February 6, 2012

WRA 2/6/2012

Weighted Rank Average formula here.

1. Boston (4.29)
2. Vancouver (4.71)
3. NY Rangers (8.86)
4. Pittsburgh (9.14)
5. Nashville (9.29)
6. Detroit (10.14)
7. San Jose (10.71)
8. Los Angeles (13.57)
9. St. Louis (14.00)
10. Edmonton (14.14)
11. Philadelphia (14.43)
12. Montreal (14.86)
13. Toronto (15.00)
14. Phoenix (15.43)
15. Calgary (15.86)
15. Florida (15.86)
15. Washington (15.86)
18. New Jersey (16.00)
19. Dallas (16.71)
19. Minnesota (16.71)
21. Chicago (17.57)
22. Winnipeg (17.86)
23. NY Islanders (18.29)
24. Colorado (18.43)
25. Anaheim (19.14)
25. Ottawa (19.14)
27. Buffalo (21.71)
28. Tampa Bay (22.29)
29. Carolina (23.00)
30. Columbus (28.29)

  • The Bruins are still the best team in the league, though Vancouver is close behind. They're the elite teams in the league right now, and will likely finish the year first and second. I've never seen the top teams so close before.
  • The next level of teams includes the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Detroit, and San Jose.
  • Florida was in this group, but in the past two months have fallen off the chart in nearly every category. Lack of competition in their division means they'll make the playoffs, but they won't get far.
  • Nashville, on the other hand, has steadily improved in both offense and defense to become one of the better teams in the league. They're a very hardworking team and relatively balanced, so I don't believe their success is a fluke or temporary. They could benefit from adding an elite forward, however.
  • The Rangers GF and PP dropped quite a bit in the past two months. Lundqvist can certainly carry this team a few rounds into the playoffs, but they could also benefit from adding a scorer, especially since Gaborik is due for an injury.
  • Detroit's falling score is almost entirely due to suddenly shoddy special teams. Either these will improve, or the rest of the team will follow suit and drop off soon.
  • Philadelphia's goaltending continues to worsen, despite their steady offensive output. If they don't address this serious problem, they'll get killed in the playoffs. Again.
  • Pittsburgh also has goaltending issues. They're 22nd in SV%, a drop from 15th earlier in the year. Somehow, though, their GA has actually improved. The rest of the team is rallying to make up for their subpar goaltender, but without a backstop this pace is unsustainable.
  • Besides the Bruins, there isn't a real threat in the Northeast Division. Montreal has great defensemen, but little else. Toronto and Ottawa have scoring, but little else. Buffalo has little. There will probably be four Atlantic teams in the playoffs this year for that reason.
  • Los Angeles and Minnesota have to find a way to score to be successful. Their goaltending has put both teams in a playoff spot for the time being, but they can't maintain that position while 30th and 29th in scoring, respectively.
  • The Oilers flirted with being one of the better teams in the league, but are now in the middle of the pack. They should be doing slightly better in the standings than they are, or maybe just slightly worse in these stats. It depends if they can improve defensively.
  • Buffalo's decline has been dramatic and pretty much linear. They've gone from being one of the better teams in the league in December to being in the lowest class of teams now. I actually expect this to improve, though I won't be shocked if it doesn't.
  • That lowest class also includes Tampa Bay, Carolina, and the All-Star of Suck, Columbus. There is no hope in Columbus. That's what you get for being a douche, Jeff Carter.
There are few balanced teams in the league right now, even among successful ones. I don't expect Boston or Vancouver to make any major deals, but everyone else has weaknesses that need addressing. Teams that are top-heavy (like Toronto and Washington), bottom-heavy (like Los Angeles and St. Louis), or lack playoff-caliber goaltending (like Chicago and Philadelphia) should make moves before the trade deadline. Other teams, like Pittsburgh, Detroit, and San Jose, have the necessary components, but need to make them work better to win playoff series. These teams may also choose to go the way of trades. The next few weeks will definitely be interesting, and will definitely affect these stats. I'm curious to see how and by whom.