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Ranking Every NHL Team's Power Play Unit for 2014-15 Season

Allan MitchellFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2017

Ranking Every NHL Team's Power Play Unit for 2014-15 Season

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    The NHL's best power-play scoring team in 2013-14 was the Washington Capitals. Their 68 goals towered over the Florida Panthers, who were the league's worst and managed only 27 goals. The most efficient team in the NHL: the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Among the things every team tried to improve on over the summer, special teams rank as a high priority. Real free-agent options are often unavailable, so trades or coaching innovations are added during the offseason. 

    Here is every NHL team's power play, ranked based on improvement this summer and how they project for 2014-15.

30. Buffalo Sabres

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    Gary Wiepert/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Buffalo Sabres were the No. 29 ranked power-play team in the NHL in 2013-14. The Sabres scored 36 power-play goals and had 14.1 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Sabres brought Matt Moulson back via free agency, after trading him during the 2013-14 season. He'll help a solid forward group that includes Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis, both of whom had success last year.

    Will It Make a Difference? Buffalo didn't do enough, and their power play may be worse than one year ago. The key item in this regard may be the loss of Christian Ehrhoff from the blue line. Buffalo needs a quarterback on the power play, and that player may be new arrival Andrej Meszaros. He should not be considered an upgrade on Ehrhoff.

29. Calgary Flames

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Calgary Flames were the No. 24 ranked power-play team. The Flames scored 39 power-play goals and had 15.7 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Flames added Mason Raymond but lost Mike Cammalleri over the summer. He was a big part of the Calgary power play one year ago. 

    Will It Make a Difference? Mark Giordano might be the most underrated player in the NHL, and he's a splendid power-play quarterback. The problem for Giordano—and the Flames—is the lack of opportunities. Calgary had only 249 chances with the man advantage in 2013-14, and that number is likely to dive with the team in a rebuild.

28. Florida Panthers

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    Gary Wiepert/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Florida Panthers were the worst power-play team in the NHL one year ago. The Panthers scored 27 power-play goals and had 10 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? On July 1, the Panthers signed Jussi Jokinen to a four-year contract. He's a proven talent with the man advantage, and scored 21 points in just 185 minutes of power-play time.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Panthers will be better on the power play in the coming season. Florida has offensive talent on the roster, led by aging Brian Campbell. Adding Jokinen will give the team another option, and should help young players like Brandon Pirri and Jonathan Huberdeau flourish.

27. Vancouver Canucks

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Vancouver Canucks were the No. 26 ranked power-play team. The Canucks scored 39 power-play goals and had 15.2 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Radim Vrbata was signed on July 2, and he is one of the most effective power-play wingers in the NHL.

    Will It Make a Difference? Vancouver should be better in 2014-15, but it isn't a slam dunk. Ryan Kesler was effective on special teams and Jason Garrison was also a useful weapon. The Sedins will be healthy and Vrbata is a significant addition. The jury is still out on Vancouver's power play.

26. Winnipeg Jets

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    Barry Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Winnipeg Jets were the No. 25 ranked power-play team. The Jets scored 40 power-play goals and had 15.4 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Jets signed Mathieu Perreault in free agency, and he may be more impactful than the departed Olli Jokinen. Teenage phenom Josh Morrissey is an elite performer in the WHL, and will one day quarterback an NHL power play, but not this season.

    Will It Make a Difference? Winnipeg hasn't done enough this summer to improve in the coming season. The club does have exceptional talent—led by Dustin Byfuglien—and has a sleeping giant in Evander Kane. The tools are there, but that was also the case a year ago.

25. Carolina Hurricanes

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Carolina Hurricanes were the No. 28 ranked power-play team in the NHL in 2013-14. The Hurricanes scored 41 power-play goals and had 14.6 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Davis Harper of NHL.com tackled the Hurricanes' issues on the power play in an article in early August. Harper spoke to Carolina GM Ron Francis, who said the team will look to coach Rod Brind'Amour for improvement. With Jeff Skinner, Alexander Semin, Justin Faulk and Andrej Sekera, this power play should be more successful.

