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Vulgar Statistics: Power Rankings: Eastern Conference

10/03/11
by

As I said last week, this will be a running item that will move to Fridays and have a much more grounded statistical basis once there are actual stats to survey.

Alright, let’s set up my completely arbitrary rules.  I wanted to keep with a statistical theme, so I assigned point values to each position gained and lost:

  • First Line Center – 10
  • First Line Winger – 8
  • Second Line Center – 8
  • Second Line Winger – 5
  • Third Line Center – 3
  • Third Line Winger – 2
  • Fourth Line Forward – 1
  • First Pair Defense – 5
  • Second Pair Defense – 3
  • Third Pair Defense – 1
  • Starting Goaltender – 6
  • Backup Goaltender – 2

Essentially I added or subtracted from a team’s point total based on what they lost in personnel.  There was some fudging to be done, say if a team has a player returning from injury (Crosby or Roy), I gave their teams a percentage credit (based on games missed) for that.  If a team has a couple players that fit one category (i.e. Philly losing two first line (in terms of talent) centers), then I modified the figures accordingly.

There are a few things that this sort of analysis doesn’t account for:

  • The time it takes to recover from a lot of turnover
  • Young players improving
  • Impact rookies – generally I counted lottery picks as third line players (Nugent-Hopkins for example) and ignored the rest.

So on top of what the completely made up numbers say, I will be offering an “eyeball test.”  Think of it as a “Final Thoughts” for every team.  Let us begin.

15). Ottawa Senators

Key Additions

  • Zenon Konopka (C +1)
  • Alex Auld (G +2)

Key Subtractions:

  • Ryan Shannon (W -2)
  • Back Up Goalie A/B (G -2)

Total: 74 + 3 – 4 = 73 Points

Eyeball Test: I didn’t put much stock in Ottawa’s crappy goaltending from last year so I only counted the loss once.  Ottawa returns one of the worst teams from last season…largely intact.  Calling Auld and Konopka improvements is probably a vast exaggeration.  This team will probably compete hard for dead last.

14). Winnipeg Jets

Key Additions:

  • Eric Fehr (W +5)
  • Tanner Glass (W +1)
  • Randy Jones (D +1)

Key Subtractions:

  • Anthony Stewart (W -2)
  • Radek Dvorak (W -2)
  • Eric Boulton (W -1)

Total: 80 + 7 – 5 = 82 Points

Eyeball Test: Atlantapeg was a team last year that started hot off the bloated stats of guys who weren’t very good.  When their production started to normalize, the wins went away.  Look, they’ve got a few good players in place like Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec, but the team is pretty far away from a playoff spot.

13). New Jersey Devils

Key Additions:

  • Zach Parise (W +7)
  • Eric Boulton (W +1)
  • Cam Janssen (W +1)
  • Adam Larsson (D +1)

Key Subtractions:

  • Brian Rolston (W -5)
  • Colin White (D -1)
  • Anssi Salmela (D -1)

Total: 81 + 10 – 7 = 84 Points

Eyeball Test: A lot of people are going to think this is a bit low since Parise will be coming back, but I’m not convinced.  The glory days are gone and Martin Brodeur is getting up there in years.  A lot of last season’s blame can be placed on the team, but he wasn’t good either.  It might be time to pass the torch.

12). New York Islanders

Key Additions:

  • Brian Rolston (W +5)
  • Marty Reasoner (C +3)
  • Kyle Okposo (W +3)
  • Mark Streit (D +5)

Key Subtractions:

  • Zenon Konopka (C -1)
  • Doug Weight (C -1)
  • Radek Martinek (D -3)

Total = 73 + 16 – 5 = 84 Points

Eyeball Test: I think this might be a bit low for the Islanders.  Last season they were a team that had a lot go wrong for them, and they still played very well at times.  Still, their goaltending and defense are a bit of a mess and you can’t get very far without those.

