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The Man Advantage: Ranking the Power Play Units

Mark McLarney

Mark McLarney writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Hello pool junkies, and welcome back to another fantasy season. As usual, in this column we take a look at the ever-changing world of NHL power play units. I like to kick off each season with a quick look at each team's top line, how they ranked overall last season and how they stack up this year. Agree or disagree as you will - these projected rankings are really just a gut feel, based on two things: one, each team's ranking from last year, and two, whether they made any significant roster moves over the offseason. Beginning next article, we will start to look at individual players a little more closely - i.e., who's getting PP time, who isn't, and which guys make for good fantasy selections based on their PP prospects.

For now, check out my projected rankings below. At a minimum, this should give you a feel for how each team's first PP unit is shaping up to start the season. Accurate forecasts are always tough to come up with, but this year I'm calling for Colorado and Winnipeg to see the sharpest dropoffs in PP efficiency, while the two most improved PP squads will be Washington and Los Angeles.

Now, discuss amongst yourselves and enjoy the season.

Last Year This
PP% Rank Year Team Projected 1st PP Unit (new faces in bold) Comment
24.3 1 1 VAN D Sedin, H Sedin, Burrows, Samuelsson, Edler Still loaded, still deadly. All that depth makes loss of Ehrhoff no big deal.
17.5 16 2 WSH Semin, Backstrom, Ovechkin, Green, Wideman Throw last year out the window. Too much talent not to have a huge rebound.
23.1 4 3 CHI Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Keith Look for a big rebound year from Kane - just five PPG's last season, down from 13 two years before.
23.5 3 4 ANA Perry, Selanne, Getzlaf, Visnovsky, Fowler Fowler fitting in well - more than half of his 40 points (23) came on the PP last year.
20.5 6 5 TBL Stamkos, Lecavalier, St. Louis, Bergeron, Brewer Scary dangerous, even without a bona fide PP d-man to man the point.
23.5 2 6 SJS Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Boyle, Burns Last year's 40 PPP's from Heater & Seto will be tough to replace. Watch Couture this year, though.
16.1 21 7 LAK Penner, Kopitar, Richards, Doughty, Johnson Expect a big bounce back this year with Richards, Gagne in the fold. And Doughty will be better.
19.4 9 8 BUF Vanek, Roy, Pominville, Myers, Ehrhoff A healthy Roy (touch wood) and the addition of Ehrhoff means added depth.
22.3 5 9 DET Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Lidstrom, White Will be slightly weaker with the loss of Rafalski. Plus, Lidstrom can't possibly repeat last season…can he?
18.6 10 10 STL Steen, Berglund, McDonald, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk Crazy good depth with Backes, Stewart, Oshie, Arnott, Langenbrunner, etc.
19.7 7 11 MTL Gionta, Plekanec, Cammalleri, Cole, Subban In Cole, finally get a big body to stand in front and tip in rebounds. Huge upside if Markov ever gets healthy.
18.2 13 12 MIN Heatley, Koivu, Setoguchi, Cullen, Zidlicky Watch Koivu's assist totals this year, dishing off to Heater and Seto.
16.6 19 13 PHI Briere, Giroux, Jagr, Timonen, Pronger Jagr may be a step or two slower, but he can still dish the puck to finishers like Giroux, Briere and JVR.
16.9 18 14 NYR Callahan, Dubinsky, Gaborik, Richards, Staal Finally getting a true PP quarterback in Richards, who had 22 PPA's last year.
17.2 17 15 NYI Moulson, Tavares, Parenteau, Okposo, Streit Return of Streit will be a big boost to an already-promising young squad.
19.5 8 16 CGY Bourque, Jokinen, Iginla, Tanguay, Giordano Deadly at home last year (25.6%) but feeble on the road (13.3%). Sadly, no new bodies coming in to change that.
15.8 25 17 PIT Kunitz, Malkin, Neal, Sullivan, Letang Always seem to struggle on the PP, even when Sid's healthy. This year he's not. Do the math.
16.2 20 18 BOS Bergeron, Krejci, Lucic, Chara, Seidenberg Power play? We don't need no stinking power play!We're the Cup Champs!
14.5 27 19 EDM Hall, Horcoff, Paajarvi, Smyth, Gilbert It's not the kids' time yet, but they're getting there. Smyth a fine addition to help them along.
14.0 29 20 CBJ Umberger, Carter, Nash, Wisniewski, Tyutin It all centers around Nash & Carter and how well they mesh. Wisniewski will provide more pop from back end.
18.0 14 21 DAL Morrow, Ribeiro, Eriksson, Benn, Goligoski Not having Richards on the point will expose the Stars' lack of blue line depth. Desperately need a new QB.
16.0 22 22 TOR Grabovski, Connolly, Kessel, Phaneuf, Liles Team needs someone to light a fire under Phil. Connolly is not the guy to do it.
15.2 26 23 NSH Hornqvist, Fisher, Erat, Weber, Suter Preds win games with goaltending and D, not special teams. That said, watch for a small improvement this year.
15.9 24 24 CAR Ruutu, Staal, Skinner, Kaberle, Pitkanen Kaberle may just shine this year, now that he's not competing with Chara for top d-man honours anymore.
18.3 12 25 WPG Ladd, Antropov, Little, Byfuglien, Enstrom Buff was the key to the Thrashers' second-half slide last year. Expect more of the same.
14.4 28 26 NJD Elias, Zajac, Parise, Kovalchuk, Rolston First key to PP success is drawing penalties. Devils were worst in that category last year with just 237 PP Opps.
17.5 15 27 OTT Alfredsson, Spezza, Michalek, Gonchar, Karlsson Just not a whole lot to get excited about.
18.5 11 28 COL Mueller, Stastny, Hejduk, Duchene, Johnson Avs needs Stastny and Johnson to step up big time. Duchene can't do it all by himself.
13.1 30 29 FLA Booth, Weiss, Fleischmann, Versteeg, Campbell Looking stronger on paper but ... meh. We're not convinced.
15.9 23 30 PHX Whitney, Langkow, Vrbata, Doan, Yandle Yandle had 23 PPA's last year - imagine how many more he could have with a better supporting cast.