Photo by Arnold C, via Wikimedia Commons
I think it’s fair to say that people familiar with hockey scouting and stats analysis know that there is a bit of a rift between the two (not unlike what exists in baseball). The former, as in baseball, has a long history as the standard in hockey analysis, being at-or-near the forefront of drafting, trading, and free agency decisions for teams. The latter is expanding its reach exponentially into league offices, and has many a pro-stats person questioning the abilities of scouts to analyze players (and vice versa). There are at least preliminary attempts to reach out, on the part of Corey Pronman at Hockey Prospectus (and ESPN), but scouting and stats analysis both have a lexicon, methods, and best practices, and devotees of one probably don’t have much time to develop proficiency in the other.
Yet, therein lies a problem and a solution. There is a common thread between these two groups, the desire to usefully analyze hockey players. They each have their own approach, but neither necessarily contain such complicated concepts that they cannot be read by a conscientious analyst. But most importantly, they have something to offer one another that could improve both areas of analysis.