SPNHL, Season 36: Week One Power Rankings – “Something Old, Something Borrowed”
Man, a bunch of new albums dropped this week. Kozmo and our old friend MG both recommended the new Asking Alexandria album, which I am still yet to listen to. The new Protest the Hero album drops next month, but until then, Western Addiction’s “Frail Bray” is going to be on repeat. The hardcore veterans made a statement with 2005’s acclaimed “Cognicide”, then waited 12 years to release the fantastic follow up in “Tremulous”. With only a three year gap between that and Frail Bray, W.A. have not lost any of their aggression or creativity and continue a wonderful year for hardcore punk. Check it out!
It’s very refreshing to be 20% through the season after only one week of play, but it instills a sense of urgency within teams that may not perform as well as expected. It still is only one week of play, but it clearly displays the strengths and weaknesses of certain teams, as well as certain players who don’t fit the make of the team, for whatever reason it may be. That first week is crucial for establishing momentum and confidence if it is a winning one, but if a team goes through a losing week, it can derail the trajectory of your season if not addressed.
While you could talk about the philosophy of winning and losing, as well as momentum and reactions for paragraphs to come, the statistics offer plenty of insight into how teams are doing in this short period of time. For example; Anaheim was touted to have one of the deadliest offenses in the league, but after week one, found themselves with the second fewest goals for in the league with 25. Conversely, the Wild were a team I expected to land at the bottom of the Western Conference, but had a strong week one and find themselves second in the Western conference after fantastic goaltending and defense (25 goals against, second lowest in the league).
With that being said, we’ll go on with our power rankings after week one. They’ll be based on a combination of factors such as overall success, statistic performance, caliber of players, expectations, their schedule, and more. We don’t have anything fancy like measuring the strength of schedule and whatnot, so you’re just gonna have to trust the instincts of a guy who has played in and done media coverage for three of the biggest leagues (well, two of their minor league affiliates) in the NHL community.
I’ll be handling the Eastern conference power rankings, while our old friend and SP recruiter XYuhMarvDuhManX will be assessing the Western conference.
1. Detroit Red Wings.
Trend: Upwards (W4).
Notable Stats: 49 goals for (1st), 92.3% penalty kill success rate (1st).
Initially projected for a third place finish in this conference, the Red Wings finished week one as the only team in the league without a loss in regulation. Their efforts in their defensive zone were largely on the backs of Patrick and Ajax, the latter contributing 13 assists in 6 games, as well as 22 takeaways. LRC was undefeated as he handled the bulk of the goaltending duties this week, but Reap and Cupidon’s chemistry propelled this team to the best record of any team this week. With Freeze holding down the slot, the two dynamic wingers combined for 36 goals and 73 points, with Cupidon contributing 38 of those (17 G, 21 A). If Cupidon is allowed to consistently work his magic this season, Detroit will thrive.
2. Boston Bruins.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 48 goals for (2nd), +15 goal differential (2nd).
The Bruins had a considerably tough schedule going into this week, and after an overtime loss to the Ducks to start the season, were able to win 6 of their remaining eight games. Chad had a disappointing week one, as the most decorated goalie in SP allowed 33 goals against and saw his save percentage dip below 70 (69.44%). While their defensive core aside from Snake is still coming together (Snake played 8 games, doubling the total of his nearest partner), their loaded offensive core flourished with DudNastyy and DeathClxwn averaging five points (or more) per game, and saw iyzcniZi take the team lead in assists (21) and points (32). Boston’s depth will play a major part in their success throughout this season if their first week is any indication.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins.
Trend: Upwards (W3).
Notable Stats: 9 powerplay goals for (4th), 32 goals against (4th).
Serves me right for doubting the Penguins, as they were 2-4 through their first 6 games but finished the week on a three game win streak and defeated some talented teams (who are struggling, to be fair). After a trade that sent xPucky for KIDMON3Y, Pittsburgh’s luck has turned around and Wade-Belak won 4 out of his 6 games in net. Bostonbruins_4_ leads the 5 defenders who have played for the Pens with 5 points (a core that employs Jason, Howard, and Cookie), while Stoner has played more games at forward than defense (surprise!). He shares team lead in assists with Coffey, the man who holds the team lead in points and goals (18 goals, 30 points). After two big moves in two weeks, it will be interesting to see if Cookie makes another trade this week to move up in the conference even further.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs.
