December 11, 2006

NHL 2006-07 Power Ranking Madness Dec. 2006: Skydivedad's December 12th, 2006 Power Rankings......

John Davidson is probably wishing he had stayed in Broadcasting as his St. Louis Blues have the dubious distinction bringing up the rear of the current edition of skydivedad's "As I see it" through December 10th, SportsFilter NHL Power Rankings. The NHL 2006-07 Season is 1/3rd complete and we've been treated to fantastic performances (Sabres keep on ticking despite multiple injuries) and total stinkers (Blues did the impossible and stunk the place up worse then the early season performance of the Coyotes) but based on my super secret master formula (Brownstein Index Theorem Deviant)my spread sheet coughed up this edition. Disagreement and rantings aside here's the results.

30. St. Louis Blues........(27) They threw a party for Brett Hull and forgot they had a hockey game to play. They seem to have forgotten this is the NHL. Look for these guys to be every-ones trading partner soon to bad the cupboard is so barren. They tried to improve this squad in the off season spending a ton of money to no avail. Like I said, this will take awhile.

29. Philadelphia Flyers.......(29) They got a little livelier when Mike Knuble returned but it's not enough to move this team up even as everyone knows a lot of these players will be wearing different team colors shortly. A total housecleaning (long overdue) is in order for this franchise. However they have a couple bright spots in the resurgent play of Nittymaki and young D-men Randy Jones and Jussi Timmonen (younger brother of Predator Star Kimmo).

28. Columbus Blue Jackets...... (22) OK, Hitchcock leaves Philly because he's supposedly burned out on Hockey and shows up in Columbus a few weeks later. Give me a break. They showed some life with Hitch behind the bench occasionally, recording 2 Shutouts recently but not enough to move this team higher with a banged-up Zherdev and moving Nash to RW hasn't been enough to shake him out of this horrific funk. A sinking ship with or without Hitchcock. LeClaire's numbers this year our abysmal 6-12-2 (1 SO) but I suppose Norrena is a pleasant enough surprise with a franchise record shutout streak of 155min. 28sec.. Riding a Four game winning streak could move them higher but then again the schedule doesn't include another Blues team for awhile. Pathetic when your goalie controversy revolves around LeClaire and Norrena.

27. Florida Panthers........(20) Even with the league's 3rd best PP (%20.9) you can't win much when you score 2.5 G/G and your GA/G is 3.16. Is there a more psycho tandem in the pipes then Auld and Belfour, no wonder Classy Joe Nieuwendyk decided the pain of playing for this squad with a bad back just wasn't working out. He's on his way to the HOF. No Bertuzzi, no chance!

26. Phoenix Coyotes.......(30) The addition of Yanic Perrault and Tellvqist combined with a timely benching of Nagy allowed this squad to recently win 4 of 5. Ballard's back on the blueline and Laraque is the Heavy Weight Champ of the NHL. If the Pacific wasn't so talent laden they could move even higher.

25. Los Angeles Kings...... (25) They would be a lot worse if it wasn't for Frolov and Visnovsky. Clouthier hasn't justified the money as of yet and Garon can't stay healthy. Kopitar is a treat to watch but has cooled off recently. Blake the mistake hasn't contributed like management counted on (4g 11a -6+/-) but I can't say that's a surprise.

24. Chicago Blackhawks...... (13) What started out as a dream turned into a nightmare with injuries to Havlat, Handzus (gone for the season) and Khabibulin. Yawney was on a short leash and didn't know it, he's gone. Denis Savard (HOF'er) has recorded at least 1pt. in each game he's coached and won his 1st 3. Havlat came storming back Saturday with 2 goals after missing 19 games and has 7pts. in 2 games. Khabibulin has been looking like the Bulin Wall from 2004 since his return. Bondra joins the squad and they find themselves only 4 points behind Calgary for the 8th spot in the West.

23. Colorado Avalanche.......(17) With a 14 point November Sakic remains the guy to stop in Colorado and having Leopold back has helped but not enough to keep from sliding with Theodore's sore hip and Budaj unable to state a claim as the #1 guy.

22. Vancouver Canucks......(11) Injuries have depleted an already suspect offense (Taylor Pyatt, Shoulder) and a slumping set of Sedin Twins. You can't win without an intact scoring line in this league. They desperately need to make a trade or the playoffs are looking farther away then they thought possible. Luongo can't take them there by himself especially with his recent struggles without some sort of Goal support.

