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NHL Barometer: Overall Playoff Rankings

Jan Levine

Jan Levine

Levine covers baseball, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. In addition to his column writing, he's the master of the MLB and NHL cheatsheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets.


Here are the 2012 playoff rankings, based on a final four of New York-Pittsburgh and Vancouver-Nashville with a finals of Pittsburgh-Nashville and Stanley Cup champ of Nashville.

Rankings are based on games played and expected points per game, PPP, +/- and PIMs by skaters and wins/shutouts by goalies. If your quarters, semis and finals differ, adjust rankings accordingly.
 
First, the lead-in to the rankings, where I'll provide two scenarios.
 
Quarterfinals
 
EAST:

New York defeats Ottawa - 6 games

Ottawa boasts scoring power upfront in Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfreddson along with the possible Norris Trophy winner in Erik Karlsson, who led all d-men in scoring with 78 points. The Rangers are led by Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan but it's their style of play, blocking shots and willingness to take punishment, along with Henrik Lundqvist that carries them to next round in closer than expected series, made that way by play of Craig Anderson in net.

Washington defeats Boston - 7 games

Both teams enter the playoffs on a roll in their last 10 games, with Washington earning the playoff berth due to their hot play. Boston has the edge in net on paper, but I think Braden Holtby steals the series for the Capitals. In addition, Washington got a major boost with the return of Nicklas Backstrom the final week of the year, which pays major dividends as he and Ovechkin have big series.

New Jersey defeats Florida - 6 games

The Panthers were the team that everyone supposedly wanted to face in the first round. While I think NJ prevails, this will be a closer series than many expected. Florida was solid on the PP during the year, but the Devils' top-ranked penalty kill along with play of Martin Brodeur will be the difference.

Pittsburgh defeats Philadelphia - 7 games

In-state rivals with a general hatred for each other face off in the first round. This is the most intriguing matchup in the first round, as the over/under on fights and ejections might be in the double-digits. That view takes away from what should be a show of skill between Giroux, Jagr and the returning Briere compared to Crosby, Malkin etc. Philly has more grit, Pittsburgh more skill and that skill prevails in seven games.

(NOTE: In Scenario B, NY, Boston, NJ and Pitt advance, making it NY-NJ, Boston-Pitt, but net effect is the same and no change in conference semis, finals and Cup finals projections.)

WEST

Vancouver defeats LA - 6 games

The Kings tried to load up in the off-season, adding Mike Richards, and before the trade deadline, adding Jeff Carter, but it's not enough as the Canucks have too much for LA. Daniel Sedin returns from his concussion to give Vancouver just enough to defeat the Kings and Jonathan Quick, who outplays Roberto Luongo.

St. Louis defeats San Jose - 7 games

The Blues still have to decide who their goalie will be, and I believe Jaroslav Halak ends up getting the nod over Brian Elliott, despite Elliott's phenomenal season. San Jose has tremendous firepower, with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, not to mention Patrick Marleau, but St. Louis rides Ken Hitchcock's system along with stellar play from Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk into the semi-finals, barely edging San Jose taking advantage of the best home record in the league to win Game 7.

Chicago defeats Phoenix - 7 games

If you asked me who would have won this round two weeks ago, I would have said Phoenix. However, both teams closed the season strongly to earn bids and the Blackhawks finished with four more points than the Coyotes. Mike Smith was tremendous down the strength, but he was almost matched step-for-step by Corey Crawford. Chicago expects to get Jonathan Toews, who has been sidelined with a concussion, back during the series and his return makes the difference.

Nashville defeats Detroit - 7 games

The third time is finally the charm for the Predators, who lost in six games to Detroit in 2004 and 2008. The Predators may have a bit more offensive depth than in the past, and that depth, along with Pekka Rinne, makes the difference. The Red Wings, carried by Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen win a few games by a decent margin but the Predators do just enough to prevail in a hard fought series.

(NOTE: in Scenario B, Van, SJ, Phoenix and Detroit win, creating Van-SJ and Phx-Detroit semi-matchups and change in the conference finals and Cup finals projections.)

Conference Semifinals

New York defeats Washington - 6 games

Like Nashville, the third time is the charm for New York as they finally defeat Washington after losing to them in 2009 and 2011. The Capitals beat the Rangers in the final game of the season to secure a playoff berth and cost New York the President's Trophy. Brandon Dubinsky has another big series for the Rangers against the Capitals, this time helping New York move to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Pittsburgh defeats New Jersey - 6 games

Kovalchuk, Parise and Elias against Malkin, Crosby and Neal. The difference makers are Fleury and Letang, who outplay Brodeur and Zidlicky by just enough to turn the series. Both teams have good PP and PK, so they are negated, but the Penguins have just enough firepower to get past the Devils.
 
