Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Post Trade Deadline NHL Power Rankings

The trade deadline passed yesterday, making it time for an updated power rankings. The previous rankings were done shortly after the all-star break based on a formula of PTS per game, goal differential, and PTS in the last 10 games. Personal bias is not a factor, this is a mathematical equation. We shall see how things work out after the deadline. The 2012 NHL trade deadline was boring and a major disappointment.

 1. NY Rangers (last rank #2): It would be safe to start engraving Henrik Lundqvist's name on the Vezina trophy. The team is probably smart not to have paid the hefty price for Rick Nash. They aren't deep enough at D to move one of their young guys for Nash, so perhaps the best deal they made was making no deal at all. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. They do have some trouble scoring.

 2. Vancouver Canucks (last rank #4): Kassian might end up being a good NHL player, but he's not Milan Lucic, and Cody Hodgson has been a valuable contributor on the team this season. The deal does not improve the Canucks this season, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to punt backwards if your window is right now. Most of the callers to Vancouver sportstalk radio yesterday afternoon were upset that Hodgson was moved, but I'm sure all Kassian needs to do is fight a few times, score a goal or two, and women will start throwing their underwear at him.

3. Detroit Red Wings (last rank #3): Detroit is not even a .500 team when Datsyuk is out of the line-up, but he should be back soon. The Wings did not make a significant deadline deal, except unloading Mike Commodore and recalling blue chip prospect Brendan Smith from the AHL. Kyle Quincey counts as their deadline deal, and that did fill a significant need. As a Wings fan I was hoping they would be able to get a serviceable forward who could score a few goals in the playoffs. Steve Simmons Tweeted "When the Red Wings give away a defenceman, you usually don't want him. See Bret Lebda." Steve, they also gave up Kyle Quincey for nothing then paid a 1st round pick to re-aquire him.

 4. St. Louis Blues (last rank #5): If Halak and Elliot were not splitting time, either one of them would be in contention to win the Vezina. As it stands, they may have to settle for the Jennings. If you can figure out how to score on this team, they are beatable, but that is easier said than done. All they did at the deadline was move minor league goalie Ben Bishop for a 2nd round pick. Again, if it ain't broke...

 5. Boston Bruins (last rank #1): Slipping. This team had been lights out for most of the season, but suddenly they are struggling. Krejci (2), Lucic (5), and Seguin (5) have combined for 12 PTS in 36 combined GP in Feburary. 0.3 PTS per game avg from those 3 guys in the last month does a lot to explain the team's dip.

 6. Pittsburgh Penguins (last rank #8): I thought they would add a player at the deadline as they often do, but with Malkin carrying this team on his back and running away with the MVP, who do they need?

 7. Nashville Predators (last rank #6): A 1st round pick is a heavy price to pay for a Paul Gaustad rental, but him in addition to Hall Gill and another Kostitsyn they probably did the most to improve their team in the short term. Steve Simmons did Tweet "Don't know what the question is but the answer is never two Kostitsyn brothers." The team was likely trying to send a message to Suter and Weber that they are committed to winning. As a Wings fan, I'm not happy that the two teams are currently slotted to play in the first round of the playoffs.

 8. Phoenix Coyotes (last rank #19): Wow, this is one of the hottest teams in hockey and adding Antoine Vermette only makes them better. And yet, I'd be willing to wager money that they do not win a playoff series. I'm not a Mike Smith believer, even if he has put together some impressive stretches this season.

9. Philadelphia Flyers (last rank #7): Slowly slipping. They might win a playoff series, but I don't have much confidence in this team. They are sticking with the philosopher poet Ilya Bryzgalov, which seemed to surprise some people, but honestly what choice did they have? With that monster contract, you either live by the Bryzgalov or die by the Bryzgalov (ponder that one Ilya). Personally I'd rather give Bobrovsky the majority of starts.

10. Ottawa Senators (last rank #22): This has been quite the roller coaster season for Sens fans. Two weeks ago people were starting to write them out of a playoff spot, and since then Erik Karlsson may have clinched the Norris trophy and personally turned the team around. Jason Spezza has experienced a resurrection. Ottawa has been trying to sell Spezza for the last two years and could not find a buyer. They aren't selling anymore.

11. New Jersey Devils (last rank #11): This is going to be a difficult team to play in the first round, even if they did overpay for the services of Marek Zidlicky (whose last name sounds like a sexually transmitted disease). Having said that, Zidlicky happens to be on my fantasy team, so here's to hoping he shoots the lights out in Jersey!

12. Dallas Stars (last rank #15): They just keep hanging around, and a strong week by Kari Lehtonen in the absence of Jamie Benn has them holding on to a playoff spot in a heated race for 8th in the West. They were never really sellers, they need a playoff spot for the revenue. $9 lower bowl tickets? Jesus Christ, I'm considering moving to Dallas...

 13. San Jose Sharks (last rank #9): If Daniel Winnik is the answer, what is the question? Some people really like TJ Galliardi, but Jamie McGinn is a steep price to pay. This team has a chance to win 1 or 2 rounds in the playoffs, but the window for Thornton and Marleau is starting to close. If they want to hoist a Cup, it had better be sooner rather than later.