21. Pittsburg Penguins..... (21) Great fun to watch but Fluery has cooled off and a lack of depth and D has this squad treading water. Ekman and Armstrong aren't living up to expectations and John LeClair has been effectively removed with no takers when they subjected him to re-entry waivers.

20. Toronto Maple Leafs..... (16) Injuries to the Captain, a decimated D-Corp and Andrew Raycroft has been less solid recently, maybe even exposed as weak in defense of high shots. Up front, the forward lines are still generating plenty of chances but the scoring slump is team-wide with only a 2-7-1 record in the last 10 games.(Tied with Blues for worse) The top line of Mats Sundin, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov is one of the heaviest in the NHL, if they can't get it together soon kiss the playoffs goodbye. The power play unit has faltered lately as well, with Darcy Tucker unable to build on a once league-leading 12 power play goals. (Hossa 13)On defense, the Leafs continue to bank with Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe, but where is Pavel Kubina (2 assists in 15 games played) He certainly isn't contributing much, despite the high expectations. I'll leave it to you LeafsFilter members to continue the dissection. Still with 31 points on the season they're not out of it yet.

19. Tampa Bay Lighting....... (14) They have surpassed the definition of all show and no go when it matters the most. Lecavilier and St. Louis are hitting stride just as the goal-tending falters. Richards finally scores some goals but his +/- (-6)takes a dive. They can beat a Thrashers Team 8-0 but still only win 3 of the last 4.

18. Ottawa Senators........ (26) Ok Alfredsson gets better then gets hurt again. Redden pushes for an early return from a hammy and gets hurt again(shoulder). Emery looks like the 2nd coming and hurts his glove hand. They win 3 of 4 to start a nice run then get blown out by the likes of Columbus and Washington. Yikes....... and I thought they were improving. Spezza and Heatley at least look much better then their early season showing.

17. Washington Capitals........ (14) Kolzig is a big surprise in the pipes so far and the Alexanders despite a small slump by Semin continue the scoring. A complete team they're certainly not but a great improvement over they're recent showings. Get some scoring depth and some scoring defense and a playoff appearance is a small possibility this year.

16. New York Rangers....... (18) Shanny and Jagr an offensive juggernaut enough said, 6-1-3 in the last 10. However all is not as rosy as it seems. Cullen, Prucha are in horrific slumps and way off expectations given last years performances. Ozolinsh hasn't produced at all from the Blueline. The good news is Kasparaitis and Thomas Pock replaced Ozolinsh and Rachunek on the Blue Line depth chart. Still need some better D.

15. Boston Bruins....... (28) What an incredible performance by Zedeno Chara and Tim Thomas to pull this squad this high in the standings. (8th in the East, 6th based on games in hand). The Thomas story is the feel good story of the year out East so far. He's playing like a legit #1 guy in the pipes.

14. Minnesota Wild....... (3) How quick the mighty can fall in this league. Is this a team that needs Pavol Demitra (6g,12a, -9 and 12 PIM) and Marian Gaborik (4g,3a, 7pts, -3 and 4 PIM) to be healthy in order to win consistently, or perhaps this is just a team that had a hot start and whose recent performance is a better indication of the real Minnesota Wild Squad. If Fernandez stays this inconsistent they're in big trouble. Stay tuned for further developments.

13. Calgary Flames....... (23) I know my spread sheet says they have moved up nicely but earlier criticism of the lack of offense remain. They're a pathetic 0-10-2 when they cough up 3 goals or more. Without Kiprusoff standing on his head every game they aren't much of a threat. Kiprusoff has been amazing lately after a so-so start and they move up 10 spots.

12. Carolina Hurricanes.... (12) Same old story same old Hurricanes just getting by, grinding on the opposition. Stillman is back finally and they maybe get this train rolling. Brind A'mour has kept them in the game for now but they'll eventually need some help because with Cam Ward (13-8-3; 2.98 GAA; .893 SV%) and John Grahame (2-4-1; 3.01 GAA; .902 SV%), the Canes goalies are 20th in GAA (3.07) and 24th in save percentage (.892). That's just not going to get it done.

11. New York Islanders...... (24) Fantastic job Coach Nolan, even with Yashin out for a while Ted Nolan shows once again his 10 year absence from the NHL was an injustice. Viktor Kozlov has filled in nicely so far for Yashin and Sean Hill and Alexi Zhetnik are making it hard to get a good shot on DePietro. Could be trouble for any team come playoff time. My choice for Coach of the Year Honors!

10. Montreal Canadians...... (8) A little slippage in the quality of play and a couple of minor struggles for Huet recently. Look it's real simple for this squad. Get a solid Big Center for your 2nd scoring line (Samsonov and Kovalev need some help) and the Habs can make a deep playoff run.