    Will It Make a Difference? Expect improvement with the man advantage in Carolina. A change in message and strategy can make a world of difference. There's nothing wrong with the talent, meaning execution may be the problem.

24. Anaheim Ducks

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    Debora Robinson/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Anaheim Ducks were the No. 22 ranked power-play team. The Ducks scored 44 power-play goals and had 16 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Ducks added Ryan Kesler who is a quality power-play performer. There were quality players lost, too, including Nick Bonino, Dustin Penner and Mathieu Perreault.

    Will It Make a Difference? Anaheim's power play doesn't look better after the summer transactions. The Ducks are locked and loaded for a Stanley Cup drive, but they do have some issues on the power play. Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler will combine with Kesler to form a solid nucleus, but the team needs someone else to step up this year.

23. San Jose Sharks

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The San Jose Sharks were the No. 20 ranked power-play team. The Sharks scored 50 power-play goals and had 17.2 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Sharks made one move that should impact the power play, as they traded Dan Boyle and announced Brent Burns will move back to defense. Burns would appear to be the logical candidate to replace Boyle, and an increase in productivity is possible. 

    Will It Make a Difference? San Jose is fading on the power play. It has an aging group with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau likely not far behind Boyle. There's still a window of opportunity, and men like Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto will need to form the next generation with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.

22. Montreal Canadiens

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    Steve Babineau/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Montreal Canadiens were the No. 19 ranked power-play team. The Canadiens scored 48 power-play goals and had 17.2 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Montreal didn't add much this summer that can be of use on the power play. P.A. Parenteau could help, but it's more likely youngsters like Alex Galchenyuk see an increase in playing time. 

    Will It Make a Difference? The Canadiens did not do enough to move up in power-play efficiency this year. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov form an elite pairing, which sets up the power play very well. The club could use more skill among the forwards, with only Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher scoring well with the man advantage one year ago.

21. Los Angeles Kings

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Los Angeles Kings were the No. 27 ranked power-play team. The Kings scored 43 power-play goals and had 15.1 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? At the 2014 trade deadline, Los Angeles acquired skill-winger Marian Gaborik. He helped the team offense and the Kings were able to sign him in free agency this summer.

    Will It Make a Difference? Los Angeles has plenty of firepower, and the addition of Gaborik opens up more offense. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty have one more weapon to use, and Los Angeles should see significant improvement in 2014-15.

20. Edmonton Oilers

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Edmonton Oilers were the No. 21 ranked power-play team. The Oilers scored 46 power-play goals and had 17 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Oilers hired elite coaching talent when Craig Ramsay agreed to join the team. As Chris Wescott wrote via the Oilers' website, head coach Dallas Eakins wasted little time in naming Ramsay the man in charge of the power play. 

    Will It Make a Difference? The Oilers have tremendous offensive talent, including Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. They've lacked vision and structure, and Craig Ramsay should make a huge difference for the power play. One area Ramsay will help right away: Edmonton's 13 shorthanded goals-allowed led the league last season.

19. New York Rangers

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The New York Rangers were the No. 15 ranked power-play team. The Rangers scored 48 power-play goals and had 18.2 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The deal for Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline brought a quality performer to the team. Combined with the addition of Dan Boyle via free agency, the Rangers have added some options.

    Will It Make a Difference? New York is likely headed for a downturn in power-play efficiency this year. The club lost Brad Richards and Benoit Pouliot, while both Boyle and St. Louis are aging veterans. They have several effective players, but did not improve this summer.

18. New York Islanders

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The New York Islanders were the No. 17 ranked power-play team. The Islanders scored 49 power-play goals and had 17.8 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? New York added a brilliant player in Mikhail Grabovski, who can help the power play. However, he could also be used as a tough minutes center, allowing the club to use Frans Nielsen more on offense.

    Will It Make a Difference? The additions will help and there should be improvement if Lubomir Visnovsky is healthy for the entire season. Visnovsky is an outstanding power-play quarterback even at his advanced age. The added depth up front—Nikolai Kulemin was also signed—gives the Islanders much better depth.

