Welcome to Week 7 of the TWC Power Rankings! Here at TWC, we use a statistical model to effectively rank teams on a week to week basis. The model takes into effect winning percentages, CF%, SCF%, HDCF% as well as SV%. Each statistical category is weighed and scored differently, giving each team a unique TWC Score that determines their ranking after each week. The formula puts the highest emphasis on winning percentages over other statistics. All numbers are taken in all situations, to incorporate special teams into the fray. Don’t like where your team is ranked? Unfortunately, they will have to turn it around on the ice, as we take zero personal opinions into effect.
After a few weeks of limited movement, the latest edition of the TWC Power Rankings comes with tons of fluctuations. Last week’s number one team couldn’t stay at the very top, and a entirely new team has clawed its way into the top five. Lots of teams in the middle of the pack have swapped places, while the rock-bottom teams have truly started to settle in. Week 7 of the TWC Power Rankings, right here:
|1||+1||Tampa Bay Lightning||3-1-0||17-6-1||693.6|
|3||-2||Toronto Maple Leafs||2-2-0||16-8-0||682.0|
|9||-1||San Jose Sharks||1-1-1||12-8-4||648.9|
|12||-8||Columbus Blue Jackets||1-2-0||13-8-2||638.3|
|13||+3||Vegas Golden Knights||3-1-0||12-12-1||621.8|
|17||–||New York Islanders||2-1-0||12-8-2||608.9|
|18||-3||New York Rangers||2-2-0||12-10-2||598.7|
|20||–||New Jersey Devils||1-1-1||9-10-3||595.6|
|26||+2||Detroit Red Wings||1-1-1||10-10-3||563.1|
|28||-1||St Louis Blues||1-3-0||8-11-3||553.0|
|29||+1||Los Angeles Kings||2-2-0||8-14-1||537.1|
Power Ranking Notables
After a brief two weeks hiatus, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reclaimed their spot atop our rankings, followed extremely closely by the Nashville Predators. These two teams have truly established themselves as the gold standard in our power rankings, as they both have yet to fall outside the top five at any point this season.
Although the Predators got the edge in the head-to-head match-up last week, the Lightning get the slightest boost in TWCScore as they hold the advantage in CF%. That being said, with identical overall records to take the one-two spots in the NHL standings, you can’t go wrong with either team.
Our number one team last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs, took a small step back to third place. A 2-2-0 week isn’t terrible, but the aforementioned Predators and Lightning boast better winning percentages. What is working for the Leafs are their underlying statistics.
They currently sit tenth in CF%, fifth in SCF%, third in HDCF%, and second in SV%. The Leafs are well-rounded, and are still missing key players to their lineup. Although the Lighting and Predators are the de facto top-of-league teams, it may be time to add the Leafs to this list.
Rounding out the top five are the ever-consistent and spectacularly quiet Minnesota Wild at fourth and the surging Buffalo Sabres at fifth. It is safe to say no one, and I mean no one, saw this coming from the Sabres this season. Currently on a nine game winning streak and holding the third overall spot in the NHL, some may be quick to judge the fact that this team isn’t at the top of our rankings.
Totally valid point. The TWC Power Rankings take into account a handful of statistical categories, and in a league with such high parity, a few weak stats can drag a team down. They are trending in the right direction though, as the majority of their stats are increasing week-to-week, but they only sit inside the top ten for one statistical category (SV%).
If they continue their current trend, their shortcomings will naturally improve. For the time being, this team is extremely fun to watch, on an amazing run, and have 100% earned a top five ranking.
We would be remiss if we didn’t touch on the Calgary Flames this week. The Flames were able to go 3-1-0 this past week, and in their three wins they completely dominated their opponents. In their loss, they were shutout by the Golden Knights. Surely a week this good would elevate them back into the top ten? Unfortunately not.
The Flames only moved one spot this week, up to eleventh, which is surprising. The team sits fourth in CF% and SCF%, but sit outside the top ten in both HDCF% and SV%. Mike Smith‘s struggles have cost the team wins, but also some spots in our rankings.
It’ll take some quality starts from Smith before Calgary’s overall ranking won’t be anchored by their SV%. David Rittich‘s strong performance is muted by his partner at the moment, and an eighteenth place in SV% is really hindering the Flames ability to jump up further.
Moving down the list we see the Colorado Avalanche jump way up into the top ten, and the Pittsburgh Penguins bounce back from a sharp drop. The Dallas Stars fell to 19th, but weren’t quite the biggest loser this time around.
Looking towards the bottom of the list, the Pacific Division still occupies the bottom three rankings. The Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, and Los Angeles Kings seem to find themselves fighting for the bottom position.
As we have mentioned in the past, although the Canucks and Ducks are higher in the standings, all three teams possess absolutely atrocious statistics that cause them to fall that far down our list. Sharing the lowest ranked spots in several categories, these teams need more than a winning streak to climb up the basement stairs.
Biggest Gainer and Loser
Gainer: Washington Capitals (+9)
The defending Stanley Cup champions are finally starting to find their groove. Found often in the bottom half of the rankings, the Capitals strung together four consecutive wins this past week to jump up nine spots. This massive move can obviously be attributed to the win streak, but don’t discount their improvement in SV%.
Easily their best statistical category measured in our model, having Braden Holtby somewhat return to Vezina form is promising for Washington. They still have plenty of opportunity for improvement, but their most recent streak puts them first in the Metropolitan division for the time being.
Loser: Columbus Blue Jackets (-8)
The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t have an overtly terrible week, in fact they only went 1-2-0 in the three games they played. Unfortunately after making such a huge jump last week going 3-0-0, they are a product of their environment this time around and fall eight spots.
Their lead atop the Metropolitan was short lived thanks to the Capitals’ surge, but they are just one point behind with the same number of games played. Their drop in the rankings; however, were due to them actually taking a step back across all statistical categories in the model.
They fell out of the top ten in terms of HDCF% and SCF%, and tumbled a few spots in CF% and SCF%. This most likely contributed towards their fall in these rankings, but they still remain a very good team with tons of upside moving into the rest of the season.
What are your thoughts? Are you surprised where your team landed this week? Let us know at @wincolumnblog.
TWC Power Rankings:
All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.