NHL Power Rankings (Pre All-Star Break)
1. Colorado Avalanche
Elite, stacked, fast, and hungry for the cup. Nobody should be surprised to see this team #1, as they were favorites from the start and have shown every bit of that title. Kadri is having such a HOT season and while being one of the best ‘second’ line centers in the game (4th in the league in points). If Colorado’s goalies can prevent less than 3 goals against every game, then this team is set for a long run into the playoffs and a couple titles because they are an offensive juggernaut. Nathan Mackinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantenen, Gabriel Landeskog & Devon Toews are in top form as they punish enemy defenses and terrorize opposing goalies. They have an 8-point lead over anybody else in the West and I would be surprised if they let it slip at anytime point season.
2. Florida Panthers
Currently the top points holder in the league at 69 and with no stopping in sight. Johnathen Huberdeau is as hot as the sun with his playmaking abilities being on full display this year. Panthers need Spencer Knight to be the backup he can be after some early struggles to the season. On paper you may not think this roster is built for #2, but this team is coached well and everybody from the 1st to 4th line has a role and plays it very well. Alexander Barkov can defend and score against the best. He’s another Bergeron/Kopitar mix that has developed and is dominating now. Aaron Ekblad is back after getting hurt at the end of last season and looks like he hasn’t missed a beat, which is great for this Panthers Squad. Their rookie Anton Lundell has been really good this season, averaging almost a point per game similar to his teammate Anthony Duclair, who is having a stellar season of his own. This squad is firing on all 4 lines and if Bobrovsky gets a little more in form, this team can easily push for the cup.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
The current champions are locked and loaded and ready to war wagon all the way to the top. The Florida vs Tampa Bay clashes have been incredible, as both teams battle for the top of the Atlantic Division. Kucherov, Hedman, Stamkos, Point, and Palat continue to shine bright, but the depth of this team is still very impressive with their consistent performances and tough matchups. Vasilevsky will finish top 2 in Vezina voting. His game and skill is just in top form and there hasn’t been a more consistently winning goalie in hockey in the past 2 years. I highly doubt they change anything up but, with Kucherov back from injury, the pursuit for the top of the Atlantic is back on.
4. Carolina Hurricanes
Sebatian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov are an incredible young duo that are leading a possible Stanley Cup caliber team. Frederick Anderson has been rejuvenated in net and holding it down on the back side. DeAngelo has risen anew after his disappointing release from the Rangers last year. This whole team is so fun to watch and there is a lot of potential for this team to make a strong run. Necas, Trocheck, and Jordan Staal provide the necessary depth to challenge the east and west. Fredrik Anderson has been amazing for Carolina since he left Toronto. The controversial Anthony DeAngelo signing is panning out well as his issues are down and points are up to 33 in 35 games. This team might make a bit of noise to get some size and grit on the 3rd & 4th lines but, with vets like Jordan Staak and Derek Stepen centering those lines, they prove to be a tough matchup rolling all 4.
A gritty, tough, skillful Minnesota squad is aiming for the big push. Having top 3 stats in 5 on 5 hockey, the Wild play a tough and exciting style of hockey which shows how dynamic this team can be. Spurgeon and Dumba on defense can skate, hit, and play with the best of them in this league. Kyril “The Thrill” Kaprizov is must watch hockey every game. Kevin Fiala and Foligno are stringing their best campaigns so far in their careers. Just incredible to see the speed and force these guys come out with every night, just have to tighten the powerplay and penalty kill while Cam Talbot keeps everything together in one of his better campaigns.
6. New York Rangers
It’s crazy to see how good this team is after how bad they looked two years ago, but we are all witnessing the rebirth of the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad as captain has thrived. Igor Shesterkin is a top 3 Vezina finalist already even after missing some games. Adam Fox is easily in the Norris conversation. And on top of it all, Chris Kreider is leading the league in goals at 33. What a story! This team has found their stride and if they can get any more scoring from their 1st round picks in Alexis Lafreniere and Kakko Kaapo then this squad is easily in the Stanley Cup conversation. Hopefully Igor can stay healthy because if he’s playing 80-90% I don’t think Alexandar Georgiyev will be able to take over the net duties with his lackluster play.
7. Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen are a fierce top line that’s firing on all cylinders. It’s the young guys that have been holding their own in Tanner Jeannot, Luke Kunin, Dante Fabbro, and when healthy Eeli Tolvanen. Such a good roster top to bottom and playing some really good hockey. This team could be a depth trade/signing away from moving from hot, to serious heat. Juuse Saros in net needs to find that 5th gear he has shown, but overall he’s been a boulder in net for the Predators. Maybe Nashville holds it down and doesn’t get any reinforcements but either way, I think this team is ready for a nice playoff run.
8. Vegas Golden Knights
With a healthy Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty back in the lineup, Vegas Golden Knights are back on their wagons and rolling. Injuries have plagued this team all season, but with guys like Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, and Brayden Mcnabb the Knights are a tough matchup every night regardless of Max and Mark being in the lineup. Seems like the famous 2nd line of William Karlsson, Jonathen Marchessault, and Reilly Smith are clicking again and this team is finally back to its top 2 lines minus Chandler Stephenson. I don’t think this team needs to be active but rather just healthy and hopefully get Robin Lehner playing a little better in net. Backup goalie wouldn’t be a bad idea, but with the Lehner deal watch out for Jack Eichel to get cleared for contact and be a huge boost for this squad.
9. St. Louis Blues
Through all the off season drama with Vladamir Tarasenko and the cold starts of key players like Ryan O’Reilly and Torey Krug, the Blues are trending up and winning more than they are losing. Brayden Schenn, David Perron, and Pavel Buchnevich have been the anchors on offense while Jordan Kyrou, who showed some flashes last year, has unreal levels of talent. Talent that is on full display this season as he averages a point per game. The goalie situation is the real highlight of this team as Jordan Binnington, Ville Husso, and Charlie Lindgren are all putting together starting goalie resumes. Lindgren is 5-0 is his 5 call ups and backup Ville Husso has a .94 save percentage in 15 games played. Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk are incredible defenseman and you can tell they are just waiting for another chance at the playoffs, especially Faulk who was with a bad Carolina squad early in his career.
10. Washington Capitals
Red, white, and hell yeah. This team is still battling for the cup! Alexander Ovechkin is leading the crusade for another title as he scores game after game, tallying a total of 29 goals so far. This squad has been solid as a Russian bear, even with Nicklas Backstrom out 1/3 of the season and some subpar goaltending between the young, unproven tandem of Illya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. John Carlson is still a top 10, if not top 5 defenseman in the league, with is strong play at all ends of the ice. This collection of defensemen is perfect for a team that needs strong, consistent gameplay that wouldn’t alter player to player. What I mean by that is, Justin Schultz, Dimitri Orlov, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, and Nick Jensen all play a similar style of game. Although I have them at #10, I think if one of these goalies can get hot at the right time then this team can be a serious problem.
11. Boston Bruins
Here we are with the Tuukka Rask comeback that started with a win first game and then quickly went south after the next. Jeremy Swayman is still able and been doing well in Providence since being sent him down. Linus Ullmark is a stud and can hang with the rest of them in this league. Hopefully this defense can figure out how best to protect him and give him the shots he wants. Ullmark isn’t going to win you a game by himself, but he sure wont lose it. Charlie McAvoy is compiling his resume into one of the best defenseman in the game. His play on both ends of the ice has been steady and it seems like he could find another gear in his game that helps produce more points. Matt Gryzelcyk and Brendan Carlo are the next best verterans on defense and have been doing quite well this season. Good to see Carlo back after the concussion symptoms and Gryz with his lower body injuries. Boston needs to solve the John Moore contract and decide if Urho is going to stay with the top club or not. All 3 of their infamous 1st round picks in 2015 have requested a trade and this team lacks that Boston identity that helped propel previous teams into the playoffs. With all this talent and possible deals to look at, it would be a shame if nothing was done to help this team push even more. Bergeron, Marchand, and David Pastrnak are still playing at an elite level while Erik Haula, Taylor Hall, and Craig Smith complete the rest of the top 2 lines. Bruins need more Charlie Coyle dynamic play on the 3rd line and this young, fast 4th line to start imposing their will more physically.
12. Calgary Flames
Inconsistency has plagued this team for years now. Not going to sugar coat it, but this team has looked incredibly fierce and then too often times just mediocre at best. The roster top to bottom can compete day in and day out with most the league. Jakob Markstrom is having a great season after a couple of shaky ones with Vancouver. 33 games played with 7 shutouts and holding down a .92 save percentage, Jakob is in the zone. Speaking of zones, Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau is in one of the best zones of his career as he channels 54 points in 42 games. Him and Matthew Tkachuk have been the only consistent ones on the stat sheet. Andrew Mangiapane has 20 goals so far and was on an absolute tear the first two months of the season. Elias Lindholm is holding the 2nd line down well and Blake Coleman is finding his game still but, once again, this team needs that secondary scoring to not only survive but thrive towards the playoffs. Calgary has two Swedes holding it down on defense in Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington, who are tied at 21 pts each. Noah Hanifin is still buzzing back there, but I believe he has peaked in his game. Hopefully he can find a stride or two before playoffs but the Flames could use a little more magic from this stud because the rest of the defense is meat and potatoes to the core. Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, and Erik Gudbranson are all the defensive-defenseman that are tough and battle in front of the net. Secondary goalie issues mixed with a big snag in the depth of this team, they can maybe stay in 5th gear with the best of them because they have hit the wall on climbing the standings.
13. Toronto Maple Leafs
All eyes on Toronto as they try to not only make the playoffs, but finally push through the first round. Auston Matthews has had a great campaign so far, as well as Mitch Marner whose found his stride recently and is now starting to tally the points. Jack Campbell has been one of the best in the league in net, compiling some pretty good games for this season.
14. Dallas Stars
Up and down, side to side, this season has been everywhere for the Dallas Stars so far. Joe Pavelski has been a true value add to this team as he captains the first line while being a point per game contributor. Young dynamos in Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg have been great on defense. Young, fast, and very skillful just like the forwards Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson, who have been keeping this team afloat. Consistency still plagues this team, especially in net where they do not have a number 1 answer. Jake Oettinger seems to be the clear choice, as he enters his second season with the team and the league. They are going to be the odd man out in the Central Division, but if they can string together some away wins and get some help in net, I think this team is back in the playoffs and making some noise.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are back and are looking to continue the success with the Pens. This team has quietly been one of the best teams in the Metropolitan even without their stars. Jake Guentzel continues to be one of the better goal scorers in the league, tallying 23 goals so far in the season. Kris Letang has been looking rejuvenated compared to the last three years, as well as Tristan Jarry. Jarry has the jazz to be on of the premier goalies in the league if this team can prevent him from playing the puck too much. Coach Steve Sullivan is doing an amazing job getting production out of all 4 lines and still keeping this team not only relevant, but a very competitive team amongst many others.
16. Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras leads this youth sensation wave out of the West Coast as him and Sonny Milano, Troy Terry, and Jamie Drysdale rebuild this team while having some fun along the way. Ryan Getzlaf has gelled with the young stud and they have put together some pretty impressive wins. John Gipson, when healthy, is still growing and developing in net while making some great saves. Every hockey fan has to love this team and what they are doing in the league. Great rebuild leading into some highlight goals and still being competitive in the league is a rare thing for a non-playoff caliber team.
17. Los Angeles Kings
Seems like the off season acquisitions in Philip Denault and Viktor Arvidsson are panning out as they find their stride with the new linemates. I will say, since Brendan Lemieux was accused of biting Brady Tkachuk, this team seems to have gelled incredibly well and are now playing some great hockey. I guess it just took a little more team cohesion to spark this team into competitiveness. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Drew Doughty are showing their age but are still high end talent in the league, eating up major minutes each game. I like this teams grit and skill. They just lack the power in net and defense. Cal Peterson needs to find another gear for this team to have a real chance at the playoffs.
18. Detroit Red Wings
What a turnaround Steve Yzerman has done, taking this bottom dweller into something very promising. Alex Nedeljkovic is so close to rekindling his form from Carolina and this team needs it if they want to climb the rankings. Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi continue to grow as they both try to become more of an established name in the NHL. I really like how the young guys are already performing well, especially with the new guys in Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. I really like what this team brings every night and what more they can bring in the second half of the season.
19. New York Islanders
COVID issues crushed this team early in the season and we are still waiting to see the fierce Islanders team we have seen in the past I don’t think it’s too late for this team, but they need way more offensive output form guys like Matthew Barzal and Josh Bailey as well the entire top 2 lines. I mean the whole defense could be more offensive, as they pose little threat to the stat sheets as well. I’m sure Barry Trotz can work some magic and help get these guys playing some better hockey. Semyon Varlamov and Illya Sorokin are by far one of the best goalie duos in the league as well. This is one of the few teams where goalies and defense are playing well defensively, but everything seems mild sauce in the offensive zone.
20. Edmonton Oilers
Here we are again with another year of Connor Mcdavid and Leon Draisatil dominating the league, but still not looking like they will make playoffs. This team is still trying to find their goalie who can be the backbone for this team. Mike Smith has been hurt all season and Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner are not the answer. Darnell Nurse, Tyson Barrie, and Duncan Keith are the names you’ll recognize, but Philip Broberg is the guy whose going to propel this defense in the future. They went out and signed Evander Kane with hope that all his off the ice issues are settled and his game on the ice produces offense that this team needs. Zach Hyman has done well since getting the big deal to come over from Toronto. Ryan Nugent Hopkins is playing pretty solid and hasn’t regressed at all in his development. On paper, this team doesn’t look like a threat besides Connor and Leon, so coach Dave Tippett has a lot on his plate to try and carve a playoff team out of this Edmonton group.
21. Winnipeg Jets
Paul Maurice threw in the flag not too long ago and is now Dave Lowry’s turn to try and get this squad back into serious playoff talks. Kyle Connor has really blossomed with this organization, as his speed and skillset continue to dominate most opponents. Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers are trying to keep up with Connor as they both struggle to find that 5th gear to their game. Pierre Luc-Dubois is sneakily having a 60 point season which is great to see after the rocky road situation coming out of Columbus. Paul Stastny and Andre Copp are dominating on the 2nd and 3rd line matchups, just need a healthy Blake Wheeler to get hot and this team’s offense is back to the top. Defense is still an oddity, though. Nate Schmidt, Neal Poink, and Josh Morrisey are not your household names, but they will bring a mobile, puck moving game. I hope this team is active in the deadline as I think they could sneak into playoffs and maybe go on a really nice run.
22. Vancouver Canucks
After such a disappointing start amid various COVID protocols, Canucks fired Travis Green and hired the legend Bruce Boudreau to help give this team a spark. Bruce is great with players and his first targets should be Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, as they desperately try to rekindle their electric form from last year. The once juggernaut power play is severely hurting without their A games. Quinn Hughes on defense is still a stud as he continues to grow and produce on the stat chart, although injuries are starting to add up for him. JT Miller is buzzing as a ‘point per game player’ alongside a tough head to head matchup with his gritty game. I hope they don’t deal him before the deadline, because I like what this team has to offer. They went out and got Connor Garlund and Oliver Ekman-Larsson from Arizona who are doing well going from opposite spectrums of the league. Captain Bo Horvat is having a tough time being consistent on the stat sheet like Tanner Pearson. Canucks are loaded and have the right frame, I just don’t know how you complete the puzzle. If they edge into playoffs I would be surprised, but it’ll be very interesting for this squad if they do. Otherwise it’s the off season and hopefully they’ll get some help for Thatcher Demko in net while beefing up the 3rd and 4th pairings.
23. San Jose Sharks
Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Timo Meier, and Thomas Hertl are having a great run this season as they try to take the Sharks into the deep waters, also known as the NHL Playoffs. This is one of those teams that I haven’t been able to see much from on television, but on the stat sheet this team just cannot stop from being scored on. Giving up one of the highest GAA for other teams is not a good way to build a playoff push. Adin Hill and James Reimer are giving it all they can in net. Burns and Karlsson have incredible games, but sometimes their turnovers lead straight to goals. This team needs some goal scoring influx from everybody not on the 1st line, including the defense. I don’t think they have much of a chance this season, but I really like the outlook in this offseason and what they can bring in for their 2023 campaign.
24. New Jersey Devils
Dougie Hamilton has been an amazing addition to this team. One of the top 10 defenseman in the league and he’s been bringing it every night for this young, developing team. Jack Hughes is having a good campaign as he centers the top line. Jasper Bratt is having a great season with 41 points so far. Otherwise Nico Hishier is still solid bouncing from top to the 2nd line. Maybe they continue to develop, or make a splash before the deadline, but you have to be excited for this team in a year or so. The massive speed-bump is the goalie department as it’s one of the worst in the league. If theres anything that needs to be addressed immediately it would be getting a goalie that can not only play, but log some quality minutes. Then we can continue this rebuild in the right direction.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets
For the outlook everybody was giving this team, seems like they just continued right where they left off last season. Patrick Laine still struggles to find his incredible game consistently, Jakub Voracek is all play making with 27 assists and 1 goal, and Jack Roslovic with 11 points in 42 games. I hope Jackets fans know which direction this team is going because to me it seems like they are comfortable being mediocre in the league as they have been in previous years with previous GMs. They do have a rock in net named Elvis Merzlikis, but Joonas Koorpisalo behind him is struggling massively. Hopefully they get some defenseman to help shore up their side as they try and create offense in the other end.
26. Philadelphia Flyers
Disappointing is a strong word, but with all the losses piling up, this team is even looking at dealing their longtime captain Claude Giroux. The captain for so many years, just cant get the team channeled and get any momentum going. Carter Hart continues to show some promise even if his team is losing. Martin Jones has just been dreadful at the backup goalie position, though. Ryan Ellis being hurt most the season doesn’t help at all as ironman Keith Yandle tries to eat up those minutes. Ivan Provorov is sneakily one of the better and more complete defenseman in the league, as he excels at most aspects of the game. 7 forwards injured, including studs Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes, has not been easy on this Flyers roster at all this whole season. Bleak outlook going into free agency, more so because I doubt they are buyers because of the injuries and cap situation.
27. Chicago Blackhawks
Getting through the serious allegations and the lack of ownership by management has been the big elephant in the room with this team. Marc Andre Fleury is not having a good season, which is very rare, and there isn’t a solid option behind him. Debrincat and Kane seem to be the only offensive threats that this team can offer even if they are elite. Seth Jones is doing his best on the defense as he quietly compiles 29 points in 42 games played. After him, this team is lacking some serious firepower which had them exposed most games. I doubt they do anything at the deadline as it seems they are trying to just play out the year amid wave after wave of turmoil.
28. Seattle Kraken
One of the better inaugural seasons in the NHL but far from a disappointing one given the initial roster and having Yanni Gourde out the first two months as well. Jared McCann from Pittsburgh has been a bright spot this season, with his full offensive game on display. The big letdown is the goalies, Chris Driedger and Philip Grubauer, who both are having down seasons after such great campaigns last year. Vince Dunn is doing his best to pioneer the defense into notoriety, while Mark Giordano does what he can as father time has slowed his game. Jordan Eberle has been a nice addition with this team, gathering whatever magic he might have left. I think the playoffs is a no go this year for the Krakheads, but there is plenty of excitement and promise behind this team already.
29. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa is continuing right where they were left off last season: A scrappy young team that can compete with the best, but not usually win. Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and Josh Norris headline this group. Just eyeball test, they have to be one of the youngest overall teams in the league as well as one of the softest. Nobody on this roster strikes fear into any other team but, maybe after a few more deals, they could have a pretty tough lineup to compliment this youth group. Matt Murray must be consistent for any of that to happen. Injuries have hurt him like usual, but it seems like he’s still hungry to play every night which is great to see. I would be shocked if the Senators somehow squeak into the playoffs, but I like where this team is heading. If we are relying on Ottawa’s management for this team to improve, then I’d be worried.
30. Buffalo Sabres
Rasmus Dahlin is trying to carve out a great campaign for himself on this whimsical squad. 1/3 of the team is making league minimum. 4th most goals allowed in the league with this soft defense and a bad game of musical chairs at goalie position. 6 goalies have played for this team, with Dustin Tokarski playing the most at 15 games. Not good at all. Jeff Skinner contract is a sour subject and we wont even begin to talk about how bad a season he’s having for that deal. Kyle Okposo continues to struggle with injuries and Jack Quinn is hurt. I don’t see much improvement in free agency either as this organization is not in good shape for the future. Sorry Buffalo fans.
31. Arizona Coyotes
Although the beginning of the season was bleak, alongside the arena situation causing massive issues with the team and its future, they have at least been hot going into the all-star break. Clayton Keller is still a bright star in this dark situation, averaging almost a point per game and showcasing why he’s still a skillful talent in this league. After that, there’s Phil Kessel whose 1 point away from hitting 30 in 45 games played and then there’s just a bunch of junkyards dogs from other teams. Hopefully Jakob Chychrun can rejuvenate his career a bit after going through two ACL surgeries. Speaking of rejuvenation. Shayne Gostisbehere has risen anew with 28 pts in 45 games played as he slings that puck every which way. There is no answer in net, but Karel Vejmelka is giving it all he’s got. Every time I catch a Coyotes game, and he’s in net, his motor is always running hot.
32. Montreal Canadians
This team has collapsed with Carey Price and Shea Weber out of the lineup. Shea retired, but Carey is struggling with rehab both physically and mentally. Every fan and human that follows the league hopes he recovers as he’s been one of the best goalies in the league, as well as an overall good human. Not to mention he had a hell of a last season. Nick Suzuki is a dynamo playmaker, Josh Anderson is a top power forward, Tyler Toffoli is an offensive maverick, but the rest of the roster still needs identity and character. Jeff Petry on defense has been injured most the season, but returns as the Canadians desperately need him. Only one player on the Canadians defense has double digit points. Not a good defense at all with little promise on the horizon. Jake Allen hasn’t panned out to be the big goalie signing they hoped for. Every other goalie they got is getting lit up like a Christmas tree every game. Johnathen Drouin, Cole Caufield, Christian Dvorak, and Joel Armia have all been hurt or out of the lineup for most the season. These guys are their bread and butter and if they aren’t even able to skate then it’s not going to be a good season – and it hasn’t.