NHL Power Rankings: The Rise Of Paper Tigers

Elsa

Eastern Teams are creeping up the rankings

The Eastern Conference is rising, at least in our power rankings. The by-product of an unbalanced schedule is that the better teams from a bad conference get to play the rest of that conference over and over again until their overall numbers look respectable. That explains the sudden surge of so many Eastern teams in this week's edition.

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.

1-30

Rank Team Record Even Strength Special Teams Goaltending
1 St. Louis Blues 2 8 7 12
2 Anaheim Ducks 1 14 13 6
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 3 11 7 24
4 Chicago Blackhawks 4 2 12 24
5 Boston Bruins 6 4 7 1
6 San Jose Sharks 7 3 3 12
7 Colorado Avalanche 5 22 26 9
8 Tampa Bay Lightning 8 10 29 3
9 New York Rangers 11 7 4 8
10 Montréal Canadiens 9 23 6 6
11 Los Angeles Kings 12 1 17 2
12 Minnesota Wild 10 21 21 5
13 Detroit Red Wings 14 14 5 20
14 Columbus Blue Jackets 14 12 25 19
15 Toronto Maple Leafs 12 29 23 3
16 Phoenix Coyotes 14 18 20 9
17 Dallas Stars 17 6 15 21
18 Vancouver Canucks 19 9 1 12
19 Philadelphia Flyers 18 26 2 12
20 Ottawa Senators 21 16 11 11
21 Carolina Hurricanes 20 23 21 17
22 New Jersey Devils 23 5 17 26
23 Winnipeg Jets 22 19 15 21
24 Nashville Predators 23 17 10 26
25 Washington Capitals 23 20 17 17
26 Florida Panthers 26 12 28 26
27 New York Islanders 27 25 13 29
28 Calgary Flames 28 27 24 30
29 Edmonton Oilers 29 28 26 23
30 Buffalo Sabres 30 30 30 12


  • Garth Snow wasted playoff contention, at the very least, on Evgeni Nabokov.  It's worth noting, however, that the Islanders have not been nearly as good as they were last year.  Maybe they're using the Edmonton model of rebuilding?
  • Winnipeg's ballyhooed turnaround under Paul Maurice has been percentage-driven, Maurice hasn't changed the underlying numbers.

The West

Rank Team Record Even Strength Special Teams Goaltending
1 St. Louis Blues 2 8 7 12
2 Anaheim Ducks 1 14 13 6
4 Chicago Blackhawks 4 2 12 24
6 San Jose Sharks 7 3 3 12
7 Colorado Avalanche 5 22 26 9
11 Los Angeles Kings 12 1 17 2
12 Minnesota Wild 10 21 21 5
16 Phoenix Coyotes 14 18 20 9
17 Dallas Stars 17 6 15 21
18 Vancouver Canucks 19 9 1 12
23 Winnipeg Jets 22 19 15 21
24 Nashville Predators 23 17 10 26
28 Calgary Flames 28 27 24 30
29 Edmonton Oilers 29 28 26 23


  • The Vancouver swoon changes things rather significantly in the Western Conference wild card race.  If they don't snap out of it soon, Phoenix, Dallas and Winnipeg might think they're playoff-bound and do rash things.

The East

Rank Team Record Even Strength Special Teams Goaltending
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 3 11 7 24
5 Boston Bruins 6 4 7 1
8 Tampa Bay Lightning 8 10 29 3
9 New York Rangers 11 7 4 8
10 Montréal Canadiens 9 23 6 6
13 Detroit Red Wings 14 14 5 20
14 Columbus Blue Jackets 14 12 25 19
15 Toronto Maple Leafs 12 29 23 3
19 Philadelphia Flyers 18 26 2 12
20 Ottawa Senators 21 16 11 11
21 Carolina Hurricanes 20 23 21 17
22 New Jersey Devils 23 5 17 26
25 Washington Capitals 23 20 17 17
26 Florida Panthers 26 12 28 26
27 New York Islanders 27 25 13 29
30 Buffalo Sabres 30 30 30 12


  • Dream trade for Ray Shero: Ryan Miller for Marc-Andre Fleury
  • New Jersey draws Edmonton and Washington before the break.  If they can win a pair, they might be one point back in the playoff race.  However, if they want a real chance at the playoffs (and they should since they forfeit their draft pick) they need to put Martin Brodeur out to pasture.

Playoff Matchups

Western Conference
2 Anaheim Ducks
1 St. Louis Blues
16 Phoenix Coyotes
12 Minnesota Wild





6 San Jose Sharks
4 Chicago Blackhawks
11 Los Angeles Kings
7 Colorado Avalanche



Eastern Conference
3 Pittsburgh Penguins
5 Boston Bruins
15 Toronto Maple Leafs
13 Detroit Red Wings





9 New York Rangers
8 Tampa Bay Lightning
14 Columbus Blue Jackets
10 Montréal Canadiens


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