Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec 1st NHL Power Rankings

Here are my NHL Power Rankings for Dec 1st 2011. The season is nearly two months old, and there has already been substantial movement up and down the rankings. There have been a number of extended hot and cold streaks, and right now the hottest teams are Boston and Detroit. Dallas and Washington have plummeted in the rankings.

1. Boston (last rank #15): This is currently the best team in NHL who very nearly had a perfect month of November. A scary team.

2. Detroit (last rank #14): Datsyuk is heating up, and now the Wings have won 6 in a row. They snapped Boston's winning streak in what has been a very streaky season for this team.

3. NY Rangers (last rank #6): This team is remarkably difficult to score on, and is getting just enough offense from Gaborik and Richards to win hockey games. Scoring depth is seriously lacking.

4. Pittsburgh (last rank #4): With Crosby back this team is going to be tough to beat. Come to think of it, they were tough to beat even without Sid the Kid.

5. San Jose (last rank #9): Marleau and Pavelski playing great where Havlat has been a disappointment. Just as any other year, the Sharks are a Cup contender, though I don't expect them to win the Cup.

6. Philadelphia (last rank #5): Without Pronger, who is hurt again, this team could have problems. But they have been getting it done and having a decent season, certainly a better season than I would have predicted.

7. Vancouver (last rank #20): Roberto Luongo gets hurt, Cory Schneider jumps in, gets hot, and now the Canucks shoot 13 spots up the rankings. Enjoy the view from the bench Lou...

8. Minnesota (last rank #7): Currently sitting in first place in the NHL as of Dec 1st. They'd be ranked higher if they had not played so many games and had a better goal differential. Mike Yeo is channelling Jaques Lemaire and is running a blatant unapologetic trap. Boo that, but he is squeezing every last point out of his roster.

9. Phoenix (last rank #11): This team is performing far better than I would have predicted. I expected the loss of Ilya Bryzgalov to have a more significant negative effect.

10. St. Louis (last rank #21): This is a solid young team on the verge of an extended period of success. It has been a slow and painful rebuild, but finally the pieces are in place.

11. Florida (last rank #12): Do not expect this to last. Jose Theodore has a 2.29 GAA and a .923 save percentage. This would be his best season in 10 years, so it can only go downhill from here unless he found some quality hair replacement medicine...

12. Chicago (last rank #10): Duncan Keith is having a Jeckyl and Hyde season. Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Hossa having quality seasons, but it starts to drop off significantly after that.

13. Toronto (last rank #17): The team is winning hockey games, but their goal differential is suspect. No team ranked higher has a worse goal differential. Reimer expected back soon.

14. Buffalo (last rank #8): Perhaps what has been overlooked in the whole Ryan Miller drama is that he had actually been having a bad season at the time of his injury. Jonas Enroth has been pretty good as his replacement.

15. Los Angeles (last rank #18): Outside of Kopitar and Richards, this offense is seriously underachieving. They should be scoring a lot more goals than they have been and owe a lot of their early success to great goaltending, which is slowly cooling off.

16. Dallas (last rank #1): Ouch. Kari Lehtonen out 3 weeks. Talk to me after 3 weeks of Andrew Raycroft and I'll bet Dallas will be ranked lower than 16th in those rankings. It can't get better with Raycroft. Injuries have derailed what was a phenomenal start to the season for Dallas.

17. Edmonton (last rank #3): It didn't take long for Edmonton to start slipping. Their early success was due largely to unbelievable numbers by Khabibulin, who has regressed back towards his normal expected production. Come on man, he wasn't going to win the Vezina!

18. Nashville (last rank #13): This team is having too much trouble scoring for an extended run of success. They need production from deeper down their bench.

19. Washington (last rank #2): F**k, that was a f**king rapid decline from what started as a great f**king season. They fell 17 f**king spots in the rankings in less than 3 weeks since Bruce f**king Boudreau had his episode with Ovechkin on the f**king bench. I'm almost f**king willing to bet that Ovechkin and Semin have been intentionally f**king tanking in an attempt to get f**king Bruce f**king fired.

20. New Jersey (last rank #19): This has been a consistently below average team for the first 2 months. Zach Parise is having a quietly bad season, as this team needs more out of him if they are to even have a sniff at the playoffs. David Clarkson has 7 goals, Kovalchuck has 4. Not acceptable.

21. Ottawa (last rank #25): As of right now they have squeaked into the 8th seed in the East. Far better than I would have predicted after the first 2 weeks of the season. Karlsson has been their MVP to this point.

22. Montreal (last rank #24): Slowly improving, but they are not a legit contender. They overachieved last season, and have more or less been properly achieving this season.

23. Tampa Bay (last rank #16): Dwayne Roloson has become a problem. This team needs to get solid goaltending to be what they were last year in the playoffs. Things are not looking good for team. They could really use a Roberto Luongo.

24. Colorado (last rank #22): The season started out so great, but it has come crashing back down to earth. They gave up way too much for Varlamov. This team does have some quality building blocks, but that Stastny contract is an albatross and soon they will have to pay Duchene.

25. Calgary (last rank #23): The Flames have scored the 2nd fewest goals in the NHL this season and are below .500 despite getting good goaltending from Kiprusoff.

26. Winnipeg (last rank #27): No NHL franchise increased their value more in the last year (according to Forbes) than the former Thrashers now Jets by moving from Atlanta to Winnipeg. If only the team was doing better, then this would be a greater story.

27. Carolina (last rank #26): Kirk Muller, we'll see what he can do behind the bench. There is talent in that there roster, a team that was significantly underachieving under Maurice. The coaching move made perfect sense.

28. Anaheim (last rank #29): Will the arrival of Bruce Boudreau turn this team's fortune's around? When you look at that roster, this team should be performing far better than they have been, and thus the firing of Carlyle was justified.

29. NY Islanders (last rank #28): Tavares slowed down considerably and now this team has returned to pathetic status.

30. Columbus (last rank #30): They suck.

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