17. Dallas Stars

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Dallas Stars were the No. 23 ranked power-play team. The Stars scored 46 power-play goals and had 15.9 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Stars did more to improve their power play than any other team in the NHL. Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky are fantastic offensive players and should combine with Tyler Seguin to form a deadly group.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Dallas Stars are a lock for improvement on the power play. Men like Erik Cole and Sergei Gonchar may see less time with the man advantage, but the overall output should be much improved in 2014-15. 

16. Minnesota Wild

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Minnesota Wild were the No. 16 ranked power-play team. The Wild scored 45 power-play goals and had 17.9 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The addition of Thomas Vanek will help the offense. He's a legitimate offensive player at even strength and on the power play.

    Will It Make a Difference? Minnesota's power play will be better this season. Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville and Ryan Suter are quality options on the power play. The addition of Vanek could mean a big jump in goals.

15. Detroit Red Wings

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Detroit Red Wings were the No. 18 ranked power-play team. The Red Wings scored 50 power-play goals and had 17.7 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Detroit didn't add a big piece, but better health for veterans and a year's experience for their youth may mean a step up with the man advantage. 

    Will It Make a Difference? The Red Wings will be better in 2014-15. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were quality when healthy a year ago, and youngsters like Gustav Nyquist had a chance to shine. GM Ken Holland may have to make a move during the season, but the power play should be effective with a mixture of youth and experience.

14. Ottawa Senators

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Ottawa Senators were the No. 14 ranked power-play team. The Senators scored 50 power-play goals and had 18.4 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? The Senators added two interesting options, veteran center David Legwand and emerging winger Alex Chiasson

    Will It Make a Difference? Ottawa will be a strong team on the power play this season, mostly because of defenseman Erik Karlsson. Losing Jason Spezza will have an impact, but there are other quality options available. Expect the status quo in terms of ranking. 

13. New Jersey Devils

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The New Jersey Devils were the No. 9 ranked power-play team. The Devils scored 47 power-play goals and had 19.5 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? New Jersey added a badly needed boost for their offense with Mike Cammalleri's signing during free agency. They also retained Jaromir Jagr, who remains an effective player.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Devils may slide this season, mostly due to the advanced age of their team. Jagr, Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias are all important parts of the power-play unit, and all are older players. Cammalleri will help, but New Jersey needs to add more. 

12. Tampa Bay Lightning

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Tampa Bay Lightning were the No. 13 ranked power-play team. The Lightning scored 50 power-play goals and had 18.5 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Tampa Bay added defenseman Jason Garrison over the summer, and his big shot from the point will be a big addition to the power play.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Lightning will improve on the power play in 2014-15 despite losing Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell. The club will have Steven Stamkos for an entire season and rookie Jonathan Drouin may also get an opportunity.

11. Nashville Predators

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Nashville Predators were the No. 12 ranked power-play team. The Predators scored 46 power-play goals and had 19.2 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Nashville added a big piece to its offense by acquiring James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins at the draft. Derek Roy was added in free agency and should help improve the skill at forward.

    Will It Make a Difference? Nashville should be better this season with the man advantage. Players like Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen were ineffective—as shown by Behind the Net—and incoming talent like Roy should give Nashville better results.

10. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Columbus Blue Jackets were the No. 11 ranked power-play team. The Blue Jackets scored 54 power-play goals and had 19.3 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Columbus added a solid option in Scott Hartnell via trade with the Philadelphia Flyers over the summer.

    Will It Make a Difference? Columbus should be better than last season on the power play. Led by James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson and Ryan Johansen, this team is on the upswing in most areas, including special teams. Johansen's contract situation may impact things if he doesn't sign before opening night. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch—via the Puck-Rakers blog—has the latest on the Johansen contract situation.

9. Colorado Avalanche

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Colorado Avalanche were the No. 5 ranked power-play team. The Avalanche scored 50 power-play goals and had 19.8 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Colorado signed veteran Jarome Iginla to replace the offense lost when Paul Stastny left for the St. Louis Blues.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Avalanche may see a dip in production this year. Stastny was a quality performer, and Iginla is an aging replacement. The team is unlikely to see a significant decrease in goals—there are plenty of quality options remaining. 

