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January 3, 2012
Team Power Rankings
Postseason Potential

by Timo Seppa

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We're a month further down the road in the 2011-12 NHL season, so it's time to run the Team Power Rankings again.

Let's start with an updated look at the components of GVT for each team. These stats, as well as our current Player Power Rankings are for games through December 31.

Teams by Goals Versus Threshold - January 2012

Rank	Team			GP	Pts	Win%	 OGVT	 DGVT	 GGVT	 SGVT	 GVT
1	Boston Bruins		35	49	.633	 24.6	 4.0	 24.2	 2.0	 55.0
2	Detroit Red Wings	38	49	.583	 18.4	 11.2	 8.7	 1.0	 39.0
3	Vancouver Canucks	39	50	.579	 21.7	 2.5	 7.4	-1.0	 33.0
4	New York Rangers	36	50	.627	 6.8	 6.5	 17.3	-1.0	 30.0
5	Pittsburgh Penguins	38	46	.547	 14.4	 9.2	-3.2	 1.0	 21.0
6	Chicago Blackhawks	38	52	.618	 17.4	 1.9	-5.6	 1.0	 18.0
7	Philadelphia Flyers	36	48	.602	 24.8	 0.6	-8.6	-2.0	 17.0
8	San Jose Sharks		34	42	.558	 2.3	 6.1	 2.6	 3.0	 16.0
9	St. Louis Blues		38	47	.559	-8.6	 15.2	 7.9	-5.0	 10.0
10	Washington Capitals	37	42	.513	 9.1	-0.9	-6.6	-1.0	 2.0
11	Minnesota Wild		40	48	.542	-18.1	-0.2	 16.7	 0.0	 0.0
12	Phoenix Coyotes		39	42	.487	-6.3	-1.6	 4.5	 0.0	-1.0
13	New Jersey Devils	37	43	.525	-5.9	 4.8	-7.4	 7.0	-2.0
14	Winnipeg Jets		38	43	.511	-0.6	-3.2	 3.1	-1.0	-3.0
15	Los Angeles Kings	39	44	.510	-23.3	 4.5	 11.5	 0.0	-4.0
16	Florida Panthers	39	47	.544	-5.3	-0.1	 1.9	-2.0	-4.0
17	Edmonton Oilers		37	33	.403	-1.9	-1.4	 3.6	-2.0	-4.0
18	Nashville Predators	38	44	.523	-6.6	-3.4	 3.4	 2.0	-5.0
19	Toronto Maple Leafs	38	41	.487	 11.4	-8.7	-10.3	 1.0	-7.0
20	Dallas Stars		37	43	.525	-2.9	-6.7	 3.0	 1.0	-7.0
21	Colorado Avalanche	40	43	.486	-7.1	 2.0	-4.1	 6.0	-7.0
22	Calgary Flames		39	41	.475	-11.3	-1.0	 4.5	-1.0	-10.0
23	Montreal Canadiens	39	35	.405	-8.3	 3.2	 0.2	-4.0	-11.0
24	Buffalo Sabres		38	38	.452	-5.6	-4.9	-1.1	 0.0	-12.0
25	Ottawa Senators		39	43	.498	 10.7	-11.8	-15.3	 1.0	-13.0
26	Tampa Bay Lightning	37	37	.452	 1.1	-7.2	-12.3	 0.0	-18.0
27	New York Islanders	36	32	.402	-16.2	-2.2	-4.6	 0.0	-29.0
28	Carolina Hurricanes	40	32	.361	-6.1	-8.7	-15.1	-2.0	-32.0
29	Columbus Blue Jackets	38	25	.297	-13.6	-1.6	-16.6	-1.0	-35.0
30	Anaheim Ducks		37	26	.317	-14.9	-8.3	-9.5	-3.0	-37.0

OGVT: Offensive GVT
DGVT: Defensive GVT
GGVT: Goaltending GVT
SGVT: Shootout GVT
GVT: Total GVT
Stats as of December 31

What's not shown above—why the offensive, defensive, goaltending, and shootout components of GVT don't quite add up to the total—is a factor dealing with empty net goals against.

