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. Toronto Maple Leafs (14-3-2)

Toronto is the best team in the North Division and it really isn’t close. Auston Matthews has 12 points in the last four games and has cemented himself as a top five player in the league.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

2. Florida Panthers (11-3-2)

The duo of Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau has been magical for the Panthers this season, and Chris Driedger has been solid between the pipes. The big question is what to do with Sergei Bobrovsky?

Last Week’s Rank: 5

3. Carolina Hurricanes (12-3-1)

Even without a true #1 goalie, Carolina continues to roll. Arguably the best defensive core in the league, young star forwards and great depth to go along with outstanding coaching from Rod Brind’Amour is a recipe for success for the Canes this season.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-1)

The fact that Tampa is currently third in the Central Division shows how strong the division is as a whole. After a few postponed games against Dallas, the Lightning’s schedule is all over the place, and they need to match the play of Carolina and Florida.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

5. Vegas Golden Knights (10-4-1)

Marc-Andre Fleury has been a revelation this season as the 36-year-old is having one of the best seasons of his career. All fans would love to see a Vegas and Colorado playoff series.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

6. Boston Bruins (10-3-2)

The Bruins have slipped a little bit in recent games but they are still a great team. The injury to David Krejci is a big loss and the extent of the injury is currently unknown.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

7. St. Louis Blues (10-6-2)

The Blues are a tough team to gauge right now, most nights they look like a cup contender other nights they seem to play down to their opposition. Colton Parayko needs to step up a little more.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

8. Winnipeg Jets (10-6-1)

Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele is on a roll with six points in the last three games and even without Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Jets are still winning games at a good clip.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

9. Edmonton Oilers (12-8)

It looks like the Oilers have found the right mix to win games on a consistent basis. Of course with #97 and #29 leading the way, the goaltending has surprisingly held up the past few weeks.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

10. Montreal Canadiens (9-5-2)

With a week off between games against the best team in the division, Montreal losing to Toronto was not much of a surprise, at least to me. The schedule starts to get cruel with 37 games in the next 70 days.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

11. Colorado Avalanche (9-4-1)

With the Avalanche now mostly healthy, it is time to see what this cup contending team is truly capable of. I could see additional depth being added at the deadline.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

12. Philadelphia Flyers (8-3-3)

COVID postponements have altered the Flyers schedule, and the team should get back on track soon.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

13. Pittsburgh Penguins (9-6-1)

The goaltending has been much better for the Penguins and that has resulted in more wins. Evgeni Malkin has also started to pick up his game, this team is still capable of being a threat.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

14. New York Islanders (8-6-3)

The Islanders are still struggling to score goals and they desperately need more production from their back end. Ryan Pulock has yet to score for them this year and they are missing that threat from the point.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

15. Washington Capitals (8-5-3)

Washington needs to do a better job of keeping the puck out of their net. Ilya Samsonov is still recovering from COVID and Vitek Vanecek is doing his best to keep the Caps afloat, but the play in their own zone needs to improve.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

16. Chicago Blackhawks (9-6-4)

Patrick Kane is showcasing how valuable he is to Chicago as he is putting together a Hart trophy caliber season. Kane and DeBrincat have been one of the best duos in the league this season and if Chicago squeaks into the playoffs with Kane performing like he is now, he has a legitimate shot of winning.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

17. New Jersey Devils (6-4-2)

The Devils are finally back in action so is newly minted captain Nico Hischier. New Jersey has a lot of games to make up and it will be interesting to see how this team responds.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

18. Minnesota Wild (8-6)

Like the Devils, Minnesota is also back in action and have not missed a beat. The offence is clicking right now and they are getting contributions throughout their lineup.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (8-7-4)

Columbus still has not found the right mix to get on any sort of a roll. Putting together back to back wins is a challenge for this team.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

20. Dallas Stars (5-3-4)

Dallas has only won five of their twelve games which is not very good. With the terrible weather in Texas, more of their games were postponed and I am really concerned with this team playing 56 games this season.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

21. Arizona Coyotes (7-7-3)

Arizona is another team that struggles with consistency. Their overall team game has been better as of late but it is not always translating into results.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

22. San Jose Sharks (7-7-2)

The depth on this team makes the casual NHL fan do a double take but the Sharks are trending in the right direction. Captain Logan Couture has had a great season so far as well.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

23. Los Angeles Kings (7-6-3)

The Kings have won four straight and are currently sitting in a playoff spot in the West. They have been getting solid goaltending and throwback performances from Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

24. Calgary Flames (8-9-1)

The Flames are really struggling. Slow starts have really killed this team early in games and then are unable to recover. Even marquee signing Jacob Markstrom has been struggling as of late.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

25. New York Rangers (6-7-3)

The Rangers still have not played up to their potential. Some players like Zibanejad and Lafreniere getting the monkey off their back could instill some confidence.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

26. Buffalo Sabres (5-7-2)

Same old Sabres. This team has really struggled to generate offence even with Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall. What does this team do now?

Last Week’s Rank: 24

27. Anaheim Ducks (6-9-3)

Gibson can only do so much for this team and they are pathetic on offence. A terrible forward core and an average defense core has slumped the Ducks to the bottom of the division.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

28. Vancouver Canucks (8-12-1)

Even though Vancouver is still near the bottom of the rankings they have played better as of late. Demko looks like he has taken the starter’s net.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

29. Nashville Predators (7-10)

Nashville is in red alert right now. According to reports there are only three untouchable players on the roster and weirdly enough, one of the tradable assets is Filip Forsberg.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

30. Detroit Red Wings (5-12-3)

Dylan Larkin has struggled overall in his first season as captain of the Wings. The Wings basically average a win a week which is not fun for their fans.

Last Week’s Rank: 30

31. Ottawa Senators (4-14-1)

That wild comeback win against the Leafs is the highlight of their season and a moment of bliss for their fans. One thing you have to say about the Sens, they are pesky.

Last Week’s Rank: 31