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NHL Power Rankings - Stability At The Top As Birds Rule

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I’m not saying I agree with it, its just that bird law in this country is not governed by reason.

Justin K. Aller

We're moving in on 20 games played and team-level stats are beginning to sort themselves out. There are still quite a few bizarre goaltending numbers and some incredible team PDO numbers that will move sharply over the next couple of months, but don't expect to see any huge week-to-week changes in these rankings from here on out.

About these rankings:

Two seasons ago, 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, but 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.

NHL Rankings

Rank Team Share Last Week Delta
1 Pittsburgh Penguins 3.7 1 0
2 Anaheim Ducks 3.9 2 0
3 St. Louis Blues 4.7 4 1
4 Minnesota Wild 4.9 3 -1
5 Chicago Blackhawks 5.1 5 0
6 Vancouver Canucks 6.4 7 1
7 Washington Capitals 6.5 6 -1
8 New York Islanders 7.1 11 3
9 Winnipeg Jets 7.1 12 3
10 Nashville Predators 8.0 8 -2
11 Detroit Red Wings 8.5 13 2
12 Boston Bruins 8.5 10 -2
13 Tampa Bay Lightning 8.8 9 -4
14 Toronto Maple Leafs 9.8 14 0
15 San Jose Sharks 9.9 16 1
16 Montreal Canadiens 10.2 18 2
17 New York Rangers 10.8 19 2
18 Calgary Flames 11.4 15 -3
19 Florida Panthers 12.1 20 1
20 Los Angeles Kings 12.6 17 -3
21 Ottawa Senators 13.3 21 0
22 Philadelphia Flyers 14.4 23 1
23 Dallas Stars 14.5 24 1
24 New Jersey Devils 15.0 25 1
25 Edmonton Oilers 15.2 22 -3
26 Carolina Hurricanes 16.2 26 0
27 Arizona Coyotes 16.7 27 0
28 Columbus Blue Jackets 17.7 28 0
29 Colorado Avalanche 18.8 29 0
30 Buffalo Sabres 19.3 30 0
  • Seven of the top ten teams come from the Western Conference which isn't a surprise considering the balance of power between the conferences since the 04-05 lockout.

Western Conference Rankings

Rank Team Share
2 Anaheim Ducks 3.9
3 St. Louis Blues 4.7
4 Minnesota Wild 4.9
5 Chicago Blackhawks 5.1
6 Vancouver Canucks 6.4
9 Winnipeg Jets 7.1
10 Nashville Predators 8.0
15 San Jose Sharks 9.9
18 Calgary Flames 11.4
20 Los Angeles Kings 12.6
23 Dallas Stars 14.5
25 Edmonton Oilers 15.2
27 Arizona Coyotes 16.7
29 Colorado Avalanche 18.8
  • The Central Division is a nasty place to play: 5 of the top 10 teams in the NHL play in the Central.
  • Anyone else really looking forward to that #25 vs #27 showdown in Edmonton tomorrow night?
  • Colorado isn't going to catch Buffalo, but they could end up 29th. Jack Eichel, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene would make for interesting hockey in Denver, at least.
  • The Stars traded Sergei Gonchar but still need help on the back end. I'm sure the Sabres and Oilers would love to trade a few defenders.

Eastern Conference Rankings

Rank Team Share
1 Pittsburgh Penguins 3.7
7 Washington Capitals 6.5
8 New York Islanders 7.1
11 Detroit Red Wings 8.5
12 Boston Bruins 8.5
13 Tampa Bay Lightning 8.8
14 Toronto Maple Leafs 9.8
16 Montreal Canadiens 10.2
17 New York Rangers 10.8
19 Florida Panthers 12.1
21 Ottawa Senators 13.3
22 Philadelphia Flyers 14.4
24 New Jersey Devils 15.0
26 Carolina Hurricanes 16.2
28 Columbus Blue Jackets 17.7
30 Buffalo Sabres 19.3
  • It occurred to me this week that the Sabres shouldn't be as bad as they are. Their roster is weak, but not win 12 of your last 100 games in regulation weak.
  • The Devils are middle of the pack at even strength, top 10 in goaltending, but 28th in special teams. They seem to be making their way to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. If management finally decides they aren't going to be competitive, they could trade Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky this spring. They'll still be stuck with that Ryane Clowe contract, however.

Western Conference Playoff Matchups:

Western Conference
Central Pacific
3 St. Louis Blues
2 Anaheim Ducks
9 Winnipeg Jets
10 Nashville Predators






4 Minnesota Wild
6 Vancouver Canucks
5 Chicago Blackhawks
15 San Jose Sharks
  • Jets and Blues both in the playoffs and playing against each other? How will they both massively disappoint their fans if they play each other?

Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups:

Eastern Conference
Metropolitan Atlantic
1 Pittsburgh Penguins
11 Detroit Red Wings
16 Montreal Canadiens
14 Toronto Maple Leafs






7 Washington Capitals
12 Boston Bruins
8 New York Islanders
13 Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Montreal in the first round crossing over to the Metropolitan would give the Penguins heartburn.