In this week’s power rankings, Washington crawls back into the top five, Pittsburgh finally falls below 100 and the biggest drop of the week belongs to Carolina who fall into the bottom ten.
Meanwhile, the Leafs find themselves just outside the top ten and somehow ahead of St. Louis and Nashville.
The chart below is how things are shaking up this week.
1. Anyone who watches the Leafs knows they don’t belong anywhere near the top ten teams in the league, but they’re legitimately a much better team than last season (75.6 at the same point last season). They’re sixth in combined special teams and it’s been the straw that stirs the drink for them, but they haven’t been very good when score effects take over which is a continuing problem for them and that’s something that this measure doesn’t take into consideration.
2. We know that score-adjusted measures are better than close measures, and if I had score-adjusted goals at my disposal to match game states I would switch over. Over the weekend I checked to see how well POP correlated to future points last season and it did reasonably well. Using score-adjusted corsi in place of fenwick close improved it ever so slightly in the first half, but the opposite was true in the second half.
3. Something to keep in mind with regards to that with whatever measure you prefer, Curtis Morrisson recently checked how much a change in each measure changes POP. For possession it’s 1% = 1POP. The Leafs and Kings have the biggest discrepancy between score adjusted corsi and fenwick close and would practically switch places in the rankings with a switch. That’s probably the most compelling reason to make the switch.
4. Here’s another equation for you, Boston – Krejci – Chara = 1 Average Team. They’ll be back soon apparently, and the rest of the East should be collectively scared.
5. Montreal’s head coach Michel Therrien did something that was actually smart in last night’s game. He put Galchenyuk on the first line with Gallagher and Pacioretty and the trio dominated the game anytime they were on the ice. That line could be a force and the team would be wise to keep it intact.
6. The Islanders blew a three goal lead in consecutive games this week. I don’t even understand how that’s possible, but both leads were after one period and they took a nap afterwards. They can’t do that if they’re going to be a serious contender in the East.
7. In that first game against the Blues I had money on the Isles and wanted to vomit. In the second game I had money against them and was ecstatic. Or at least I thought I did. I guess I got distracted and forgot to press confirm bets last night. It would’ve been a very good night, instead, I got nothing. Since November 1st when I started tracking games, POP is 81-69 and up 13.77 units on games where it has a significant value at sportsbooks. Not bad.
8. The Jets have been extremely impressive so far. All the team ever really needed was decent goaltending and they’re surprisingly getting it. Their powerplay has also had some bad luck to start the season and they’ve been the best possession team over the past 15 or so games so expect them to get even better as the season rolls on.
9. I thought St. Louis would be a lot better this season, but they’ve only been a middling possession team so far. With Brodeur seemingly taking the reigns in net, they could start falling quickly. To his credit he’s won two straight, but he hasn’t been a decent option in net since probably 2010.
10. In the ‘I thought they’d be a lot worse category’ is the Detroit Red Wings. Every year I write them off. Every year I’m wrong. They lead the Atlantic division in points right now and have recently been one of the hottest teams in the leagues. Might as well write their names down on your playoff bracket now.
For my projections, I’ve adjusted POP to get a more accurate read on how many points to expect. To do that, I looked at how spread apart the teams are this season, and compared that to how spread apart teams were in the past meaning the ratings are less volatile, which gives off slightly more stable projections.
The playoff outlook hasn’t changed at all since last week which is a good sign for stability. All the projections seem fine by my eye, except for Toronto who is apparently getting 97 points this season. They’re on pace for 100, so POP is downgrading that slightly, but still much higher then I personally think they’ll get. This would likely be much more accurate if I simulated the season as opposed to regressing it, but that’s likely past my capabilities.
One final note, if you want to see how teams performed in the past with regards to POP, I’ve added that here. There’s also a playoff bracket with probabilities for every series.