NHL Analytics Power Rankings: 2/17

What goes into this ranking? Shot attempts for percentage, offensive/defensive zone starts, goals for percentage, scoring chances for percentage and puck luck are the elements of this analytic power ranking. Last week’s NHL Analytics Power Rankings can be found here. Keep in mind that based on the 2013-14 NHL season, 13 out of 16 playoff teams ranked in the top 16 of these same analytics power rankings.

Largest change in power ranking from last week: The Chicago Blackhawks had a good week moving up three spots to third overall in the rankings, while Washington Capitals and the Colorado Avalanche fell a total of three spots each.

Teams currently outside the playoffs based on points but in the top 16 in the rankings: The Los Angeles Kings are hot on the heels of the Calgary Flames for the final playoff spot and our prediction would be that at some point they douse the Flames and get in. The Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars are also strong candidates to grab a playoff spot down the stretch.

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Teams currently in the playoffs based on points but outside of the top 16 in the rankings: The Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks are all teams that could see themselves pushed out of a playoff spot as we approach the final game of the season. All of these teams will need to have some good puck luck down the stretch to remain in their current positions.

Biggest differences between power ranking and ranking in the standings: Ducks, Canadiens and Flames are all ranked over 11 spots higher in the standings than they are in these rankings. While the Los Angeles Kings are not doing themselves justice while they currently sit 12 spots lower in the standings than they are in these rankings.

Not all teams ranked lower in analytics are there because of puck luck. As discussed here, it can have a great deal to do with the quality of possession they have for or against. Of these three teams you can expect to see the Anaheim Ducks most likely to defy these rankings and see success in the post season. They rank among the best in the league allowing only 24.4 scoring chances against per 60 minutes. This is how they can get around the possession percentages stack against them. They are also right in the middle of the NHL with 26.1 scoring chances for per 60 minutes.
Puck possession is very important to winning hockey games, however the Ducks have proven that you can still be a middle of the pack team in terms of total shot attempts (50.9%), while still being an elite team. The key is that they are coming out on top in terms of scoring chances against their opponents.
Both Montreal and Calgary are sitting below 47% in terms of scoring chances for. For Montreal their success largely rests with an elite goaltender in Carey Price. For the Flames, they could be in the same situation as the Colorado Avalanche are in next season. The bubble will burst unless some key changes are made in the off season.
Thanks to WAR On Ice for these statistics.

About Mike Burse

Mike will make the numbers make sense in the NHL for Puck Drunk Love.

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