How's VUKOTA doing?

Teams like Minnesota, Dallas, and Phoenix have started coming back to the pack, and back towards expectations, though we'll still put them all in the overachiever category to various extents. And that's just talking about GVT, not points. Carolina's rallied slightly. Big gainers in team GVT in December were New Jersey and Winnipeg. Big underachievers continue to be Washington (though actually improved on a GVT level) and Buffalo, VUKOTA's two top-ranked squads. But who will surprise over the course of the entire season? We'll have to wait and see.

Team Power Rankings

We're nearly halfway into the season. On a GVT level, you've still got to be wary of hot and cold goaltending performances, and I've worked that into the Team Power Rankings below. Record-wise, squads can also be over- or underperforming what you see by GVT.

1. Boston Bruins, 49 points (.633)
December ranking: 1; Change: +0
Current GVT: 55 (1st); VUKOTA GVT: 17 (6th)

It's not just Tim Thomas (.939). Backup Tuukka Rask (.945) is 12th in player GVT despite limited starts. Oh, and their skaters rank second overall as well.

2. Detroit Red Wings, 49 points (.583)
December ranking: 6; Change: +4
Current GVT: 39 (2nd); VUKOTA GVT: 11 (9th)

The biggest climber in the top half of our board, Detroit's skaters have edged Boston's for tops in the NHL (30.0 skater GVT) after a very productive December (15.1 skater GVT).

3. Vancouver Canucks, 50 points (.579)
December ranking: 4; Change: +1
Current GVT: 33 (3rd); VUKOTA GVT: 19 (5th)

The Canucks (23.9%) continue well ahead of second place Edmonton (20.8%) in power play percentage; they rank sixth in even strength scoring ratio as well (1.21).

4. New York Rangers, 50 points (.627)
December ranking: 2; Change: -2
Current GVT: 20 (4th); VUKOTA GVT: 20 (4th)

A dramatic 3-2 win in the 2012 Winter Classic [not included in the stats shown here] not only keeps the Rangers ahead of the rival Flyers for the Atlantic Division lead, but currently has them tied with the Blackhawks in the President's Trophy race.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins, 46 points (.547)
December ranking: 5; Change: +0
Current GVT: 21 (5th); VUKOTA GVT: 16 (8th)

Evgeni Malkin is seventh in skater GVT (10.6) despite less games played (31) than all the players in front of him. With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup again, Gino has a chance to prove the doubters wrong.

6. Chicago Blackhawks, 35 points (.618)
December ranking: 7; Change: +1
Current GVT: 18 (6th); VUKOTA GVT: 22 (3rd)

Thirtysomething Marian Hossa is leading skaters with 12.7 GVT, one of three Blackhawks in the top 10, along with Toews (11.0) and Sharp (10.7).

7. Philadelphia Flyers, 48 points (.597)
December ranking: 9; Change: +2
Current GVT: 17 (7th); VUKOTA GVT: 8 (11th)

Peter Laviolette went with backup—and former Philly golden boy—Sergei Bobrovsky in the Winter Classic, with mega-signing Ilya Bryzgalov struggling to the tune of a fourth-worst -8.7 GVT among all players.

8. San Jose Sharks, 42 points (.558)
December ranking: 8; Change: +0
Current GVT: 16 (8th); VUKOTA GVT: 17 (6th)

San Jose is a rare good team that hasn't topped 100 GF yet, but there's no cause for concern—they've played a league-lowest 34 games.

9. Washington Capitals, 42 points (.513)
December ranking: 3; Change: -6
Current GVT: 2 (10th); VUKOTA GVT: 42 (1st)

Tomas Vokoun's play has finally rallied to around league average (.914, 4.6 GVT). It's backup Michal Neuvirth's performance (.886, -7.6 GVT) who's killing the Caps in net.

