Statistical analysis of the NHL - the players individually, the teams - is part of the game. It might just be the simple / basic stuff like goals, points, plus/minus, then you can toss in advanced stats like Corsi and Fenwick and other data that goes with the effort put forth
There's a piece of data out there that's for a different kind of analysis, and while I wouldn't suggest it's an overall gauge of an entity, it's a facet that's toiled over with all 30 NHL clubs. It's something we, the fans, don't dwell on and arguably take for granted each and every day. Fans might also react to the positives and negatives produced by this aspect on a day-to-day basis or treat it as what it is: a way every club extends itself to the public.
It's social media.
Don't try to gauge clubs or markets by follower count on Twitter or "likes" on Facebook; Twitter can be seen as a news entity (in 140 characters or less) while Facebook "liked" pages can be obstructed by Facebook's news feed algorithm or by a users simple choice to "hide" content from their news stream. It's not an exact science as well as a very highly complex market gauge. That being said, on March 8 / 9 2016 this table was compiled for all 30 NHL clubs. The dates are pointed out because the numbers will flux on any given day for every club; that's just the way social media goes. On the left is Facebook information while on the right is Twitter accounts and followers:
Facebook numbers are inflated with help from built-in aspects to the social media platform - you can name sport teams or movies or actors that you "like" and that can turn into news updates form official sources of that item. By way of the algorithm as well as by way of users electing to hide news updates, those numbers can actually be lower for each club. That being said, some of that data is still rather surprising:
- The Florida Panthers have the lowest social media reach, not scratching 170,000 "likes" as of this writing and being just over 200,000 followers on Facebook. Static numbers like this don't show you outreach or growth by the club. It also doesn't tell you standard marketing practices.
- The Arizona Coyotes share generally the same low Twitter follower count (202,000+) but are much stronger on Facebook (293,000+).
- The Winnipeg Jets have a very shallow difference between their number of Facebook "likes" (334,000+) and Twitter followers (346,000+).
- While the Islanders have a devote audience, they're far below the two other clubs (Rangers, Devils) of the immediate tri-state area.
- Only 3 teams (Blackhawks, Canadiens, and Maple Leafs) have more than a million followers as well as "likes".
What about the Lightning, though? What about the Bolts compared to other teams in the Tampa Bay market - The Buccaneers, the Rays? I think this shows a difference in platforms the best, and might be applicable to more than just one team on this list:
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||https://www.facebook.com/tampabaybuccaneers||901948||@tbbuccaneers||386000+|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||https://www.facebook.com/Lightning.NHL||497185||@tblightning||345000+|
|Tampa Bay Rays||https://www.facebook.com/Rays||704902||@RaysBaseball||295000+|
Perhaps this tells you that it's easier to "like" something than actually follow coverage of the subject matter intently. The numbers also reflect the sports entrenchment on the Tampa Bay area: while the Rays are the youngest of the three teams, baseball has been a property in the region for a very long time. Hockey is growing, though, and the Lightning's success and outreach are doing a fine job.