Welcome to Week 9 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.
Minor moves across the board this week, with a few surprises ahead. *prepares for Carolina comments*. Week 9 of the TWC Power Rankings:
|1||–||Tampa Bay Lightning||4-0-0||23-7-1||719.8|
|2||–||Toronto Maple Leafs||1-1-1||20-9-1||676.2|
|7||+6||Vegas Golden Knights||3-1-0||17-14-1||644.2|
|10||+2||San Jose Sharks||2-1-0||15-11-5||638.3|
|14||-3||Columbus Blue Jackets||1-2-0||16-11-2||623.3|
|19||-2||New York Islanders||1-2-0||14-11-3||604.0|
|22||+1||New Jersey Devils||1-1-1||10-12-6||592.4|
|23||+1||New York Rangers||1-0-0||14-12-3||590.4|
|26||+1||Detroit Red Wings||1-1-1||13-13-4||562.2|
|28||–||St Louis Blues||1-1-1||10-14-4||548.7|
|30||–||Los Angeles Kings||1-2-0||11-18-1||536.1|
Power Ranking Notables
Let’s start out with the obvious. It shocking for us too to see Carolina in the top five of our ranking. If it were up to personal bias, they clearly would not be there. As we have mentioned before in past weeks, the advanced statistic darlings (no pun intended) get a massive bump in out model. They still rank first in CF%, SCF%, and HDCF, while also jumping up to 19th in SV%.
Carolina has outplayed many teams and as the season has gone on, they’ve been able to sustain a level of play that the NHL has not seen in the ages. While they aren’t decidedly winning games by any means, their record is good enough to keep them in the hunt (especially in the Metropolitan).
The Hurricanes put up numbers so ridiculously above average that it might take a severe losing streak for them to fall down our list. The padding they’ve put up for themselves in terms of possession elevates them to where they are now.
Back to our regularly scheduled program.
The Tampa Bay Lightning once again retain the number one ranking. Now holding the three-peat crown in the TWC Power Rankings, the Lightning have started to really separate themselves from the rest of the pack. This past week, the Lightning went a perfect 4-0-0. In weeks prior, it was usually a toss up between the top ranked teams, but now it is clear who the number one in our rankings should be.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also retained their second place ranking this go around, even after going 1-1-1. A bit of a surprise to see them stay at number two, even after the blowout against Boston. The Leafs are now at their full NHL roster and simply need time to mesh. Tampa Bay may be the gold standard, but Toronto has the opportunity to challenge that.
Coming in at number three this week is the Calgary Flames. Our biggest gainers last week, the Flames went 3-1-0 over the past seven days, and for the time being hold the best record in the Western conference.
#Flames hold the outright conference lead this late into a season for the first time since January 5, 1993
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 9, 2018
They’ve found success by the means of their first line of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm being in the conversation of one of the best lines in hockey, but have also had other key contributors. Most notably as of late, Mike Smith has backstopped the Flames to several wins.
The Flames earn the third spot using a combination of strong analytics, as well as a red-hot offence (also no pun intended), the Flames look to be challenging for the marker of best team in the west.
Skipping over the seventh and eighth ranked teams, which will be discussed more below, the Montreal Canadiens jumped five spots this week back into the top ten. After going 3-0-0, the Habs have not gone away like many pundits predicted. The return of Shea Weber into their lineup and an improved Carey Price have this team heading in the right direction.
Moving down the list we see the Wild, Sabres, Bruins, and Blue Jackets all fall three spots in perfect sequence, while the Oilers and Penguins meet them in the middle of the back by each jumping up three spots themselves.
The Anaheim Ducks continue to crawl their way out of the basement, even with terrible statistics, after going 2-1-0 this past week. The Vancouver Canucks used an offensive outburst last night, in addition to going 2-1-0, to jump out of the bottom ranking.
That honour now belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks. The team that has absolutely nothing going for them this season. The Blackhawks were the only team in the NHL not to register a single point last week. In addition to bottom five statistical numbers across the majority of categories, the Hawks are currently the worst team in the NHL and on our rankings.
Biggest Gainer and Loser
Gainer: Vegas Golden Knights (+6)
Well, well, well. The Golden Knights appear to have finally arrived. Getting off to a slower start this season, the Knights have been playing some phenomenal hockey as of late. The return of Nate Schmidt cannot be understated. Still dealing with residual injury troubles, the Knights are almost back to 100% capacity. A 3-1-0 week is the main contributor to the massive jump, but the Knights are also sporting fantastic numbers on paper. The Knights are second in CF% and SCF%, third in HDCF%. They are clearly making strides in the right direction, and could eventually find themselves back in the Pacific division conversation.
Loser: Colorado Avalanche (-4)
It’s isn’t quite fair to be the biggest loser, when in fact the Colorado Avalanche are still ranked number eight on our list. Simply the product of an off 1-2-0 week, in addition to other teams pouring on the heat, the Avalanche find themselves with the biggest drop. They are in no way “losers” by any means. They sport the best line in hockey at the moment, and sit one point back of the Flames for the Western Conference lead.
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.