NHL POWER Rankings: December

First of all, these POWER rankings have absolutely nothing to do with straight up wins, they are simply describing how well a team is playing, regardless if they end up with the win, or not. These rankings only include games that have taken place in the month of December.

I’m making a few more tweaks in how I do these rankings this month. First of all I have decided to weight every attribute in terms of how they relate to winning games, I will state their weights in the next paragraph. Secondly I have changed the penalties for and against from a percentage to a rate in per 60 minutes form.

There are 6 major components that make up these POWER rankings (all components adjusted for score, and venue (home/away)).

1. Corsi for percentage, or shot attempt percentage (CF%). Weighted at 29%.

2. Expected goals percentage (xGF%). Weighted at 36%.

3. Scoring chances for percentage (SCF%). Weighted at 29%.

4. Special teams expected goals percentage: add power play expected goals for and penalty kill expected goals against, then divide power play expected goals by the total sum of expected goals (STxGF%). Weighted at 6 percent.

5. Adjusted Fenwick save percentage, or the teams actual save percentage minus the expected save percentage based on shot quality (Adj.FenSV%). Added onto total.

6. Penalty differential per 60 minutes (PD/60). Added onto total.

Now, onto the POWER rankings. I will display their rank, team name and score. In brackets will be how many spots up or down a team has changed from the POWER rankings back in November. I will also list their top 2 forward point scorers and their top defensive point scorer. At the end of the article you will find the spreadsheet with all stats I used to create these rankings.

  1. Montreal Canadiens 61.48 (+15)

The Montreal Canadiens rise to number one in the monthly POWER rankings despite the the loss of number one centre Alex Galchenyuk. Luckily, they received an absolutely fantastic month from their captain Max Pacioretty. Superstar goaltender Carey Price actually had quite the underwhelming December, posting a 5-3-2 record with a .898 save percentage. Their top scorers were Max Pacioretty (15 P in 13GP), Paul Byron (9P in 13GP), Jeff Petry (8P in 13GP).

2. Columbus Blue Jackets 58.20 (+6)

The only team to not lose a single game in the month of December, just a terrific story, scoring from every single line, and a great performance from Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky posted an astounding 11-0-0 record with a .939 save percentage. Their top scorers were Cam Atkinson (15P in 13GP), Sam Gagner (15P in 13GP), and Seth Jones (8P in 13GP).

3. Minnesota Wild 56.76 (+9)

Another team with an absolutely huge win streak during this month. The two power houses in Minnesota and Columbus played on one of the last days of December, when Columbus beat them 4-2. Devan Dubnyk posted a fantastic 10-0-1 record and a .941 save percentage. Their top scorers were Charlie Coyle (15P in 13GP), Eric Staal (14P in 13GP), and Jared Spurgeon (8P in 13GP).

4. Toronto Maple Leafs 55.68 (+11)

#TheLeafsAreActuallyGood might be an understatement, they are GREAT. They actually have a good chance to make the playoffs this season. Frederik Andersen really had a phenomenal month, posting a 5-2-3 record with an outstanding .948 save percentage. Their top scorers were Auston Matthews (12P in 12GP), Jake Gardiner (9P in 12GP), and William Nylander (8P in 12GP).

5. Los Angeles Kings 55.66 (-2)

The Corsi Kings of the NHL find themselves ranking highly again this month, despite not getting the required amount of goals from anyone except Jeff Carter. Peter Budaj had a 3-3-2 record with a .930 save percentage. Their top scorers were Jeff Carter (11P in 13GP), Anze Kopitar (7P in 13GP), and Drew Doughty (6P in 13GP).

6. Pittsburgh Penguins 55.27 (-4)

Another excellent month from the Penguins. Former Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz has really stepped up and performed the way the Oilers originally envisioned. Marc-Andre Fleury posted a 5-0-1 record with a .923 save percentage, while rookie counterpart Matt Murray posted a 6-1-1 record with a .926 save percentage. Their top scorers were Sidney Crosby (20P in 14GP), Evgeny Malkin (19P in 14GP), and Justin Schultz (17P in 14GP).

7. Dallas Stars 54.91 (+2)

Dallas has oddly ranked highly the entire season, this month, goal tending has actually been GOOD! That’s an oddity to hear in Dallas, but it is finally true! At least for this month. Kari Lehtonen posted a 5-3-0 record with a .928 save percentage. Their top scorers were Tyler Seguin (13P in 13GP), Jamie Benn (13P in 13GP), and John Klingberg (7P in 13GP).

8. Washington Capitals 53.48 (+16)

The Capitals had some beastly goal tending this month, but it seems as though their goal scorers just decided to take the month off. Braden Holtby posted a  5-3-3 record with a .938 save percentage. Their top scorers were John Carlson (10P in 13GP), Justin Williams (9P in 13GP), and Marcus Johansson (9P in 13GP).

