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 (18-6-2)

Even though they lost back to back games against Vancouver, the dominance they displayed in a three game set against the Oilers is the reason they are still No. 1 in the power rankings. The next few games against Winnipeg should be fun.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (16-4-2)

The Chicago-Tampa mini series right now are by far the most entertaining games of the week. Tampa still continues to chug along and are still such a great team without the services of Nikita Kucherov during the season.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

3. Vegas Golden Knights (16-4-1)

Look out, Vegas is on fire right now. Clutch goaltending and goalscoring has helped them recently and captain Mark Stone went on an insane run in the play-making department this week.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

4. Carolina Hurricanes (16-6-1)

With the return of Petr Mrazek sometime soon, the Canes still continue to win games. This is a team that you cannot hate as the personalities on the team and their style of play mesh so well to create a very good team.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

5. Florida Panthers (15-4-4)

Now the depth scoring has arrived for the Panthers. Relying a lot on Barkov and Huberdeau has helped Florida thus far but if they still want to prove they are a legit team this year, they need more depth scoring.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

6. Winnipeg Jets (15-8-1)

The Jets are still a great team that showcased their weakness which is their defense. A 7-1 shellacking to Montreal on Saturday was just as much bad defense as it was bad goaltending.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

7. Boston Bruins (13-5-3)

With the recent bloodbath of games against Washington, fans everywhere would love for that to be the first round series this year. As for the Bruins themselves, the ‘Perfection line’ continues to show how good chemistry can be.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

8. Minnesota Wild (13-8-1)

The Wild are still in the hunt in the West division. A team like this has benefited from new coaching and a roster shake up. It remains to be seen how long they can keep it up.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

9. New York Islanders (14-6-4)

Here comes Trotz and the Islanders. They have been firing on all cylinders lately both offensively and defensively. Matt Barzal scoring ridiculous goals showcases how confident he is right now.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

10. Washington Capitals (13-6-4)

Without Tom Wilson for the next 7 games due to a suspension, Washington has to find a way to string together more consistent performances.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

11. Philadelphia Flyers (12-6-3)

The Flyers are a really competitive team and can get goal scoring throughout their lineup. If the team can start getting more consistent goaltending from Hart, they are a true threat in the East division.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

12. St. Louis Blues (14-8-3)

With the big return of Vladmir Tarasenko, the Blues can finally start to have some cohesion in their top six. However, blowing a 3-0 lead to the Kings and losing in OT is not a good start.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

13. Colorado Avalanche (13-7-2)

As soon as I say the Avs are ready to take off, they are landed again. Simply put, this team is struggling to beat the bottom feeders of the division and it is hurting their record.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

14. Montreal Canadiens (11-6-6)

After a wild ten days, Montreal now seems to have the staff in place to bring themselves back to where they were to start the season. While not always getting the results, the team has been much better as of late, especially on special teams.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

15. Chicago Blackhawks (13-7-5)

The Kane & Debrincat duo is absolutely electric and has single handedly won the team many games this year. With the news of retirement from longtime stalwart Brent Seabrook, people have turned their attention to Jonathan Toews and his status for this season.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

16. Pittsburgh Penguins (13-9-1)

Evgeni Malkin has started to play a lot better recently, but the Penguins still lack consistency in their overall game. It will be tough to see who claims the fourth and final playoff spot in the East division.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

17. Edmonton Oilers (15-11)

Edmonton’s abysmal week was saved with a late win against the Flames in a fierce Battle of Alberta. However, the three game set against the Leafs were extremely alarming as they scored one goal in three games.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

18. Los Angeles Kings (10-8-5)

The Kings do not quit this season and that comes down to coaching and the veteran core of the team. Kopitar has been excellent this year and is showing he still has a lot left in the tank.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

19. Arizona Coyotes (11-10-3)

The Coyotes are a team that is just there right now. Not bad, not good and that is the definition of mediocrity. Unless this team goes on a run, they will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs start.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

20. New York Rangers (10-9-3)

Even without Panarin, the Rangers have looked a lot better as of late and are getting contributions throughout the lineup. Alexis Lafreniere has gained more confidence and the goaltending has been solid for the most part.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

21. Calgary Flames (11-12-2)

Now Calgary has fired its head coach and brought in former Kings coach Darryl Sutter. I don’t really understand the signing but time will tell if it impacts this underachieving Flames squad.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

22. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-11-5)

Well Columbus is playing like many people thought they would and that is not good enough. Patrik Laine has been pointless in six games, and that is not even close to ideal for a team that had to trade their number one centre for him.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

23. Dallas Stars (7-8-4)

Dallas finally won another game in the last month with fans in attendance. This team is still struggling and unless they turn it around quickly, last year’s cup finals appearance will be seen as a fluke.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

24. Vancouver Canucks (11-15-2)

The Canucks had some impressive wins this week against the Jets and Maple Leafs, two of which were without Elias Pettersen. Demko has now solidified himself as the number one goaltender and has been excellent as of late.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

25. Nashville Predators (10-14)

Nashville should be big sellers at the deadline. The core of this team looks like it is going to be nuked. The roster construction and terrible contracts have killed any hope of this team being competitive.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

26. New Jersey Devils (7-11-2)

New Jersey is now in free fall. The lack of top end talent is not enough for them to win games. Key upcoming free agents should be dealt at the deadline.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

27. San Jose Sharks (8-11-3)

Well everyone who thought this team would bounce back this year are very wrong. This team is not good. The Karlsson contract is one of the worst in the league, and that is sad to say considering he had a career trajectory of being a top 10 defenseman in NHL history.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

28. Ottawa Senators (8-17-1)

Their record may not show it but Ottawa is a hard working team with a slew of great young players. A big question facing this team this offseason is what the contract of franchise cornerstone Brady Tkachuk will look like.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

29. Anaheim Ducks (7-12-6)

The Ducks always play well against the Avalanche but against every other team in the division, they struggle. A big trade may be coming soon to gain more assets for a team that is transitioning to the future.

Last Week’s Rank: 30

30. Detroit Red Wings (7-16-3)

With no Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, it is no surprise that this team is struggling mightily. It is going to be a very long rebuild in Detroit.

Last Week’s Rank: 31

31. Buffalo Sabres (6-13-3)

This team is an absolute tire fire. No offence, no defence, no goaltending and this is what the Sabres are. Even after a very promising offseason, the Sabres are still terrible. I fully expect Jack Eichel to at least demand a trade this offseason.

Last Week’s Rank: 28