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The Man Advantage: Ranking the Power Play Units

Mark McLarney

Mark McLarney writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Hello fantasy hockey fanatics, and welcome back to what promises to be a lockout-shortened, 48-game sprint to the playoffs. As regular readers know, this column takes a look at the ever-changing NHL power play landscape. As in past years, 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. Feel free to agree or disagree as you like, however these projected rankings are really just a gut feel, based on a number of factors, including each team's ranking from last year, and 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 Dallas and Minnesota to have the most-improved PP attacks this year, while the sharpest dropoffs should be seen by Nashville, Calgary and New Jersey.

Now, discuss amongst yourselves and enjoy the season.

Last Year This
PP% Rank Year Team Projected 1st PP Unit (new faces in bold) Comment
21.6 3 1 EDM Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Horcoff, Schultz Already loaded, 2nd line now becomes Yakupov-Hemsky-Gagner-Smyth-Whitney.
19.9 5 2 PIT Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Letang A full season with Crosby (fingers crossed) makes this an elite, dangerous squad.
19.4 4 3 VAN D Sedin, H Sedin, Burrows, Edler, Garrison Put whoever you want with the Sedin twins. They will still rack up the points.
20.9 2 4 SJS Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Pavelski, Boyle A great example of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
19.7 6 5 PHI Briere, Giroux, Voracek, Hartnell, Timonen Proved last year they could survive the departures of Richards & fact, were better for it.
17.5 17 6 LAK Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter, Doughty Cup champs were slow out of the gate last year. Not this time.
13.7 30 7 DAL Whitney, Morrow, Roy, Jagr, Robidas Should see a huge improvement with addition of proven PP contributors Whitney, Roy and Jagr.
20.1 7 8 FLA Versteeg, Weiss, Fleischmann, Mueller, Campbell Rag-tag bunch surprised a lot of people last year. Huberdeau could graduate to top line very quickly.
22.0 12 9 WPG Wheeler, Jokinen, Little, Byfuglien, Enstrom Jokinen a big upgrade down the middle, but Toby and Big Buff still key to the Jets attack.
14.4 9 10 COL Duchene, Landeskog, Parenteau, Jones, Johnson If Duchene returns to form and Parenteau fits in, look out. Solid 2nd line with Stastny & Hejduk.
15.3 8 11 NYI Moulson, Tavares, Neilsen, Streit, Visnovsky Loss of Parenteau only slightly offset by addition of Visnovsky.
18.0 27 12 MIN Parise, Heatley, Koivu, Suter, Spurgeon Expect a big jump with their new big guns, but Suter not riding shotgun with Weber anymore - much to prove.
15.2 15 13 BOS Bergeron, Seguin, Krejci, Lucic, Chara The return of Nate Horton should make the B's better....and watch Dougie Hamilton.
19.7 16 14 BUF Vanek, Stafford, Pominville, Myers, Ehrhoff Stafford, Pominville came into their own last year. But Roy will be missed.
18.6 22 15 DET Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Brunner, Franzen, Kronwall Wll be better than last year, even with loss of Lidstrom.
16.0 20 16 CAR E. Staal, J. Staal, Skinner, Pitkanen, Faulk Brotherly unit of Eric and Jordan should click well. Even more depth with Semin on 2nd line.
22.9 1 17 NSH Hornqvist, Fisher, Erat, Weber, Ellis Were a surprise #1 squad last year but a fall-back is to be expected. Lots of depth to replace Suter.
17.2 10 18 TOR Kessel, Lupul, Bozak, Phaneuf, Liles Van Riemsdyk, Kadri, Gardiner ready to step in if anyone falters.
15.8 23 19 NYR Nash, Callahan, Gaborik, Richards, Del Zotto Very inconsistent last season due to chemistry issues. Nash will make them better, but he can't do it by himself.
18.9 19 20 STL Oshie, Backes, Berglund, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk Could have best blueline tandem in NHL now that Weber and Suter no longer together.
14.0 26 21 CHI Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Keith Can't possibly be as bad as they were last season. Too much talent.
18.7 18 22 WSH Ribeiro, Backstrom, Ovechkin, Green, Carlson Plenty of talent, but also plenty of question marks (Green's knees, Backstrom's head, Ovie's heart).
17.4 11 23 OTT Alfredsson, Spezza, Michalek, Gonchar, Karlsson Karlsson's great, but unit probalby overachieved last year. Too many aging bodies.
16.7 25 24 TBL Stamkos, Lecavalier, St. Louis, Bergeron, Carle Maddeningly inconsistent. Should be one of the league's best squads.
16.4 21 25 ANA Perry, Selanne, Getzlaf, Ryan, Fowler Still looking for a proven QB on the blueline. Fowler proving he is not the answer....yet, anyway.
14.3 29 26 PHX Vrbata, Doan, Hanzal, Yandle, Ekman-Larsson Losing Whitney (20 PP points last year) is gonna hurt.
15.5 28 27 MTL Pacioretty, Desharnais, Plekanec, Cole, Markov A healthy Markov alone could make this squad very dangerous. Lots of upside here.
14.7 13 28 CGY Cammalleri, Iginla, Tanguay, Giordano, Wideman Leading PP goal-scorer from last year (Jokinen) gone; Iginla only sniper left.
16.0 14 29 NJD Kovalchuk, Elias, Clarkson, Zajac, Zidlicky Kovalchuk #8 in PP points last season but doesn't have Parise to pass him the puck anymore.
17.2 24 30 CBJ Umberger, Brassard, Prospal, Wisniewski, Johnson Loss of Nash & Carter means an already dreadful PP will only get worse.