While it may seem like a daunting task to review the season of just one team while considering all the factors of success or failure, Hockey Prospectus 2011 takes on all 30 teams and 1000 players for a complete scope of the 2010-11 season. With concise writing and to-the-point reflections on last season's performance, a talented team of writers summarizes the position and challenges of each team while establishing an outlook on the season ahead. While the publication relies on advanced statistics for much of this analysis, one doesn't necessarily need a Ph.D in hockey metrics to find the insight valuable. If you follow multiple teams each year but don't have the energy or time to watch the games and read the reports, Hockey Prospectus 2011 condenses everything you need to know about your team into one quick read.
I myself am not deeply rooted in advanced stats, but that doesn't stop me from recommending this publication. The season rewinds and outlooks are both well written and objective, these aren't the same recycled overviews and playoff predictions we've grown accustomed to over the course of the summer. While each entry hits upon the bullet points entering the season, they also provide insight on the finer points that the die-hard followers of each team may only be interested in. Detail certainly wasn't overlooked. To be perfectly clear, the Panthers preview was the best I've seen thus far, I couldn't have written a better one myself.
Accompanying the team previews are the reviews of each players performance on the 10-11 team. Not only are you given a look into the season of the notable roster players of each team, you will also find season descriptions of the lesser known players that don't attract much media attention. For each Stephen Weiss or David Booth recap there is a Steve Reinprecht or Scott Timmins recap, even Hugh Jessiman has an entry.
Towards the end of the publication are several essays covering various topics from the quality starts for goaltenders to early history of hockey in Winnipeg. Add to that the top 100 prospects, best players per year in different categories and VUKOTA predictions and you have yourself the best hockey resource out there.
I try to keep up with all 30 teams however possible, but watching the highlight reels and standings just doesn't give you the full story. Hockey Prospectus 2011 gives you the full story plus the appendices. If advanced stats interest you or you're just trying to follow your favorite teams, give this book serious consideration.
Hockey Prospectus 2011 is available in PDF format for $10 or in paperback ($20) for cozy fireside reading.