NHL Power Rankings: Beating a dead horse, A.K.A. Western Conference Dominance

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

Maybe the Eastern Conference Champion should play for the Calder Cup.

The Western Conference is home to the top six teams in the game at this point and Eastern Conference has six of the bottom seven.

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.

Rank Team Record Special Teams Even Strength Goal
1 San Jose 2 2 3 5
2 Chicago 7 4 1 19
3 Minnesota 13 1 2 4
4 Anaheim 4 7 7 12
5 Los Angeles 8 7 5 18
6 St Louis 3 9 9 8
7 Pittsburgh 12 13 4 20
8 Vancouver 11 3 12 21
9 Boston 6 24 8 1
10 Montreal 15 21 10 2
11 Detroit 14 14 14 8
12 Phoenix 8 30 6 22
13 Nashville 17 11 16 13
14 Colorado 1 27 15 2
15 Ottawa 21 11 16 10
16 New Jersey 25 16 13 29
17 NY Islanders 18 6 25 26
18 Tampa Bay 5 24 20 23
19 Dallas 24 29 11 15
20 Carolina 18 9 26 14
21 Calgary 15 22 18 25
22 Washington 21 5 27 24
23 Winnipeg 20 15 24 16
24 Toronto 8 19 29 7
25 Columbus 21 23 21 6
26 Philadelphia 29 16 22 11
27 NY Rangers 26 19 23 30
28 Florida 26 26 19 27
29 Edmonton 28 18 28 28
30 Buffalo 30 27 30 16

Broken out by conference

Rank Team Record Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share
1 San Jose 2 2 3 5 1.78
2 Chicago 7 4 1 19 2.83
3 Minnesota 13 1 2 4 2.86
4 Anaheim 4 7 7 12 4.50
5 Los Angeles 8 7 5 18 4.75
6 St Louis 3 9 9 8 5.25
8 Vancouver 11 3 12 21 6.72
12 Phoenix 8 30 6 22 9.54
13 Nashville 17 11 16 13 9.89
14 Colorado 1 27 15 2 9.91
19 Dallas 24 29 11 15 12.57
21 Calgary 15 22 18 25 12.74
23 Winnipeg 20 15 24 16 13.69
29 Edmonton 28 18 28 28 17.20
  • San Jose is a tremendous machine right now - reminiscent of the Red Wings teams of the 90's except the Sharks have good goaltending. The scratches the other night: Dan Boyle, Brent Burns and Marty Havlat mean San Jose has depth to go far and players to trade should they need more help.
  • On the other hand, Edmonton isn't looking so hot right now. Devan Dubnyk seems to have recovered from the early season swoon, but there are holes throughout that lineup.
  • The Stars don't have a chance unless they start shooting more pucks with a man advantage and preventing more shots while short-handed.
  • The Coyotes sit in the spot I thought the Oilers would occupy before the season started - 5th in the division, but holding the crossover spot.
Rank Team Record Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share
7 Pittsburgh 12 13 4 20 6.16
9 Boston 6 24 8 1 7.87
10 Montreal 15 21 10 2 9.13
11 Detroit 14 14 14 8 9.20
15 Ottawa 21 11 16 10 10.19
16 New Jersey 25 16 13 29 11.60
17 NY Islanders 18 6 25 26 12.26
18 Tampa Bay 5 24 20 23 12.30
20 Carolina 18 9 26 14 12.61
22 Washington 21 5 27 24 12.99
24 Toronto 8 19 29 7 13.70
25 Columbus 21 23 21 6 13.82
26 Philadelphia 29 16 22 11 13.87
27 NY Rangers 26 19 23 30 15.08
28 Florida 26 26 19 27 15.52
30 Buffalo 30 27 30 16 19.26
  • There are some really bad teams in the East, so take heart Toronto realists - even with a collapse, there are enough bad teams here than Toronto has a chance at the playoffs!
  • The Islanders traded for the wrong Sabre.

The rankings predict the following playoff matchups:

Western Conference
Eastern Conference
Pacific Division
Atlantic Division
1 San Jose Sharks
9 Boston Bruins
8 Vancouver Canucks
15 Ottawa Senators





4 Anaheim Ducks
10 Montreal Canadiens
5 Los Angeles Kings
11 Detroit Red Wings





Central Division
Metro Division
2 Chicago Blackhawks
7 Pittsburgh Penguins
12 Phoenix Coyotes
18 Tampa Bay Lightning





3 Minnesota Wild
16 New Jersey Devils
6 St. Louis Blues
17 New York Islanders

Crossover teams in Phoenix and Tampa Bay invade the Central and Metro Divisions.

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