9. San Jose Sharks 53.32 (-5)

The Sharks fell just a bit from last months rankings, but that’s fine, because they’re winning. Joe Thornton has been playing Joe Thornton hockey, absolutely no goals, and basically no shots, but plenty of assists. Goal tender Martin Jones posted a great 7-3-0 record with a .919 save percentage. Their top scorers were Joe Pavelski (13P in 12GP), Brent Burns (13P in 12GP), and Joe Thornton (11P in 12GP).

10. Boston Bruins 52.87 (-5)

Another good month from Boston, however, they really have to stop taking so many penalties as they do. Their 5 on 5 play is excellent, top tier, however they just take far too many penalties. Tuukka Rask had a 6-3-2 record with a .910 save percentage. Their top scorers were David Krejci (10P in 15GP), Ryan Spooner (10P in 15GP), and Torey Krug (10P in 15GP).

11. Carolina Hurricanes 52.13 (-5)

I don’t think anyone predicted Derek Ryan to be the Hurricanes leading scorer this month. I also don’t think that anyone knew Derek Ryan was alive, so you can’t really blame them. Top defenseman Justin Faulk had a great month, but it ended 2 games short when he was injured in a game. Cam Ward was actually good this month, posting a 6-2-3 record, with a .920 save percentage. Their top scorers were Derek Ryan (10P in 13GP), Victor Rask (9P in 13GP), and Justin Faulk (9P in 11GP).

