Plugging Holes: Fixing NHL teams

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


Improving the Pens' attack, the proper No. 1 pick for the Isles, a big trade for the Flyers -- we touch on it all in the Atlantic Division.

Southeast Division


Touching up the Tampa blue line, some forward thinking reform in the District and a surprise home for this year's top free agent -- you'll find it all in Insider's breakdown of the Southeast Division.

Northeast Division


The gaping rosters holes of the Habs, GM Burke's best course of action for the crease and the Sens priority beyond Dany Heatley -- it's all in Insider's breakdown.

Central Division


Insider examines the Wings' major weakness, a potential big trade for the Blues and more in the Central Division.

Northwest Division


Insider leads the offseason discussion as Calgary battles the Cap, the Wild begin their makeover and Edmonton could use some blue-collar help. And that's before we even get to the Sedin twins.

Pacific Division


Insider discusses the Stars' crease, a trade that could render the young Kings ready for primetime and a recurring theme for the Pacific teams -- a lack of offense.

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.