(NOTE: In Scenario B, NY just gets by NJ in a war of battle while Pitt beats Boston, leaving conference finals as same NY-Pitt.)

Vancouver defeats Chicago - 5 games

The last two Western Conference representatives in the Stanley Cup meet. The run ends for Chicago, as a Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler overcome a shaky Roberto Luongo to help lead the Canucks past the Blackhawks as Cory Schneider sees action in the series.

Nashville defeats St. Louis - 7 games

Two teams that rely on their goalie and a strong defense battle to the wire. Rinne slightly outplays the two-headed monster in net for the Blues, as the Predators prevail in a Game 7 overtime. Alexander Radulov comes up huge with that game-winner and all the debate as to whether he needed to pass through waivers before rejoining Nashville comes to the forefront again.

(NOTE: in Scenario B, Vancouver beats SJ and Phoenix beat Detroit, making it a Van-Phx final.)

Conference Finals

Pittsburgh defeats New York - 6 games

As much as it pains me to write this, Pittsburgh has just too much firepower and depth for New York. The Rangers welcome back Mats Zuccarello from his broken wrist and he provides a PP spark, but the Penguins' forward depth is too much to overcome as Pittsburgh makes it back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in the past five years.

Nashville defeats Vancouver - 6 games

The Predators' depth is the key here as Fisher and Erat are joined by the Kostitsyn brothers in helping Nashville knock out the Canucks. The Sedins lead a valiant charge, supported by David Booth, but Rinne is just too tough and Nashville advances to their first ever Stanley Cup Finals.

(NOTE: in Scenario B, Phoenix rides Mike Smith and the Vrbata/Whitney/Doan trio to beat Vancouver and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, which should make some great press conferences for Gary Bettman to discuss the NHL's ownership of the franchise.)

Stanley Cup Finals
 
Nashville defeats Pittsburgh- 6 games

The Stanley Cup heads to Tennessee as Pekka Rinne, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, has a magnificent series and Shea Weber and Ryan Suter help shut down the vaunted Penguins attack.

(Note – in Scenario B with Pittsburgh-Phoenix, take Pittsburgh in five games with Sidney Crosby barely outpacing Evgeni Malkin as Conn Smythe winner.)

RANKINGS

Goalies

1. P. Rinne G Nas
2. M. Fleury G Pit
3. H. Lundqvist G NYR
4. R. Luongo G Van
5. M. Brodeur G NJ
6. C. Crawford G Chi
7. J. Halak G StL
8. B. Holtby G Was
9. M. Smith G Pho
10. T. Thomas G Bos
11. J. Quick G LA
12. I. Bryzgalov G Phi
13. J. Howard G Det
14. J. Theodore G Fla
15. C. Anderson G Ott
16. C. Schneider G Van
17. B. Elliott G StL
18. S. Clemmensen G Fla
19. T. Rask G Bos
20. M. Biron G NYR
21. R. Emery G Chi
22. B. Johnson G Pit
23. A. Lindback G Nas
24. J. Hedberg G NJ
25. S. Bobrovsky G Phi
26. T. Greiss G SJ
27. J. MacDonald G Det
28. J. Bernier G LA
29. B. Bishop G Ott
30. J. LaBarbera G Pho
31. T. Conklin G Det
32. D. Sabourin G Was
33. M. Neuvirth G Was
34. T. Vokoun G Was

Centers

1. E. Malkin C Pit
2. S. Crosby C Pit
3. B. Richards C NYR
4. H. Sedin C Van
5. M. Fisher C Nas
6. D. Legwand C Nas
7. J. Staal C Pit
8. N. Backstrom C Was
9. R. Kesler C Van
10. C. Wilson C Nas
11. J. Toews C Chi
12. P. Elias C NJ
13. A. McDonald C StL
14. A. Henrique C NJ
15. D. Backes C StL
16. J. Spezza C Ott
17. M. Johansson C Was
18. C. Smith C Nas
19. P. Berglund C StL
20. D. Krejci C Bos
21. H. Zetterberg C Det
22. J. Thornton C SJ
23. P. Gaustad C Nas
24. D. Briere C Phi
25. A. Kopitar C LA
26. P. Datsyuk C Det
27. T. Zajac C NJ
28. M. Perreault C Was
29. J. Arnott C StL
30. D. Bolland C Chi
31. P. Bergeron C Bos
32. S. Weiss C Fla
33. M. Richards C LA
34. L. Couture C SJ
35. K. Turris C Ott
36. B. Boyle C NYR
37. J. Mitchell C NYR
38. M. Kruger C Chi
39. J. Vitale C Pit
40. B. Schenn C Phi
41. R. Park C Pit
42. D. Jeffrey C Pit
43. A. Ebbett C Van
44. C. Kelly C Bos
45. M. Goc C Fla
46. M. Hanzal C Pho
47. M. Lapierre C Van
48. S. Pahlsson C Van
49. J. Carter C LA
50. M. Talbot C Phi
51. S. Couturier C Phi
52. A. Vermette C Pho
53. D. Langkow C Pho
54. M. Handzus C SJ
55. J. Halpern C Was
56. C. Eakin C Was
57. S. Matthias C Fla
58. K. Chipchura C Pho
59. B. Gordon C Pho
60. J. Stoll C LA
61. D. Moore C SJ
62. J. Abdelkader C Det
63. A. Desjardins C SJ
64. Z. Smith C Ott
65. J. Mayers C Chi
66. B. Morrison C Chi
67. G. Campbell C Bos
68. J. Madden C Fla
69. M. Santorelli C Fla
70. A. Loktionov C LA
71. C. Fraser C LA
72. C. Emmerton C Det
73. Z. Konopka C Ott
74. D. Helm C Det
75. J. Josefson C NJ

