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2015-16 End of Season NHL Power Rankings

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Isles finish just outside the top 10, plus a look towards adjusting the formula next year.

Hidden in this image is the Isles' final position in the LHH Power Rankings.
Hidden in this image is the Isles' final position in the LHH Power Rankings.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

All season long we compile and update power rankings based on the traditional formula game results (i.e. wins, losses or ties (shootouts), strength of schedule, and quality of wins. To keep things spicy and provide more fodder, we also include a roundup of media "power rankings" which are almost always "ranking of teams by angry reporters' gut and/or whether or not they're angry about locker room rug rules."

So our final power ranking for the 2015-16 season was compiled prior to most publications getting their opinion polls done, and most of them will have moved on to playoff coverage anyway.

But we'll sample a couple of outlets before getting to the power ranking, a bit of a diversion during the two-day break in the Islanders' first-round playoff series.

Weekly Roundup of Not a Whole Lot

ESPN and SI each placed the Isles 13th. ESPN actually focused on only the Isles' injury concerns heading into the playoffs, but Sports Illustrated "went there" and said this:

A loss in their season finale was as good as a win for the Isles, who may have stumbled into an easier first-round matchup as a result. By finishing third, New York dodged the red-hot Penguins and landed a date with the Panthers, a team whose lack of playoff experience dovetails nicely with their own. Captain John Tavares enters the playoffs hot, with nine points in his final five games

I'm sure that sits well with Panthers fans angry about being seen as a better matchup.

LHH Power Rankings

Our final standings of the season:

(6) (4) (3) (2) (0)
Reg OT OT Reg LHH LHH
GP W W SO L L Pts Rating
1 Washington Capitals 82 45 7 6 6 18 328 121.3
2 Dallas Stars 82 42 6 4 7 23 302 117.2
3 St. Louis Blues 82 36 8 9 5 24 285 112.0
4 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 38 6 8 4 26 284 111.5
5 Florida Panthers 82 39 1 10 6 26 280 109.7
6 Chicago Blackhawks 82 36 10 3 7 26 279 109.2
7 New York Rangers 82 39 4 4 7 28 276 108.6
8 Los Angeles Kings 82 34 12 5 3 28 273 107.9
9 San Jose Sharks 82 37 5 7 3 30 269 107.8
10 Anaheim Ducks 82 39 4 7 7 25 285 107.7
11 New York Islanders 82 35 6 9 5 27 271 107.2
12 Tampa Bay Lightning 82 36 7 6 2 31 266 103.8
13 Philadelphia Flyers 82 28 10 11 6 27 253 103.3
14 Nashville Predators 82 35 2 6 12 27 260 101.1
15 Boston Bruins 82 33 5 5 7 32 247 100.9
16 Detroit Red Wings 82 30 9 7 6 30 249 99.2
17 Minnesota Wild 82 34 1 5 9 33 241 97.8
18 Colorado Avalanche 82 33 2 4 4 39 226 96.6
19 New Jersey Devils 82 27 9 8 2 36 226 95.7
20 Buffalo Sabres 82 29 4 9 4 36 225 94.1
21 Montreal Canadiens 82 30 3 8 3 38 222 93.7
22 Carolina Hurricanes 82 25 8 7 11 31 225 93.6
23 Ottawa Senators 82 26 6 12 3 35 222 92.8
24 Winnipeg Jets 82 29 3 6 5 39 214 92.1
25 Arizona Coyotes 82 29 5 2 7 39 214 89.3
26 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 26 2 10 4 40 202 88.3
27 Calgary Flames 82 24 9 5 4 40 203 87.3
28 Vancouver Canucks 82 22 4 9 9 38 193 85.3
29 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 20 3 12 5 42 178 83.8
30 Edmonton Oilers 82 21 7 6 5 43 182 81.2

What I said last week still holds true: The only team that could make a gripe about being short changed out of the playoffs is Boston, who finished above average when taking into account strength of schedule, quality of wins, etc. Both Detroit and Minnesota finished below average, and yet are in the playoffs (Detroit because 16th place is literally one spot worse than average, Minnesota because they were in the opposite conference). But for the most part, the best teams are all in the tournament.

Had a system like this been used to determine playoff seedings, our #11 Isles would have to play the defending Cup Champs (#6 Chicago), while the Rangers would draw Anaheim in the Delta Sky Miles Series. The Kings and Sharks would play each other (that's actually happening), the two Florida teams would play each other, as would the two Pennsylvania teams, and St. Louis would get Nashville (blues vs country!). Meanwhile, the Stars would draw Boston and Washington would get Detroit (or if we were to use the playoff teams, it would be Stars-Wings and Caps-Wild).

What to do Next Year

A small preview of next year's format...

1) After a full season of 3-on-3 overtimes, I'm convinced it's as wonky and arbitrary as the shootout. I'm not going to award teams based on a coin flip (or worse... teams who play for the first point, and then have specialists that give them an advantage for the second point). From now on, if a game goes past regulation, it will simply be considered a tie.

2) There is always demand to weight the more recent games in a schedule. While I think we will stand pat on our every-game-is-equal approach, I will likely make a new section based on teams' most recent 10 games. That's assuming I can easily tease that info out.

Thanks for giving these articles a read during the year! If you have any suggestions on how to improve the rankings let me know in the comments. Just remember that, as much as I admire fancy stats, the point of the power rankings is to base teams on their bottom line results. Therefore, stats like Corsi (even score adjusted) and PDO will not be used. It has to be based on wins losses and "ties," but how to weight them can always be tinkered with.

Down with the Panthers!