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 (16-4-2)

After getting shut out early in the week, the Leafs bounced back again. No Matthews or Andersen against the second place Oilers? No problem. What will be a problem is this team playing the way they are in the playoffs.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (14-4-1)

Andrei Vasilevskiy is having the best season of his career so far posting back-to-back shutouts this past week. Tampa is a well oiled machine in a surprisingly competitive Central Division.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

3. Florida Panthers (13-4-3)

Florida continues to surprise this season as Jonathan Huberdeau and Alexander Barkov continue to lead this team. Aaron Ekblad has also had a really solid offensive season which should make Panthers management happy.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

4. Carolina Hurricanes (13-6-1)

Carolina is one of the most balanced teams in the NHL and it shows every night getting contributions throughout their lineup and not solely relying on two guys. The big question looming for this team is the contract situation for Dougie Hamilton and RFA Andrei Svechnikov.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

5. Vegas Golden Knights (12-4-1)

Robin Lehner is still on IR and Fleury in his absence has held down the fort. Receiving more production from former 40 goal man William Karlsson brings added offensive firepower to a squad that sometimes struggles to find the back of the net.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

6. Winnipeg Jets (13-6-1)

The Jets are rolling. With everyone fully back healthy and producing, this team can make a run for the division crown. Coach Paul Maurice has used his top 6 to perfection and is hopefully awaiting the trade of another defenseman to solidify the defensive core.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

7. Boston Bruins (11-5-2)

The Bruins are playing poorly right now across the board and have slipped again in the rankings. Even the magic of the ‘Perfection Line’ cannot take over and win games on their own.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

8. Edmonton Oilers (14-9)

Despite getting shut out in their most recent game, there is a lot for the Oilers and their fans to be excited about. Getting consistent goaltending is a good sign and both McDavid and Draisaitl do not stay in their ‘slumps’ for long.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

9. Minnesota Wild (12-6)

This is easily the most entertaining Minnesota Wild team in their history. Dolla dolla bill Kirill has been exceptional and they are getting contributions throughout their lineup as well as solid goaltending.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

10. Philadelphia Flyers (10-4-3)

With Carter Hart continuing to struggle, veteran Brian Elliot has been extremely solid in net. This team needs more production from captain Claude Giroux.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

11. Colorado Avalanche (11-6-1)

Now the Avalanche have started to click. Two dominant games against the Arizona Coyotes showcased how the team is capable of playing. Watch out for Nathan Mackinnon starting to catch fire.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

12. Washington Capitals (11-5-4)

The Capitals have been much better as of late and have been getting scoring throughout their lineup. I really don’t want to say it but I don’t think Alex Ovechkin is going to catch Wayne Gretzky as the all-time goal leader.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

13. Pittsburgh Penguins (11-7-1)

Kris Letang has turned his season around for the Penguins as he has been much better overall for a team that needs his production and strong play. Tristan Jarry can firmly put his rough start behind him.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

14. St. Louis Blues (11-8-2)

After a wild 7-6 win over the San Jose Sharks, the Blues still have question marks about their team specifically goaltender Jordan Binnington who has struggled as of late.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

15. Montreal Canadiens (9-6-5)

The Canadiens slump continues and it cost head coach Claude Julien his job with the club. It remains to be seen if this team can turn it around under new coach Dominique Ducharme.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

16. New York Islanders (10-6-4)

Matt Barzal and Anders Lee have been great for the Islanders, it is time for some of their depth to step up. Their goaltending cannot be the sole reason why this team is successful.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

17. Chicago Blackhawks (11-7-4)

The Hawks continue to hang around in the Central Division, always a threat to win every night but don’t have the pieces to be considered a contender. Kane and Debrincat continue to have great seasons.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

18. Los Angeles Kings (9-7-4)

After the King’s six game win streak, they dropped back to back games. However, the duo of Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen have been a big surprise for this team to go along with the throwback performances of their old core.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

19. Arizona Coyotes (9-9-3)

The Coyotes are a team that cannot get on a roll. They win a game or two in a row then lose a game or two in a row. This defines mediocrity and that is what this team is this year.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

20. New Jersey Devils (7-7-2)

The Devils have been up and down since returning from their COVID layoff. Depending on what this team does over the next few weeks, questions will be raised about winger Kyle Palmieri and his expiring contract.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

21. Calgary Flames (10-10-2)

This team is the definition of inconsistency. This week the team shut out the high-flying Maple Leafs and then got blown out by the Ottawa Senators. The effort of this team also varies from game to game.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

22. Columbus Blue Jackets (8-9-5)

Even with the addition of Patrik Laine, Columbus still fails to impress. When their offence is clicking their defense and goaltending is not and vice versa.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

23. Dallas Stars (6-6-4)

This team continues to be in free fall. Ever since a 5-0 start to the season, the Stars have won one of their last eleven games. That is putrid and should be talked about more.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

24. Nashville Predators (9-11)

The Predators are playing slightly better as of late and have gotten Mattias Ekholm back into the lineup and that has helped their defense and goaltending.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

25. New York Rangers (7-8-3)

The Rangers are still struggling to find consistency and with the news of Artemi Panarin and his personal issues, that is a gaping hole in the lineup.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

26. San Jose Sharks (7-9-2)

It is getting time to try and blow this team up. A lot of older players on huge contracts while some are performing, most are not including Erik Karlsson. Major questions loom for this team.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

27. Vancouver Canucks (8-14-2)

It will be interesting to see the contracts that Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersen receive from the Canucks this offseason after what has been an awful year.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

28. Buffalo Sabres (6-9-3)

It looks more and more likely by the day that Jack Eichel will demand a trade from this organization. Eichel has not performed to his expectations either and this situation is something to monitor.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

29. Ottawa Senators (7-15-1)

Ottawa is quietly 5-5 in their last 10 games including some impressive wins as of late. This team is playing better overall as of late and their young core is really starting to have some cohesion.

Last Week’s Rank: 31

30. Anaheim Ducks (6-10-5)

This team should be in full tank mode at this point. There are a lot of tradable assets on this team and they could be the busiest team during the trade deadline.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

31. Detroit Red Wings (7-13-3)

While the Red Wings are not the worst team in the league most nights they do and this is now year three of the rebuild and its worrying to see some of their big name prospects not performing as well as fans might have hoped.

Last Week’s Rank: 30