NHL Power Rankings, Week 7

We’re at about the quarter marker of the NHL regular season.  Here are this week’s rankings . . .

 

#31 Arizona Coyotes (9-11-2, -9, LW:  21)

#30 Vancouver Canucks (11-13-2, -17, LW:  30)

#29 Los Angeles Kings (8-14-1, -23, LW:  28)

#28 Ottawa Senators (9-12-3, -19, LW:  19)

#27 Edmonton Oilers (10-11-2, -12, LW:  23)

#26 St. Louis Blues (8-11-3, -6, LW:  27)

#25 New Jersey Devils (9-10-4, -8, LW:  25)

#24 Chicago Blackhawks (9-10-5, -17, LW:  24)

#23 Philadelphia Flyers (10-11-2, -13, LW:  22)

#22 Anaheim Ducks (10-10-5, -18, LW:  29)

#21 Montreal Canadiens (11-8-5, -5, LW:  16)

#20 Detroit Red Wings (10-11-3, -12, LW:  17)

The Wings will likely miss the playoffs for the third straight year.  In fact, the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals was the last time they made it past the second round.  With six out of their 10 wins coming after regulation it seems difficult for them to hang with the better teams in the league.  With 60% of the roster well over the age of 25 (and a third of them well over 30) the Red Wings seem several years away from getting back to the glory days.

 

#19 Florida Panthers (9-9-4, -8, LW:  11)

#18 Pittsburgh Penguins (9-8-5, +3, LW:  31)

#17 New York Islanders (12-9-2, +4, LW:  14)

#16 Dallas Stars (12-10-2, +2, LW:  15)

#15 San Jose Sharks (12-8-4, +1, LW:  13)

#14 Carolina Hurricanes (11-9-3, -3, LW:  20)

#13 New York Rangers (13-10-2, -1, LW:  8)

#12 Vegas Golden Knights (12-12-1, -1, LW:  26)

#11 Boston Bruins (13-7-4, +8, LW:  10)

The Bruins have some older vets but are finding a way to inject some youth in with them while staying competitive.  David Pastrnak is tied for the team lead in scoring and is only 22, while Jake Debrusk ranks fifth.  On the defense Matt Grzelcyk (25) and Charlie McAvoy (21) are contributing on the defensive end.  The league is very competitive right now and the only way to stay afloat in the standings is to mix them both.

 

#10 Winnipeg Jets (13-7-2, +12, LW:  2)

Patrik Laine was the second overall pick in 2016 from Finland.  As a rookie he finished second in the Calder Trohpy voting to Toronto’s Auston Matthews.  He’s been a part of a strong run of recent Jets drafts.  On Saturday against the Blues he recorded his seventh career hat trick.  The only player with more before their 21st birthday is Wayne Gretzky.  The Midwest Division is loaded but the Jets should be strong contenders to represent the West come time for the Cup Finals, and young players like Laine are the reason why they will also be for years to come.

 

#9 Minnesota Wild (14-7-2, +12, LW:  9)

#8 Columbus Blue Jackets (14-8-2, +6, LW:  5)

#7 Calgary Flames (14-9-1, +12, LW:  7)

#6 Colorado Avalanche (13-6-4, +21, LW:  12)

#5 Washington Capitals (14-7-3, +10, LW:  17)

#4 Toronto Maple Leafs (17-8-0, +24, LW:  1)

#3 Tampa Bay Lightning (17-6-1, +24, LW:  6)

#2 Buffalo Sabres (16-6-2, +10, LW:  4)

#1 Nashville Predators (17-6-1, +23, LW:  3)

 

Today there is a curious thing.  It seems like scoring is up throughout the league.  It is up, but not as much as it seems.  There is only a 3% increase from last season and we’re only a quarter of the way through.  I wasn’t sure why, though.  For one thing, we have seen teams scoring six and eight goals in a game, and there have already been 27 hat tricks a third of what was all of last season, so a bit ahead of last season’s pace.  I believe it has more to do with more recent seasons:

 

2018-19:  3.09 Goals/Game

2017-18:  2.98

2016-17:  2.77

2015-16:  2.71

2014-15:  2.73

2013-14:  2.74

2012-13:  2.73

2011-12:  2.71

 

After flattening out for five seasons starting in 2016 we have seen an 11.6% increase in scoring over the last two years.  As long as it doesn’t get insane this is a good thing for the league.

 

For starters, while parody – my bad, parity – isn’t a big deal in sports league, style of play matters.  Everyone is playing the same way in the NFL and NBA, which means the ones with the better players in those roles are going to win.  Seven-on-seven drills get boring after a while as to three point shootouts.  The Edmonton teams of the 80’s would have been boring if everyone was built like them.  Nobody else was AVERAGING five goals per game.  Baseball has been at its best when have several different styles.  I’ve written about it before with the NFL and we hear about it with basketball from time to time as well.  Variety is a good thing, and the league is entering a fun time.

 

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