The NHL offseason always tends to bring hope to fan bases looking for their teams to improve for the coming season. And the activities of the 2012 offseason have been especially exciting for non-playoff teams. Minnesota opened its wallet wide to acquire Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Carolina acquired Jordan Staal from the Penguins, and the Stars' many moves included signing ageless superstars Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. Now that the dust has settled to some degree, we can provide an advanced glimpse of who this year's winners and losers will be.
Categorizing teams as winners and losers is a tricky business. As the saying goes, there are no trophies for winning the offseason. Indeed, the true winners won't be known until next spring, but with the help of a statistic known as Goals Versus Threshold (GVT), we can analyze which teams brought in the most talent, and which lost the most. It may not tell us who will hoist the Cup next June, but it will tell us which rosters improved after a summer of wheeling and dealing.
Just like last year we're using GVT to measure the impact of all the trades and signings. GVT is a player value stat that combines all contributions a player makes on the ice -- on offense, defense, in shootouts and in the crease. Measured in goals relative to replacement-level players, GVT provides an objective barometer to assess the production increases or decreases resulting from offseason moves. Keep in mind that these figures are looking backward rather than forward, so teams relying on rookies or young players with previously limited minutes may receive production totals higher than those you'll see below.
Using hockey's 3-1-1 rule, which states that every three goals scored or prevented get you one extra point in the standings and cost you $1 million, we can estimate the bottom line in the standings by dividing the change in GVT by three.
According to GVT, the biggest winner so far this summer has clearly been the Wild. With the limited available pool of elite players, it comes as quite a coup for the Wild to have landed two in Parise and Suter, and therefore no surprise to see them atop the leaderboard. But can they now crack the playoffs?