Every Monday until the end of the season, Hockey Prospectus will provide updated Player Power Rankings for the top 10 skaters and top five goalies in the NHL based on HP's proprietary value metric, GVT, a statistic that combines player contributions in all aspects of the game, including defense and the shootout.
On the strength of a thoroughly dominating week for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Sergei Bobrovsky enters the goalie ranks, rising to No. 2 on the list behind Craig Anderson, who may not remain in the pole position for much longer unless he soon returns from injury. In terms of skaters, Sidney Crosby retains the top ranking while Chris Kunitz climbs to No. 2 (from No. 4) and Patrick Kane jumps to No. 3 (from No. 8).
Player Power Rankings: Skaters
are through March 17.
Over the last three seasons, Crosby has played only 92 games and
has scored 150 points, which translates to 134 points over a full 82-game
season, a feat no player has managed since Mario Lemieux's 161 points way
back in 1995-96.
SIt's easy to give all of the credit for Kunitz' success to
Crosby, and there's a fair amount of truth to it: Of the 15 goals Kunitz
scored or assisted on in March, Crosby was involved in 14 of them.
Kane is having a great season, but he's been helped by his
circumstances. Four of his 15 goals have either come on 5-on-3 power plays or
in empty nets, giving him an unnatural 19.7 shooting percentage.
Staal has been a monster at even-strength: He ranks second in
the NHL with 29 even-strength points (behind Crosby's 32), and has done so in
less ice time, giving him 4.14 even-strength points per 60 minutes, the top
mark in the league.
Sometimes the bounces just go your way: Getzlaf has scored 10
goals on 58 shots after scoring just 11 goals on 185 shots last season. Plus,
he has gone 3-for-4 in the shootout this season.
Tampa Bay Lightning
There's been a subtle weakness to Stamkos' play this season:
penalties. He's taken nine non-offsetting minors and drawn only six, a
surprisingly poor ratio for a high-scoring forward.
New York Islanders
Thanks to Tavares, the Islanders are closer to the playoffs than
they've been since 2007, when they snuck into the eighth position in the East
(they're currently ninth).
Not only is Letang dominating the defensemen scoring charts, but
he's also doing so by racking up non-power-play points; only 25 percent of
Letang's points have come with the man advantage versus 52 percent for the
next 10 top-scoring defensemen.
St. Louis Blues
Now two years removed from the trade of Stewart and Kevin
Shattenkirk for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a first-round draft pick, it
seems pretty clear that the Blues came out ahead.
When Neal was in Dallas from 2008-09 to 2010-11, the Penguins
power play averaged 16.7 percent. Over the last two seasons, it has averaged
21 percent, and Neal has scored 26 of the team's 84 power-play goals during
Player Power Rankings: Goalies
are through March 17.
It's unlikely that Anderson can retain his GVT crown if he
doesn't return within the next few weeks, as others are nipping at his heels.
He's now been injured for four weeks and counting.
Columbus Blue Jackets
In one of the most dominant weeks imaginable, Bobrovsky stopped
115 of 117 shots (an astounding .983 save percentage) and managed to salvage
four of six points even though his teammates scored a grand total of three
goals over three games.
Rask is one of the main reasons why Boston's penalty killing has
been the best in the league; he has stopped 61 of 65 shots (.938) at 4-on-5,
though it also helps that his teammates give up 25 percent fewer shots than
the average penalty-killing unit.
San Jose Sharks
If the Sharks make the playoffs, the team's defensemen and Niemi
can give themselves a pat on the back, as San Jose currently ranks 29th in
offense but sixth in combined defense plus goaltending.
New York Rangers
After an excellent 2011-12 season, the Rangers are back to their
pre-2011 form: A below-average offensive team that relies on Lundqvist to
bail it out.