Western Conference Team Rankings (Updated)

I was going to write up team by team reports, and I may still do that for some teams, but I decided to first post some numerical evaluations of each team in nice and easily readable table format. I have divided each team up into Forwards, Defense and Goaltending and then divided each of those groups into Talent, Depth and Experience/Leadership and ranked each of those nine categories based on a score out of 10. I then summed up all 9 categories to get an overall team score. Below are my results for the western conference. Let me know what you all think. For the most part I am happy with them but if you can provide a good arguement I may consider making slight modifications.

Note: I made the assumption that Niedermayer will not play for the Ducks and I also factored in a few long term injuries (i.e. Steve Sullivan is expected to miss 3 months due to back surgery).

Update:While working on the eastern conference (and in conjunction with Triumph’s comment) I have decided to tweak the overall formula. The new forumula will weight experience significantly less and also give more weight to #1 goalie and less to depth (Vancouver, Calgary, New Jersey, etc. hardly need a backup goalie). This is the new updated table.

Forwards Defense Goaltending Total
Talent Depth Exp. Talent Depth Exp. #1 goalie Depth Exp. Score
Detroit 8 5 7 10 8 8 8 6 10 54.3
Vancouver 7 6 6 7 8 6 10 7 6 52.5
Anaheim 7 7 6 9 6 8 8 7 8 51.8
Dallas 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 7 50.3
Calgary 7 6 7 8 7 6 9 4 7 50.2
San Jose 9 7 7 6 7 5 8 5 7 49.8
Minnesota 8 6 7 6 8 7 7 6 4 47.5
Colorado 8 7 7 7 7 6 6 6 5 47.0
Edmonton 6 6 5 7 7 6 7 7 7 46.0
St. Louis 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 6 45.8
Nashville 6 7 6 7 7 6 7 4 5 45.2
Los Angeles 6 7 6 7 7 7 5 5 5 43.0
Chicago 7 5 5 5 5 4 7 6 7 40.8
Columbus 6 6 6 5 5 5 6 6 6 39.7
Phoenix 4 5 5 7 7 7 5 6 5 39.2

This article has 13 Comments

  1. This would be too complex but I’d consider weighting experience less than the other two factors. I don’t see Detroit as the best team in the West, because I can’t see Dominik Hasek playing another season mostly unhurt, and I don’t see their experience counting for all that much.

    I’m a bit confused by the Ducks if they are losing Niedermayer – their defense is now Pronger, Schneider, Beauchemin, O’Donnell, Hnidy, Joe Dipenta, and Aaron Rome. Schneider’s 38 and coming off a broken arm or wrist. They have zero depth at defense – if they lose anyone in the top 4, they are in serious trouble. I’d rank them 8 6 8, or perhaps 9 6 8.

    Interesting list – can’t wait to start the season.

  2. Yeah, while working on the eastern conference ratings I decided that I should tweak the rankings somewhat. What I am going to do is combine the experience into one group and thus would be worth about 1/3 what it currently is. I might also combine goaltending talent and depth into one group. Calgary shouldn’t be penalized too much if they have a sub-par backup to Kipprusoff since the backup might only play 10 games and likely against weaker teams so they should still be able to get the win.

    Yeah, I agree on Anaheim and I should probably drop them to 6 on the depth front.

  3. The goalie numbers you posted are the easiest for me to verify as there are only one or two goalies to look at. I can’t quite make sense how you came to your numbers though. Here are a few examples [Exp. column]
    Cloutier 342 Reg. Games + 25 PO Games. = 5
    Turco 320 Reg. Game + 29 PO Games = 7
    Luongo 417 Reg. Game + 12 PO Games = 6 [Plus Sanford’s 73 Games]

    Those are just a few examples.

  4. Yeah, I’m a tad confused by the “experience” ratings. I don’t understand how no teams in the West have “experience” ratings above 7.