14. Colorado Avalanche (last rank #28): They are on fire, and the young guys are clicking. Downie has been channeling his inner Stamkos since arriving in the Rocky mountains. They are currently sitting in 9th place, otherwise tied with 8th place Dallas. O'Reilly, Landeskog, and Jones deserve a lot of credit. Could be a playoff team. Traded Winnik and Gallardi for Jamie McGinn. Great move.

15. Chicago Blackhawks (last rank #10): I don't think this team is winning a playoff series, despite their solid core. Unless Cory Crawford starts stopping pucks, they aren't going anywhere. They did not make any significant deals, so they are going to plow forward with what they've got.

16. Washington Capitals (last rank #13): This team absolutely sucks right now, aside from winning 2 games in a row. The Caps beating the Maple Leafs on Saturday seems to have had a traumatic effect on my Leaf fan buddy. The turtle race for 8th in the East currently favours Washington over Toronto.

 17. Florida Panthers (last rank #16): Not a team I like. If they make the playoffs, they will lose in the 1st round. Jerred Smithson and Wojtek Wolski aren't going to change that.

18. Anaheim Mighty Ducks (last rank #25): Were Perry and Getzlaf ever really available? Probably not, but they are better and in contention. Jonas Hiller seems to have finally recovered from his vertigo and the team is winning hockey games. The GM was likely trying to light a fire under his players with that trade talk earlier in the season, but I never believed Perry or Getzlaf were going anywhere.

19. Los Angeles Kings (last rank #14): Is Jeff Carter the answer? For Jack Johnson and a first round pick, he better be. The Dustin Brown rumours never made any sense, as he's a bargain at $3.2M. Teams should not be looking to move great contracts, especially if they fancy themselves a playoff contender.

20. Winnipeg Jets (last rank #24): Not sure why the Jets would move Johnny Oduya when they are in playoff contention. That deal did not improve the team this season, bringing in a 2nd and a 3rd pick next year. That being said, holding on to Oduya wasn't going to win them a playoff series, and unloading him is not going to make a difference in their hunt for a playoff spot. So on some level, it does make sense. A 2nd and 3rd is a nice price, but do you want a backwards move if you want to win right now?

21. Calgary Flames (last rank #18): We'll see how it goes. Normally this team is active near the deadline but this year they did nothing (unless you count adding "the Squid" Mike Calamari a few weeks ago). This is a bubble playoff team at best that will not win a round if they manage to squeeze in.

22. Toronto Maple Leafs (last rank #12): I had been led to believe that Keith Aulie was really good and a future star. Aulie being shipped out of town was a bit of a shock, but they had to move a D man and he was going to be tough to re-sign. Better to move Aulie than Schenn, and at least Ashton Kucher (err Carter Ashton) is a power forward with medium offensive upside. Thought Burke would do more. Playoffs are a must, this team has holes, and Burke did nothing. Not smart. Leaf Nation may slowly be starting to turn on the beloved Burkie.

 23. Carolina Hurricanes (last rank #27): Getting better playing well under Muller. They will win some games against teams fighting for a playoff spot, but this is not itself a playoff team. They do have several good young players, so the future is much brighter for Canes fans than say the good people of Columbus.

 24. Montreal Canadiens (last rank #20): I hate to splash cold water in the face of Habs fans who were Tweeting all sorts of Scott Gomez trade ideas, but not going to happen. That is one of the worst contracts in hockey. Sniff the smelling salts people. It was stupid to acquire him in the first place, and finding a sucker (err buyer) to take him off your hands is about as likely as receiving that million dollar cheque from Kenya you've been eagerly anticipating.

 25. Buffalo Sabres (last rank #29): Big winners on deadline day. A 1st round pick for Gaustad? Great. Cody Hodgson, smart add. This team should want to start winning soon and are in a position to contend for a playoff spot next season. Hindsight being 20/20, that Ville Leino contract was a bad idea.

26. Tampa Bay Lightning (last rank #21): Steve Yzerman loaded up on depth D men. Okay, hopefully this makes them better but they needed a goalie bad. Roloson is a nightmare. Steve Stamkos is ridiculously good, but I'm giving the Hart to Malkin (sadly I don't have a vote, but I should have a vote).

27. Minnesota Wild (last rank #17): How the mighty have fallen. The Wild were in first place in the NHL in late November, but the wheels have popped off the bus. This isn't even a playoff team, let alone the best in the league. I'm almost ashamed to have declared Yeo coach of the year in early December. Right now the Jack Adams is up for grabs.

 28. Edmonton Oilers (last rank #23): Hemsky, 2 years $10 million dollars. Okay, whatever floats their boat, but that is too much for that guy. Eventually they are going to need to replace Khabibulin, and I'm not convinced that guy should be Devin Dubnyk.

 29. NY Islanders (last rank #26): Struggling, but the team has a future. Nabokov has been playing far better than anyone expected, but they still need a goalie of the future. The number of Dipietro believers must get smaller and smaller every year.

 30. Columbus Blue Jackets (last rank #30): They have set their re-build back 4 years at least. This GM shouldn't have a job in this league. Outing Nash for asking for a trade was a stupid move considering he's still on their roster.

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