NHL Power Rankings

Below you will find my NHL power rankings as of December 2nd, 2016. Here is a quick look at how they were determined.

5v5 – I took teams overall Corsi, Fenwick, shots on goal, scoring chance, expected goals, and actual goal numbers.

Goalie – I took stats like adjusted save percentage, high danger save percentage, and goals saved above average.

Power Play – Corsi, Fenwick, shots on goal, scoring chance, expected goals, and actual goal generation numbers.

Penalty Kill – Corsi, Fenwick, shots on goal, scoring chance, expected goals, and actual goal suppresion numbers.

The shading breaks down like this:

  • Green – Top-10 ranking – Best teams
  • Yellow – 11-20 ranking – Middle teams
  • Red – 21-30 rankings – Worst teams

There is nothing scientific about these rankings. I basically just threw some stats together and weighted 5v5 and goalie stats to have a higher value than special teams.

The weighting is:

  • 40% 5v5
  • 30% Goalie
  • 15% Power Play
  • 15% Penalty Kill

This means that the individual categories do not have the same value. If they did, the weighting would be 25/25/25/25. With the weighting I have below, 5v5 and goalie numbers are more important than power play or penalty kill numbers. The game is mostly played at even strength, so it would be unfair to give equal value to the power play and penalty kill. If I weight each of the four variables below equally:

  • 25% 5v5
  • 25% Goalie
  • 25% Power Play
  • 25% Penalty Kill

Then the final power rankings would be based 50% from special teams play alone, which would be unfair and the rankings would be biased to favor teams with good special teams play.

One can easily argue the weights I used. I just randomly picked them and would completely understand if anyone thinks it should be different.

Here are the Rankings:

The Blackhawks break down like this:

  • 5v5 – Average
  • Goalie – League best
  • Power Play – Poor
  • Penalty Kill – Poor

This is close to how they were last season. Their power play did well last season despite posting poor numbers. This is because they didn’t generate many shots or chances. They held on to the puck and passed up the good shot for the great shot. The power play also gives elite players like Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane more time and space to make plays and get their shot off. Even though they don’t generate much on the power play, those elite players were still able to finish last season. Currently, they are 17th in power play percentage, so their output better compares with the stats this season than last season when they performed well despite poor numbers with an extra skater.

The penalty kill has been a dumpster fire for some time now. They had the worst penalty kill last based based on the rate of shots against.

5v5 they were close to league average last season as well as this season. A far drop from their usually top-5 rankings in the Stanley Cup years.

The goalie play has been stellar. Crawford has really improved his positioning and angles in recent years to move up from a slightly above league average to an elite goaltender. Darling has put up good numbers so far after last seasons league average performance.

Verdict: The Blackhawks are very similar to last seasons team. They look like a playoff squad, but not the automatic cup contender they have been in the past. Luckily, they’ve been getting the bounces early on this season and have banked many wins making their road to the playoffs a little easier.