Mar 152006
 

Here are this weeks NHL Power Rankings. Significant moves up the list included several teams making a late season push for the playoffs: San Jose (11th to 8th), Anaheim (13th to 9th), Nashville (12 to 10), Toronto (17 to 15) and Atlanta (23 to 21). Those dropping down the list included Vancouver (8 to 11), Edmonton (9 to 12), Minnesota (14 to 16), Phoenix (15 to 20) and New Jersey (22 to 24).

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 0.703 0.489 0.679
2 3 Buffalo 0.672 0.483 0.634
3 2 Detroit 0.688 0.483 0.629
4 4 Calgary 0.602 0.515 0.622
5 5 Dallas 0.592 0.516 0.613
6 6 Colorado 0.567 0.520 0.600
7 7 Carolina 0.646 0.473 0.590
8 11 San Jose 0.532 0.523 0.571
9 13 Anaheim 0.532 0.516 0.549
10 12 Nashville 0.577 0.491 0.549
11 8 Vancouver 0.522 0.515 0.542
12 9 Edmonton 0.500 0.520 0.527
13 10 Los Angeles 0.507 0.515 0.525
14 15 Montreal 0.492 0.509 0.524
15 17 Toronto 0.484 0.510 0.512
16 14 Minnesota 0.470 0.522 0.502
17 18 Philadelphia 0.546 0.471 0.497
18 16 Phoenix 0.439 0.534 0.492
19 20 Tampa Bay 0.508 0.480 0.480
20 19 NY Rangers 0.531 0.468 0.480
21 23 Atlanta 0.477 0.481 0.457
22 21 Boston 0.424 0.509 0.450
23 24 NY Islanders 0.445 0.487 0.442
24 22 New Jersey 0.477 0.470 0.438
25 25 Florida 0.430 0.490 0.430
26 26 Columbus 0.362 0.506 0.368
27 28 St. Louis 0.341 0.504 0.345
28 27 Chicago 0.328 0.512 0.342
29 29 Washington 0.328 0.493 0.329
30 30 Pittsburgh 0.277 0.496 0.284

AdjWinP is a teams winning percentage when shootouts are considered ties and there are no points awarded for overtime losses
SchedStr is an indication of a teams relative difficulty of schedule
Power Rank is the teams expected winning percentage if team played all .500 teams

Mar 152006
 

We have just 3 games on the schedule tonight and only one of which will have much impact on the playoff race. That being Anaheim at Detroit. An Anaheim win will put them tied with Edmonton and Vancouver for 7th spot and 1 point behind 6th place Los Angeles but Anaheim has multiple games in hand against all of those teams. Detroit will be a tough game for Anaheim though. A potential, if not likely, upset on the night would be Florida over Philadelphia. The Flyers are just 2-4-1 in March while Florida has won 3 games in a row defeating Ottawa once and Carolina twice. Although Florida’s playoff chances are next to none they are playing pretty good hockey right now and will definitely give Philadelphia a tough game.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Florida Philadelphia Philadelphia Some
Detroit Anaheim Detroit Good
Chicago Columbus Chicago Some
Mar 142006
 

I had a good night with the predictions last night going 4 for 5 missing only the Tampa win over Montreal. We have 8 games on the schedule tonight. Here are a few worth watching closely.

Toronto-Boston – Toronto needs to win this game if they plan on staying in the playoff race because Thursday they begin a tough part of the schedule with 7 of 8 games on the road to finish the month oif March including games against Buffalo, NY Rangers, Carolina, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and 2 against Montreal. Boston is a very mediocre team now with the trades they have made and are very beatable.

Ottawa-Tampa – There are a lot of teams hoping Ottawa will win this game and they should.

New Jersey-Ny Islanders – The prediction is for a Devils win but the Islanders have played the Devils tough this year going 5-1-1 against them. Should the Islanders and Toronto both win things would get very tight in the east with just 8 points separating 6th place New Jersey and 11th place Toronto with the Leafs and Islanders having a game in hand against the Devils.

Nashville-Vancouver – Vancouver has been slumping recently (1-4-1 in March) and that slump has put their playoff position in serious question. They are in tough against Nashville who was responsible for 2 of those losses in March but after playing last night pulling out a win will be a serious challenge for Vancouver.

Minnesota-Edmonton – Edmonton is having much the same problems as Vancouver and have lost 4 in a row (luckily two have come in OT though) iincluding a loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Minnesota’s playoff chances don’t look great and this is a must win if they want to keep them alive.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington Buffalo Buffalo Strong
Carolina NY Rangers Carolina Good
Toronto Boston Toronto Some
Ottawa Tampa Bay Ottawa Good
New Jersey NY Islanders New Jersey Some
Nashville Vancouver Nashville Some
Minnesota Edmonton Minnesota Some
Los Angeles Phoenix Phoenix Some
Mar 132006
 

A couple weeks ago I posted some predictions on the final NHL standings. Here are the updated predictions through last nights games. The predictions are calculated based on the number of games each team has left as well as the difficulty of their remaining schedule compared to their performance so far and their difficulty of schedule so far.

