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Pacific Division Previews

Over the last month, I wrote previews for the Pacific Division over at Puck Prospectus.  The order of finish comes from Tom Awad's VUKOTA projection system, which is further based on Tom's GVT statistic.  GVT combines all of a player's contributions - goals, penalties, face-offs, PP and PK, among other things - into a single number which can be used to evaluate his performance.  Links to the previews are below the jump...

VUKOTA pegs the projected order of finish as:

1. Anaheim Ducks

2. San Jose Sharks [very close behind]

3. Dallas Stars

4. Los Angeles Kings

5. Phoenix Coyotes

Anaheim and San Jose are essentially tied in the VUKOTA rankings, with Dallas on the bubble for the last playoff spot.  I don't agree - I think San Jose is a better team than Anaheim, particularly in light of the Ducks gutting their defense.  And I think the gap between the Kings and Dallas is quite small - LA was extremely shot unlucky last year, while Dallas is content to ride a below-average Marty Turco into the sunset.  At any rate, please give these a read and try to focus on my witty commentary. 

VUKOTA and GVT are not without their detractors, but keep in mind that hockey analysis is about 15 years behind baseball in terms of figuring things out - and in 1994, baseball analysis focused entirely on hitting with many people convinced, quite rightly, that you couldn't evaluate pitching and defense using traditional statistics.  Figuring out exactly how good every player is is a herculean undertaking - Roland Beech offers some insights on basketball that are applicable to hockey as well.