Every Monday until the end of the season, Hockey Prospectus will provide updated Player Power Rankings for the top 10 skaters and top five goalies in the NHL based on HP's proprietary value metric, GVT, a statistic that combines player contributions in all aspects of the game, including defense and the shootout.
This week, San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi surges to No. 1 (from No. 5) in the netminder rankings, unseating the injured Craig Anderson from the top spot. In terms of skaters, Nazem Kadri climbs to No. 4 (from No. 6), and Patrice Bergeron makes an appearance at No. 8 (after not being ranked last week).
Player Power Rankings: Skaters
are through March 31.
Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux led overall GVT for nine
consecutive seasons in the 1980s, but since then a skater has led the
category only twice: Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 and Crosby this season. Just as
Crosby was hitting his peak, another injury (jaw) will sideline him
We'll see how well Kunitz adapts with Crosby out. He's currently
leading the league with a plus-27, but he's taken a few bad penalties,
including a five-minute major in Saturday's 2-0 win against the Islanders.
While the Blackhawks have clearly cooled down since their
23-game unbeaten start, Kane has actually upped his scoring pace, picking up
15 points in his last eight games.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Hands up if you had Kadri as the fourth-best skater in the NHL
at the beginning of the season. Amazingly, his numbers seem sustainable,
because he's getting more luck (20 percent shooting percentage) despite less
ice time (16:05 a game) than he deserves.
Staal is both underperforming on the power play (five points in
129 minutes, which is about one-third of the scoring rate of peers like Joe
Thornton and Phil Kessel) and overperforming at even strength (32 points,
second in the NHL to Crosby).
Tampa Bay Lightning
Since 1980, only five players have led the league in goals in
consecutive seasons: Gretzky, Lemieux, Brett Hull, Pavel Bure and Ovechkin.
That's good company, and Stamkos is likely to become the sixth member of this
Anaheim's offense has bounced back -- from ranking 23rd in the
league last season to sixth this season -- but it's not completely a fluke:
The team's same forward corps of Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Teemu
Selanne led the league with a 10.1 shooting percentage in 2010-11 as well.
Like Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk, Bergeron is a player who
excels at so many facets of the game that stats can't fully capture his
value. For now, let's point out that he remains the NHL's best faceoff man
(61.6 percent) and leads the league's best penalty-killing unit.
New York Islanders
Before Tavares' scoring output this season and last, the
Islanders hadn't had a player rank among the NHL's top 10 scorers since
Zigmund Palffy way back in 1997-98.
Since 2009, Toews ranks 12th in the league in offensive GVT but
fourth in defensive GVT among forwards, making him the rare point-a-game
player who's even better defensively than offensively.
Player Power Rankings: Goalies
are through March 31.
San Jose Sharks
While Niemi's stats are good but not phenomenal (a .925 save
percentage), what's made him so valuable is that he's maintained them over
849 shots against, the sixth-highest total in the NHL.
While Anderson remains out with a sprained ankle, the Senators
have gotten a spectacular .930 save percentage out of his replacements, Ben
Bishop and Robin Lehner.
New York Rangers
As Lundqvist is easily worth about 5-6 points in the standings,
it can safely be said that he was responsible for the Rangers making the
playoffs in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. With the Rangers currently tied for
the eighth playoff spot, he will have to be the difference again this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
For the last few years, Columbus has been weak on both offense
and in terms of goaltending. This season, Bobrovsky has addressed the latter
problem, but the team's 29th-ranked offense means that it is still not quite
a contender in the Western Conference.
Rask has been good, but no other No. 1 goaltender faces as few
as the 26 shots a game that he sees, one reason why he's second in the NHL
with a 2.02 GAA.