Trend: Sideways (L3).
Notable Stats: 76.9% power play conversion (1st), 43.8% penalty kill success rate (14th).
After a great start to the week going 5-0-1, controversy ensued after Gucci__gui got drunk and missed the first two games on Friday night, leading to the first winless night of the Leafs season. It’s interesting to note the parallels between their special teams statistics, illustrating this team’s skewed balance between offense and defense. MPurch seems to have won the goaltending battle between X-_-Pulver-_-X, kush418_qc, and himself. While Servnspike and ExE-_-53 have made a successful defensive pairing, the top line of JCfalcon21, the team leading scorer in toslick (22 goals, 14 assists), and the playmaking centre in Gucci__gui (team leading 20 assists) have been responsible for a majority of this team’s early success. However, with Gui’s episode on Friday, did he unintentionally prove himself to be the essential component to this team?
5. New Jersey Devils.
Trend: Sideways (W2).
Notable Stats: 38 goals for (6th), 27.8 powerplay conversion (9th).
The first week in New Jersey was inconsistent at best, with plenty of high-scoring games against talented opponents (and we almost lost against Tampa, WTF). With average statistics across the board, the Devils had contributions from players at all ends of the ice. priceless_1982 and kcmedia had some disappointing weeks between the pipes, not a fault of their own as the Devils try to find fixtures at D to help out The-Statistician. NTyrrell14 and your’s truly each contributed 5 goals, while bstieboydp leads the team in assists with 13 (19 points total) and TrueLegend07 put up a team leading 20 goals (32 points) as the Devils struggle in week one and try to find their groove.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning.
Trend: Downwards (W2).
Notable Stats: 22 goals for (14th), 60 goals against (14th).
Arguably the worst team in the league ended their tumultuous week on a two game winning streak, impressive considering the caliber of teams they won against and doing so after trading away 5 of their top players. Tampa’s goaltending has been disastrous so far, with Bufford having their highest save percentage with 60%. Not much to talk about on defense, as Bufford either hasn’t done stats or Steelers is the only defender who has played more than one game on defense (3) for the Lightning. Sly leads the team with 8 points (3 goals and 2 assists, whoever is doing stats for Tampa needs to be fired), and could make an effective line with xPucky and Defaults-Potato if the Bolts get it together and stop shuffling players.
7. Ottawa Senators.
Trend: Downwards (L5).
Notable Stats: 45 goals against (13th), 73.3% penalty kill success rate (3rd).
The Senators looked to be proving my doubt wrong at the beginning of the week, starting 2-2, but then went on a 0-5-1 skid as they faced off against a series of mid-standings teams. SA_ Pliskin got the only two wins for this team in net, but his average of just under 4 goals a game and a 65.17 save percentage won’t cut it in the long run. Dynasty played all 9 at RD for the Senators with WCDevon98 and teamrun420 pairing with him on the left side, and while their back end may struggle, their offense showed glimpses of hope with PBM_TroyJ maintaining his 4.7 point average and x_Kane88x leading the team in goals (8), assists (12), and points (do the math). However, the Senators need to stop their slide and regain ground in the Eastern conference.
Let’s take it to Marv for the Western conference!
1. Nashville Predators.
Trend: Upwards (L2).
Notable Stats: 18 goals against (1st), 81.3% penalty kill success rate (2nd).
They have been dominating most teams they come across! I like this team. It stacks up well against mostly every team and they have so much talent in most positions. I expect a deep run out of this team! Leading the team’s offense was Kylo_Reli with 10 goals and 13 assist in 6 games! Leading the defense was ProdigyToLegend which is a shocking switch but it seems to be working so not a bad trade off and still putting up points with 17 in 9 games!
2. Vegas Golden Knights.
Trend: Sideways (W1).
Notable Stats: 18.2% powerplay conversion (14th), 30 goals for (12th).
This may be a little biased, but I believe the two teams above them in standings aren’t as good as this team talent for talent. I expect this team to have a good week, despite the 4-4-1 record. I believe they are better than that!
