Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. Image by: Getty Images
We want to find out where public opinion stands on how each team operates. Take our survey to rate every team in six team-building categories.
With the off-season winding down and hockey news dwindling, it’s just about the right time for the second annual THN Front Office Confidence Rankings.
The first annual version went pretty well, but not without controversy. Anytime there’s a ranking involving every team there’s bound to be some fanbases more upset than others at the result – someone has to come last, after all. But there were legitimate concerns that we should address this time around.
The biggest concern was sample size. Last year we got over 200 responses, which is enough to establish a reasonably small confidence interval, but not big enough for some fans to be truly confident in what the survey says. This year we’re trying to get, at the very least, five times as many responses. That’s actually the purpose of this post: to make more fans aware of the survey instead of relying solely on the power Twitter.
The next biggest concern was that the survey was answered by people outside the fanbase. Can a person from Montreal really know how to accurately assess the front office skill of the St. Louis Blues? It’s a fair question, but it misrepresents the point of the survey. There’s many hockey fans out there that are very aware of what goes on around the league. “I can’t believe Team X traded this player to Team Y for that player.” It may not involve their team, but there’s still some sense at how each team operates. When answering the survey about other teams the question becomes “if this front office was in charge of your team instead, how confident would you be?” Immediately most fans would know who they definitely wish wasn’t in charge of their team, or which teams they may be jealous of.
That’s the goal here: to find out where public opinion stands on how each team operates.
Still, the initial concern has validity so we added a question to the survey that will filter results by team preference. This way, we can show two results: public opinion of a team’s front office and how much more (or less) confident that team’s fanbase is. There’ll be some sample size concerns within certain fanbases, but it’s better than ignoring the issue outright.
Completing the survey itself isn’t complicated. The link to it can be found right here, and embedded below, though there are some things to think about before completing it.
When answering these questions, try to think of how each team has done over the last few seasons, not just the last month. Recency bias will be a big factor here – and that’s okay as evaluating front offices is very much a “what have you done for me lately” thing – just try not to forget each team’s past body of work, too. And if you’re unaware of how to rate certain teams feel free to leave them blank. Try and rate all of them if you can, but we don’t expect every single person to have an opinion on all 31 teams.
There’s six different categories that need to be rated on a scale from one to five, with one being “not at all confident” (I assume this team will make mostly very bad decisions), five being “very confident” (I assume this team will make mostly very good decisions) and three being “somewhat confident” (I'm not really sure about this team because sometimes they do good things, but sometimes they do bad things).
The six categories are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ve put together some guideline questions to think about while rating each team. These are just guidelines, you may have your own criteria for judging each category and you are free to assess each team in that way. The categories are as follows:
Roster Building: Is this team putting together a roster that either is a contender or has a lot of potential to be a contender? Are they building using the right pieces? Do they surround their core with enough talent?
Cap Management: Does this team manage the salary cap well? How well do they maneuver any issues with the cap?
Drafting and Developing: Does this team usually make the right decisions at the draft? Do they develop homegrown talent well? How do they handle their prospects?
Trading: Does this team usually win or lose the trades they make? Do their trades make sense for the team’s plan?
Free Agency: Does this team get good value during free agency? Are they going for the right players? Do they make good or bad decisions during the free agency period?
Vision: Do you trust this team’s process? Does it seem like they have a strong and consistent plan? Is it the right plan? Does it seem like they have the right idea behind their decision-making process?
At the end of each section there’s one final question: how has your confidence in this team changed over the last year? We could compare it to results from last season, but we’re hoping for many more respondents this time around and their mileage may vary. This is a way of seeing which way each team’s front office is trending. Some teams might be bad, but getting better, while other teams may be the complete opposite.
Fan voices are important and this is a chance for a large group of them to have their’s heard. Let us know how you feel about each team’s front office here and look for the survey results sometime in the next week or so.