TWC Power Rankings 2021: Week 16

As teams across the NHL start to clinch playoff spots, the Power Rankings have mostly stabilized, but once again we have a new number one team. The Central Division saw the top four teams have winning weeks, and boasts two teams in the top five. The East Division has a new number one team, while the North Division has just one team in the top 10. The West Division sees the top teams remain steady, but a fourth team is surging into a playoff spot. With playoff races still underway, there is lots to keep an eye on in this week’s TWC Power Rankings.


Welcome back to the new and improved 2021 TWC Power Rankings!

Here at TWC, we use a statistical model to effectively rank teams on a week to week basis. The model takes into effect winning percentages, CF%, SCF%, HDCF% as well as SV%. Each statistical category is weighed and scored differently, giving each team a unique TWC Score that determines their ranking after each week. The formula puts the highest emphasis on winning percentages over other statistics. All numbers are taken in all situations, to incorporate special teams into the fray.

We got some excellent feedback over the course of last season from our readers as to how we could improve this model moving forward. We have slightly altered the weightings of the statistical categories, but also added a large recency component to make sure that each week the teams that are riding hot streaks are more appropriately demonstrated in the rankings. 

Additionally, due to the 2021 NHL Season realignment, we have broken down teams into their respective divisions while also maintaining their league ranking.

Central Division

Within the top three in the Central, there was quite a bit of movement in the Power Rankings this week. The Hurricanes jumped up two spots into first overall, the Lightning moved up four spots into fifth overall, and the Panthers maintained course to stay at sixth. The Blackhawks were the biggest losers this week, slipping far below the playoff picture with a winless week. Meanwhile, the Predators separated themselves from the Stars slightly, but both are very much still in the mix. There isn’t much separating the Hurricanes, Panthers, and Lightning in the standings, but in the TWC Power Rankings there is definitely some separation.

The Hurricanes are the kings of the division, sitting second overall in the NHL in CF% and fourth in SCF%. Throw in the third highest SV% and you can see why the Hurricanes are so far ahead the two Florida teams. You can never discount the Lightning, and the Panthers are surging especially as of late, but the Hurricanes are the team to watch in the Central. Goaltending was the glaring weak spot for a long time but that seems to have been solved with Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic this season.

East Division

The Bruins moved up four spots into seventh overall and first in the East with a perfect 3-0-0 week. The top of this division is jam packed with the top four teams holding the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 11th overall spots in the Power Rankings. There really isn’t much separating these four teams and it will be an interesting race to the finish. The Capitals moved out of the top 10 with a mediocre 1-1-1 week. It wasn’t a terrible week by any means, but keeping pace in the East means you need to win more than you lose.

The biggest gainer in the East this week were the Devils. Completely out of the playoff picture, they’re playing with house money and posted a perfect week with three wins. Teams with no pressure are always dangerous this time of year, and those teams vying for playoff spots need to be careful when facing teams like the Devils. The Flyers took the biggest tumble in the East, falling six spots to a dismal 22nd overall in the Power Rankings. It would be shocking if there weren’t big changes in Philly this offseason.

North Division

The North Division remains one of the weakest in the Power Rankings. The Maple Leafs are legitimately good, moving up two spots into second overall this past week. They were a perfect 3-0-0 and have almost a 100 TWCScore edge on the next highest team, the Oilers. The Leafs look to be the clear kings in the North, and a winless week from the Jets definitely helped their case.

Towards the middle, the Canadiens, Flames, and Canucks are still somewhat fighting for the final playoff spot, but it looks like the Canadiens have it in the bag. A monumental collapse from them could open the door to one of the Western Canadian teams, but even then, a lot of things would need to fall into place. The Canadiens posted an impressive 3-1-0 week which helped pad their lead on the Flames, while a 1-2-0 week from Calgary saw them gain absolutely no ground. The Canucks, who started off hot after coming back from their covid pause, went 0-4-0 last week. They have a jam packed schedule and if the Sabres and Stars are any indication, the Canucks aren’t going to win many games down the stretch.

West Division

The West Division is still one of the strongest in the NHL. The Golden Knights dropped out of first place into third overall this week, but still had a strong week and a strong record. The Avalanche were .500 this week but only dropped two spots, and the Wild were NHL .500 and dropped five. Still, those three teams remain in the top 10 overall in the Power Rankings, a real testament to how good they’ve been all season long.

The separation between Vegas and Colorado is razor thin and either of the teams could be at the top of the West. We’ve never seen a race this tight in the TWC Power Rankings before. Both teams are incredible and the playoffs in this division will be incredible as well.

The Blues were the biggest gainers in the West this week as they have fought hard to leapfrog the Coyotes into the final playoff spot. It looks like they’ll make it to the postseason, and with a 54 TWCScore edge over the Coyotes, they definitely deserve it. This is definitely a division in the extremes. The good teams are very good, and the bad teams are very bad. Realignment next season will be interesting to say the least.

Don’t like where your team is ranked? Unfortunately, they will have to turn it around on the ice, as we take zero personal opinions into effect.

Have any suggestions for the TWC Power Rankings for next season? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Are you surprised where your team landed this week? Let us know at @wincolumnblog.


All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

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