We’re halfway through the NHL season. Congrats to everyone for getting this far.
The next two months will be highlighted by one of the most interesting trade deadlines in recent memory. There are a lot of sellers, especially from the Eastern Conference. The Kraken have a chance to shape their near future with what they do. The battle for the last Western Conference playoff spot might be dependent on who makes deals.
Until then, the All-Star break comes at a time when some teams need to reset (Philadelphia) and others probably wishing they could play every night (Colorado).
Here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar plays a way I have never seen. I watched him a lot at UMass and knew he was special, but that the NHL looks easy for him is wild.
2. Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov missed significant time this season and still has some of the best points per game in the league.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
The scary thing is we have not seen the best from the Lightning this season.
4. Carolina Hurricanes
Frederik Andersen is probably the difference for them this season.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell has been phenomenal since seizing the starting goalie job.
6. Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov has made the Wild perhaps the league’s most enjoyable team.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
They didn’t give Jared McCann a video tribute and then lost a game, which is related. They are 17-2-1 in their past 20, though.
8. New York Rangers
Chris Krieder is a power-play hero, but their expected goals are bad. I expect them to regress unless Igor Shesterkin keeps playing at a Vezina level.
9. St. Louis Blues
Goalie Ville Husso might be the Blues’ most surprising player.
10. Boston Bruins
Did anyone consider what happens if Tuukka Rask doesn’t work out?
11. Vegas Golden Knights
I still have no idea how the Golden Knights will solve their salary-cap issues this season.
12. Washington Capitals
The Capitals have been being pretty good, but both their goalies have been pretty bad.
13. Nashville Predators
The Predators have seven double-digit goal scorers.
14. Calgary Flames
They got 62 shots on net against Columbus this week, the most in a game since 1991.
15. Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras is almost in Makar territory.
16. Los Angeles Kings
The Quinton Byfield era is here, and the Kings are more interesting.
17. Vancouver Canucks
Bruce Boudreau may have saved the Canucks, but the tear Elias Pettersson is on will propel them further.
18. New York Islanders
It would be funny if the Islanders go on a run but fall short of the playoffs.
19. Dallas Stars
Jason Robertson, Miro Heiskanen and Roope Hintz are young stars who might bring the Stars back up to expectations.
20. Edmonton Oilers
They got Evander Kane, so all their problems surely will be solved and there won’t be any new ones.
21. Winnipeg Jets
Mark Schifele said the Jets don’t have an identity, which is a relief because I thought I just didn’t know enough about them.
22. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks might be the league’s most interesting team at the trade deadline. The Tomas Hertl watch is on.
23. Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider make the Red Wings interesting going into the offseason.
24. New Jersey Devils
Young star Jack Hughes is worth watching, but the Devils aren’t.
25. Chicago Blackhawks
Maybe they’ll get something for Dylan Strome at the deadline.
26. Seattle Kraken
They’re doing it for Davy Jones.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets
The only teams that give up more goals per game than the Jackets are Arizona and Montreal.
28. Ottawa Senators
Drake Batherson getting hurt after a dirty play by Aaron Dell is a legitimate bummer.
29. Buffalo Sabres
You could probably play goalie for them this weekend if you ask.
30. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers might have the league’s most bleak situation.
31. Arizona Coyotes
Wrong for (Shane) Wright continues for the Coyotes.
32. Montreal Canadiens
The deeper we get into this season the more I am convinced the Canadiens making the Cup Final last year was the flukiest thing to ever happen in hockey.