10. St. Louis Blues, 47 points (.559)
December ranking: 11; Change: +1
Current GVT: 10 (9th); VUKOTA GVT: 8 (11th)

The Blues picked up 5 GVT over the course of December under Kent Hitchcock. Nice, but not earthshattering. Their five-on-five play (1.29, 5th in NHL) has come back to the pack a bit.

11. Buffalo Sabres, 29 points (.452)
December ranking: 10; Change: -1
Current GVT: -12 (24th); VUKOTA GVT: 26 (2nd)

Since our last Team Power Rankings, Buffalo's only won three of 12 contests, nosediving in GVT as well as the standings. But the Rankings are staying the course…for now. Silly Rankings.

12. Toronto Maple Leafs, 41 points (.487)
December ranking: 13; Change: +1
Current GVT: -7 (t-19th); VUKOTA GVT: -3 (17th)

Phil Kessel (10.5 GVT) and Joffrey Lupul (10.2 GVT) remain among the top dozen or so skaters, which is about as good as could have been expected. It's sub-replacement level netminding that's been the disappointment for the Leafs—from all three of their masked men. When rookie Ben Scrivens' .904 leads the team, that's not a particularly good sign.

13. Los Angeles Kings, 44 points (.510)
December ranking: 12; Change: -1
Current GVT: -4 (t-15th); VUKOTA GVT: 9 (10th)

Los Angeles is 26th in five-on-five play (0.83 GF/GA)…and yikes, that's despite a .931 even strength save percentage from Jonathan Quick.

14. New Jersey Devils, 43 points (.525)
December ranking: 24; Change: +10
Current GVT: -2 (13th); VUKOTA GVT: -11 (22nd)

Martin Brodeur's .892 save percentage notwithstanding—is this his final season?—New Jersey has rallied, consequently the biggest climber in this month's Team Power Rankings. The Devils are finally respectable again in scoring, up to 21st at 2.55 GF per game.

15. Nashville Predators, 44 points (.523)
December ranking: 14; Change: -1
Current GVT: -5 (18th); VUKOTA GVT: -2 (16th)

They're below average in most stats, but an uncharacteristic 20.3% (3rd in NHL) on the power play. Note that word: "uncharacteristic". Don't hold your breath on that continuing.

16. Winnipeg Jets, 43 points (.511)
December ranking: 25; Change: +9
Current GVT: -3 (14th); VUKOTA GVT: -18 (24th)

The other big leap up the standings comes from surprising Winnipeg, winners of 10 of their last 14 contests. Cool your "jets" a bit, though, as they only picked up 4 GVT in December despite the gaudy record.

17. Calgary Flames, 41 points (.475)
December ranking: 17; Change: +0
Current GVT: -10 (22nd); VUKOTA GVT: 1 (15th)

GM Jay Feaster's been speaking about a lack of consistency on his team, and he may be onto something. After beating Minnesota, Detroit, and Vancouver (a combined 69-39-10, .585 win %) before Christmas, the Flames eked out a shootout win against bottom-feeder Columbus before losing three in a row to the Islanders, Senators, and Preds (a combined 54-46-15, .470 win %).

18. Phoenix Coyotes, 42 points (.487)
December ranking: 19; Change: +1
Current GVT: -1 (12th); VUKOTA GVT: -22 (27th)

As we thought, Mike Smith's come back down to earth a bit, with a -3.8 GVT since we last checked in.

19. Florida Panthers, 47 points (.544)
December ranking: 15; Change: -4
Current GVT: -4 (t-15th); VUKOTA GVT: -19 (25th)

A power play that once improbably ranked first in the league has cooled off to 10th (19.0%), while the Panthers are a below-average team at even strength (0.85 GF/GA, 24th in NHL). That spells mediocre at best.

