NHL Power Rankings: Some Change at the Top, but West Still Rules

Richard Wolowicz

The top of the Central Division takes over and the bottom hasn't had their chance against the East yet.

For the first time this season, the San Jose Sharks fall from the top spot in the Predictive Power Rankings.  The West is still best with the entire top six and seven of the top ten, but the Central Division has taken over.  The Eastern Conference is home to 11 of the bottom 15 teams in the league -- only Dallas, Calgary, Winnnipeg and Edmonton spoil the party.

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 Share
1 St. Louis Blues 3.24
1 Chicago Blackhawks 3.24
3 Minnesota Wild 3.49
4 San Jose Sharks 3.99
5 Los Angeles Kings 4.51
6 Anaheim Ducks 4.60
7 Pittsburgh Penguins 5.46
8 Boston Bruins 5.64
9 Vancouver Canucks 6.85
10 Detroit Red Wings 8.55
11 Nashville Predators 9.28
12 Montréal Canadiens 9.39
13 Colorado Avalanche 9.73
14 Phoenix Coyotes 11.00
15 New York Rangers 11.31
16 New Jersey Devils 11.36
17 Dallas Stars 11.43
18 Tampa Bay Lightning 11.59
19 Ottawa Senators 12.22
20 Carolina Hurricanes 13.46
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 13.90
22 Washington Capitals 14.43
23 Philadelphia Flyers 14.72
24 New York Islanders 14.97
25 Calgary Flames 15.19
26 Winnipeg Jets 15.63
27 Columbus Blue Jackets 16.12
28 Florida Panthers 17.75
29 Edmonton Oilers 18.11
30 Buffalo Sabres 20.65

  • Buffalo is full value for 30th - they're the worst even strength team in the league and the worst special teams team in the league. No one is catching them in this tank battle.
  • Even Jarmo Kekalainen's best efforts haven't saved Columbus.  His Jackets rank 26th at even strength and 19th on special teams.
Rank Team Share
1 St. Louis Blues 3.24
1 Chicago Blackhawks 3.24
3 Minnesota Wild 3.49
4 San Jose Sharks 3.99
5 Los Angeles Kings 4.51
6 Anaheim Ducks 4.60
9 Vancouver Canucks 6.85
11 Nashville Predators 9.28
13 Colorado Avalanche 9.73
14 Phoenix Coyotes 11.00
17 Dallas Stars 11.43
25 Calgary Flames 15.19
26 Winnipeg Jets 15.63
29 Edmonton Oilers 18.11

  • Something to watch here:  Winnipeg has played just 4 games against the East and Nashville just 5.  Anaheim and Vancouver have played 11 games against the East, while Chicago, Minnesota, and Colorado have played 9.  The Jets and Predators should make up ground on the top of the conference as they catch up in games vesus the East.
  • Edmonton has played 14 games against the East and is 4-9-1, a 53 point pace for a full season.
  • The rest of the West is 69-20-10 versus the East, a 123 point pace for a full season.
Rank Team Share
7 Pittsburgh Penguins 5.46
8 Boston Bruins 5.64
10 Detroit Red Wings 8.55
12 Montréal Canadiens 9.39
15 New York Rangers 11.31
16 New Jersey Devils 11.36
18 Tampa Bay Lightning 11.59
19 Ottawa Senators 12.22
20 Carolina Hurricanes 13.46
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 13.90
22 Washington Capitals 14.43
23 Philadelphia Flyers 14.72
24 New York Islanders 14.97
27 Columbus Blue Jackets 16.12
28 Florida Panthers 17.75
30 Buffalo Sabres 20.65

  • There is so much mediocrity here - the only thing keeping the conference competitive is goaltending.
Pacific Central
Atlantic Metropolitan
San Jose St. Louis
Boston Pittsburgh
Vancouver Nashville
Tampa Bay Ottawa





Los Angeles Chicago
Detroit NY Rangers
Anaheim Minnesota
Montreal New Jersey


St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Finals would be a stunner, but it's not going to happen.  They're the Blues, after all.

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