12. Winnipeg Jets 51.35 (-2)
No, you should not hate Connor Hellebuyck if you happen to be a Jets fan, be patient, as you were with Ondrej Pavalec. Hellebuyck posted a 4-3-1 record in December with a .908 save percentage. Their top scorers were Blake Wheeler (12P in 13GP), Patrik Laine (11P in 13GP), and Dustin Byfuglien (10P in 13GP).
13. Edmonton Oilers 50.67 (-2)
Psst… Connor McDavid is not the only number one centre on the Edmonton Oilers, they also have 2014 3rd overall pick Leon Draisaitl who put on quite the show this month. Goalie Cam Talbot had a 7-1-3 record in December with a .923 save percentage. Their top scorers were Leon Draisaitl (15P in 13GP), Mark Letestu (11P in 13GP), and Andrej Sekera (10P in 12GP).
14. Nashville Predators 50.54 (-13)
The re-emergence of bad Pekka Rinne made this a forgettable month for the Predators, however, their overall play was good, and rookie goal tender Juuse Saros looked great in the 4 games he played in. Rinne had a 3-5-2 record with a .875 save percentage, just not something a team can work with in terms of save percentage. Their top scorers were Ryan Johansen (11P in 14GP), Viktor Arvidsson (10P in 14GP), and Mattias Ekholm (8P in 14GP).
15. Buffalo Sabres 49.74 (+10)
Rasmus Ristolainen had a monster month for the Sabres, being one of the only point per game defenseman in the league. Robin Lehner had a 3-4-2 record with a .924 save percentage. Their top scorers were Rasmus Ristolainen (13P in 13GP), Evander Kane (10P in 13GP), and Jack Eichel (9P in 13GP).
16. Detroit Red Wings 49.71 (+1)
The Red Wings are very good at the penalty game, like the opposite of the Boston Bruins. The Wings went through both Petr Mrazek, who had a 3-3-1 record with a .876 save percentage; and Jimmy Howard, who posted a 0-2-1 record with a .917 save percentage. Their top scorers were Henrik Zetterberg (10P in 13GP), Thomas Vanek (10P in 13GP), and Mike Green (5P in 9GP).
17. Tampa Bay Lightning 49.23 (+2)
Steven Stamkos was obviously a huge loss for the Lightning, but 2013 3rd overall pick Jonathan Drouin has been dominant in his absence. Andrei Vasilevsky put up a 3-3-1 record with a .883 save percentage; whereas Ben Bishop posted a 2-2-2 record with a .922 save percentage. Their top scorers were Jonathan Drouin (14P in 12GP), Victor Hedman (14P in 13GP), and Valtteri Filppula (8P in 12GP).
18. Anaheim Ducks 49.05 (-10)
Anaheim had a big problem in net this month, neither goalie could stop the puck at a rate good enough to help their team win games. Other than that, the team as a whole was above average. John Gibson put up a 5-2-4 record with a .902 save percentage; and Jonathan Bernier posted a 2-2-0 record with a .843 save percentage. Their top scorers were Ryan Kesler (13P in 15GP), Corey Perry (11P in 13GP), and Cam Fowler (8P in 15GP).
19. New York Islanders 48.77 (+10)
When the New York Islanders placed starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak on waivers, it sparked a lot of criticism for general manager Garth Snow. We’ll see if that was the right decision eventually. Halak posted a 3-2-1 record with a .906 save percentage; and Thomas Greiss had a 3-1-0 record with a .927 save percentage. Their top scorers were Anders Lee (11P in 13GP), Josh Bailey (9P in 13GP), and Travis Hamonic (6P in 13GP).
20. New York Rangers 48.76 (+2)
The New York Rangers continue to win games despite poor shot attempt, scoring chances, and expected goals metrics. Henrik Lundqvist posted a 4-2-0 record with a .914 save percentage; and Antti Raanta had a 5-3-0 record with a .910 save percentage. Their top scorers were Derek Stepan (14P in 14GP), Chris Kreider (13P in 14GP), and Ryan McDonagh (11P in 13GP).
21. Florida Panthers 48.71 (-3)
Bargain bin forward Jonathan Marchessault continues to impress, now with 24 points in 31 games. Goalie Roberto Luongo put up a 3-3-4 record with a .906 save percentage; whereas James Reimer had a 1-1-2 record with a .933 save percentage. Their top scorers were Aleksander Barkov (13P in 13GP), Jaromir Jagr (9P in 14GP), and Jason Demers (8p in 14GP).
22. Calgary Flames 48.45 (-1)
Getting Johnny Gaudreau back from injury certainly helped a ton. Mikael Backlund can be argued as a selke candidate, Dougie Hamilton and Matthew Tkachuk are silently sneaking up in the Norris, and Calder rankings. Chad Johnson put up a 5-4-0 record with a .905 save percentage; and Brian Elliott had a 3-0-0 record with a .915 save percentage. Their top scorers were Johnny Gaudreau (14P in 11GP), Mikael Backlund (13P in 12GP), and Dougie Hamilton (9P in 11GP).
23. Ottawa Senators 47.55 (+0)
The loss of goal tending in both family and injury instances has forced Mike Condon to start 12 out of a possible 14 games in December. Condon posted a 6-3-3 record with a .908 save percentage. Their top scorers were Mark Stone (13P in 13GP), Erik Karlsson (13P in 13GP), and Kyle Turris (10P in 13GP).
24. Philadelphia Flyers 47.47 (-4)
The Flyers have been keeping up with the pack with a mediocre Steve Mason, imagine what could happen if he re-enters his good mode from the last couple years. Mason posted a 8-4-1 record with a .914 save percentage. Their top scorers were Jakub Voracek (15P in 14GP), Claude Giroux (11P in 14GP), and Ivan Provorov (7P in 14GP).
25. Chicago Blackhawks 46.83 (-12)
One of two teams with a scoring chances for percentage below 40 percent for the month, with the Colorado Avalanche, that is scary, very scary. Luckily, goal tending has been outstanding in Chicago to keep them at the top of the league in the standings. Scott Darling posted a 6-4-1 record with a .927 save percentage. Their top scorers were Artemi Panarin (17P in 15GP), Patrick Kane (14P in 15GP), and Duncan Keith (10P in 13GP).
26. Vancouver Canucks 46.61 (-1)
Tankcouver is on! Or, it might not be? Currently on a 4 game winning streak, but we’ll see where that goes. Ryan Miller posted a 5-2-1 record with a .908 save percentage; and Jacob Markstrom had a 1-5-0 record with a .922 save percentage, funny how things work sometimes. Their top scorers were Henrik Sedin (10P in 14GP), Sven Baertschi (8P in 13GP) and Troy Stecher (5P in 14GP).
27. New Jersey Devils 44.30 (-1)
It’s hard to believe how poorly Cory Schnieder is playing recently, since he is universally considered a top 5 goalie. But, at least they have Taylor Hall, who is playing great hockey, just unfortunately for him, on yet another bad team. Cory Schnieder posted a 2-6-2 record in December with a .887 save percentage. Their top scorers were Taylor Hall (11P in 13GP), Kyle Palmieri (10P in 14GP), and Damon Severson (5P in 14GP).
28. St. Louis Blues 44.01 (-13)
An absolutely horrible month from a goal tending perspective. Maybe they should have kept Brian Elliott over the younger Jake Allen? Not a good month at 5v5, but Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk still gave the Blues a great power play. Jake Allen had a 5-6-0 record with a .892 save percentage in December. Their top scorers were Vladimir Tarasenko (16P in 14GP), Robby Fabbri (13P in 14GP), and Kevin Shattenkirk (9P in 14GP).

29. Arizona Coyotes 43.36 (+1)

Arizona has broke out of last place! Despite Mike Smith playing absurdley good, the Coyotes are still an awful NHL team. But not to worry Coyotes fans (if there is any), the prospect system is very promising. Mike Smith posted a 3-9-2 record in December with a .916 save percentage. Their top scorers are Radim Vrbata (9P in 15GP), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (8P in 15GP), and Martin Hanzal (6P in 15GP).

30. Colorado Avalanche 34.68 (-2)
My stat is far from perfect, but Colorado is literally a full 9 points lower than the ARIZONA COYOTES! Yeah, it is definitely time to blow up the team. Semyon Varlamov put up a 2-6-0 record with a .889 save percentage; Calvin Pickard posted a 1-5-0 record with a .895 save percentage. Their top scorers were Matt Duchene (10P in 14GP), Nathan MacKinnon (10P in 14GP), and Tyson Barrie (8P in 14GP).
Statistics from NHL.com, and Corsica.Hockey
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wnwMmamN-6HgimnpJi1viiextHoSheAhVqhgvwQpx4Y/edit?usp=sharing
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