11). Florida Panthers

Key Additions:

  • Tomas Fleischmann (W +5)
  • Scottie Upshall (W +5)
  • Kris Versteeg (W +5)
  • Marcel Goc (C +3)
  • Tomas Kopecky (W +2)
  • Sean Bergenheim (W +2)
  • Matt Bradley (W +1)
  • Ryan Carter (C +1)
  • Brian Campbell (D +3)
  • Ed Jovanovski (D +3)

Key Subtractions:

  • Marty Reasoner (C -3)
  • Steve Bernier (W -2)
  • Sergei Samsonov (W -2)
  • Niclas Bergfors (W -2)
  • Alexander Sulzer (D -1)
  • Tomas Vokoun (G -6)

Total: 71 + 30 – 16 = 85 Points

Eyeball Test: Lost amid the fact that Florida made a mess of spare part additions is that they also made a mess of spare part subtractions…and lost their perennial All-Star ballot goaltender because he wanted to play for someone who didn’t suck so he could fall asleep in the crease every night.  (In case you didn’t notice, I have no respect for Tomas “stat padder, not winner” Vokoun.)  With this much change in personnel, Florida just feels like a disaster.

10). Carolina Hurricanes

Key Additions:

  • Tim Brent (C +3)
  • Alexei Ponikarovski (W +2)
  • Anthony Stewart (W +2)
  • Tomas Kaberle (D +3)
  • Brian Boucher (G +2)

Key Subtractions:

  • Erik Cole (W -8)
  • Joe Corvo (D -5)
  • Jason Peters (G -2)

Total: 91 + 12 – 15 = 88 Points

Eyeball Test: I know Joe Corvo isn’t a stereotypical top pair defenseman, and I didn’t count him as such as an addition to Boston’s deep corps…but he was Carolina’s big minute-eater last season.  I’m very lukewarm on the Canes, so much so that I’m a little shocked they contended for a playoff spot last year.  If you looked at their stats, they were near the bottom of the conference in goals scored, goals allowed, power play percentage, and penalty kill percentage.  And it’s not like Cam Ward had a statistically anomalous season, he was just his regular steady self.  I think the fact that Carolina plays in a weak division helps them out a lot.  Stack them up against the other ten teams in the league and the only one they feel definitively better than is Ottawa.

9). Montreal Canadiens

Key Additions:

  • Erik Cole (W +8)
  • Peter Budaj (G +2)

Key Subtractions:

  • Jeff Halpern (C -3)
  • Benoit Pouliot (W -2)
  • Taylor Pyatt (C -1)
  • James Wisniewski (D -5)
  • Roman Hamrlik (D -3)
  • Alexandre Picard (D -1)
  • Brent Sopel (D -1)

Total: 96 + 10 – 16 = 90 Points

Eyeball Test: Montreal feels like a team that didn’t do enough in the offseason to keep up with the rest of the playoff teams.  They lost a lot on defense and Carey Price will probably come back to earth a little bit.  Of course the flipside to that is Scott Gomez can’t possibly be as bad.

8). New York Rangers

Key Additions:

  • Brad Richards (C +10)
  • Michael Rupp (C +3)

Key Subtractions:

  • Vinny Prospal (W -5)
  • Chris Drury (C -3)
  • Alex Frolov (W -2)
  • Derek Boogaard (W -1)
  • Brian McCabe (D -3)
  • Matt Gilroy (D -1)

Total: 93 + 13 – 15 = 91 Points

Eyeball Test: I just grabbed my Rangers writeup from the past five seasons.  This offseason the (6th-10th) place Rangers added (one of the top three names available) for (all the gold in the world).  While the move looks good on paper, the Rangers will again finish in (6th-10th place) and repeat the entire process next year.

7). Toronto Maple Leafs

Key Additions:

  • Tim Connolly (C +8)
  • Matthew Lombardi (C +3)
  • John Michael Liles (D +5)

Key Subtractions:

  • Tim Brent (C -3)
  • J.S. Giguere (G -2)

Total: 85 + 16 – 5 = 96 Points

Eyeball Test: Okay, I admit it, my system screwed up.  Their goaltending is still a question mark, even with a good season by Reimer, and their defense isn’t much better.  Plus there’s the whole issue of Tim Connolly playing more than 40 games.  I think they can compete for a playoff spot, but 96 points…nahh.

6). Boston Bruins

Key Additions:

  • Benoit Pouliot (W +2)
  • Joe Corvo (D +3)

Key Subtractions:

  • Mark Recchi (W -5)
  • Michael Ryder (W -2)
  • Tomas Kaberle (D -2)

Total: 103 + 5 – 9 = 99 Points

Eyeball Test: I stand completely behind having the Bruins this low.  I don’t know why people think of them as some sort of juggernaut.  They’re losing a huge veteran presence in Recchi and it’s doubtful that Thomas is going to have another record shattering season.  That means fewer wins.

5). Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Additions:

  • Michel Ouellet (W +5)
  • Ryan Shannon (W +2)
  • Taylor Pyatt (C +1)
  • Matt Gilroy (D +1)
  • Mathieu Garon (G +2)

Key Subtractions:

  • Simon Gagne (W -8)
  • Sean Bergenheim (W -2)
  • Matt Lundin (D -1)
  • Randy Jones (D -1)
  • Mike Smith (G -1)

Total: 103 + 11 – 13 = 101 Points

Eyeball Test: I’m not counting Mike Smith as a total loss.  A small setback feels about right for Tampa Bay as they’ve got a big question mark in net.  The ageless Dwayne Roloson can’t keep it up forever.

4). Philadelphia Flyers

Key Additions:

  • Jaromir Jagr (W +8)
  • Jakub Voracek (W +5)
  • Brayden Schenn (C +3)
  • Maxime Talbot (C +3)
  • Wayne Simmonds (W +2)
  • Ilya Bryzgalov (G +6)

Key Subtractions:

  • Mike Richards (C -10)
  • Jeff Carter (C -10)
  • Ville Leino (W -5)
  • Darrol Powe (C -3)

Total: 106 + 27 – 28 = 105 Points

Eyeball Test: I’m not sure if my system screwed up again or not.  On one hand, losing your top two centers is a huge blow…on the other, Philadelphia added some good young players.  It’s hard to tell how much of an impact Brayden Schenn will have with seven NHL games to his name.  The other question mark is Jagr, is he still a top line NHL player?  Based on his numbers in the KHL, I’m saying yes, if barely.

3). Buffalo Sabres

Key Additions:

  • Derek Roy (C +6)
  • Ville Leino (C +5)
  • Robyn Regehr (D +5)
  • Christian Ehrhoff (D +5)
  • Jhonas Enroth (G +2)

Key Subtractions:

  • Tim Connolly (C -8)
  • Steve Montador (D -3)
  • Patrick Lalime (G -1)

Total: 96 + 23 – 12 = 107 Points

Eyeball Test: A few things; I didn’t consider Leino a second line center because I’m not convinced he can be that guy.  I also didn’t count Patrick Lalime as much of a loss because we’re not missing much.  That having been said, it’s easy to say that the Sabres will be better with Roy coming back and Regehr and Ehrhoff replacing Montador and Morrisonn on defense.

2). Pittsburgh Penguins

Key Additions:

  • Sidney Crosby (C +5)
  • Jason Williams (C +1)

Key Subtractions:

  • Maxime Talbot (C -3)

Total: 106 + 6 – 3 = 109 Points

Eyeball Test: A lot of this is based on Crosby returning for a full season, which is starting to look a little iffy.  The Penguins are a good team that didn’t change much.  Usually that spells Stanley Cup run.

1). Washington Capitals

Key Additions:

  • Joel Ward (W +5)
  • Jeff Halpern (C +3)
  • Troy Brouwer (W +2)
  • Roman Hamrlik (D +3)
  • Tomas Vokoun (G +6)

Key Subtractions:

  • Eric Fehr (W -5)
  • Jason Arnott (C -3)
  • Semyon Varlamov (G -3)

Total: 107 + 19 – 11 = 115 Points

Eyeball Test: I wasn’t sure how to count Varlamov, somewhere better than a backup but worse than a full starter.  Also, I’m not sure Vokoun is that much of an upgrade over the Varlamov – Holtby – Neuvirth triad that Washington had going last season.  It might not even matter as the Capitals look locked and loaded for another shot at the cup.

Final Thoughts:

  1. Washington – 115
  2. Pittsburgh – 109
  3. Buffalo – 107
  4. Philadelphia – 105
  5. Tampa Bay – 101
  6. Boston – 99
  7. Toronto – 96
  8. New York Rangers – 91
  9. Montreal – 90
  10. Carolina – 88
  11. Florida – 85
  12. New York Islanders – 84
  13. New Jersey – 84
  14. Winnipeg – 82
  15. Ottawa – 73

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. cdr permalink
    10/03/11 8:22 PM

    I’ll take it! I imagine Leafs fans would be pretty happy about this too.

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