Wings

1. J. Neal W Pit
2. A. Radulov W Nas
3. C. Kunitz W Pit
4. M. Erat W Nas
5. P. Hornqvist W Nas
6. P. Dupuis W Pit
7. M. Gaborik W NYR
8. R. Callahan W NYR
9. A. Ovechkin W Was
10. I. Kovalchuk W NJ
11. S. Kostitsyn W Nas
12. D. Sedin W Van
13. Z. Parise W NJ
14. A. Burrows W Van
15. M. Hossa W Chi
16. A. Kostitsyn W Nas
17. P. Kane W Chi
18. P. Sharp W Chi
19. S. Sullivan W Pit
20. T. Kennedy W Pit
21. B. Dubinsky W NYR
22. C. Higgins W Van
23. A. Steen W StL
24. D. Perron W StL
25. T. Oshie W StL
26. D. Stepan W NYR
27. C. Giroux W Phi
28. A. Semin W Was
29. D. Clarkson W NJ
30. J. Pavelski W SJ
31. B. Laich W Was
32. M. Cooke W Pit
33. J. Jagr W Phi
34. C. Hagelin W NYR
35. S. Hartnell W Phi
36. M. Lucic W Bos
37. D. Booth W Van
38. T. Seguin W Bos
39. R. Whitney W Pho
40. R. Fedotenko W NYR
41. T. Fleischmann W Fla
42. M. Michalek W Ott
43. R. Vrbata W Pho
44. D. Zubrus W NJ
45. D. Alfredsson W Ott
46. J. Tootoo W Nas
47. J. Franzen W Det
48. C. Stewart W StL
49. P. Marleau W SJ
50. J. Voracek W Phi
51. V. Filppula W Det
52. V. Stalberg W Chi
53. Z. Kassian W Van
54. M. Read W Phi
55. B. Marchand W Bos
56. K. Versteeg W Fla
57. A. Anisimov W NYR
58. A. Shaw W Chi
59. M. Raymond W Van
60. W. Wolski W Fla
61. A. Ponikarovsky W NJ
62. C. Adams W Pit
63. N. Spaling W Nas
64. A. Asham W Pit
65. J. Hansen W Van
66. M. Halischuk W Nas
67. R. Peverley W Bos
68. G. Bourque W Nas
69. D. Brown W LA
70. J. Williams W LA
71. M. Havlat W SJ
72. R. Clowe W SJ
73. P. Sykora W NJ
74. J. Chimera W Was
75. T. Brouwer W Was
76. B. Bickell W Chi
77. W. Simmonds W Phi
78. J. Ward W Was
79. J. Schwartz W StL
80. J. Langenbrunner W StL
81. M. Samuelsson W Fla
82. S. Doan W Pho
83. S. Bergenheim W Fla
84. M. D'Agostini W StL
85. V. Sobotka W StL
86. D. King W LA
87. C. Greening W Ott
88. G. Nyquist W Det
89. J. Hudler W Det
90. N. Foligno W Ott
91. T. Bertuzzi W Det
92. B. Prust W NYR
93. M. Zuccarello W NYR
94. M. Rupp W NYR
95. M. Malhotra W Van
96. J. Hayes W Chi
97. B. Yip W Nas
98. K. Aucoin W Was
99. A. Brunette W Chi
100. E. Wellwood W Phi
101. J. van Riemsdyk W Phi
102. B. Pouliot W Bos
103. L. Korpikoski W Pho
104. T. Kopecky W Fla
105. G. Brule W Pho
106. B. Richardson W LA
107. D. Cleary W Det
108. C. Neil W Ott
109. M. Frolik W Chi
110. S. Bernier W NJ
111. M. Knuble W Was
112. R. Torres W Pho
113. B. Rolston W Bos
114. J. Caron W Bos
115. S. Upshall W Fla
116. M. Boedker W Pho
117. D. Paille W Bos
118. T. Pyatt W Pho
119. D. Penner W LA
120. S. Gagne W LA
121. D. Miller W Det
122. T. Holmstrom W Det
123. D. Winnik W SJ
124. T. Mitchell W SJ
125. T. Galiardi W SJ
126. B. Butler W Ott
127. E. Condra W Ott
128. J. Winchester W Ott
129. D. Weise W Van
130. B. Smith W Chi
131. M. Hendricks W Was
132. N. Horton W Bos
133. Z. Rinaldo W Phi
134. M. Sturm W Fla
135. S. Thornton W Bos
136. T. Lewis W LA
137. J. Nolan W LA
138. K. Clifford W LA
139. K. Daugavins W Ott
140. J. Mursak W Det
141. E. Tangradi W Pit

