Welcome to Week 8 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.
December has arrived. The William Nylander saga is finally over. All is well. That is of course unless your team is currently out of a playoff spot. Week 8 of the TWC Power Rankings, right here:
|1||–||Tampa Bay Lightning||2-1-0||19-7-1||697.2|
|2||+1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3-0-0||19-8-0||685.6|
|11||+1||Columbus Blue Jackets||2-1-0||15-9-2||637.4|
|12||-3||San Jose Sharks||1-2-1||13-10-5||636.7|
|13||–||Vegas Golden Knights||2-1-0||14-13-1||631.5|
|17||–||New York Islanders||1-1-1||13-9-3||609.0|
|23||-3||New Jersey Devils||0-1-2||9-11-5||589.5|
|24||-6||New York Rangers||1-2-1||13-12-3||583.1|
|27||-1||Detroit Red Wings||2-2-0||12-12-3||564.2|
|28||–||St Louis Blues||1-2-0||9-13-3||547.5|
|30||-1||Los Angeles Kings||2-2-0||10-16-1||535.3|
Power Ranking Notables
For the first time since Week 4, the Tampa Bay Lightning have retained their number one ranking. After going 2-1-0, it was a good enough showing to keep the Lightning at the top of our list. They are a top ten team across all of the statistical categories measured, and currently leading the league in points. The Lightning show zero signs of slowing down.
The second and third place teams swapped places since last week. The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken over as the number two team, after going 3-0-0 last week. Because of this, the Nashville Predators have fallen to the third spot on our rankings.
All three teams have been spoken of at length the past few weeks, and to make a long story short: all three of them are phenomenal teams.
Rounding out our top five we have the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames. The Flames will be discussed more in depth below, as they happen to be the biggest gainer, but the Avalanche are a team that continues to impress. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon are the current leading scorers in the NHL. It’s clear that the Avalanche are using a dynamic offence to run teams out of the building. What is more interesting is that they aren’t actually in the upper half of teams in terms of several possession statistics. Save percentage, however; elevates them, where they sit fourth. They may not have the advanced statistics on their side, but their scoring prowess and goaltending are a threat to the whole league.
I think that it is extremely important that we touch on the Carolina Hurricanes. Back in Week 5 we briefly described the strangeness surrounding the Canes, and why they were so high up in our rankings. After placing seventh this week, it is important that we reiterate why this occurs. The Canes may not be high up in the standings, and considered a fringe playoff team at the moment, but they theoretically should be much better. They are currently sitting in first in CF%, SCF%, and HDCF% in all situations. They have a high expected goal rate, and have been able to outplay teams along the way.
The only problem is they have been unable to translate this continued strong play into wins so far this season. Sitting at 12-10-4, and currently 5th in the Metropolitan division, the Canes have some ground to make up, but easily have the talent and play to do so. This has been a constant trend in Carolina the past few seasons, but our rankings are simply giving them more credit as a quality team. That of course doesn’t matter much if they continue to lose close games in which they should come out victorious.
The Minnesota Wild dropped out of the top five after going 0-3-0 this past week. This losing streak also dropped them into a wild-card spot for the time being. I wouldn’t expect their absence from the top five to last very long.
The Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers all gained some ground this week; due in large part to some winning streaks. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, and Pittsburgh Penguins, who all lost ground after a few productive weeks.
The bottom of our rankings is where the most movement occurred. A few teams escaped the bottom five, while others weren’t as lucky. The Chicago Blackhawks joined the bottom five after going 0-4-0 this past week. None of these teams at the bottom have much going for them, besides perhaps the Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson.
Biggest Gainer and Loser
Gainer: Calgary Flames (+6)
As previously mentioned the Calgary Flames made their first appearance in the top five this season. After going 2-0-1 this past week, the Flames now sit atop the Pacific division with games in hand. Ironically, the three games played this past week weren’t their best. They were lucky to get a point against Dallas, they fortunately found the back of the net against the Kings, and held on against the Blackhawks.
They may have faced some weaker competition this week, but their overall game is well rounded enough to earn a top five place. They sit fourth in CF% and SCF%, and finally have been able to win games in which they are the better team. In a weak division, it will be interesting to see if they can hold off the teams below them in the coming weeks.
Loser: New York Rangers (-6)
The Rangers didn’t have themselves a terrible week by any means; going 1-2-1. But unfortunately with other teams making bigger moves, the Rangers simply fell a few more spots.
We haven’t touched upon the Rangers that much this season, but they have been up and down the rankings throughout the weeks. Predicted to have a tougher year, the Rangers have somewhat surprised and are actually in the playoff conversation. They are getting better than average goaltending, as they currently rank 12th in team SV%, but aren’t great at controlling play. Sitting near the bottom of the league in terms of CF%, SCF%, and HDCF%, the Rangers are simply unable to sustain offensive pressure. This by no means should be viewed as them not being able to sneak in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but it’s not a glowing review either. 24th seems a bit low for this team, and I would expect to see them improve in Week 9.
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.