In case you haven't noticed, there's been something of a battle brewing among many of those who write about hockey (and the folks who read them) regarding the use of advanced statistics in analyzing the game.
Self-proclaimed "traditionalists" would have you believe that the use of metrics that go beyond those that you'd find on the back of a trading card from 1975 are a feeble attempt by hockey's nerdocracy to quantify the unquantifiable, while statheads look up from their computer screens and down their noses at the dinosaurs who are merrily chatting up "heart" and "clutch play" while the numerical asteroid that will render them extinct hurtles ever closer.
Luckily for the rest of us (and to be sure, a great number of fine journalists who populate the in-betweens in this debate), there is a middle ground. And while it may seem odd to find a book deeply rooted in sabermetrics, Moneyball and the like there, that's exactly where you'll find Hockey Prospectus, an in-depth look at what happened in the NHL last season and what to expect in the campaign ahead.
To be sure, Hockey Prospectus has plenty in the way of advanced metrics. But it's also incredibly accessible for even the most mathematically-challenged fan. For example, here's their projection for Alex Ovechkin's 2011-12 season:
And here's what they've got for Alexander Semin:
You get the point (though it's much more than just projections - check out Neil Greenberg's review of the annual). Want more? Of course you do. So buy it (only $9.90 for a digital copy, $19.95 for one you can take into the executive reading room) - you won't be disappointed.
Note: Hockey Prospectus did provide a complimentary copy of the book for our review, but we wouldn't have run the above if we didn't believe every word of it.