theBRKDWN: NHL Power Rankings

Joseph Caruso
NHL/MLB Analyst

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Hockey is back! And that means power rankings are back as well. With the re-aligned divisions for the 2021 season, there are some teams who will be helped and some that will suffer. Now let’s brkdwn the opening games of the season!

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-2-1)

The defending Stanley Cup champions are finally atop the rankings. Tampa has been flat out dominant so far this year making the Central division feel the wrath of their fire power each and every night.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-2-1)

Toronto is finding new ways to win every night and that is the sign of a great team. They are the class of the North Division and should have little trouble winning the division crown.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

3. Boston Bruins (9-1-2)

Boston is red hot right now and are winning a lot of games in the extra frame. While it might not be sustainable, Boston is an elite team and questions about their window being shut are being answered no right now.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

4. Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-1)

Vegas’ depth has been a force this season. They are getting production throughout the lineup and will be a dangerous out come playoff time. The real question is, who is the real starting goalie on this team?

Last Week’s Rank: 4

5. Florida Panthers (8-1-2)

Put me in the group that had no faith in Florida being a good team this year. Doubters are being proven wrong every game, and Coach Q seems to have pushed the right buttons to get the best out of this team.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

6. Philadelphia Flyers (8-3-2)

The big concern with the Flyers is the play of their goalie Carter Hart this year. He has been extremely average in most of his starts this year and while the Flyers are winning, Hart needs to figure it out soon.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

7. Carolina Hurricanes (8-3)

Carolina would be wise to start thinking about the question marks surrounding this team for the immediate future. What is the contract for Andrei Svechnikov going to look like? Are they able to get an upgrade in net? Will Dougie Hamilton be returning?

Last Week’s Rank: 10

8. Montreal Canadiens (8-4-2)

The last couple of games for Montreal have not been pretty. Three lackluster performances, two against the Sens and one against the Leafs, have essentially confirmed that this is a solid/good team rather than a great one.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

9. Winnipeg Jets (8-4-1)

The Jets have had a lot of time off, and they really need to start getting in some games with new acquisition Pierre Luc Dubois who finally made his debut for the team this week.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

10. St. Louis Blues (7-4-2)

With a lot of postponed games already this season, St. Louis is set to play seven (!!) games in a row against the Arizona Coyotes. This is like a seven game playoff series 25% of the way into the season.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

11. Colorado Avalanche (7-3-1)

COVID stricken Colorado has not played in the last week which could be a blessing in disguise as Nathan Mackinnon continues to nurse his lower body injury.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

12. Washington Capitals (6-3-3)

The Capitals are sputtering now, losing more and more games in regulation while not getting solid defence and goaltending has cost them games. Alex Ovechkin continues to re-write the record books.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

13. Calgary Flames (7-5-1)

Calgary is a weird team. They lack the consistency to make them a serious contender but have the pieces to make some noise. Markstrom has been as advertised to start his Flames career.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

14. Dallas Stars (5-3-3)

Well that escalated quickly. The flaming start of some of the Stars players have dried up as their offence has been ice cold as of late. The good news is Ben Bishop is only a few weeks out from returning to the lineup.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

15. Minnesota Wild (6-5)

Another team shut down due to the virus. The Wild have not played in almost two weeks.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

16. Edmonton Oilers (9-7)

Fun Fact: The Oilers won their first game this week Feb. 9 2021, without McDavid and Draisaitl getting a point for the first time since November 2017 … that is something.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

17. Pittsburgh Penguins (6-5-1)

The Penguins have found their new GM in Ron Hextall and it will be interesting to see the direction of this team not just for this season but for the future of the Penguins organization.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

18. New Jersey Devils (4-3-2)

Similarly to the Wild, the Devils have also not played in almost two weeks. Almost their entire team was placed on COVID protocol at some point over the last few weeks which is concerning.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

19. New York Islanders (5-4-3)

Trotz and the Islanders have rebounded as of late. The lack of offence is still concerning outside Barzal, Lee and Eberle, more guys need to step up.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

20. Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-4)

Wow, Kevin Lankinen is stealing the show for the Hawks. This impressive run has coincided with Chicago upsetting the Stars in back to back games, and the youth movement of unknown commodities have really stepped up as well.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

21. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-5-3)

Well that didn’t last long… Torts has already benched Patrik Laine much to the annoyance of hockey twitter, while both have said the issue is behind them, this continues to paint a negative picture about playing for the Jackets.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

22. Arizona Coyotes (6-5-1)

The Coyotes are turning themselves into quite the pesky team and that is exactly how coach Rick Tocchet wants them to play. Off-ice concerns still ravage this team as they just terminated the contract of assistant GM Steve Sullivan.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

23. San Jose Sharks (5-6-1)

It remains to be seen whether the Sharks can go on a run to get themselves into the conversation. The duo of Dubnyk and Jones has not been as bad as people may have predicted.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

24. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2)

COVID victim who last played Jan. 31 not much else to say here.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

25. Anaheim Ducks (6-6-3)

With a thrilling comeback against Vegas falling just short a few nights ago, the Ducks need to make a decision on longtime captain Ryan Getzlaf and his future with the team as a pending UFA.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

26. New York Rangers (4-5-3)

Man what happened to Mika Zibanejad? Panarin cannot carry the load himself and if this team has any chances of being a playoff team, it starts with Mika waking up from his coma. Maybe his hair is the problem.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

27. Nashville Predators (5-8)

Nashville should be in panic mode right now. The entire team is slumping except for Forsberg and it is very clear that Jusse Sarros is not the goalie of the future. Major decisions need to be made soon in Nashville.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

28. Los Angeles Kings (4-6-3)

The Kings are in a rut and it comes with the challenge of being a rebuilding team. It’s all par for the course for GM Rob Blake.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

29. Vancouver Canucks (6-11)

And it got worse. Take out that three game set against the lowly Senators and this team’s record sits at 3-13. It is a disaster right now in Vancouver.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

30. Detroit Red Wings (3-9-2)

Detroit must stay the course even in another pathetic season. Zadina has looked promising but more players need to set up.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

31. Ottawa Senators (2-11-1)

Ottawa is at least ‘playing better’ so that must count for something right?

Last Week’s Rank: 31