Leading the offense, I can’t even tell it seems like a very neutral offense statistically the talent is definitely there tho! And the defense is lead by Sedinpower and Jamiebenn, an amazing d pair as long as the availability is there!
3. Minnesota Wild.
Trend: Upwards (W5).
Notable Stats: 25 goals against (1st), 31 goals for (11th).
This team is interesting: they are 5-3-1, they have been playing at a decent level! Many of the players on this team I’ve had the pleasure of knowing! This team can be really good depending on availability!
Leading the offense is obviously Mclub 7 goals and 18 assists in 9 games a great player! Leading the defense is JonFromEarth, a great defense man who I’m shocked has finally came to SP to play d and is playing a lot with 8 games played and a 6 +/- on a team that only has a +6 goal differential!
4. Colorado Avalanche.
Trend: Sideways (L2).
Notable Stats: 44 goals against (12th), 50% penalty kill success rate (12th).
This team hasn’t played well so far but for right at this moment they are still right there’s this team is 4-5 and they have pieces that they usually have that take them deep into playoffs and won a few cups together! They definitely had a down week, but I believe for right at this moment that they are still a great team, just need to bounce back!
Leading the offense I’d say Woy he hasn’t played as much as some but he has the best ppg at 2.8 and is definitely one of the most important people on the team! Then leading defense is ultimategamer who played all 9 games this week while Eggman is the better player probably but in this case he’s the key to the defense being filled and he’s definitely a good d man!
5. Anaheim Ducks.
Trend: Downwards (L3).
Notable Stats: 25 goals for (13th), 45.5% penalty kill success rate (13th).
This team is better than their record. Hopefully they shape up. They have a great team run by Dirty Triix, he’s a smart guy! I think this team can do some big things! With dirty sudzy together then beaster and Uber on d!
The offense is led by Dirty Triix with 6 games with 11 goals and 5 assists. I expect these numbers only to get better! Leading the defense is Uber and beaster I can’t find myself to single out one these were my d back when I Gm the flyers I can’t say enough how much I love these two! I expect a good team defense from these two!
6. Chicago Blackhawks.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 50% powerplay conversion (3rd), 23 penalties against (2nd).
There’s some familiar faces on this team. As a whole I like the team personally but they have to find a way to work together right, but this team can surprise people, as they are 4-4-1.
Leading the offense is MinaturePeen with 2 goals and 17 assists in 6 games. Love this guy, him and tommy have been playing well together! Leading the defense is probably leading the defense I really can’t tell tho el rookie also has been somewhat decent!
7. Calgary Flames
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 44 goals for (t-4th), 60% penalty kill success rate (10th).
This team is interesting. I don’t know most of the main guys on the team so I can’t judge much but they obviously know how to put pucks in the back of the net with 44 goals, but some issues keeping the puck out of the net with 42 goals against! I will have to continue to see this team grow on me!
Leading the offense is whitetees41, playing all 9 games with 24 goals and 13 assists which is impressive! Leading the defense in games playing all 9 games is Sabres1414 seems to have the best availability but Theganjerc seems to be playing the best with a 3 +/- and a terrific 31 giveaways to 21 takeaways!
With the most teams in a season in quite some time, the amount of stacked teams are few and far between. While some teams may appear to have no chance at achieving success this season, one trade or good week can reverse the fortunes of that team. Simultaneously, one team can have a good start but remain stagnant: not progressing or making the necessary moves while the teams around them improve and surpass them. While the power rankings may be indicative of certain trends or strengths, it is far too early to see how the season will play out and how the playoffs will look.
We’ll dive deeper into these rankings and so much more with our weekly broadcast of SPNHL: Off the Ice! Join Kozmo, Pliskin, special guests and myself as we discuss everything league-related and beyond! Join us every Saturday night at 9 pm EST on either twitch.tv/probablekoz or twitch.tv/thespnhl_media (we’ll let you know), and make sure to follow for the latest updates on the league.
Also, if you’re on Twitch and are streaming the games, please let myself or ProdigyToLegend know so we can start compiling the weekly highlights. We’re trying to do as much as we can for media this season and appreciate all submissions!
Thank you for reading, and good luck to all the teams in this coming week!
- DD & Marv.