8. Chicago Blackhawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Chicago Blackhawks were the No. 10 ranked power-play team. The Blackhawks scored 50 power-play goals and had 19.5 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Chicago received a stunning addition when Brad Richards signed in free agency with the team. He's a perfect addition because he can help on the power play, or take on additional chores in other areas to free up other 'Hawks. 

    Will It Make a Difference? The Blackhawks are already one of the best power-play teams in the NHL, so fans should expect improvement. Talent like Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa may spend more time on the ice with the man advantage with Richards' arrival, with predictable results.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Philadelphia Flyers were the No. 8 ranked power-play team. The Flyers scored 58 power-play goals and had 19.7 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Philadelphia acquired winger R.J. Umberger over the summer, and he scored eight power-play goals with Columbus in 2013-14. The cost of acquiring Umberger was winger Scott Hartnell, who was a more effective performer with the man advantage.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Flyers' additions this summer won't make a difference, Claude Giroux will drive them forward. Giroux is the straw that stirs the drink, and if he's healthy the power play will be effective.

6. Arizona Coyotes

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Arizona Coyotes were the No. 4 ranked power-play team. The Coyotes scored 56 power-play goals and had 19.9 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Arizona added Sam Gagner on draft weekend. Gagner suffered through an injury-riddled 2013-14 season, but has sublime passing skills and power-play acumen. 

    Will It Make a Difference? The Coyotes may see less success this winter, as veterans Radim Vrbata and Mike Ribeiro left Arizona in the offseason. Gagner's addition will help Keith Yandle, Shane Doan and others, but there will be a period of adjustment. 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Toronto Maple Leafs were the No. 6 ranked power-play team. The Leafs scored 50 power-play goals and had 19.8 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Toronto didn't add much in the way of power-play help, but they boast a young and emerging group of skill players.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Leafs should remain an effective team on the power play. The current group enjoyed a strong season a year ago, courtesy Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri and others. Puck-moving defenders, including Cody Franson, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, are key elements to success.

4. St. Louis Blues

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The St. Louis Blues were the No. 7 ranked power-play team. The Blues scored 56 power-play goals and had 19.8 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? St. Louis signed Paul Stastny in free agency and delivered another big offensive weapon for 2014-15. Stastny is efficient in helping on the power play as shown via Behind the Net.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Blues added another offensive weapon and will improve this season. The club was already deep in effective offensive performers and should ice two quality power-play units in 2014-15. 

3. Boston Bruins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Boston Bruins were the No. 3 ranked power-play team. The Bruins scored 50 power-play goals and had 21.7 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Boston didn't add anything of note during the offseason.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Bruins should maintain their power-play success despite the lack of change. This is an effective group, led by David Krejci and Carl Soderberg up front, and Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara on defense. 

2. Washington Capitals

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Washington Capitals were the No. 2 ranked power-play team. The Capitals scored 68 power-play goals and had 23.4 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Washington didn't add significant on-ice personnel during the summer, but new coach Barry Trotz may impact things on the power play.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Capitals are an elite power-play team and should remain so under Trotz this season. Led by the exceptional tandem of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Washington led the NHL in power-play goals and should do it again.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Where Did They Rank in 2013-14? The Pittsburgh Pegnuins were the No. 1 ranked power-play team. The Penguins scored 65 power-play goals and had 23.4 per cent efficiency over the season.

    What Have They Done to Improve? Pittsburgh added winger Patric Hornqvist over the summer, but dealt James Neal to get him. It was far from an even trade in terms of power-play production as shown by Behind the Net.

    Will It Make a Difference? The Penguins will be better despite the exchange of wingers. The club is loaded with elite offensive talent, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Neal scored more than Hornqvist a year ago, but will miss playing with last year's centers, while Hornqvist should see a boost in his numbers by playing in Pittsburgh.

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