The week, Western Conference Power Rankings are back for Week 10 after a brief hiatus. I know, I missed you, too.
This week, we refresh some of the early-season narratives that are now incorrect while also laughing at the last place Chicago Blackhawks and LA Kings.
1. Winnipeg Jets 19-9-2 (Points per game: 1.333)
Apart from one weird 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues (who we will get to later), the Jets have been smashing through the NHL this month and beyond. Their goal differential is behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, and it all comes down to their amazing forward group. After a slow start to the season, Patrik Laine has 21 goals and is only pace for almost 60 goals, Mark Scheifele continues to shoot over 20%, and Blake Wheeler is leading the team in points with 38 despite only having five goals. Is Wheeler turning into Joe Thornton in his old age or something?
2. Nashville Predators 20-10-1 (Points per game: 1.322)
The Nashville Predators are looking to become the first-ever two-sport professional team in the world. They got a ways to go, but it looks like they’re on the right track. Someone should probably tell Pekka Rinne he can’t goaltend in basketball, no matter how good his .932 save percentage is.
3. Calgary Flames 20-10-2 (Points per game: 1.312)
The Flames are first in the Wester Conference standings, but that’s only because they’ve played more games than the two teams below them. Nevertheless, this team has won six of their last seven, and have done it on the back of Johnny Gaudreau (42 pts), Sean Monahan (38 pts), and David Rittich (.921 SV%). See what happens when you have a strong top line and good goaltending!
4. Colorado Avalanche 17-9-5 (Points per game: 1.258)
Mikko Rantanen is having one of those special years at the perfect time. Not only have he (and his amazing linemates) facilitated the offense for this team, putting them into fourth in the West and with a real chance of going far in the playoffs, but it’s also in a contract year for the 22-year-old. Where does the zero land on the Rantanen contract? Will teams offer sheet him? Do you hate these questions and just want to watch the hockey?
5. Anaheim Ducks 17-11-5 (Points per game: 1.181)
In a surprising twist, the Ducks are no longer the Corsi Demons they were to start the season. Apart from one game against the Carolina Hurricanes where they gave up 70% of the shot share, the Ducks have been out-shooting (and out-scoring) their opponents this month (via Natural Stat Trick).
6. Edmonton Oilers 17-12-2 (Points per game: 1.161)
Peter Chiarelli better thank his lucky stars he overpaid for Mikko Koskinen because he might’ve saved him his job. The 30-year-old Finn has a .927 save percentage in 15 games this season and is firmly the teams starter going forward. On the other end, Cam Talbot is on an expiring deal and has not played great (.895 SV%) this season. Is there a future for the 31-year-old in Edmonton?
7. San Jose Sharks 16-11-5 (Points per game: 1.156)
Erik Karlsson is supposedly having a terrible start to the season. Looking at the numbers (32gp, 2g, 18a, -7), it’s not great. Definitely not EK calibre. However, if you look at more reliable numbers (via Evolving Hockey), Karlsson is the best on the team in generating offense and supressiing defense. He’s currently shooting 0% at even-strength, too. He’ll heat up and all will be right with the world again.
8. Minnesota Wild 16-12-2 (Points per game: 1.133)
After a hot start to the season, the Wild have slowed back into the middle group of the league and are fighting for a wild card spot. What’s funny about this team is that they lost 7-2 to the Edmonton Oilers last Friday night, then beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-1 the next game. One game was the second night of a back-to-back on the road, while the other was after three days of rest and at home. I guess the schedule makes a big difference.
9. Dallas Stars 16-12-3 (Points per game: 1.129)
Dallas continues to be in the middle of the pack team in every way. Their shot differentials are a little low, but they’re statistically zero in terms of goal and expected goal differentials. They’re getting great goaltending from Ben Bishop and relying on their star-studded first line. Basically, nothing new to see here.
10. Vegas Golden Knights 18-14-1 (Points per game: 1.121)
The Golden Knights have cooled their swords from last year and are now firmly in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. They are poised to get Paul Stastny back from the shelf. He’s only played 3 games this season, and they were all in the first week of the season.
In other news, it took them a little over a year, but the Golden Knights have finally beaten all 30 other NHL teams. Now we can all hate them equally!
The Golden Knights have now defeated every team in the NHL with a 3-2 win over the Islanders.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) December 13, 2018
Should he start Friday (lol), Marc-Andre Fleury will have a chance to tie Tony Esposito for the ninth most wins in NHL history (423). #VegasBorn
11. Arizona Coyotes 13-14-2 (Points per game: 0.974)
Arizona’s injured reserve is a long and painful read. Not only are both goalies injured, but so are two top-four defensemen and three top-six forwards. That’s a big blow for a team that needed an almost-perfect season in order to reach the playoffs. How soon before they go after Hughes?
12. Vancouver Canucks 14-16-2 (Points per game: 0.939)
The new, Josh Leivo-led, Canucks have found themselves on a mini three-game winning streak this past week. Josh has put up a goal and two assists in his four games with the club skating with youngsters Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. That’s a nice little trio right there, if you ask me.
13. St. Louis Blues 11-14-4 (Points per game: 0.896)
I’ve been saying this for a few months, but now it’s official. The Blues are open for business.
I guess not. People need to stop radioing insiders. It does no one any good.
Said: “A COUPLE of general managers around the league have said that they’re HEARING the big names are on the block, everything is open, even Vladimir Tarasenko. A GM said, ‘I HEARD Vladi is available.’”— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 12, 2018
Not said: “The Blues have informed teams that all players are available.”
14. Chicago Blackhawks 10-18-5 (Points per game: 0.757)
Here’s a stat, Chicago’s points% is less than half of what Tampa Bay is putting up so far this season. In other words, Tampa is doubling Chicago in points and should finish the season with ~63 fewer points than the top team in the league.
15. Los Angeles Kings 11-19-2 (Points per game: 0.750)
Have a look at Chicago’s blurb and realize LA is worse. These two teams won five (5) Stanley Cups between them in the six-year span from 2010-2015. The bill is due.