into the future by marrying new-school stats with old-school savvy.

The writers of Puck Prospectus have crunched their advanced metrics to identify each team's biggest statistical shortcoming and offer a potential solution. ESPN the Magazine Senior Writer E.J. Hradek then provides his perspective, relying on his 20 years covering the NHL to assess potential impact and likelihood.

Every weekday, we'll add a new division, starting with the Atlantic Division.

Atlantic Division

Southeast Division

Northeast Division

Central Division

Northwest Division

Pacific Division

Note: A mainstay of Puck Prospectus's metrics is "Goals Versus Threshold" (GVT). The stat blends an array of offensive and defensive figures to measure the value, in terms of goals, a player contributes above what the marginal player would over the course of the season. A marginal player is one that could be replaced with a player of equivalent skill, e.g. from the minors. For instance, Evgeni Malkin had an offensive GVT of +18.9, a defensive GVT of +4.5 and a total GVT of +23.4 for the 2008-9 regular season, meaning that Malkin was worth 23.4 goals more than a marginal player over the course of the season, or worth about 0.3 additional goals per game. In the team context, GVT refers to performance above an NHL average team. For the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings had a +30.8 offensive GVT, a +15.1 defensive GVT, a -21.5 goaltending GVT, for a +24.4 total GVT. Therefore, at even strength, Detroit was 24.4 goals better than the average team.