NHL Power Rankings - Head West, Find The Best

Juggernaut - Thearon W. Henderson

The West dominates the early part of the season. Will the East recover?

The Eastern Conference has struggled out of the gate, and the power rankings reflect that.  9 of the top 11 teams are from the Western Conference and 8 of the bottom 10 are from the East.

My power rankings use a model based on underlying statistics and their predictive ability. The rankings were built on points earned, special teams, even strength play and goaltending, so they were constantly in flux. I'm still playing around with the model, and I've added opponents remaining this season. I've also updated the special teams evaluation so it's shots-based, not solely conversion based. Here is my best effort at predicting the standings and playoff pairings at the end of the season. One item of note - 38% of the game is luck; I don't attempt to predict or model that 38%, and I don't plan to.

Rank Team Record Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share
1 San Jose Sharks 1 2 1 11 1.31
2 Chicago Blackhawks 6 4 2 4 2.19
3 Anaheim Ducks 2 10 6 7 4.39
4 Minnesota Wild 18 7 3 5 4.50
6 Vancouver Canucks 17 1 8 25 5.82
7 St. Louis Blues 5 8 12 12 6.43
9 Los Angeles Kings 8 8 11 21 6.81
10 Nashville Predators 14 11 10 10 7.25
11 Phoenix Coyotes 8 30 5 15 8.98
18 Calgary Flames 16 22 14 26 11.46
19 Colorado Avalanche 2 28 18 2 11.53
20 Dallas Stars 22 22 13 22 11.61
24 Winnipeg Jets 21 12 27 17 13.82
25 Edmonton Oilers 28 18 21 29 14.43
  • The Coyotes have played extremely well thus far, good enough to be 3rd-best in the East, but sit 9th in the West.  Their special teams have been atrocious thus far, 27th on the power play and 29th on the penalty kill.
  • Speaking of atrocious penalty kills, the Dallas Stars are surrendering 21 more shots/60 than they are attempting on the power play.
  • The Oilers have replaced the early trend of outshooting and terrible goaltending with being outshot and great goaltending.
  • Colorado is an interesting team - they have the early hype, but Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere's combined .959 ES save percentage have helped drive their success.  As that corrects, will the Avs hold up?

Rank Team Record Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share
5 Boston Bruins 7 17 4 3 5.44
8 Pittsburgh Penguins 2 18 7 17 6.75
12 Montréal Canadiens 12 27 9 1 9.42
13 Detroit Red Wings 8 18 16 9 9.79
14 Ottawa Senators 18 14 17 8 10.27
15 Carolina Hurricanes 14 5 24 14 10.62
16 New York Islanders 18 6 22 22 10.89
17 Columbus Blue Jackets 22 14 19 6 11.20
21 New Jersey Devils 26 16 15 28 11.71
22 Washington Capitals 22 3 25 24 11.72
23 Tampa Bay Lightning 12 21 20 16 12.38
26 New York Rangers 27 13 28 30 15.26
27 Philadelphia Flyers 30 22 23 17 15.33
28 Toronto Maple Leafs 8 25 29 13 15.39
29 Florida Panthers 25 26 26 27 17.14
30 Buffalo Sabres 29 29 30 17 19.10
  • This conference is a mess right now.  Traditional powers in the Metropolitan Division are nowhere to be found and the Atlantic looks good by comparison, which is damning with faint praise.
  • Fenwick update:  The East comprises 13 of the bottom 16 teams in the league by Fenwick Close thus far. 

The rankings predict the following playoff matchups:

Western Conference
Eastern Conference
1 San Jose Sharks
5 Boston Bruins
9 Los Angeles Kings
14 Ottawa Senators





3 Anaheim Ducks
12 Montréal Canadiens
6 Vancouver Canucks
13 Detroit Red Wings










2 Chicago Blackhawks
8 Pittsburgh Penguins
10 Nashville Predators
17 Columbus Blue Jackets





4 Minnesota Wild
15 Carolina Hurricanes
7 St. Louis Blues
16 New York Islanders

The Pacific Division Champion should receive a special merit award.

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