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TWC Power Rankings 2021: Week 9

Welcome back to the new and improved 2021 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.

We got some excellent feedback over the course of last season from our readers as to how we could improve this model moving forward. We have slightly altered the weightings of the statistical categories, but also added a large recency component to make sure that each week the teams that are riding hot streaks are more appropriately demonstrated in the rankings. 

Additionally, due to the 2021 NHL Season realignment, we have broken down teams into their respective divisions while also maintaining their league ranking.

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.

Central Division

RankChangeTeamTeam NameLast WeekRecordTWCScore
Carolina Hurricanes3-0-020-6-1841.8
Florida Panthers3-0-018-5-4832.4
Tampa Bay Lightning2-1-019-5-2814.7
Dallas Stars2-1-19-9-6679.4
Chicago Blackhawks1-2-014-10-5658
Columbus Blue Jackets1-1-211-12-7613.9
Nashville Predators0-2-111-16-1589
Detroit Red Wings1-1-18-17-4544.6

After rattling off eight straight victories, the Carolina Hurricanes rise to the number one spot in the TWC Power Rankings. The margin between the top three teams this week is unbelievably close, with Carolina holding the slight edge over the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders. The Canes are second in CF%, ninth in xGF%, fifth in SCF%, sixth in HDCF%, and fifth in SV%. They are, to put it plain and simple, an extremely well rounded team.

A team to look into a bit more in the Central Division would have to be the Dallas Stars. Due to COVID, the team has only played 24 games, which is the lowest in the division at this point in time. Although they are 9-9-6, the team has some interesting underlying numbers. Ranked eighth in CF%, 3rd in SCF%, and seventh in HDCF%, the Stars have the makings to be at least a playoff team. They have been hurt by injuries, but easily a team to watch over the next few weeks.

East Division

RankChangeTeamTeam NameLast WeekRecordTWCScore
New York Islanders4-0-019-6-4831.7
Washington Capitals3-0-017-6-4780.2
Pittsburgh Penguins3-0-017-9-1756.7
Boston Bruins1-1-114-7-4729.2
Philadelphia Flyers1-2-013-9-3679.2
New York Rangers1-2-011-12-3637.3
New Jersey Devils0-2-28-13-4567.3
Buffalo Sabres0-2-16-16-4519.9

The East Division is heating up. The top three teams in this weeks TWC Power Rankings all went undefeated going a combined 10-0-0. The Islanders, as previously mentioned, were a close third overall and have now won nine straight games. They have the second ranked xGF% and HDCF% in all situations, and also hold the best team SV% in the league. Our model, and their play, make them a no brainer to take over the number one spot at some point.

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are currently on four and five game win streaks respectively. What’s interesting is both teams hold two games in hand over the Islanders, but remain far in terms of TWCScore. The recency portion of our model would give the Islanders the slight edge, but the Capitals and Penguins are also getting bogged down by low SV% numbers. The two teams are 23rd and 20th in the league, which simply is hurting their positioning here, but enough to get them the wins they need in the standings.

North Division

RankChangeTeamTeam NameLast WeekRecordTWCScore
Toronto Maple Leafs1-3-019-9-2748.4
Winnipeg Jets2-0-117-8-2736.5
Edmonton Oilers3-1-018-12-0730.4
Montreal Canadiens1-2-112-8-7695.5
Calgary Flames2-0-013-12-3695.5
Vancouver Canucks2-1-013-16-2620.1
Ottawa Senators1-3-010-20-1540.7

In the North Division we have spent a lot of time discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs, who took a bit of step back after going 1-3-0 last week. The more interesting battle here is between the rest of the teams.

Starting with the Winnipeg Jets, they were able to severely close the gap on the Maple Leafs and now sit only four points back of them with three games in hand. In our model, the Jets are getting carried by their seventh ranked SV%, but don’t rank in the top half of the league in any other categories in all situations. A head scratcher for sure.

The Oilers sit side by side with the Jets in the standings, but also have three more games played which will change. The Oilers have the ninth ranked xGF% and eight ranked HDCF%, which has a huge Connor McDavid influence attached to it, but there has been some depth contribution. A 3-1-0 week, due in large part to their dominance over the Senators, has them moving up.

The Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames actually had to be differentiated by a hundredth of a decimal point this week. After completing a two game series, that the Flames swept, being this close is crazy to see after each team’s respective starts. Two new coaches, and two different looking teams so far, need a bit more sample size before determining just what exactly each team is supposed to be.

West Division

RankChangeTeamTeam NameLast WeekRecordTWCScore
Minnesota Wild4-0-017-8-1807.4
Vegas Golden Knights2-2-018-6-1797.5
Colorado Avalanche3-1-016-8-2787.6
St Louis Blues0-1-214-9-5673
San Jose Sharks3-0-011-11-3671.5
Los Angeles Kings1-2-111-10-6636.9
Arizona Coyotes1-2-112-12-4626.6
Anaheim Ducks1-3-08-15-6552.6

The Minnesota Wild used four straight victories to move past the Vegas Golden Knights in our rankings this week. The Wild actually have underlying numbers, such as the top ranked HDCF% team in addition to fourth in SV%, SCF%, and xGF%. Their CF% is a bit behind the pack, but that doesn’t really hurt them too much when taking into account the rest of the factors. The Wild are legit this season.

The top four teams in the West have once again distinguished themselves from the rest of the pack this week. San Jose is the only one that made things look close, thanks to a three game win streak and the fact that the St. Louis Blues have some struggling underlying numbers. In the standings the Sharks sit eight points behind the Blues with three games in hand. It’s not impossible, but would be a bit of a long shot.

Have any suggestions for the TWC Power Rankings for next season? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Are you surprised where your team landed this week? Let us know at @wincolumnblog.

All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

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