Starting this week, I will begin a weekly post on the previous week in the NHL. I’ll look at the five best and worst NHL teams thus far in the season, as well as the three best and worst players in the last week.
THE TOP FIVE
5. Edmonton Oilers
(7-2-0 record, 49.13% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 58.06% 5v5 Goals For%, 102.12 5v5 PDO)
While the rest of the team has been solid, it’s clearly the Connor McDavid show so far in Edmonton. Whether McDavid can carry the team to the team’s first playoff spot in 11 years or not will be a story line to follow for the rest of the season.
4. New York Rangers
(6-3-0 record, 50.99% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 58.54% 5v5 Goals For%, 102.79 5v5 PDO)
The Rangers might boast the best forward depth in the league, as they have four lines that are just as good as the last. Their defense, on the other hand, is not so deep, so we’ll see if Lundqvist can bail them out again this season. He hasn’t exactly been his usual self thus far.
3. Montreal Canadiens
(8-0-1 record, 51.15% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 71.43% 5v5 Goals For%, 105.49 5v5 PDO)
I know what you’re thinking, why is the NHL’s best team thus far only in third? First, while Price is amazing, I don’t think that the team should rely on their goaltending all season. Second, did you see what happened last year? Third, the team themselves are playing worse than last year. Fourth, did you see what happened last year?
2. St. Louis Blues
(5-2-2 record, 53.69% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 48% 5v5 Goals For%, 98.56 5v5 PDO)
I may have to take an early call back on my preseason predictions. I thought the Blues would take one step back this year to take two steps forward down the road and miss the playoffs, but they look just as good as last year.
1. San Jose Sharks
(6-3-0 record, 55.1% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 46.43% 5v5 Goals For%, 97.46 5v5 PDO)
They’re currently the league’s second best possession team in the league, and are sixth in the league despite the fifth lowest PDO in the league. Basically, they’ve looked good thus far, but the numbers suggest that they can only get better.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
5. Arizona Coyotes
(2-6-0 record, 47.3% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 45.95% 5v5 Goals For%, 99.94 5v5 PDO)
While they currently have the worst record in the league, I don’t see anything REALLY bad with the Yotes. They certainly aren’t a playoff team, but they aren’t terrible either.
4. Nashville Predators
(2-5-1 record, 46.79% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 34.78% 5v5 Goals For%, 96.51 5v5 PDO)
A disappointing start to the season for Nashville, and for once, it’s not just Pekka Rinne’s fault. They’re possession game has been very bad, although it has been improving since the start of the season, so maybe that food poisoning took a bigger toll on the Preds than we thought.
3. Winnipeg Jets
(4-5-0 record, 46.51% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 41.38% 5v5 Goals For%, 98.31 5v5 PDO)
After Winnipeg thought they finally solved their goalie issue, it turns out they haven’t. Both Hutchinson and Hellebuyck have been bad, and if not for the Jets opportunistic scoring, they wouldn’t have as many wins as they do. However, they’re possession game isn’t good, so that doesn’t help with bad goaltending.
2. New York Islanders
(4-5-0 record, 45.5% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 53.85% 5v5 Goals For%, 101.14 5v5 PDO)
Speaking of goalie problems, the Islanders don’t seem to know who to start each game, and now they’re (arguably) best goalie, Halak, wants out. Add that on top of Tavares’ rotating door of wingers, and the Islanders are a hot mess. Maybe that’s why the ice is so bad?
1. Vancouver Canucks
(4-4-1 record, 42.65% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%, 41.67% 5v5 Goals For%, 98.79 5v5 PDO)
Yes, they are currently .500. Yes, they currently hold a division spot. Will that continue? No. Since 2007-08, only four teams have put up worse possession numbers than what Vancouver has right now, and all of those teams finished in the lower parts of the standings.
THE REAL MVPS
1. Devan Dubnyk (3-0-0, 1.000%, 3 SO)
Dubnyk was the definition of GOAT this week, as he did not allow a goal in three games for the Wild, and won all three (obviously). Might we be seeing some Vezina candidate Dubnyk from a couple of years ago.
2. Craig Anderson (2-0-0, 1.000%, 2 SO)
Another perfect goalie this week, Anderson did this with the Senators in front of him, and he did it in the wake of the difficult news that he was given last week.
3. Wayne Simmonds (2G-4A-6P in 5 GP, 59.91% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%)
Simmonds had a monster week, putting up a ton of points on a suddenly lethal Flyers offense, and also drove play very well, with an almost 60% possession in that span.
THE TIRE FIRES
1. Derek Forbort (0G-0A-0P in 4 GP, 32.42% 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%)
Forbort got caved in this week on the Kings blueline, putting up a 32.42% CF%, which is quite the accomplishment, since he plays for the notoriously possession-strong Kings.
2. Steve Mason (1-2-0, .872%)
Mason has seen better weeks, as he was brutal during the four games he played, and three that he started. His offense bailed him out on Saturday though, so his record isn’t atrocious this week.
3. Mathew Barzal (0G-0A-0P in 1 GP, 8.12% 5v5 5v5 Score Adjusted Corsi For%)
While I’m not a believer of small sample size, as Barzal played just 9:20 this week, this is extremely astonishing: an 8.12% CF%. Like, how? The Islanders saw the shot attempts go 2-20 when he was on the ice. Yikes.