Week 1 NHL Power Rankings

It’s time for the first edition of my NHL Power Rankings! This was the subject that got me blogging in the first place, so I’m excited to roll this out each and every week.

As a recap, for those who don’t know my methodology, here’s how my Power Rankings work:

Basically, the premise behind it all is that goal differential is a better predictor of future success (and is a better indicator of a team’s “power”) than W-L records or points. From what I’ve read, this is true (to varying degrees) in every sport. Of course, points are all that matter in the standings, but we’re not here to reflect the standings; we’re here to power rank! Not to brag or anything, but last year, my Power Rankings had Vancouver and Boston #1 and #2 by a landslide. There is a method to this madness!
How does it work?
1) I start off by dividing a team’s goal differential by the number of games played. This accounts for goal differential (obviously) AND for teams that have an advantage by having already played more games than other teams.
2) Then, I account for how home/road heavy a team’s schedule has been, since it is almost always advantageous to have played more home games than road games. In fact, you can quanitfy this advantage. Teams’ differential is about +.25 better at home and -.25 on the road. Therefore, I award each team +0.5 goals (.25 – (-.25)) to their overall goals for every extra road game played and took away 0.5 goals for every extra home game played.
3) The first two steps give us the final score for each team. This is visible in the right hand column (Column O). The other notable columns are the trending column which shows whether a team moved up or down from their previous ranking (Column E), the conference ranking (Column I), and the overrated/underrated column, which shows how much better or worse a team is vs. their public perception on ESPN’s SportsNation ranking (Column B).
The weaknesses of my power rankings are a) they don’t account for strength of schedule (perhaps future editions will), b) the don’t account for injuries, and c) they do not more heavily weight more recent games on the schedule (another feature I’d like to add in the future). But for now, this will do.
Without further ado, Week 1’s power rankings.


2011-2012 NHL Power Rankings Week 1

That’s a lot of numbers, so here it is viewed another way.
A few notes:
  • The Wings have been dominant
  • The Jets have been horrible
  • The Stars probably aren’t as good as their record would indicate
  • The Blues probably aren’t as bad as their record would indicate
  • We will see huge fluctuations in the power rankings at the beginning of the season
  • The Kings and Ducks were given 2 extra road games to their credit, despite “technically” having had 2 home games, since both of which were on another continent in front of hostile fans



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