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NHL Power Rankings: Preds Rule the Roost, Wild Rising

The Nashville Predators stay on top, but a rare Wild has been spotted in the ... wild.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, this man was the cause of all of the Oilers ills.  He was holding back the greatness that was Edmonton's 3rd rebuild through his horrendous goaltending.  Edmonton dumped him and their rebuild was saved by Ben Scrivens, the goaltender leading them into the playo...

Devan Dubnyk left Edmonton, but couldn't get his game back together in Nashville and ended up signing in Arizona for peanuts in the off-season.  Dubnyk posted a .916 save percentage in 19 games for a bad Coyotes team before he was traded to the Minnesota Wild for a 3rd-round pick.

Dubnyk has started 13 straight games for the Wild, posting a .938 save percentage, winning 10 of his 13 starts for a Wild team that had a .895 save percentage prior to Dubnyk's arrival.  The Wild are now just two points behind Calgary and should Dubnyk drag the Wild into the playoffs come April, the man who torpedoed the Oilers third rebuild should get consideration for the Hart.

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 Last
1 Nashville Predators 1
2 St. Louis Blues 4
3 Detroit Red Wings 2
4 Anaheim Ducks 3
5 New York Islanders 5
6 Montreal Canadiens 7
7 New York Rangers 9
8 Pittsburgh Penguins 10
9 Tampa Bay Lightning 6
10 Chicago Blackhawks 8
11 Washington Capitals 12
12 Winnipeg Jets 14
13 Vancouver Canucks 15
14 San Jose Sharks 13
15 Boston Bruins 11
16 Minnesota Wild 19
17 Calgary Flames 17
18 Los Angeles Kings 16
19 Florida Panthers 18
20 Philadelphia Flyers 22
21 Dallas Stars 20
22 Ottawa Senators 21
23 Colorado Avalanche 23
24 Columbus Blue Jackets 28
25 Carolina Hurricanes 26
26 New Jersey Devils 25
27 Toronto Maple Leafs 24
28 Arizona Coyotes 27
29 Edmonton Oilers 29
30 Buffalo Sabres 30
  • The rich get richer: Nashville adds Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to an already strong lineup.  Nashville's defensive depth is enviable.
  • What a bizarre season from Jim Nill.  He added Spezza and Hemsky but basically threw the season away by not fixing the defense.  It's a very Oilers-like management approach.
  • Arizona fixed their lottery problems by trading Devan Dubnyk, and now Toronto is trying to do the same with the Franson and Santorelli trade.  Will Edmonton respond?
  • Edmonton's much-ballyhooed "improvement" is less than inspirational.  Aside from the goaltending problems (which probably can't be blamed on the goaltenders at this point) they're 18th on the power play, 15th on the penalty kill and 23rd at even strength.

Playoff Matchups:

Western Conference
Central Pacific
1 Nashville Predators
4 Anaheim Ducks
12 Winnipeg Jets
16 Minnesota Wild

2 St. Louis Blues
13 Vancouver Canucks
10 Chicago Blackhawks
14 San Jose Sharks
  • Just give us that Blues - Blackhawks series already...

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

7 New York Rangers
6 Montreal Canadiens
8 Pittsburgh Penguins
9 Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Detroit is going to trade for a defender, it's just a matter of choosing at this point.  If they stay healthy, can anyone in the Atlantic beat them?