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NHL Power Rankings: Smashville Reigns, Islanders Ascend

The Predators have entrenched themselves at the top of the rankings.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Here's how you create the #1 ranked team in the NHL:

  • Draft a skilled and deep defense.
  • Sign more centers than you have roster spots for.
  • Find agile wings wherever you can.
  • Obtain Finnish goaltender who absorbs more rubber than an NHRA dragstrip.

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.

Rank Team Share
1 Nashville Predators 2.2
2 Anaheim Ducks 3.7
3 New York Islanders 4.4
4 Detroit Red Wings 5.1
5 St. Louis Blues 5.9
6 New York Rangers 7.5
7 Tampa Bay Lightning 7.6
8 Chicago Blackhawks 7.6
9 Montreal Canadiens 7.6
10 Pittsburgh Penguins 7.9
11 Winnipeg Jets 8.4
12 Washington Capitals 8.4
13 San Jose Sharks 10.3
14 Vancouver Canucks 10.4
15 Boston Bruins 10.8
16 Minnesota Wild 13.0
17 Florida Panthers 13.3
18 Los Angeles Kings 13.5
19 Calgary Flames 14.5
20 Dallas Stars 16.3
21 Ottawa Senators 18.3
22 Toronto Maple Leafs 18.3
23 Colorado Avalanche 18.7
24 Philadelphia Flyers 20.0
25 Columbus Blue Jackets 20.3
26 New Jersey Devils 20.4
27 Carolina Hurricanes 21.1
28 Edmonton Oilers 21.5
29 Arizona Coyotes 21.6
30 Buffalo Sabres 24.6
  • Garth Snow - super genius.  It helps that other GMs seem to gift him players.
  • Who do you like of the mishmash of teams ranked 6-10?
  • Dallas desperately needs a defender in the top four, and time is running out.  Can they swing a deal in the next week?

Playoff Matchups:

Western Conference
Central Pacific
1 Nashville Predators
2 Anaheim Ducks
11 Winnipeg Jets
16 Minnesota Wild

5 St. Louis Blues
13 San Jose Sharks
8 Chicago Blackhawks
14 Vancouver Canucks
  • The Wild as a crossover? Hm, I was sure that last year's Oilers' collapse was all Devan Dubnyk's fault.

Eastern Conference
Metropolitan Atlantic
3 New York Islanders
4 Detroit Red Wings
12 Washington Capitals
15 Boston Bruins

6 New York Rangers
7 Tampa Bay Lightning
10 Pittsburgh Penguins
9 Montreal Canadiens
  • The first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs will not feature defense. Good luck to the goaltenders.