Monday, October 18, 2021

Weekend rankings: It’s way too early but we still have a top five, a bottom five, and your second-favorite team

We’re back. And as per tradition, we’re back way too early.

The season isn’t even a week old. That’s too soon to know anything about anyone, which means it’s too soon to do power rankings. I mean, sure, we’re not doing them after three days like some people we could mention, but this is still pretty silly.

So why bother? Two reasons. First, it’s fun. You can read my rankings now and think that I’m wrong, then wait six months until you find out that I was really super-wrong. Then you can laugh at me. I’m told people enjoy that.

But maybe more importantly, every once in a great while we really do learn something from the first few days of the season. Sometimes there is a very faint signal hidden in all of the noise; the challenge is to find it. That’s the tricky part, and most of us aren’t very good at it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth at least trying.

These rankings have been running for close to a decade now, and some of you know the drill. If you’re new or could use a refresher, here’s the key thing you need to know: These rankings are trying to predict the future, which is a very different goal than looking for a snapshot of the present. We want to answer two questions here every week. We want to know which teams are most likely to win the Stanley Cup, and which ones are the most likely to finish dead last. We do that by considering what’s happened in the last week, but we try not to overreact to it. If the Sabres beat the Lightning on some random Friday night, cool, that’s hockey. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Sabres shoot up the rankings.

It’s a bit different than most of the many rankings out there, which tend to be more focused on immediate events. That’s a perfectly valid way to do it, of course, but it’s not what we’re going for here. If seeing a ranking where a team is ahead of an opponent who just beat them is going to bother you, this might not be your thing, because we try very hard not to overreact to single games or small sample sizes. Remember: Big picture.

Makes sense? Cool, let’s get to some way-too-early rankings that are going to end up being very wrong.

Road to the Cup

The five teams with the best chances of becoming the first franchise in three years to win a Stanley Cup that we have to admit probably counts.

The story of University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop was pretty cool. He didn’t get into the game, which was good news for the Leafs and maybe also for any Senator fans wondering if two years’ worth of David Ayres jokes were going to come back to haunt them. The Leafs only had to play a goalie short for one game before they could use an emergency callup on Michael Hutchinson, so Bishop’s brief NHL career appears over, at least until he inevitably ends up starting a Game 7 for some reason.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (2-0-0, +4 true goals differential*) – They took a lot of criticism for their weird offseason, and it wasn’t undeserved. But a big part of that was around goaltending, and a few more strong starts by Frederik Andersen will start to alleviate that. Getting a convincing win on opening night against their main competition for the top spot in the Metro also doesn’t hurt.

4. Florida Panthers (2-0-0, +5) – Tell me if I’m wrong here, but it feels like the Panthers are this year’s team that we’re all kind of rooting for, right?

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment