Because of the way COVID-19 has set every NHL team back a bit this season, it feels like we are getting the full picture of who these teams are a bit later. The saying usually goes, American Thanksgiving is when we usually know the playoff picture. That wasn’t true this season with COVID-19 restrictions and cases that postponed games.

According to, 60% of NHL rosters had COVID in a recent 35-day period. That gives those players 90 days in which they don’t have to get tested, and some consistency for teams to have the majority of their rosters.

It also might be why we’re getting a bit of a better picture now, nearly two months after Thanksgiving. Teams that were predicted to do well — Boston, Colorado and Vegas — are hitting their stride. And some teams, such as Nashville, have taken advantage of their opportunities.

With the All-Star break in a couple weeks, followed by a February in which we still don’t know the schedule, at least the puzzle is coming together.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

They just don’t miss a beat. The epitome of consistency in a league that has been all over the place.

2. Florida Panthers

Seven Panthers players have double-digit goals. They still have a heck of an Atlantic Division to navigate, but boy, I would not want to play these guys.


3. Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues breaking out has eased the pain of watching Jared McCann break out with the Kraken.

4. Nashville Predators

Out of nowhere, the Predators had the most points in the West entering Friday. No one is doing it like the Predators, raise a banner.

5. Carolina Hurricanes

They lost 6-0 to the Blue Jackets this week, but they’ve won seven of their past 10.

6. Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask getting his first win in his first game back was cool, but the Bruins are on a roll regardless. They had hat tricks in back-to-back games.

7. Colorado Avalanche

All-Star snubs happen, especially when every team gets a representative. But it’s absurd that Nazem Kadri wasn’t named an All-Star.

8. Vegas Golden Knights

They had a weird week, but the Knights are one of West’s the best teams.


9. Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews is having potentially his best season.

10. Washington Capitals

Speaking of elite seasons, Alex Ovechkin was third in the NHL in points entering Friday night.

11. New York Rangers

I venture to say the Rangers would not be this good if Igor Shesterkin wasn’t having a Vezina type of season.

12. St. Louis Blues

If COVID doesn’t take some wins from the Blues, they seem to be as solid as anyone in the NHL.

13. Los Angeles Kings

Did the Kings being kind of good sneak up on anybody else? I checked the standings and was like wait, the Kings are a playoff team? Good for them.

14. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks still cannot stop anyone, but Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl are sneakily one of the league’s best forward duos.

15. Minnesota Wild

Kirill Kaprizov is eighth in the league in points. Not a fluke after his Rookie of the Year campaign.


16. Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks have fallen off, but they’re young and building the right way.

17. Dallas Stars

The Stars are one of the league’s most confusing teams. Jake Oettinger is pretty good. Their offense isn’t bad. But they can’t win on the road if their life depended on it.

18. New York Islanders

The Islanders are 6-2-2 in their past 10 and still 16 points out of a playoff spot.

19. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit is just seven points out of the final East playoff spot.

20. Calgary Flames

It turns out I was right when I didn’t buy in on the Flames earlier.

21. Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers fell only three points out of a playoff spot, but it feels so much worse there. Giving up 111 goals in 34 games won’t cut it.


22. Philadelphia Flyers

If Ryan Ellis had been healthy maybe they’re a little better.

23. Columbus Blue Jackets

It’s gonna get worse before it gets better. The full rebuild might come in the offseason.

24. New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes is emerging as a young star, and that’s really fun.

25. Vancouver Canucks

They lost two in a row and might be coming back to Earth after the Bruce Boudreau bump, but their surge allowed them some wiggle room.

26. Winnipeg Jets

The West wild-card race is rather competitive, but the Jets can’t seem to gain any consistency.

27. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have plenty of wiggle room to not finish in one of the West’s bottom two spots, nine points ahead of the Kraken.


28. Ottawa Senators

With just 30 games played, the Senators need to win only a couple games to stay ahead of the Canadiens, Coyotes and Kraken for the league’s worst teams.

29. Buffalo Sabres

On a positive note: Tage Thompson appears to be a guy they can build around.

30. Seattle Kraken

There are a lot of stats to show what a rough time it has been, but the obvious one is the best one; they had not won in over a month entering Saturday’s game.

31. Arizona Coyotes

The one funny thing about the Coyotes being awful is Flyers castoff Shayne Gostisbehere has been good.

32. Montreal Canadiens

They’re last in points percentage, and the race for likely top 2022 draft pick Shane Wright is on.