In the east we have the playoff race tightening up some with Tampa predicted to get the final playoff spot with 89 points. Atlanta and the NY Islanders are tied for 9th with 85 points and Toronto is next with 83 points. New Jersey and Montreal project to 93 points each so are in a reasonable comfortable position so long as they don’t go on any lengthy losing streaks.

In the west the race is very tight from 6 thru 10. Anaheim projects to finish the year in 6th spot tied with Los Angeles with 95 points. Vancouver holds down the 8th spot with 94 points with Edmonton and San Jose hot on their heals with a projected 92 and 91 points. Those 5 teams will likely battle for the final playoff spot down to the last week.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts Total Pts
1 Carolina 64 92 0.472 18 0.451 27 119
2 Ottawa 63 91 0.489 19 0.501 26 117
3 Buffalo 63 89 0.486 19 0.523 24 113
4 NY Rangers 64 82 0.468 18 0.486 22 104
5 Philadelphia 65 80 0.471 17 0.468 21 101
6 Montreal 63 71 0.509 19 0.494 22 93
7 New Jersey 64 74 0.470 18 0.495 19 93
8 Tampa Bay 64 70 0.478 18 0.477 19 89
9 Atlanta 65 68 0.480 17 0.476 17 85
10 NY Islanders 63 64 0.489 19 0.433 21 85
11 Toronto 63 64 0.511 19 0.496 19 83
12 Florida 64 61 0.490 18 0.455 18 79
13 Boston 65 60 0.510 17 0.527 15 75
14 Washington 63 51 0.490 19 0.498 15 66
15 Pittsburgh 65 44 0.496 17 0.472 12 56

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts TotalPts
1 Detroit 64 93 0.483 18 0.470 26 119
2 Dallas 64 87 0.514 18 0.519 24 111
3 Nashville 64 82 0.490 18 0.483 23 105
4 Calgary 63 79 0.515 19 0.523 23 102
5 Colorado 66 80 0.520 16 0.506 19 99
6 Anaheim 63 74 0.515 19 0.538 21 95
7 Los Angeles 65 77 0.513 17 0.556 18 95
8 Vancouver 65 76 0.514 17 0.554 18 94
9 Edmonton 65 74 0.521 17 0.541 18 92
10 San Jose 62 69 0.521 20 0.514 22 91
11 Minnesota 66 68 0.522 16 0.546 15 83
12 Phoenix 65 62 0.535 17 0.495 17 79
13 Columbus 64 54 0.508 18 0.493 15 69
14 St. Louis 62 49 0.506 20 0.517 15 64
15 Chicago 64 49 0.511 18 0.497 14 63
Mar 132006
 

We have 5 games on the schedule today, a couple of them with huge playoff significance. In the east we have the free falling Tampa visiting the hot Montreal Canadiens. Montreal has moved 1 point ahead of the Lightning into 7th spot int he east and would desperately like to put some separation between the two teams forcing Tampa to deal with the Thrashers, Islanders and Leafs who are looking to grab a playoff spot. The number 1 thing the Thrashers, Islanders and Leafs is for the game to no go into overtime and become a 3 poitn game.

In the west we have a game of similar importance. Tenth place San Jose plays 6th place Los Angeles who they trail by 8 points but San Jose has 3 games in hand. A San Jose win tonight will put the Kings within reach just by winning those 3 extra games. This is a big game for both the Skarks and Kings.

In other games Vancouver who isjust 2 points ahead of 9th place Edmonton looks to improve its playoff chances against the Dallas Stars. Calgary and Colorado are playing for playoff position as well. Calgary trails Colorado by a single point for top spot in the northwest division and the 3rd seed in the western conference playoffs. The final game, S. Louis at Columbus, no one really cares about.

Here is my predictions success rate since I began using the new prediction algorthm.

