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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Updated: August 18, 10:51 AM ET
Summer Skate: Key players to watch

By Puck Prospectus & E.J. Hradek
ESPN Insider

The summer is getting hot … icy hot, that is. Using the newly debuted projection system of Puck Prospectus, VUKOTA, Insider takes the temperature of players on every NHL team. In addition to this hockey heat index, E.J. Hradek supplies a name hardcore fans need to know in anticipation of training camps.

Starting with the Atlantic Division, we'll add a new team every day. Check back often; we're just getting warmed up.

Atlantic Division

Southeast Division

Northeast Division

Central Division

Northwest Division

Pacific Division

Note: A mainstay of Puck Prospectus' 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 a 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 plus-4.5 and a total GVT of plus-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 plus-30.8 offensive GVT, a plus-15.1 defensive GVT and a minus-21.5 goaltending GVT for a plus-24.4 total GVT. Therefore, at even strength, Detroit was 24.4 goals better than the average team.

VUKOTA: Keeping readers one step ahead of the competition, Puck Prospectus has developed a tool called VUKOTA.

Following in the tradition of PECOTA and KUBIAK, VUKOTA is Puck Prospectus' player projection system. Using a combination of fundamental and advanced statistics, VUKOTA compares current NHL players to comparable players throughout history to best project their next season's performance in goals, assists and points as well as GVT.