NHL Player Cards 2.0: How to read our quick and digestible data on players from all teams

Last season, one of the most popular features on the site was the all-new Player Cards, a one-stop-shop for that year’s (and previous years’) player scores and expected production going forward. All in a beautiful package designed like a hockey card.

The season is two months old now and every day for the past few weeks has been the same question: “When do player cards come back?”

Today is the day with a completely new design.

We had a few goals in mind for Player Cards 2.0, but the main one was to simplify things while keeping the original “digital hockey card” philosophy intact. While we were very proud of how the first iteration turned out, there was always room for improvement and ease of use was high on the list. “Why is one bar larger than the other if the number is smaller?” It was a very frequently asked question. “Which is the speed and which is the expected?” was another. No thank you.

Another goal was to create a consistent design language, something we had in mind going back to the depth chart visualizations from the season previews. The idea was for these two iconic visuals – one for players and one for teams – to have a similar, familiar feel. Depth chart ratios mean more room to play when it comes to actually visualizing the data which has helped increase ease of use initiative with better readability across the board.

The end result doesn’t have quite the same proportions as a hockey card, but still captures its essence. For those who haven’t seen the preview on the latest version of 16 Stats, this is what it looks like.

Here’s how to split the card. There’s the player’s photo (shout out to iOS 16 for making it easier to clip items on top), stats, and a bar graph with the player’s current percentage rank—this time with the actual percentage on the bar itself as many have asked. This isn’t a call to suggest one player is better than the other because 92 is greater than 91 – every stat comes with some level of error – but it’s helpful to know exactly where a player stands rather than looking to a legend.

Another difference from last season is that percentages are based on player totals rather than minute rate. How a coach uses a player is important information, and proficiency in a lower role does not necessarily mean it will translate into a larger role. We wanted to reverse that, which should help with some third pair defenders who previously looked a lot better than they probably are.

One of the biggest changes to the cards is in the middle, the stats section. The goal here was to make it easier to compare previous seasons to current seasons, something the left-to-right direction does well. Here, it’s easy to see how McDavid’s production compares across the seasons, as well as the evolution of his defensive game. Putting everything in context is crucial here as well, which is why we made the decision to use an 82-game-per-season pace. It makes head-to-head comparisons much easier as it can be hard to spot the difference when games are missed. This is especially true during the two pandemic-shortened seasons.

The big question was how to handle the season currently in progress, especially with cards being updated daily. Using cadence can be a bit foolish when the sample size is small, and using projected values ​​doesn’t make sense as the sample grows. It is important to know and use both while weighing them accordingly. That was the goal last season, but it was not achieved as hoped. People didn’t know what to look at – or sometimes at whom they were looking at. Keep it simple.

The solution? Do the same thing we do with team expectations and incorporate both: what the team or player has done so far along with a projection of what they are expected to do in the future. It’s a more realistic bottom line forecast that takes into account how a team or player has already played, taking into account possible regression in the future.

For a team that few expected to do much, a hot start means a greater likelihood of making the playoffs, but still a chance to get back on the ground. The same goes for players, and the new player cards do a better job of making this clear by showing a player’s numbers now along with where they’re expected to land over the course of an entire season.

Take Auston Matthews and Logan Couture as an example. Two-time Rocket Richard Award winner has 14 goals in the season (as of December 8), the same amount as Couture who has scored 25 over the past two seasons. They’re just as going, but everything we know about these two indicates that they very likely didn’t end up on the same ballpark. A slow start for Matthews means his expected goal-scoring output is lower than at the start of the season and vice versa for Couture – but not close enough to finish with the same amount of goals. .

Matthews is expected to increase his score and still score 50. Haute Couture is expected to slow down and land at 32. Logically, that should make sense based on what we know about both.

The beauty of this system is that it balances what should set precedent over the course of a season. Early in the season, projected totals should still rule. After the middle of the season, that flop begins. At the beginning of the season we have a player card that depends entirely on what they can do (and this system means that player cards will be out early very early next season). By the end of the season, this is exactly what the player did.

For those who just want to see the expected value of a player, this is available on the Team Depth Charts. For those who want to focus on player performance, the GSVA Leaderboards are here for you. This fills the middle ground. It is also useful when it comes to prize races as it will help show which players are expected to keep their pace and which are expected to slow down.

With player cards updated weekly and a heavy focus on where a player is expected to end up at the end of the season, how the values ​​on the cards change becomes vital information. It was an idea that was brought up early in the year by Sean Gentille when he lamented that there was no easy way to see a player’s progress throughout the season in the first edition of player cards. Adding that to 2.0 was crucial to seeing, making it very easy to see how a player is trending over the past month and how their projected production has grown as a result of their play.

We’re excited for everyone to get their hands on them. Here’s a visual guide on how to read it (and we’ll be in the comments for anyone with more questions).

Like last year, there is a landing page for each team’s cards that you can find below. Cards will be updated every Monday.


Team player card pages

Atlantic: BOS, BUF, DET, FLA, MTL, OTT, TBL, TOR

Governorate: CAR, CBJ, NJD, NYI, NYR, PHI, PIT, WSH

Center: Yes, CHI, COL, DAL, MIN, NSH, STL, WPG

Pacific: ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, SEA, VAN, VGK


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