Copper & Blue Power Rankings - Pre-Training Camp Edition

Dude, easier conference! - Christian Petersen

Just a few surprises here, but the top teams in 2013-14 look familiar.

Last season, I set out to eliminate the non-sense behind power rankings by building a power rankings 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 opponent's remaining this season. 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, and I don't attempt to predict or model that 38%, and I don't plan to.

With a number of very good free agents still available and a number of teams that must make moves to gain cap space, these rankings may change prior to the beginning of the season, so I'll put another set out sometime in September.

NHL Rank Team Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share Notes
5 Detroit 8 4 19 4.11 Detroit moves to the Junior Circuit and 14 teams rejoice
6 Pittsburgh 2 11 10 4.79 Terrible goalie, bad depth, slow defense, but they still have Crosby & Malkin and Olympian Chris Kunitz.
7 Ottawa 11 8 5 5.47 Ottawa swaps Bobby Ryan in for Daniel Alfredsson and might get better. Will the goaltending hold up?
8 NY Rangers 17 7 1 6.24 It's sort of odd to pay 2 guys $14+ million and neither one are the best forward on your team.
9 Boston 15 6 21 6.45 Yeah, I can figure out how they score 21st in goaltending either
11 Montreal 4 15 11 6.68 Their off-season haul of Daniel Briere and Douglas Murray was spectacular in 2006.
12 Washington 10 12 18 7.3 If Washington can figure out a way to add Tom Gilbert or Ron Hainsey, they can move into the top 10
13 Philadelphia 6 16 30 8.42 Only Philadelphia would replace Ilya Bryzgalov with Steve Mason
14 NY Islanders 18 10 29 8.91 It's too bad Garth Snow can't coax Tim Thomas down from his mountain shack, this could be a mid-level playoff team in the east with a decent goalie.
15 New Jersey 16 14 24 9.62 The 24th ranking in goaltending assumes Martin Brodeur remains the primary goaltender.
19 Florida 22 17 28 12.19 Early prediction: Dale Tallon sells off his T(h)omases at the trade deadline.
22 Carolina 30 18 7 13.25 As long as they aren't stuck with an AHL goaltender for an extended period, they should be better than last season.
23 Columbus 26 19 20 13.37 I think they're going to be a good team, but the numbers don't bear that out. Maybe spaghettification weighs too heavily in my model
28 Tampa Bay 21 26 26 15.02 This is a very bizarre team, and they still need a tough minutes guy to replace Ohlund.
29 Toronto 24 30 17 16.63 Their off-season looks like Andy Warhol's bodily function stage
30 Buffalo 28 29 15 17.06 The only thing they have is decent goaltending and rumor is that they're trying to trade Ryan Miller Darcy Regier must really like Sam Reinhart.
NHL Rank Team Special Teams Even Strength Goal Share Notes
1 Los Angeles 3 1 12 1.61 Still the best in the NHL.
2 St Louis 5 2 16 2.6 Unheard of defensive depth and a group of fast young forwards make the Blues a stifling team to play against. As long as they don't have to rely on Brian Elliott, they're good.
3 San Jose 7 5 3 3.44 Brent Burns at forward, a young and steadying defensive corps, and dropping Clowe can only mean good things
4 Vancouver 1 9 8 3.77 Nothing is solid about Vancouver. The goalie is doing his Oprah media tour, their stars are aging, the other forwards are China dolls. But if all goes right - they're still a very good team.
10 Chicago 20 3 22 6.55 Stanley Cup to 10th in the league isn't a Cup hangover, it's The Khabibulin Effect
16 Anaheim 9 22 6 9.98 If Jonas Hiller plays incredible hockey early on, will Winnipeg come calling?
17 Edmonton 12 24 14 11.74 I'm not sure what to type - this is the highest the Oilers have ranked in anything except draft position since Nail Yakupov was 11.
18 Winnipeg 29 13 25 12.18 Winnipeg battling Edmonton for a playoff spot? It's like old times, and it could happen, but Ondrej Pavelec.
20 Phoenix 27 20 2 13.04 I wonder what Dave Tippett could do with real talent? And why haven't any other GMs tried that? Seems fishy.
21 Dallas 25 21 4 13.05 Dallas is done, but this would be a completely different team with Hainsey or Gilbert in place of Sergei Gonchar
24 Minnesota 19 25 9 13.38 Doesn't have enough talent, will rely on young players out of their depth and goaltending.
25 Nashville 14 28 13 13.53 Didn't have enough up front to win the battle last year and added Cullen and Stalberg to try and fix it.
26 Calgary 13 27 27 13.66 They got rid of Cory Sarich, yay! They added Shane O'Brien, aw.
27 Colorado 23 23 23 14.26 The forwards should be really good. The defense should be really bad.
  • Someone in the Central Division will turn out, but as of now, I've got 5 of their 7 teams in the bottom 13 in the league.
  • 28-30? Atlantic Division

Our early playoff predictions look like this:

Atlantic Metropolitan Pacific Central
Detroit Pittsburgh Los Angeles St Louis
Philadelphia Montreal Edmonton Anaheim
Ottawa NY Rangers San Jose Chicago
Boston Washington Vancouver Winnipeg
Yup. The giant numbers machine has the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs.
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