800 Pound Gorillas

Go-Team-Gorilla-Team

So, as some teams complete the first 10% of their seasons, it’s worth looking at which teams are really playing well and which might be benefiting from either a surplus of power play opportunities or an unsustainable power play percentage.

Pittsburgh, for example is cashing in on 36.4% of their power play opportunities this season and, although they led the league a year ago at 23.4%, you can expect some regression there.

That’s not a huge deal for Penguin fans since their team is also very good at even strength posting a 5V5 F/A of 1.09.

Don’t think 5V5 matters much? Well, here are the top teams from last season:

1) Boston 1.53

2) Anaheim 1.39

3) Los Angeles 1.28

4) Chicago 1.27

5) St. Louis 1.22

6) San Jose 1.17

7) Tampa Bay 1.16

8) Minnesota 1.15

9) Colorado 1.12

10) New York Rangers 1.07

11) Columbus 1.06

12) Pittsburgh 1.05

13) Dallas 1.04

14) Detroit 1.03

15) Phoenix 1.00

16) Montreal 0.99

Please note that 15 of those 16 made the playoffs last season and only Phoenix didn’t although they missed by a hair.

The lesson here is that you’d better be good at even strength, the state in which most of the game is played, or you’re doomed.

So, in an early season snapshot, let’s take a look at the contenders and pretenders so far this season with the caveat of small sample sizes.

The Gorillas

1) Minnesota leads the way with a 5V5 FA ratio of 4.00. The Wild have only played 5 games and have yet to score a PP goal this season but they have been so good 5V5 that they’ve managed a .600 win percentage.

2) Nashville 2.00

3) Calgary 1.80

4) Chicago 1.67

5) Anaheim 1.60

6) Los Angeles 1.57

7) Tampa Bay 1.50

8) Washington 1.44

9) New Jersey 1.36

10) Ottawa 1.33

11) Dallas 1.23

12) New York Islanders 1.21

There are several other teams with a positive 5V5 percentage so one good or bad game could change their status but there are also several teams that are a mess at even strength and you can likely count them out of the playoff race soon if not now.

The Chimps

30) Buffalo 0.35 (OMG)

29) Carolina 0.43

28) Arizona 0.53

27) Edmonton 0.64

26) Winnipeg 0.65

Save a massive turnaround in even strength play, those are your leading contenders for Connor McDavid in the 2015 draft.

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