Fan Scouting Report

Welcome to the first (hopefully annual) NHL Fan Scouting Report! This is a project based on Tangotiger’s efforts to tap into fans’ views on defensive skill in baseball, but with an (obvious) focus on the NHL. The basic idea is to gather the wisdom of all the brilliant hockey minds on the internet and build a dataset of player ratings that anyone can access. Anyone who wants to submit a response can (although I’d ask that you limit your ratings to players you saw play at least 5 times), and every response will be available to anyone who wants to view them. This is a dataset by the hockey community and for the hockey community.

If you’d like to participate, the first thing you need to do is complete the sign-up form here. If you don’t fill out the sign-up form your responses won’t be included in the final dataset. After that, you can rate any player you like using the links below. Every skater who played a minimum of 5 games last year is available to be rated, with players organized under the team they finished the season on. You can only submit 1 response per team, but your response can be edited as many times as you’d like if you want to send in an initial submission and finish the rest later. The deadline for submitting responses is the end of the playoffs. There’s a brief FAQ below, but if you have any questions that aren’t answered or if you have problems with the form, please don’t hesitate to contact me at puckplusplus AT gmail DOT com.

Team Rating Forms

UPDATE (4/28/2016 7:20PM): All the forms should be good to go now. If you’ve previously submitted a report, it would be great if you could go in and check if there are any ratings missing. Apologies for the hassle and once again I appreciate all the efforts everyone has made.

Anaheim Ducks
Arizona Coyotes
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
Calgary Flames
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Edmonton Oilers
Florida Panthers
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils
Nashville Predators
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg Jets
Washington Capitals

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to sign-up?

Sign-up is required for two reasons:

  1. Since we’re using Google Forms and each team has their own form, there needs to be a way to link the rankings across teams.
  2. To help prevent trolls/jerks/Drew Doughty fans (kidding!) from skewing the results.

To sign-up all you have to provide is a name and e-mail address, although there are a series of optional questions that will (hopefully) help find some interesting trends (like whether there’s actually a difference between how analytics people and non-analytics people view players).

Will my personal information be shared?

No! Neither your name, nor your e-mail will be shared with anyone other than myself, however any answers to the optional questions will be provided alongside any ratings you submit.

Who should I rate? 

You should rate any player that: 1) you feel comfortable rating; and 2) you’ve seen play at least 5 games in the past year. If your only exposure to Shane Prince is seeing him score 2 goals last night and you think he’s the next Gretzky, please don’t submit a response!

What should I base my ratings on?

Your ratings should be based on your current view of a player’s skill relative to the NHL average in each category. There are 3 key points here:

  1. It should be based on their current skill, not how good they were, nor how good you think they will be.
  2. It should be relative to the league average, and with a respect for the overall talent levels of the league. Don’t give a player the top rating just because he’s best on the team, the top rating should only be for player’s who are generational talents (Orr, Gretzky, Crosby, etc.)
  3. Don’t base your ratings on a player’s statistics. Don’t look up a player’s statistics. If you’ve managed to memorize a player’s statistics, forget them. This is a pure eye-test activity, I want to know how you think a player performed regardless of their results.

Should I consider performance in the playoffs?

Yes and no. If the only time you’ve seen a player is in the playoffs, don’t rate that player. But if your observations of a player includes both regular season and playoff play feel free to rate the player, as long as you weight the regular season and playoffs the same. Do not rate a player badly because they “choked”. Do not rate a player well because they “came through in the clutch”. I’m happy to debate whether “clutch” play is real or not, but I’d ask that you don’t take that into consideration when you rate a player. Use their whole body of work over the season, not just one game where they looked good/bad.

What categories do I rate players on?

The categories are a slightly modified version of the always excellent Corey Pronman‘s scouting categories. They are:

  • Skating (Acceleration, stride, top speed, turning/edge control)
  • Puck Skills (Passing, stick-handling etc.)
  • Shot (Accuracy, velocity, release)
  • Physical Game(Size, strength, able to handle physicality)
  • Offensive Instincts (Decision-making, awareness, positioning, smarts)
  • Defensive Instincts (Decision-making, awareness, positioning, smarts)

What is the 20-80 rating scale? How do I know how I should rate a player?

The 20-80 scale is a baseball invention, although Corey Pronman has also advocated for it’s use in hockey. The scale is centered around 50 (being league average) with the very top and bottom of the scale being reserved for generationally good or bad players. You should very, very rarely rate something a 20 or 80. I repeat, you should very, very rarely rate something a 20 or 80. A simple breakdown (borrowed again from Corey’s original article) is:

  • 20: Can barely perform this skill, there are 13 and 14 year old amateur players who can do this skill better. Think Derek Boogaard’s hockey sense for example.
  • 30: Significantly below average (minus minus), isn’t beer league quality but it’s nowhere near the NHL level. Think Georges Laraque’s puck skills or Hal Gill’s skating.
  • 40: Below NHL average (minus), this skill isn’t completely out of the league but it’s still a good notch below. Examples are Marc Andre Fleury’s rebound control or Jack Johnson’s hockey sense.
  • 50: NHL average, think Justin William’s shot.
  • 60: Above NHL average (plus), this is an all-star level skill, e.g.  Jonathan Toews’ skating.
  • 70: Significantly above average (plus plus), this skill is one of the best in the game and is in an elite class. This is a grade rarely given out. Steve Stamkos’ shot, Chris Prongers’ physical game and Alex Ovechkin’s skating are examples.
  • 80: Generational talent, an extremely rare grade to be given out for any skill. Examples of what an 80 grade is include Bobby Orr’s skating, Al MacInnis’ shot, Wayne Gretzky’s hockey sense.

What if I don’t know how to rate a player?

Don’t! If you don’t know a player well enough to rate them on one or all categories, you don’t have to, you can just leave the response blank. You don’t have to select “N/A” unless you accidentally click a response and really don’t want to include it.

Who will have access to the data?

Everyone! That’s the great part of this – after the window closes (and I have time to weed out any of the “bad” data) the whole database will be open to anyone to do whatever they want. Looking to decide who should win the Norris – use this data. Want to evaluate your team’s newest free agent signing – use this data. Want to prove that people who own half season ticket packages to the Canucks and watch the rest of the games using NHL.TV all agree that Luca Sbisa is overrated – use this data.

Where is player XX? 

First off, no goalies – goalies are voodoo. Second, only skaters who played at least 5 games are included in the list. If you think a player should be listed, please e-mail puckplusplus AT gmail DOT com.

I have another question that isn’t answered here.

First off, that’s a statement, not a question, and so it doesn’t technically belong in the “Frequently Asked Questions”. But if you do want to know more, please e-mail puckplusplus AT gmail DOT com, where I promise I’ll be much less sarcastic.

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