NHL: Top 5 Deadliest Power Plays Entering 2015-16

Looking ahead to the upcoming 2015-16 NHL season, a few teams stand to have tremendous power play units. But which team has the best power play in the league overall? Let’s take a look at the top five power play units and what makes them effective:

5. Philadelphia Flyers

One bright point of Philadelphia’s bleak season was their power play. Led by Assistant Coach and American hockey hero Joe Mullen, the Flyers finished last season third in the NHL for power play percentage.

Just over half of Claude Giroux’s 73 points (37) came on the man advantage, which ranked first overall in the NHL. Additionally, teammate Jakub Voracek finished third in the league with 33 power play points.

Overall, the Mullen and the Flyers have a good system in place that involves a lot of player and puck movement. Wayne Simmonds is the perfect big body to set up in front of the net and score from the slot.

The slight regression in dropping two spots in power play ranking will come from teams adapting their penalty kill to their system, which also does not feature any new, significant players.

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Power Play Units:

Brayden Schenn-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds-Jakub Voracek-Mark Streit

Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Matt Read-Sam Gagner-Michael Del Zotto

4. Detroit Red Wings

Mike Green looks to add to the Red Wings' already potent power play.
Photo by Caps In Pictures

Though the Detroit Red Wings finished the 2014-15 season ranked second in terms of power play percentage, the regression to fifth on this list surely won’t be because of the talent sent out on the top two power play units. After signing Mike Green and Brad Richards, two fantastic power play quarterbacks, in the offseason, the Red Wings look to have two very talented power play units, but the systems of new Head Coach Jeff Blashill and Assistant Coach Pat Ferschweiler could take time to bring to full speed. By the end of the season, expect the Red Wings’ power play to remain in the top five amongst the league’s best.

Power Play Units:

Pavel Datsyuk-Henrik Zetterberg-Justin Abdelkader-Brad Richards-Niklas Kronwall

Teemu Pulkkinen-Riley Sheahan-Gustav Nyquist-Tomas Tatar-Mike Green

3. Dallas Stars

Tyler Seguin and a healthy Dallas Stars team could have an excellent power play in 2015.
Tyler Seguin (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Barring major player regression, the Dallas Stars could have a seriously dangerous power play in 2015-16. The acquisition of Patrick Sharp and return of Valeri Nichushkin should pay dividends for a power play that finished the 2014-15 season ranked 12th in the NHL.

Goalies should be prepared to face shots from all angles with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin joining Sharp and Nichushkin, with sophomore John Klingberg setting them up. Though he is past him prime, having Jason Spezza on a second power play unit is an embarrassment of riches and sets Dallas up to have two dangerous power play groups.

Power Play Units:

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Valeri Nichushkin-Patrick Sharp-John Klingberg

Cody Eakin-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky-Alex Goligoski-Jason Demers

2. Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals look to continue their power play success.
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Even with a bit of roster turnover this offseason, don’t expect the Capitals’ power play to change much in terms of style and results. Caps’ defenseman John Carlson is a more than adequate replacement for Mike Green at the top of the Capitals’ umbrella power play. The only question is if Carlson’s puck distribution vision can match that of Green’s.

Alex Ovechkin’s power play numbers would not be so high if Green could not perfectly place the puck for a one-timer or be a threat of his own. If Carlson can replace Green at that level, expect career numbers for Carlson and Ovechkin not to miss a beat. Additionally, T.J. Oshie will take Troy Brouwer’s spot in the slot and serve as another threat on the Caps’ potent power play.

Power Play Units:

T.J. Oshie-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson-Alex Ovechkin-John Carlson

Tom Wilson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Andre Burakovsky-Justin Williams-Matt Niskanen

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL, Hockey,
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

If Pittsburgh managed to stay healthy last season, they would have had one of the most dangerous power plays in the NHL. Now, they are healthy AND have Phil Kessel to flank Sidney Crosby. Like Dallas, the Penguins now have a power play lineup that features goal scorers at all positions.

If they can cycle the puck effectively among their five talented players, the Penguins can easily have the best power play in the league. The key is to not funnel the offense through one particular player and use everyone on the ice. Once the Penguins gel and develop chemistry with their first power play unit, opponents would be wise to avoid taking penalties.

Power Play Units:

Phil Kessel-Sidney Crosby-Patric Hornqvist-Kris Letang-Evgeni Malkin

David Perron-Nick Bonino-Chris Kunitz-Olli Maata-Derrick Pouliot