1. Colorado Avalanche (25-8-4)
This is the most dominant team in the league right now. Consistently outshooting the opponent by a wide margin and scoring like there’s no tomorrow. The only concern for this team right now is to be 100% healthy come playoff time.
Last Week’s Rank: 3
2. Florida Panthers (26-9-4)
Even without Aaron Ekblad in the lineup, this team continues to win. Joel Quenneville is a lock for the Jack Adams award and the depth scoring on this team has really bolstered them into a legitimate contender.
Last Week’s Rank: 6
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-10-2)
Again, this team really needs a back-up goalie. When Andrei Vasilevskiy is not in the starter’s net, this team does not win. Acquiring at least an NHL back-up should be in the cards for this team down the stretch.
Last Week’s Rank: 2
4. Washington Capitals (25-9-4)
Washington is a well-oiled machine right now. The scoring is clicking and Ilya Samsonov has finally rounded back into form. There is very little time for another kick at the can for this core as it is one of the oldest in the league. It remains to be seen if they can get the job done again.
Last Week’s Rank: 1
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (26-10-3)
Their dip in the middle of the season has been fully answered by going 7-0-1 in their last eight games. Auston Matthews looks fully healthy and is on another scoring binge leading the league in goals. It’s finally time for this team to take a step in the playoffs.
Last Week’s Rank: 8
6. Carolina Hurricanes (25-9-3)
Petr Mrazek finally returned this week and posted a shutout. All is well in Carolina. I wonder if this team decides to add another piece to the forward group before the trade deadline.
Last Week’s Rank: 4
7. Minnesota Wild (23-12-2)
Even with their terrible power-play, the Minnesota Wild look like they are playoff bound. As I have said in weeks past, this team is much more exciting to watch and that comes with the new philosophy GM Bill Guerin has constructed for this team.
Last Week’s Rank: 7
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (24-12-2)
After Tristan Jarry got banged up, Casey DeSmith picked up the slack for the most part as the Penguins looked to extend their league leading playoff appearance streak to 14 seasons. I would still like them to acquire a third line centre.
Last Week’s Rank: 10
9. Vegas Golden Knights (25-10-2)
The depth is starting to show up for this team as Mark Stone does not need to provide a primary assist on every goal this team scores anymore. They are currently in a battle with Colorado for tops in the division.
Last Week’s Rank: 5
10. New York Islanders (24-10-4)
Last Week’s Rank: 9
11. Edmonton Oilers (23-14-2)
The problem with the Oilers, and has been a problem for three years now, is their reliance on two players. Someone else needs to start stepping it up with the exception of Darnel Nurse who broke out as a star defenceman this year.
Last Week’s Rank: 12
12. Winnipeg Jets (23-13-3)
Pierre-Luc Dubois has to play a major role if the Jets want to make a deep playoff run. When he is on his game they are even more lethal but of course without another defenceman added to the mix, I am unsure of how far this team can go.
Last Week’s Rank: 11
13. Montréal Canadiens (17-9-9)
Other than the bad Saturday night loss to the Sens, the Habs have played well since coming back from this COVID break. Eric Staal announced himself to the Montreal faithful with an OT winner but at the cost of Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price who will both miss time.
Last Week’s Rank: 13
14. Nashville Predators (20-18-1)
Nashville seems like they could hold on to the last playoff spot in the Central Division. However, this will not be good for the team in the long run as they will most likely be swept out of the first round if they do make it.
Last Week’s Rank: 15
15. Arizona Coyotes (19-15-5)
Arizona is one of the weirdest teams in the league. Some nights they look like a pesky bunch winning games in spectacular fashion, and other times they get destroyed. Currently in a playoff spot, they just need to stay ahead of the Blues and Sharks to punch their ticket.
Last Week’s Rank: 17
16. Boston Bruins (19-10-6)
Another very inconsistent team. The Bruins are banged up so I will cut them some slack but the offence outside of Saturday against the Pens just isn’t there most nights.
Last Week’s Rank: 14
17. New York Rangers (17-15-5)
The Rangers are now in the hunt for the 4th and final playoff spot in their division but it may be too little too late. The development of Kaapo Kakko should be raising red flags too.
Last Week’s Rank: 18
18. San Jose Sharks (17-16-4)
Well this is a surprise. Now only a couple of points out of a playoff spot, the Sharks are right there with the Blues and Coyotes. With so many veteran players locked into massive deals, the expectation for this team was supposed to be the playoffs. It remains to be seen if they can sneak in.
Last Week’s Rank: 27
19. Chicago Blackhawks (17-17-5)
The Hawks have really faltered as of late and it looks like their playoff aspirations may not come true. Patrick Kane has predictably slowed down a bit and as a result, so has the team. This could be beneficial as this team was supposed to be rebuilding anyways.
Last Week’s Rank: 16
20. Philadelphia Flyers (18-14-5)
The race is on for the Flayers. Still not completely out of it, they are by far the most disappointing team this season. If they miss the playoffs, expect some substantial moves to be made on and off ice.
Last Week’s Rank: 20
21. St. Louis Blues (16-16-6)
The Blues are doing their best to make sure they miss the playoffs. They have lost 12 of 14 and no one is talking about it. Another very disappointing season from a team with high expectations.
Last Week’s Rank: 19
22. Dallas Stars (13-13-10)
Winning 13 of 36 games should result in a team being in the bottom third of the rankings but the Stars ability to get points is the only reason their season is not officially over yet.
Last Week’s Rank: 26
23. Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3)
COVID has run rampant through this team and right now there are more important things than hockey.
Last Week’s Rank: 23
24. Calgary Flames (16-21-3)
It’s time to blow it up in Calgary. The core has not got the job done with numerous head coaches and personal changes and there should be no reason to give them another shot. There should only be a few untouchables on this roster.
Last Week’s Rank: 21
25. New Jersey Devils (13-17-6)
The worst thing that can happen to the Devils and the entire league is if they fall into the lottery once again. This team cannot rely on lottery picks to bring them back to relevance.
Last Week’s Rank: 25
26. Los Angeles Kings (14-17-6)
Last Week’s Rank: 22
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-18-8)
Awful roster construction and personnel deployment aside, this team went from upsetting Toronto in the bubble to a complete disaster. It should fall on the shoulders of the GM.
Last Week’s Rank: 24
28. Ottawa Senators (13-22-4)
With the deadline fast approaching, it would be smart for the Senators to sell off pending UFAs and recoup some assets. The young players have provided something to look forward to in the future.
Last Week’s Rank: 28
29. Detroit Red Wings (13-22-5)
Not trying to slander the Wings because of their GM, but I really like Ottawa’s rebuild so far; much more than the Wings. A lot of their top picks before Yzerman have not panned out or are not developing as some have hoped.
Last Week’s Rank: 29
30. Anaheim Ducks (11-21-7)
There are rumblings that long-time captain and franchise icon Ryan Getzlaf may retire at the end of the season. The soon to be 36 year-old has really slowed down the past two seasons but if Getzlaf is willing, he could be a great addition to a cup contending team.
Last Week’s Rank: 30
31. Buffalo Sabres (8-23-6)
Last Week’s Rank: 31