Strong: 22 of 35 – 62.9%
Good: 25 of 41 – 61.0%
Some: 78 of 135 – 57.8%
Overall: 125 of 211 – 59.2%

Since last week Strong and Some success rates rose marginally while the Good sucess rate fell from 69%. The overall success rate fell from 59.5%. It was a tough week to make predictions being the trade deadline and all but also because there were so many close games. Over the last week there were 11 games to go to a shootout and another 8 games that ended in overtime.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Montreal Tampa Bay Montreal Some
St. Louis Columbus St. Louis Some
Dallas Vancouver Dallas Some
Calgary Colorado Calgary Some
San Jose Los Angeles San Jose Some
Mar 122006
 

Short on time again this morning but I should be back to normal tomorrow and provide more analysis. The interesting game to watch in my mind is Atlanta vs NY Rangers. A win for Atlanta and they will be putting themselves within 2 points of Tampa.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington Ottawa Ottawa Strong
Colorado Calgary Colorado Some
Buffalo Boston Buffalo Strong
NY Rangers Atlanta Atlanta Some
Chicago Detroit Detroit Strong
Minnesota Edmonton Minnesota Some
Pittsburgh Philadelphia Philadelphia Good
Anaheim Phoenix Anaheim Some
Mar 112006
 

We have a really full schedule today with a total of 12 games being played, some with significant playoff position importance. Unfortunately I have no time this morning for analysis so you’ll have to do your own analysis.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Philadelphia Buffalo Buffalo Some
San Jose Nashville San Jose Some
Boston NY Islanders Boston Some
Toronto Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Some
Montreal NY Rangers Montreal Some
Columbus Edmonton Edmonton Good
Pittsburgh New Jersey Pittsburgh Some
Florida Carolina Carolina Good
Detroit Chicago Detroit Strong
St. Louis Los Angeles Los Angeles Some
Phoenix Anaheim Phoenix Some
Vancouver Dallas Vancouver Some
Mar 102006
 

I had a pretty good night on the predictions last night going 6 for 8 and only getting Columbus’s win over Phoenix and Nashville’s overtime win over Vancouver wrong. I’ll accept that. We have 5 games on the schedule tonight and while none are head to head battles for the playoffs a couple feature teams with playoff hopes. The most interesting game has to be Ottawa at Atlanta. Ottawa is the predicted winner according to my prediction algorithm but if i had to bet I would probably go with Atlanta in this game. Atlanta has won 4 of 5 since the Olympis and six of their last 7. They have also beaten Ottawa twice already this year, an 8-3 thrashing of the Sens in January and a 2-1 win in a tight games in February. Ray Emery was in net for that 8-3 trouncing which he probably had nightmares about for weeks. This could be another tough night for Emery, especially if Ottawa’s defense plays like they did in the Florida game on Wednesday. Atlanta is just 3 points out of a playoff spot so has everything to play for and will have a good chance to win this game.

The other game with potential playoff race impact is the Toronto-NY Islanders game. Despite Toronto’s recent woes Toronto clearly has to be the favourite to win this game as the Islanders just had their firesale getting rid of Parrish, Kvasha, Sopel and Lukowich. If Toronto can’t win this game they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. If they win, their hopes remain alive for another day.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Florida Carolina Carolina Good
NY Islanders Toronto Toronto Some
Washington New Jersey New Jersey Some
Atlanta Ottawa Ottawa Good
St. Louis Minnesota Minnesota Good
Mar 102006
 

Most people are writing Toronto’s chances of making the playoffs and while I will admit they have an uphill battle there are several positives on their side.

They play 2 games against Montreal. If they win those 2 games they will close the game on Montreal by 4 points. They also play Tampa on Saturday and could close the gap on them by 2 points as well.

They have 2 games against Pittsburgh who weren’t very good to start with and now are even worse that they have traded Recchi and Jackman. They play 3 games against the Islanders who have just traded Parrish, Kvasha, Sopel and Lukowich and won’t be near as good a team as they were 2 days ago (and they weren’t very good then either). They play 2 games against Boston who just traded away Samsonov and weren’t a very good team to start with. They also have a game against Florida. That is 8 fairly easy games.

The downside is that they play Buffalo 4 times and they have a lot of trouble with Buffalo. They also play Philadelphia twice and Ottawa, New Jersey, and the Rangers once each. They will probably need to win at minimum 6 or 7 of those 12 games to have a chance at the playoffs which is possible but will be a challenge.

If they win both games against Montreal, the game against Tampa, 6 of those 8 ‘easy’ games and 5 of the 11 ‘difficult’ games they will go 14-7 which will give them 89 points and a potential shot at the playoffs. Taking out the 7 games against Ottawa, Toronto is a combined 7-7-1 against those other difficult teams (NYR, Phi, Car, NJ) so going 5 for 11 in those games is definitely achievable.

Speak ing of Tampa, they are playing horrible having lost 4 of 5 since the Olympics and I don’t think they will make the playoffs. Either Toronto, or more likely Atlanta will catch them.

Mar 092006
 

There seems to be a lot of minor deals being made today so I am going to update this post with all the minor deals with the most recent deals at the top of the list. More major deals requiring more significant analysis will get their own post.