Defensemen

1. S. Weber D Nas
2. K. Letang D Pit
3. R. Suter D Nas
4. A. Edler D Van
5. M. Del Zotto D NYR
6. A. Pietrangelo D StL
7. K. Shattenkirk D StL
8. K. Bieksa D Van
9. D. Hamhuis D Van
10. K. Klein D Nas
11. P. Martin D Pit
12. R. McDonagh D NYR
13. M. Gragnani D Van
14. S. Salo D Van
15. D. Keith D Chi
16. M. Zidlicky D NJ
17. D. Wideman D Wsh
18. E. Karlsson D Ott
19. D. Girardi D NYR
20. D. Doughty D LA
21. D. Boyle D SJ
22. A. Stralman D NYR
23. N. Leddy D Chi
24. J. Carlson D Was
25. M. Green D Was
26. B. Campbell D Fla
27. Z. Chara D Bos
28. K. Yandle D Pho
29. N. Lidstrom D Det
30. K. Timonen D Phi
31. S. Gonchar D Ott
32. B. Seabrook D Chi
33. J. Blum D Nas
34. M. Niskanen D Pit
35. D. Engelland D Pit
36. H. Gill D Nas
37. Z. Michalek D Pit
38. C. Colaiacovo D StL
39. F. Bouillon D Nas
40. B. Orpik D Pit
41. M. Staal D NYR
42. A. Greene D NJ
43. D. Orlov D Was
44. A. Larsson D NJ
45. R. Josi D Nas
46. M. Carle D Phi
47. D. Kulikov D Fla
48. J. Garrison D Fla
49. V. Voynov D LA
50. B. Burns D SJ
51. B. Smith D Det
52. R. Ellis D Nas
53. I. White D Det
54. K. Quincey D Det
55. N. Kronwall D Det
56. F. Kuba D Ott
57. S. Bickel D NYR
58. J. Oduya D Chi
59. N. Hjalmarsson D Chi
60. M. Taormina D NJ
61. M. Fayne D NJ
62. A. Volchenkov D NJ
63. K. Alzner D Wsh
64. O. Ekman-Larsson D Pho
65. B. Coburn D Phi
66. P. Kubina D Phi
67. A. Ference D Bos
68. J. Corvo D Bos
69. D. Seidenberg D Bos
70. J. Boychuk D Bos
71. B. Jackman D StL
72. S. Despres D Pit
73. K. Russell D StL
74. R. Polak D StL
75. W. Mitchell D LA
76. D. Drewiske D LA
77. M. Vlasic D SJ
78. J. Demers D SJ
79. J. Woywitka D NYR
80. J. Ericsson D Det
81. B. Stuart D Det
82. M. Gilroy D Ott
83. C. Phillips D Ott
84. J. Cowen D Ott
85. S. Eminger D NYR
86. S. O'Donnell D Chi
87. C. Tanev D Van
88. R. Hamrlik D Wsh
89. E. Gustafsson D Phi
90. N. Grossmann D Phi
91. A. Meszaros D Phi
92. K. Ellerby D Fla
93. E. Gudbranson D Fla
94. D. Schlemko D Pho
95. R. Klesla D Pho
96. D. Morris D Pho
97. M. Rozsival D Pho
98. D. Rundblad D Pho
99. A. McQuaid D Bos
100. E. Jovanovski D Fla
101. A. Aucoin D Pho
102. J. Kindl D Det
103. R. Scuderi D LA
104. M. Greene D LA
105. A. Martinez D LA
106. J. Braun D SJ
107. J. Schultz D Wsh

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