Plenty of time to start researching now...the previous Top 100 and Top 70 lists as well as the ATD board are good places to start
I'm always checking those lists to pick up something new, but I just don't feel comfortable discussing and assessing value to players about which I know nothing more than superficial facts. And IMHO you can see the differences in caliber between certain players only if you're familiar with finer details of the game.
I'd like to do goalies, for the simple reason that I'm more interested in talking about them Also, the goalie list seems less daunting.
I think 30 is a good number. By the time we get into 40-50-60, we're getting into some hazy territory where you could have dozens of equally strong candidates.
Based on the experience of the D list, I'd kind of like to see fewer inductions per round. Make a high bar for induction, and a more focused and detailed discussion in each round. One of the challenges in the D list was trying to develop complete arguments for/against every candidate in a short timeframe, and sometimes the results seemed to be driven by which candidates got the most discussion time. Fewer inductees per round will help prevent that dynamic from causing a bias in the results.
Another suggestion too: For the very last vote, players who fall just outside the threshold to be voted on and appear on less than two thirds of the submitted lists (or some %age threshhold), should be added to the vote. For the defenseman list I'm thinking specifically of Herb Gardiner, who somehow managed to be voted #76 in the aggregate list despite being on only 12 of 23 lists. It shows that a good purportion of voters thought he should be substantially high, but others flat out neglected him. Adding these guys to the last round 2 vote would add to the thorough and considerate spirit that I perceive the project is based on.
I think this is especially true with goalies, where I can see some very controversial opinions on old guys (Paton, Hutton), early Euros (Konovalenko), compilers (Osgood) and enigmas (Giguere).
I chose forwards. Would do centres & wingers together. More fun and the best at each forward position comes out of it anyway. Plus it eliminates the controversy about those that played multiple forward positions. Might want to go to a top 80-100 though.