In recent years, the Future Power Rankings (FPR) have become a staple of our ESPN Insider portfolio. The NBA, NFL and MLB franchises have all been ranked according to the metrics relevant to those sports and leagues. We figured that now was as good a time as any to do the same for the 30 teams in the NHL.
The basic idea is that the rankings are meant to reflect how well each franchise is set up for success into the future. For our NHL FPR project, we wanted to know how well each club was set up three seasons ahead.
We asked a panel of analysts to rate every single NHL team in four key categories deemed most important to future success.
So what are those categories? They are as follows:
• Roster: An assessment of the team's roster under contract at the NHL level, taking into account both core and complementary players. More weight is given to those on the roster age 26 and younger, as well as those under contract through 2016-17. Value of contracts is not taken into account in this category, just talent.
• Prospects: A valuation of the club's talent in the pipeline, including those still in juniors or overseas. Also, an assessment of how well the team does in identifying and developing young players.
• Cap/Contracts: Both the amount of cap space flexibility, and the amount of contract flexibility is taken into account in this category. After all, having lots of no-movement clauses can be as bad as having little cap space.
• Owner/GM/Coach: Several factors taken into account here: does the team spend to the cap? Are they in a market that is desirable to free agents? How well have they done in acquiring suitable talent via free agency and trades? Do they have quality (and stability) in the coaching staff?
The average of our panelist's votes were then calculated, and those are visible in the bar graphs for each team, rounded to the nearest tenth.
To tabulate the overall score, we weighted the categories as follows: 35 percent for Roster, 25 percent for Prospects, 20 percent for Cap/Contracts and the remaining 20 percent for Owner/GM/Coach. After all, it's a good thing to have smart people owning, running and coaching the organization (and managing the contracts), but a team isn't going to get very far without talent on the ice.
The final score is just a sum of the weighted value of each category, and these are on a scale from 1 to 100. No one got a perfect 10; likewise, no one got an atrocious 1, although there were instances of each of those grades for teams on certain voters' ballots.