9. New Jersey Devils..... (7) This squad is 11-1-1 at home but only 6-8-1 away. In another close race for the lead in the Atlantic. Gomez has been a disappointment but some youngster are picking up the slack. (Parise and Zajack) Brodeur has been well Marty like........ Moved past E. Belfour into sole possession of 2nd place on the NHL's all-time wins' list (currently at 463); has tied G. Hall for 3rd on the league's all-time ShO list at 84...Is 5-0-0 in his last 5 starts: 2nd in the league in wins (17) and tied for 1st in ShO with 4.

8. Edmonton Oilers...... (10) The losses of Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and Ryan Smith (broken finger) will probably cause the spread sheet rankings to fall next time I run it and certainly hurts this squad alot. Dwayne Roloson (.920SV% 2.45 GAA) has been holding this team together.

7. Detroit Red Wings.... (15) Despite a horrific PP Unit(14.7%) this team proves that Defensive prowess still has a place in todays NHL. They lead the league in even strenght scoring while giving up a paltry 2.14 Goals per game. Coach Babcock has done a great job juggling the numerouis injuries but Datzsuk and Zetterberg have been MIA most of the season. Linstrom put this team on his back and Hasek has been nothing short of phenominal, his 1.84 GAA is a league best.

6. Atlanta Thrashers....... (5) An 8-0 whopping by Division Rival Tampa dropped this squad 1 place but they're holding on to a 6 point lead in the SouthEast. Hossa lost his scoring lead to a Red Hot Jagr (44pts) but his 42 pts. and a league leading 13 PPG underscores this potent offense. Kari Lehtonen (13-6-5; 2.90 GAA; .906 SV%) has certainly been a tad inconsistent but he is tied for the league lead in shutouts with 4.

5. Dallas Stars........ (4) Their record is somewhat deceiving. Since their 11-2 start, they have played .500 hockey (going 7-7-2). Take the Phoenix Coyotes off their schedule and they are 5-7-2 and their 2.07 GAA jumps to 2.32, still this team can shut-down any offense and Turco despite a bobble here and there (recently corrected with back to back shutouts) is an elite NHL Goalie. They suffer from a lack of creative offense with Modano leading the team in scoring with a measely 20 pts. 10g 10a. Who won the Lindros pool anyway? Or is his minor absense (bruised foot) not counting?

4. Nashville Predators.....(9) Chris Mason (7-4-2 .916 2.75 1) has stepped up incredibly well in Tomas Vokoun's absense (left thumb surgery) This squad is a complete team in all since of the word and despite losing Arnott they continue to plug in young talent (Radulov). Sullivans injury set them back a bit on their Western swing but they seem to be back on track. With a slim lead over Detroit in the Central should be a contending team the rest of the way.

3. San Jose Sharks.........(6) Cooled off recently in conjunction with the Big Guy's (Thornton 8g 24a -5 and the lowest shooting % of his career .121) let down. In their past six games they have scored only 11 goals and Wilson has been pulling his hair out mixing his lines like a mad scientist. Still with 42 points, only the Sabres and the Ducks have more. Much to my surprise Toskala (14-13-1, 2.54GAA, .909SV%)and Nabakov (8-6-0, 2.04GAA, .924SV%) platooning hasn't been the train wreck I anticipated (yet). I still say when Wilson gets nervous for some offense Nabakov is on the trading block if he isn't already. Despite his no-trade clause!

2. Buffalo Sabres....... (1) They win 2 over the Rangers then get whopped by the Caps. Just a minor blip on the radar or a sign of things to come? Despite a ton of injuries and an occassional slip by Miller (15-3-2, 2.70GAA, .914SV%) they continue to dominate the East and with 46 points they trail only the Ducks for best in league honors. Maxim Afinogenov and Tomas Vanek have both passed the 30-point mark and seem well on their way to career years. Brian Campbell is among the league leaders for defense scoring (20 points, +12). Can't be challenged seriously in the East barring a m
ajor injury or block-buster trade by another Eastern squad.
1. Anaheim Ducks........ (2) Pronger and S. Neidemeyer, this historic Blueline gets it done in a big way. Add JS Giguere and a dominating resurgent Sellanne and presto-chango you lead the league with 52 points. Depth and a dash of young talent bode well for their Cup chances, clearly the Premier Squad in the NHL to date. Doesn't get much better than this folks.

posted by skydivedad to commentary at 05:49 PM - 0 comments

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