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 (19-5-2)

This team, like many Tampa teams of the past four years, is the best in the NHL. A few key members should be up for awards at the conclusion of the season, and again all of this without former MVP Nikita Kucherov.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

2. New York Islanders (18-6-4)

Everyone, including myself, always counts this team out. They are now tops in the NHL and playing like a well-oiled machine. The contributions this team is getting right now is showcasing their underrated depth.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

3. Carolina Hurricanes (19-6-1)

The revival of Jordan Staal is one of the highlights in what is a great season so far for the Canes. The only blemish so far this season is Jake Gardiner being put on waivers, not sure why they even signed him in the first place.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

4. Vegas Golden Knights (18-6-1)

With Fleury playing virtually every single game for the Golden Knights, there is still no timetable for when Robin Lehner will return. If you’re a Vegas fan, your team is still in a prime position for a Cup run.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (19-8-2)

The Winnipeg series came and went, and Toronto picked up two of a possible six points. Now with only one win in their last five, the North Division has suddenly become a lot tighter with the Jets closing the gap with games in hand.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

6. Florida Panthers (18-5-4)

Ironman Keith Yandle laced up for his 1000th game this week and his teammates really made the most of it. Florida is still chugging along and is legit this year. Maybe Aleksander Barkov should get some Hart trophy considerations.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

7. Winnipeg Jets (17-8-2)

The Jets proved that they can hang with the high-flying Leafs mostly due to Connor Hellebuyck and some timely scoring. It will be interesting to see if this team adds another defenseman before the trade deadline.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

8. Minnesota Wild (16-8-1)

Minnesota is red hot. On the backs of rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov and solid goaltending, the Wild are now extremely fun to watch. It looks like this team will be making the postseason.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

9. Washington Capitals (17-6-4)

No Wilson, no problem. The veteran Capitals squad is getting the job done without one of their best forwards. Alex Ovechkin is starting to heat up as well as his chase on the all-time goal list continues.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

10. Pittsburgh Penguins (17-9-1)

This is the Penguins team we have all expected. With the veteran core of Crosby, Malkin, and Letang all producing as well as much better goaltending, Pittsburgh has shown that they still got it.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

11. Colorado Avalanche (15-8-2)

The shooting percentage of this team is extremely low. Back to back 40+ shots for this week only amounted to three goals. That is just unlucky and should result in more goals in the near future.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

12. Boston Bruins (14-7-4)

The Bruins have stumbled recently putting together a terrible effort against the Rangers to cap off the week. With the injury to Brandon Carlo, there is a gaping hole on their blueline.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

13. Edmonton Oilers (18-12)

The Oilers bounced back after the series against the Leafs and McDavid in particular put on a clinic. He now has 51 points in 29 games. I would personally love to see him hit the 100 point mark and with 27 games remaining for the Oilers, 49 points could actually happen with this guy.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

14. Philadelphia Flyers (13-9-3)

Overall, this team has fallen well-short of their expectations this season. Currently sitting outside the playoffs, the Flyers desperately need to have their goaltending situation fixed as it is hampering the team.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

15. St. Louis Blues (14-9-5)

Even with the addition of Tarasenko, the Blues struggle to find consistency. Now with Jordan Binnington the goalie for the foreseeable future, hopefully his play starts to pick up like his contract did.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

16. Montréal Canadiens (12-8-7)

Montreal’s first 10 games were an anomaly it seems as they are just an average team. With Calgary finding some new life with their new coaching hire, Montreal will have to stave off the Flames for what it looks like will be the final playoff position in the North.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

17. Chicago Blackhawks (14-10-5)

Chicago has somewhat come back down to Earth recently but are still in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the Central. Kane is still doing his best to lead the Hawks but other than Debrincat, some other guys need to start stepping up to produce.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

18. Los Angeles Kings (11-9-6)

The Kings are still hanging around the West division picking up points here and there. Unfortunately, with how good the Wild are playing, the top four teams in the division might already be set.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

19. Calgary Flames (13-12-3)

Darryl Sutter is now at the helm and Calgary is 2-0 under him. With the race for the final playoff spot officially on, if the Flames get hot, no pun intended, they should be able to salvage their underwhelming season.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

20. Arizona Coyotes (12-11-4)

Arizona getting thoroughly dominated by the Avalanche and Wild should point signs to them not making the playoffs. With a few UFAs this upcoming offseason, it will be interesting to see what the Coyotes do.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

21. San Jose Sharks (11-11-3)

San Jose has played much better as of late as Evander Kane in particular has stepped up. It may be too little too late for this team and the direction of the franchise is still in limbo.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

22. New York Rangers (11-12-3)

Panarin is now back in the fold for the Rangers after his brief stint away from the club. In a tough East division, I think it is safe to say that the chances of the Rangers making it are extremely low.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

23. Vancouver Canucks (13-16-2)

The best part of this recent stretch for Canuck fans is that they are able to win without Elias Pettersson in the lineup and Thatcher Demko is the real deal. Although, these wins may be too little too late for them as well.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

24. Columbus Blue Jackets (11-12-6)

The Columbus tire fire continues with Torts once again benching Patrik Laine for a blown 4-1 lead and resulting in an OTL. Laine had a goal and assist in the game. This is just getting ridiculous at this point.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

25. Dallas Stars (8-9-6)

Dallas while playing better as of late, is still not putting together consecutive performances. With the hopeful return of Ben Bishop and Tyler Seguin in April, the Central division may be locked up by then.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

26. Nashville Predators (11-16-1)

Captain Roman Josi is the next player to be out week-to-week, and the Predators season is officially done. All eyes will be on GM David Poile and what transactions he makes leading up to the deadline.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

27. New Jersey Devils (8-13-3)

What happened to this team? Since they came back from the Covid break, they have been dreadful and worse, Jack Hughes has really stalled in his development.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

28. Ottawa Senators (9-20-1)

Even with the limited talent on this team, the effort level is widely inconsistent. Some nights they work hard and are in it, other nights they get their doors blown off.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

29. Anaheim Ducks (8-15-6)

John Gibson can no longer shoulder the team as his numbers have taken a massive hit in recent games. With rumors swirling around the Ducks, it seems that no player except for Gibson and maybe Trevor Zegras are safe.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

30. Detroit Red Wings (8-16-4)

After a surprising win over the Lightning, Detroit still sits at the bottom of their division and are poised for another top draft pick. As someone who admires the organization because of their past, I really hope they win the draft lottery as they were screwed last draft.

Last Week’s Rank: 30

31. Buffalo Sabres (6-16-4)

Ten losses in a row. This team, this franchise cannot ever hit rock bottom it seems like. I feel sorry for their fans.

Last Week’s Rank: 31