Week 18 was an exciting one in the NHL, both on and off the ice. With big dominoes starting to get taken off the trade watch list, the final stretch of the season is officially on. At this point, the top and bottom groups of the power rankings are mostly solidified, but there’s still room for separation between the mid-pack teams fighting for their playoff lives. Read on to see where your team landed this week.
TWC Power Rankings explained
If you’re new to our power rankings, this is how it all works.
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. This year we have slightly altered the weightings of the statistical categories, but also re-worked the recency component to make sure that each week the teams that are riding hot streaks are more appropriately demonstrated in the rankings.
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.
Have any suggestions for the TWC Power Rankings for next season? Leave us a comment and let us know. Without further ado, this week’s power rankings are below!
Week 18 NHL Power Rankings
|Rank||Change||Team||Team Name||Last Week||Record||TWCScore|
|3||–||New Jersey Devils||3-1-0||37-14-5||769.6|
|4||–||Toronto Maple Leafs||2-1-0||34-15-8||755.2|
|5||–||New York Rangers||2-0-1||33-14-9||754.8|
|6||–||Tampa Bay Lightning||1-1-1||35-17-3||752.3|
|7||+2||Vegas Golden Knights||2-0-0||34-18-4||746.8|
|8||+5||Los Angeles Kings||3-0-0||32-18-7||730.9|
|20||+2||New York Islanders||1-1-1||28-24-7||651.7|
|22||+1||Detroit Red Wings||3-1-0||26-21-8||646.9|
|25||-1||San Jose Sharks||0-3-0||17-29-11||597.1|
|26||–||St Louis Blues||2-2-0||26-27-3||595.7|
|30||+2||Columbus Blue Jackets||2-1-1||18-34-5||552.4|
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Week 18 Highlights
At the top of the pack, the top six is unchanged, with all six teams posting solid records. Combined with their strong underlying metrics, it seems unlikely any of them drops much by the end of the season. It is interesting to note though that even if they didn’t move in the standings here as a result, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ pickup of Ryan O’Reilly certainly strengthened their lineup going forward.
Similarly at the bottom of the standings, the St. Louis Blues didn’t move any spots despite losing one of their top forwards. When the impact of roster changes like these are felt through changes in team underlying metrics, the teams will start to feel these roster moves in the rankings, but for now, it’s interesting to consider subjectively how far these teams could rise or fall as a result of these changes.
With much talk this week on social media about how the top seven teams in the league standing are all in the Eastern Conference, it’s also interesting to see that in the eyes of the power rankings, the Vegas Golden Knights squeak into that top seven despite their record being not as strong as those in the East. This is a result of their exceptional underlying numbers and strong goaltending pushing them ahead of some teams with better records.
Just one spot further down the list is another Pacific Division team, the Los Angeles Kings. A team not widely considered Cup contenders to start the year, their lineup has proven analysts wrong, as they have found themselves in a divisional playoff spot for the majority of the season, and still do. They’re neck-and-neck with the Golden Knights in the eyes of the model, a testament to their strong possession play. That they’ve had the success they’ve had with the league’s second worst save percentage, a dismal 88.3%, is that much more impressive. The Kings are a team to watch going forward.
The most impressive team of the week however was easily the Ottawa Senators. Climbing nine spots, they took down three teams, and lost only once, in extra time against the New York Islanders. The Senators have been rolling lately, persevering through injuries to both their regular goalies. They sit an impressive ninth in the league in terms of high-danger Corsi, and 12th in Corsi. For a team many had already written off, they’re really rolling in 2023. Even if they can’t claw their way in this season, the Senators are a team with a very bright future.
Unfortunately, teams rising always means teams are falling, too. This weeks biggest drop was at the expense of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Posting one win and two losses in an extremely tight eastern playoff race, the Penguins have struggled to secure a playoff spot. They have a top-ten save percentage in the league, but in other categories the model considers they are middling, meaning a few losses will have a bigger impact on their power ranking than another team with stronger metrics who posts the sane record. It’s been a tough year for the perennial contenders, but they still have a good chance at the playoffs. And if they make it, any team with Sidney Crosby is a contender.
Looking at some other playoff contenders in the east, the Washington Capital also fell six spots, and the Florida Panthers fell four. With such a tight race for wildcard spots, it’ll be interesting to see which of these teams can pull up from these slides in time for the playoffs.
On the other side of things in the western conference wild card race, the Oilers fell slightly with three extra time losses on the week. The Nashville Predators also fell, after posting a 1–3–0 record. Luckily for these teams, their main competitors for the wildcard spots also had fairly unexceptional weeks. The Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild did climb the rankings a bit, but not enough to be of any concern to the teams holding down those last playoff spots currently. These battles should make for some interesting rankings down the stretch.
Past 2022–23 Power Rankings
Check here for how teams have done over past weeks and stay tuned for upcoming power rankings.