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Vulgar Statistics: Power Rankings Week 5

02/24/13
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Tired of emotional, judgmental, personally biased power rankings from ESPN “writers” that don’t have my pedigree?  Fret no longer, here are my stats-based power rankings.  How do they work?

I rank each team 1-15 in the conference in 5 categories:

  • Points Percentage
  • Goals for per Game
  • Goals allowed per Game
  • Power Play Percentage
  • Penalty Kill Percentage

And then I sum those rankings.  Lowest score wins.  And as a team’s record becomes a truer measure of that team’s overall skill as the season wears on, that category will grow in weight.

Today I will judge every team top to bottom.

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh – It will be interesting to see how the Pens react to losing Malkin, probably the most expendable of their premiere players.  Probably just fine if history is any indication.

Boston – Boston’s absurd injury luck continues, though maybe it’s more than just luck.  Certain styles of play and attributes like on ice awareness, and the ability to brace for a hit have to contribute.  Watching Boston, they certainly lack premiere scoring talent, but they also lack useless players.  I’d take that pairing over the alternative every day.

Montreal – Unlike the Sabres, Montreal relies on a lot of players contributing to the offense.  They also play solid D.  If their rookies can keep up their play, they’ll have some staying power.

Tampa Bay – I thought Tampa Bay would be better than this, especially with an upgrade at goaltender and a better defense in a weak division.  I still think they’ll win the Southeast, but I don’t think they’ll be particularly threatening to anyone.

Ottawa – The Senators continue to confound me, consistently losing more than they add in the off-season and remaining good.  Last year they added Zenon Konopka and Alex Auld to a basement dweller and made the playoffs.  This year they lost Foligno, Konopka, Kuba, and Butler and added Methot and Latendresse and look poised to again.  Of course it helps to have Craig Anderson hitting his semi-annual 20 games where he’s the best goalie in the NHL to start the season.  When Anderson plays, 70% of his games are mediocre, 20% are excellent, and 10% are crap.  Which is an okay combination.  It will be interesting to see how the Sens do this year.

New Jersey – I don’t understand how the Devils can continually get older and still find success, especially in that division.  I didn’t think Patrik Elias would repeat last season and so far he looks to be doing exactly that.  Both of their goalies will be 40 after this year.  An end to their reign has to be on the horizon.

Toronto – The Maple Leafs look like a mediocre team playing well at the moment.  It’s almost inconceivable to think that teams like Philadelphia and the Rangers, and maybe even Carolina aren’t simply better.

NY Islanders – The Islanders are a team with a lot of good players that I would like to see make some serious strides.  They seem to be a slightly further along Edmonton Oilers with a solid crop of young forwards and better goaltending.  If they can ever figure out the defense, they have a lot of really good contracts.

Philadelphia – I feel like the Flyers are a team that will come on late this season as their young players gel.  They lead the east in players under 25, which bodes well for the future.

Carolina – Good offense, bad defense, bad special teams.  I thought Carolina would be better than this, but looking at the numbers it feels like they should be worse.  No doubt the Southeast is propping them up a little.

NY Rangers – I was the first, and maybe the only person that said that the Rangers lost the Nash trade, giving up too many pieces for something they already had in Marian Gaborik.  Whether that will prove true or not remains to be seen, but the Rangers aren’t doing so hot early on.  And despite their propensity for adding elite talent in the top six, they still can’t score.

Washington – I think maybe they just suck.  While Semin didn’t have the greatest of seasons, he did create space for some of their other forwards.  Losing a player of that caliber hurts, no matter which way you slice it.

Winnipeg – Who is their top point getter right now?  Byfuglien, Ladd, Wheeler, Kane, Little?  (It’s Ladd.)  Can you name anyone else on their team outside of Pavelec?  The Jets are an incredibly poor man’s Bruins with little to no marquee talent, and a bevy of useless players.  And Olli Jokinen has been pretty awful.

Florida – Raise your hand if you’re surprised Florida took a step back.  Wow, no one?  Granted they’ve had injury troubles, but if they didn’t have Huberdeau, they’d be a complete train wreck.

Buffalo – Where do you even start?  They have approximately one and three-quarters legitimate two way forwards in Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek.  No one on the second line wants to match Tyler Ennis’s efforts.  No one in the bottom six is capable of producing any offense.  Jordan Leopold and Tyler Myers have been unexpectedly awful, and Ryan Miller has simply been pretty good, and not excellent.  Oh and probably every single contract is a 5% over-payment at least except for Andrej Sekera and Jason Pominville.  How did this happen?  Every single “this guy, or that guy” decision that was made since 2005-2006 when it came time to renew contracts was made wrong.  Every single one.

Western Conference

Chicago – I’d like to point out that I picked Chicago to win the Central, though more on their division-mates’ struggles than their own talent.  Win some, lose some.  If their bottom six can avoid being an anchor, they’ll go far.

Vancouver – What can you say?  The Canucks are pretty good in all areas and they play in a division that is still pretty weak.

Anaheim – How long is one of their veterans going to be able to drink from the fountain of youth?  I speak, of course, of Saku Koivu, who has 14 points in 15 games.  The last three seasons?  135 in 220.

San Jose – The Sharks are an enigma.  A long winning streak followed by a long losing streak.  They’re actually a lot like the Sabres, somewhat top heavy and no longer being carried by their top line.  Clowe and Havlat need to step up.

St. Louis – I called the Blues to be not as good as last year, and offensively terrifying.  So far they have been both.  They have ten players with double digit points, which is probably the most in the league.  I think they lost more than they thought they would on defense with the departure of Colaiacovo, and Ian Cole has been in and out of the lineup…again.

Phoenix – I was okay with what they did this offseason, booting Whitney, Roszival, Pyatt, and Aucoin and adding Michalek and Sullivan.  I look at their roster and never think they’re going to be any good, and they always are.  There is something to be said for having a team full of players that are good-not-great in all three zones.

Los Angeles – Can’t score, and Quick has been human.  A great recipe to be a bubble team.

Nashville – The leading goal-getter on the Preds has five goals.  Five.  It’s also Colin Wilson, who I screamed for the Sabres to get a few years back.  Their best shooter, Patric Hornqvist has been hurt most of the year and it’s pretty obvious they’re content to play stifling low-scoring games and collect garbage points.

Edmonton – How is this team not scoring goals by the bucket-full?  It doesn’t help that Dubnyk alternates from being a 6’6″ goaltender that is physically impossible to beat, and the worst starter in the NHL.  In five years he might be a brick wall, or he might have bounced around three teams. I have no idea.

Dallas – Derek Roy is okay, Jagr is really good, and Ray Whitney is old.  Alright then.

Minnesota – Wow, look at all the horrible forwards.  And Zach Parise!  Hooray!  I’m surprised Devin Setoguchi hasn’t been better.

Detroit – I was hoping that the departure of Stuart and Lidstrom would make them bad, and I was right!  It doesn’t help that the rest of their division suddenly got a whole lot better.

Calgary – Look at their roster and try not to cry.

Colorado – I thought they would challenge for a playoff spot, although to be fair, that was before they apparently decided that Ryan O’Reilly isn’t part of their future.  Hey, at least I hit on the addition of McGinn being a solid one.

Columbus – Best of luck to Kekalainen, because that roster is awful.

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