20. Montreal Canadiens, 35 points (.405)
December ranking: 16; Change: -4
Current GVT: -11 (23rd); VUKOTA GVT: -8 (19th)

With one controversy after another in Montreal, it's shaping up to be a nightmare season for the Habs. They're not horrible, but that's not going to save jobs in the media crucible.

21. Dallas Stars, 43 points (.525)
December ranking: 18; Change: -3
Current GVT: -7 (t-19th); VUKOTA GVT: -12 (23th)

Despite some promising play from rookie Richard Bachmann (.912, 1.1 GVT), the Stars need a healthy Kari Lehtonen to keep their hopes of a playoff berth alive. Unfortunately, they'll probably end up on the outside looking in, yet again.

22. Colorado Avalanche, 43 points (.486)
December ranking: 22; Change: +0
Current GVT: -7 (t-19th); VUKOTA GVT: -19 (25th)

While the Avalanche have "discovered" a netminder—veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere (.926, 6.3 GVT)—Colorado's lackluster scoring (2.51 GF per game, 23rd in NHL) is largely being floated by an above-average power play (19.2%, 7th in NHL). We'll see if that lasts.

23. Edmonton Oilers, 33 points (.403)
December ranking: 21; Change: +2
Current GVT: -4 (t-15th); VUKOTA GVT: -28 (29th)

Remember all of that early season playoff talk? Seems pretty silly now, doesn't it?

24. Tampa Bay Lightning, 37 points (.452)
December ranking: 20; Change: -4
Current GVT: -18 (26th); VUKOTA GVT: -5 (18th)

Tampa's getting clobbered in net, -5.6 GVT in December and fourth-worst overall (-12.3). Only two netminders rank lower than Dwayne Roloson (-9.4 GVT, .882), but they've played a lot more games than the 42-year-old.

25. Minnesota Wild, 48 points (.542)
December ranking: 23; Change: -2
Current GVT: 0 (11th); VUKOTA GVT: -30 (30th)

The Wild, all the way down at #25! Are we nuts? Wait, did we say that in December? A month further into the season, it's starting to make more sense…even to mainstream folks. Minnesota's offense is dead last in the league at -18.0 GVT, and their skaters rank second worst overall. We'll be stopping by to repo Mike Yeo's Jack Adams Trophy voucher next month.

26. Ottawa Senators, 43 points (.498)
December ranking: 28; Change: +2
Current GVT: -13 (25th); VUKOTA GVT: -27 (28th)

A league-worst defensive GVT and a second-worst goaltending GVT can't be a very good mix. Cut. Paste.

27. Carolina Hurricanes, 32 points (.361)
December ranking: 26; Change: -1
Current GVT: -32 (28th); VUKOTA GVT: 6 (13th)

The Canes would just be sort-of horrible with a better season from Cam Ward (-10.3 GVT, .896).

28. New York Islanders, 32 points (.402)
December ranking: 30; Change: +2
Current GVT: -29 (27th); VUKOTA GVT: -10 (21st)

With five wins in their last 12 since we last checked in, the Isles are no longer our bottom-ranked team. Talked about as a potential bubble playoff team in the preseason and projected a modest 21st by VUKOTA, it's been an underachieving campaign for New York.

29. Anaheim Ducks, 26 points (.317)
December ranking: 27; Change: -2
Current GVT: -37 (30th); VUKOTA GVT: 2 (14th)

Now we know two things—that Bruce Boudreau wasn't the cause of the Washington Capitals' downfall, nor is he the savior for the dreadful Anaheim Ducks. There's only so much that a coach can do, good or bad.

30. Columbus Blue Jackets, 25 points (.297)
December ranking: 29; Change: -1
Current GVT: -35 (29th); VUKOTA GVT: -9 (20th)

The play of Curtis Sanford (.907, -0.3 GVT) and Steve Mason (.885, -13.2 GVT) is converging. Not such a good thing.

We'll check in again at the beginning of next month to see how things stand.

Timo Seppa is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Timo by clicking here or click here to see Timo's other articles.

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