I’m going to do some NHL power rankings after the weekend action is complete. Teams that I think will finish high include the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks. However, those teams have games on Sunday, and their spots in my power rankings will depend on the results of those games. Yet one team that certainly won’t make the upcoming rankings, which will focus on teams in the higher end, is the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks entered the season among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. It will certainly take a lot more than an average start to see them fall significantly and bet365 have the ‘hawks at 25/2 still. On Saturday night, Chicago posted a win, but it was only a one-goal victory, at home, and against the Toronto Maple Leafs. When it comes to NHL ante-post, the Leafs are among the last favorites at 80/1 with BetVictor.
It’s points like that that I try to consider when constructing power rankings. The standings are just a starting point as opposed to a be-all-and-end-all thing. While wins count more than anything the spreads, the venue, and the quality of competition are factors as well.
In my view, power rankings are most useful in the early parts of the season when teams have yet to play a balanced schedule in terms of home-and-away games and quality competition. With those considerations among others let’s put the Chicago Blackhawks’ first six games under some scrutiny.
The Blackhawks are 3-3-0, and they currently sit 4th in the Central Division standings. These are their results to date in the regular season:
October 12th: lost to the St. Louis Blues 5-2 from the United Center
October 14th: lost to the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a game Nashville hosted
October 15th: defeated Nashville 5-3 from the United Center
October 18th: defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4 at the United Center
October 21st: lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in a game Columbus hosted
October 22nd: defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 at the United Center
As stated, beating Toronto by one goal doesn’t really help Chicago’s power rankings much in a game that they hosted. But furthermore, beating Philadelphia by three at the United Center isn’t all that impressive either since the Flyers are a middle favorite in the NHL (25/1 with Betway). The only thing that the Blackhawks have done that makes them look decent is the win they posted over Nashville. However, that was a game that Chicago hosted as well, and the two-goal victory is nearly offset by a one-goal loss against the same team in a game the Preds hosted.
What’s left with Chicago is a big loss at home to the St. Louis Blues. In fairness, that’s a team that a lot is expected out of this season, but the result was still a three-goal defeat in Chicago’s own building. Furthermore, the loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets is a major stinker. That Chicago were on the road isn’t too relevant in my mind for mitigating circumstances, because the Blue Jackets are the stone-cold last favorites to win the Cup (100/1 with William Hill). If I did a comprehensive listing of power rankings, I don’t have any doubt that the Blackhawks would be in the bottom third of the league so far.
When it comes to individuals in Chicago that are playing below par, Corey Crawford hasn’t shown up yet this season. His goals-against-average is 3.35, and his save percentage is minor league so far at .886. That has factored into Chicago’s 22 goals-against-to-date stat, the 2nd worst total ahead of only Calgary.
I felt Chicago were an over-rated team this season heading into the campaign. So far in the early season, I don’t see a thing that suggests otherwise. This is a team that might be heading toward a low-playoff seed in a division that might be over-rated overall.