    Calgary’s top 13 forwards have an average of 704 regular season games, and 72 playoff games. Other than Lombardi, they don’t have a regular forward in the rotation with fewer than 350 games in the NHL regular season, and other than Huselius, they don’t have one with less than 25 playoff games in the NHL.

    The Rangers on the other hand are rated an 8 on forward experience, but their average is 509 regular season games (heavily skewed by Jagr and Shanahan who both have well over 1000 games played). They also only have an average of 64 playoff games, which is AGAIN heavily influenced by Shanahan, and Jagr who both have over 150 playoff games to their credit.

    Basically this seems like a complete skew stat on the basis of “leadership” from veterans. If that’s the case, you might as well put teams with the most veterans of +10 years in the higher categories, but personally I entirely disagree with these assessments.

    Jagr and Shanahan might be experienced, but that doesn’t really transfer via osmosis to the 6 or 7 young forwards they’re playing who have less than 200 regular season games, and fewer than 20 playoff games to their credit.

    I’m sure if I checked the totals for the rest of the league I’d probably find a few more anomalies… I’m pretty much to the point where I think the “experience” factor you’ve included is virtually meaningless in this assessment, mainly because the variation from team to team is minimal and doesn’t seem to be based on much as far as I can tell.

  5. Yeah, the experience column is kind of strange. I didn’t use any set forumla and I kind of went by experience and leadership combined and largely in a winning atmosphere. Experience as a loser isn’t really all that beneficial IMO.

    For the Rangers, Jagr, Shanahan, Drury and Gomez all have a lot of experience and experience playing for good teams and winning stanley cups and Straka has almost 900 games experience too. They lack some experience after that so maybe they shouldn’t be ranked an 8 but in terms of cup rings they have as many as almost any team aside from those that have won recently.

    Calgary probably deserves to be bumped up a bit. They have some good experience, but not a lot of cup rings.

    But the new overall formula significantly downgrades the experience factor anyway so tweaking a few of them by one point one way or the other isn’t likely to make a huge difference.

  6. Ok, again, no disrespect whatsoever, but Calgary isn’t all that changed from the team that made the Finals 2 seasons ago, and last I checked, Darren McCarty, Stephane Yelle, Jeff Friesen, Tony Amonte, Anders Eriksson, Cory Sarich, and Alex Tanguay all have rings. Rhett Warrener has made the finals 3 times.

    The Rangers have Jagr, Gomez, Drury, Straka, Shanahan, Ozolinsh, Kasparitis with rings.

    That’s 7 each, and Calgary has been to the finals a lot more recently than most of the Rangers. Thus I’d say the younger guys on Calgary have more experience than those on NY. Plus, I’d add to that the fact that past the 7 with rings on the Rangers, only 2 or 3 others have any real post season experience. I really don’t think you can rank the Rangers higher just because they have higher scoring players with experience in Jagr, Shanahan, Gomez, Drury, and Straka. It’s an experience rating, not an “offensive experience” rating. If you like their skill level, rank them higher in skill… not experience.

    Anyway, I’m obviously being fairly pedantic, I just think it either needs to be tweaked with an actual reference to numbers if you’re including it, or dropped altogether if you aren’t going to attach it to anything. Serious stats sites like this one need grounding in something other than a gut feeling.

  7. Amonte, Friesen, and McCarty aren’t signed for this year, Steve.

    Furthermore, Ozo won’t be a Ranger, and Kasparaitis never won a Stanley Cup (and won’t be on the Rangers’ roster either), and neither did Martin Straka.

    Steve, ‘experience’ is grounded in gut feeling, unfortunately. That’s why I think it should be dropped altogether or analyzed closer – I think it’s one of those ‘intangible’ qualities whose use is dubious. It is a factor for sure – but just how many veterans makes for ‘good’ experience?

    I also think that there’s no way the Leafs are the 5th best team in the East, but that’s neither here nor there.

  8. Straka was on the Penguins when they won in 1992… he played in 11 of their playoff games that season (his first in the NHL) and had 3 points. Perhaps I’m incorrect in assuming that because he played in 11 of their playoff games in a cup winning season that he would count as having won the cup…. but usually I think that counts as “cup winning” experience.