19. Vancouver trades defenseman Steve Mccarthy to Atlanta for a conditional draft pick

18. Calgary picks up Jamie Lundmark from Phoenix for a draft pick.

17. Phoenix acquire Kvasha from Islanders for a 3rd round pick. A few years ago the Islanders traded Jokinen and Luongo to Florida for Parrish and Kvasha. The Islanders now have a 3rd round pick and a couple of prospects they acquired from Los Angeles yesterday for those two guys who have become stars in Florida. Can anyone explain why Milbury kept his job this long?

16. Canucks trade a prospect and a 3rd round pick for Eric Weinrich.

15. Willie Mitchel and 2007 2nd round pick traded to Dallas for Martin Skoula and Shawn Belle.

14. Jim Down traded to Colorado for a 4th round pick.

13. Sharks trade Niko Dimitrakos to Philadelphia for a 3rd round pick.

12. Ottawa has acquired Tyler Arnason from Chicago for Brandon Bochenski and a second round pick. I am not sure Arnason is the kind of second line center they really need. He certainly has some skill but isn’t really any different than Jason Spezza. Having Spezza-Arnason as your 1-2 centers you don’t have much experience. Not a significant improvement for the Senators really and is really just another ‘soft’ player with little or no playoff experience and provides nothing new to the Senators team.

11. Sergei Samsonov traded to Edmonton for Marty Reasoner, a second round pick and prospect Jan Stastny. Samsonov has a lot of speed and skill and will fit into the Oilers speed and skill based offense. When Samsonov is on and playing well he can be a very good player, but he has never really quite lived up to his potential.

10. Cory Cross traded from Pittsburgh to Red Wings for 2007 4th round pick. This is the Jamie Rivers replacement. Cross will be used as a depth defenseman and will provide someadditional physical play that Rivers could not.

9. Brendan Witt traded to Nashville for Kris Beech and a first round pick. Good deal for both sides. Nashville needed a physical defensive defenseman to complement the offensive capabilities of Timonen and Zidlicky. Washington gets a first round pick for a player who didn’t want to play there and was gone at the end of the year as a unrestricted free agent. Kris Beech was once a good prospect and originally drafted by Washington and used in the trade for Jagr but won’t really offer the Capitals very much.

8. Sandis Ozolinsh traded from Anaheim to the NY Rangers for a 3rd round draft pick. This is a salary dump for Anaheim as Ozolinsh makes $2.75 million through next season. For the Rangers Ozolinsh will provide some much needed offense from the blue line. He is also a good skater so will fit in well with the Rangers style of play.

7. Detroit Red Wings send Jamie Rivers to Phoenix for a 7th round pick. This is now officially the least significant trade of the day only marginally ahead of a couple of those waiver wire moves.

6. Keith Carney gets traded to Vancouver for a draft pick and a prospect. Carney has been around for almost forever and is in his last year or two of his career but he is still a very good defenseman and is a bit addition to the Canucks lineup.

5. Mark Recchi has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2nd round pick, Kris Kolanos and Niklas Nordgren. Wow. Recchi is an excellent replacement for Eric Cole who is out until at least the end of the regular season and will provide some much needed veteren leadership and ample playoff experience which is not something the Hurricanes have an abundance of. In my mind this is a much more important trade for the Hurricanes than Doug Weight. What is very interesting too is that a big part of the reason for the Weight trade was to stop Weight from going to Ottawa. Part of the reason for this trade might be to stop him from going to Philadelphia which was where he was highly rumored to be traded to. Ottawa was also rumoured to be interested in Recchi as well. And they did it for just a second round draft pick and a couple of fringe players. Excellent deal for Carolina.

4. Ollie Jokinen signed a 4 year, $21 million deal with the Panthers so he won’t be traded today.

3. Washington send Jeff Frieson to Anaheim for a second round pick. This is an excellent deal for for Washington as they get a second round pick for someone who has done next to nothing for them this year and has a good sized contract. Anaheim on the other hand is clearly hoping that Friesen can return to where he was at least when he previously played with Anaheim.

2. Canucks acquire Mike Noronen from the Sabres for a 2nd round draft pick. This is a good deal for the Canucks and I am surprised that the Sabres didn’t try to use Noronen to get a player who could help their playoff run. Noronen is a bit of a question mark since he has hardly played at all this year but he has the potential to help the Canucks this year and the future. It’s a relatively low risk, potential good reward trade for the Canucks.

1. Denis Gauthier gets traded from Phoenix to Philadelphia for prospect Josh Gratton and two 2nd round draft picks. This is a good deal for both teams. Gauthier is a physical defenseman and should add some toughness to the Flyers lineup. The Coyote’s get a good deal as well as they pick up a pair of second round draf t picks for a soont o be unrestricted free agent they weren’t likely to sign after the season ends.
Josh Gratton is a tough guy who has 9 goals, 19 points and 265 PIM in 53 games for the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms.