Community discussion on WAR



Let’s try to have the substantive discussion here. I think this piece is a good starting point, but certainly not the entire debate. Here’s a few questions that we could discuss:

  • Simply, what is it, and how is WAR calculated in hockey?
  • WAR, what is it good for? What is it not good for?
  • Who should use it? Teams? Fans?
  • What methods work and don’t work?
  • What are some good resources on the methods?

Rules: tl;dr: No name calling, don’t be an asshole. If someone got something wrong, please correct it like you’d correct a student.


I guess I’ll be first here but it’s not the criticism that was the problem with this piece, but rather the fact they claimed to have a discussion about WAR yet didn’t invite anybody that was pro WAR.


I think a lot of the misunderstanding with WAR is that some people think it’s meant to act as the be-all, end-all, but I don’t think that this is how it’s best utilized. People look at baseball’s WAR and seem to think that this is more or less the same thing, just adapted for hockey, but baseball is a lot easier to quantity than hockey is. I don’t think you can blame them for that, after all, it is a single-number stat that’s supposed to cover every facet of the value added by a player, but in a sport as random as hockey, that’s very difficult, and is next to impossible with the data that we have available to us at this time. Some day, most likely when extensive tracking data is available, a true “catch all” stat might become more feasible for the NHL. I like to think of the current iteration(s) of WAR as “single number” statistics that sum everything up fairly nicely, but not as “catch all” stats, because they don’t tell the full story.

I’d put myself as cautiously pro-WAR at this time. I think it has value in player evaluation, especially for quick analysis, but to fully understand the value that a player is bringing to his team, you’ll need more than that.

They’re something that can add to the discussion, and definitely have value, but they don’t catch everything and shouldn’t be used as if they cover everything.