NHL power rankings: Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks trending up as Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets dropSporting News — (Jackie Spiegel)
The NHL season will hit its midway point (figuratively) next week when the All-Stars take the ice in St. Louis.
At the faux midway point (because teams will be well above 41 games by then), it also marks the annual time for general managers to assess where their organizations sit among the sellers and the buyers. Some teams have made the turn while a select few have formally fallen off the proverbial cliff.
With only 16 teams guaranteed a chance to lift Lord Stanley's Cup, this year's race is officially heating up as almost every team — sorry, Detroit, not you — has a good shot at a postseason spot. This week, it's all about the last 10 games and what have teams done for their fans lately with the hope of keying in on "will they or won't they" make a move.
Here's a look at the latest power rankings.
NHL power rankings
1. Boston Bruins, 66 points (Last 10 games: 6-1-3)
All they do is win, win, win no matter what.
2. St. Louis Blues, 67 points (7-2-1)
Last ranking: 6
Last season's Cinderella team is writing a different fairytale this year — and doing it without a key weapon in Vladimir Tarasenko.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins, 61 points (7-2-1)
Last ranking: 9
No Sid, no problem. Pittsburgh is rolling, winning seven of their last 10 and having guys like Bryan Rust posting career years — 38 points in 31 games when he netted 35 in 72 last year.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning, 58 points (9-1-0)
Last ranking: 18
Remember when everyone said this team wasn't good? That Jon Cooper should be fired? Yeah, neither do we.
5. Calgary Flames, 55 points (6-4-0)
Last ranking: 7
Winners of five in their last six — including a hotly contested Battle of Alberta — and now tied for the most points in the Pacific Division . . . Dare, we say, they're on fire?
6. Washington Capitals, 67 points (5-5-0)
Last ranking: 1
Washington's surge has subsided — .500 in the last 10 games — along with Alex Ovechkin's goal-scoring (only four goals in the last seven games, and those coming in pairs). Hopefully, he can get going again . . . unlike his golf swing which could use quite a bit of work.
7. New York Islanders, 58 points (4-5-1)
Last ranking: 12
The Islanders should be buyers at the trade deadline; 124 goals for is not going to cut it in the postseason. However, never count out reigning Jack Adams Award winner Barry Trotz's genius at manipulating a lineup to perform.
8. Vancouver Canucks, 54 points (8-2-0)
Last ranking: 19
It's been a few seasons since the Canucks have made the playoffs — and don't be surprised if they get in this year. The team from B.C. has won eight of the last 10 games and are 14-5-3 at home. Is the Roxy Flu back in full effect?
9. Toronto Maple Leafs, 54 points (6-2-2)
Last ranking: 20
Losing Morgan Rielly, with Jake Muzzin already out, leaves a massive hole in the defensive corps for Sheldon Keefe's squad; although Rasmus Sandin should be able to fill in some of the gaps. A streaky team, Toronto does sit tied atop the league in goals for (166) — which is always nice when the team also give up the fourth-most goals against (153).
10. Colorado Avalanche, 55 points (3-5-2)
Last ranking: 3
A team that started red-hot has cooled down — yes, some big injuries to some big names did not help — but two wins in the last eight will not cut it when other teams in the Wild West are lassoing wins.
11. Dallas Stars, 56 points (7-3-0)
Last ranking: 8
Sure, they've won seven in their last 10 but three of those wins were against teams they should have beat and the three losses were to teams they should have beat, too.
12. Carolina Hurricanes, 56 points (5-5-0)
Last ranking: 13
Five wins and five losses in the last 10, but they got Justin Williams back so they're batting .1000.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets, 52 points (6-2-2)
Last ranking: 24
No Bobrovsky. No Panarin. No way anyone thought the Blue Jackets would be in the wild-card mix, but here we are.
14. Arizona Coyotes, 55 points (4-5-1)
Last ranking: 5
Losers of the last three — two by shutout — and only four wins in the last 10. Woof.
15. Vegas Golden Knights, 54 points (5-5-0)
Last ranking: 17
Win four, lose three. The Golden Knights are a crapshoot lately.
16. Florida Panthers, 53 points (6-4-0)
Last ranking: 16
If you go back 13 games, the Panthers have won nine games and are now just one point behind the Maple Leafs for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. Side note: they beat them Leafs 8-4 on Sunday.
17. Philadelphia Flyers, 54 points (4-5-1)
Last ranking: 4
Ah, yes. Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love. They love to score goals, they love to give up goals. They like high-danger chances and like to give them up too. xGF/60: 2.13. xGA/60: 2.11. It's all about being brotherly in Philly.
18. Edmonton Oilers, 53 points (5-4-1)
Last ranking: 10
The Oilers — meaning Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid — are definitely entertaining and are 5-4-1 in the last 10 . . . but can we just jump ahead to the next Battle of Alberta, or the All-Star Game, please?
19. New York Rangers, 48 points (5-5-0)
Last ranking: 15
Artemiy Panarin. That's it. That's the post.
20. Winnipeg Jets, 52 points (3-5-2)
Last ranking: 11
Connor Hellebuyck has faced the most shots in the NHL (1,167), is tied for the league-lead in games played (38) and has a .920 save percentage. In the last 10 games? 3-3-2 with a .899 save percentage.
21. Buffalo Sabres, 47 points (4-6-0)
Last ranking: 21
Jack Eichel is carrying the Buffalo Sabres. Literally. He's strapping the team on his back and skating around the KeyBank Center. He's riding a seven-game point-scoring streak and has 59 points in 45 games.
22. Nashville Predators, 49 points (5-4-1)
Last ranking: 25
Are they on the prowl now? It's a quality roster that has won the last two under new head coach John Hynes.
23. Chicago Blackhawks, 46 points (6-4-0)
Last ranking: 23
Wins blow in, wins blow out in the Windy City.
24. Minnesota Wild, 46 points (4-5-1)
Last ranking: 14
Things should get wild in Minnesota as the trade deadline approaches, as the squad has only mustered one win in the last six.
25. New Jersey Devils, 41 points (6-2-2)
Last ranking: 30
A 6-2-2 record in the last 10 games, with wins over the Islanders, Capitals and Lightning makes one think that a deal was made somewhere — granted not with Ray Shero.
26. Montreal Canadiens, 47 points (2-7-1)
Last ranking: 26
A team that many expected to make the postseason has now won two games in it's last 10 and is talking about trading perennial netminder Carey Price.
27. San Jose Sharks, 46 points (5-3-2)
Last ranking: 22
In theory, they're only seven points out of a playoff spot, have guys who can bury the puck and Norris Trophy winners on the blue line. Maybe all they need is a King (that's Henrik Lundqvist, FYI) in net to right this ship?
28. Ottawa Senators, 39 points (2-4-4)
Last ranking: 28
No one expected much from the Senators — except for them to get a chance at the No. 1 pick. Our first mock draft of the year has them accomplishing this feat so expect Ottawa to stand pat at the trade deadline.
29. Los Angeles Kings, 40 points (3-7-0)
Last ranking: 29
It's pretty remarkable that Jonathan Quick allows just two goals on 32 shots with a .938 save percentage to Carolina — and still loses.
30. Anaheim Ducks, 39 points (2-7-1)
Last ranking: 27
The worst team in the West and yet John Gibson has a .905 save percentage. We're not worthy.
31. Detroit Red Wings, 27 points (3-7-0)
Last ranking: 31
Please see below.