    As for Kasparitis he played 21 playoff games in 2001 for the Colorado Avalanche… and last I checked that was the last year they were considered cup winners. Again… maybe playing 21 games for the Cup winner doesn’t count as “winning the cup” … I’m pretty sure it does.

    He’s currently listed as being on their roster… again… I don’t know what crystal ball you have, but I’m not sure how you know if he will or will not be on their roster. If he isn’t that’s just a FURTHER knock on their experience… it doesn’t add to it. As for Ozolinsh… he isn’t going to be a Ranger, that I accept… so either way, lets remove 3 of the Rangers from the “experience” list of Cup winners, just to make you happy.

    As for Amonte, Friesen and McCarty, you are correct, they aren’t on the camp roster so lets drop them too.

    So we’ve lost 3 cup winners from each team. Leaving us with even LESS experience. The Rangers are now down to 4 cup winners, and Calgary is also down to 4. I’m still not sure how this alters my point.

    Thanks for pointing out my mistakes on the Calgary roster though, I was just examining the rosters from last season, to my chagrin. Apologies… now if you would only explain the logic in debating Straka and Kasparitis’ lack of championship credentials when both played playoff games for cup winning teams, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

  9. p.s. My whole argument was that making statistical assessments based on “gut feelings” flies completely in the face of STATISTICAL analysis. I also don’t agree that experience is based on a “gut feeling” experience is something one can measure… time in a situation should be quantifiable. Unless of course you think some people absorb certain situations more quickly than others, in which case, perhaps we should just give every team that won the cup in the past few years full marks for experience, just for being winners so early in their careers? I mean if we’re going to be completely arbitrary then why bother drawing the line anywhere??

  10. As for experience as a loser not counting for anything, I think there are arguments for both sides of that. Losing consistently brings on a certain weight, but if experience with a losing program is meaningless, how does one explain players like Steve Yzerman? or Brendan Shanahan? or Jaromir Jagr? and consider them experienced. Both of them have lost… a LOT. and won…. we might as well ignore all their games playing in losing programs using that logic. Shanahan in Hartford? games shouldn’t count. Jagr in Washington… doesn’t count. Yzerman’s early years… lets ignore those.

    I hope you see my point.

  11. I would say the chances that Kasparitis plays for the Rangers this year is somewhere close to 10%. He finished last year in the AHL and the Rangers cannot afford his salary and will likely play next season in the AHL.

    Not everything I do here is statistical analysis nor do I think that statistical analysis is the only way to analyze and understand the game of hockey. For me it is simply a tool to help me understand the game of hockey. These ratings posts are more of an opinion piece (which you will find a lot of that on this site too) and not based on statistical analysis.

    With that said, I think I am going to modify the whole experience thing and replace experience with ‘intangibles’ on a team basis. The intangibles will be a combination of experience, leadership, coaching, etc.

  12. Steve:

    Kasparaitis played for the Avs in 02, and Straka played for the Penguins in 93. Neither man’s name is on the Stanley Cup. I don’t know what site you are using for these records, but it is wrong. (I suspect Yahoo, I’ve had this problem with them before).

    Kasparaitis was traded for Ville Nieminen and Rick Berry in March 02 – Nieminen’s name IS on the Cup. As for Straka, I wasn’t a hockey fan then, but I can assure you he didn’t play on the 91-92 Stanley Cup team.

  13. It’s true that neither Straka or Kasparitis have Stanley Cup rings, but both have sigificant playoff experience (Straka 96 games and Kasparitis 83).

    Playoff games experience:

    Shanahan 167
    Jagr 159
    Drury 114
    Gomez 97
    Straka 96
    Malik 65
    Hutchinson 32

    All of the above have Stanley Cup rings except for Straka and Malik but Malik played in the finals with Carolina in 2002 and Straka was on the Panthers team that reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1996.

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