The Hockey Prospectus 2015-16 yearbook is from the writers at hockeyprospectus.com and delivers on the promise of its cover with “analytical insights” into the upcoming season with over 1000 write-ups on every player, prospect and team in the NHL.
But the Hockey Prospectus is so much more than that. It is a 558 page Hockey Bible. As a reviewer I know I am supposed to weigh the pros and cons of this book, but there just aren’t any cons.
There is nothing negative to say about this book. It is so detailed and in depth that it renders all other books of its type useless. If you’re a casual NHL fan who only watches a few games per year, then you don’t need this book. But for anyone else, it’s a must-buy.
If you work in the NHL, write about the NHL, spend any time arguing, gambling on, thinking about or watching the NHL on more than a casual basis, you should have a copy of the Hockey Prospectus on hand at all times. As mentioned, there are detailed write-ups on all players, even obscure ones, which include a player’s scouting report and recent stats (including advanced stats).
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But the book is so much more than just a reference book – it’s also hours of interesting reading entertainment and it’s a learning tool. Before getting into the scouting reports, team reports and player tables (themselves probably worth the cost of the book alone) the Hockey Prospectus perfectly lays out it’s mission statement, the reason it exists, and the reason you should care about statistics in hockey in one of the best essays on the topic I have read, in the book’s forward by ESPN’s Corey Pronman.
The Prospectus really does a good job of convincing the reader why they should be interested in stats-based analysis and then follows it up with easy to understand explanations on what stats they favour and why. The book also includes a glossary of all terms for the uninitiated.
Look: there doesn’t exist a more detailed book on the upcoming NHL season. Hockey Prospectus is informative, interesting and, to be honest, the level of analysis found here far out-shines what you get from not just any book you can buy on the magazine rack (i.e it’s competitors) but also from actual hockey broadcasts.
If intermission broadcasts on nationally televised games were done by the writers of the Hockey Prospectus instead of ex-NHL players and people who went to journalism school, the level of discourse surrounding hockey would leap forward in a way that could only be measured in light years. That’s how good this book is.
It’s the Pet Sounds of annual hockey literature and if you care about the NHL enough to have read this article to its conclusion, you should buy this book. The only criticism I can make is that they sent my review copy as a PDF file! Doesn’t matter though, I’m going to be ordering a hard copy and I have no problem recommending that you do to – it’s worth every penny.