Welcome back to another edition of NHL Power Rankings here at Full Press Hockey.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are rapidly approaching. The Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche continue to battle for the Presidents Trophy as they are the first two teams to clinch playoff spots. Neither team appears to be slowing down. The Panthers have taken over the top spot in this week’s NHL Power Rankings as they are rounding into form with the playoff drive alive. While the Flames have take a couple of steps back they are still a threat to Colorado’s dominance in the Western Conference. There were other changes not inside the Top 10, but around the rest of the NHL Power Rankings as well.
Time to dive into the NHL Power Rankings and find out where these teams stand.
NHL Power Rankings
1. Florida Panthers (Previous Ranking 2)
The Panthers have won seven of their eight games including five in a row. Florida is looking like a strong contender to make a deep run in the playoffs. Claude Giroux has fit in nicely and Jonathan Huberdeau continues to have a historic season setting career highs in assists and points.
2. Colorado Avalanche (Previous Ranking 3)
The Avalanche have won four in a row and looking like the top contender for the Stanley Cup. If this is not the year questions will pop up as they did for Tampa Bay. Darcy Kuemper looking strong between the pipes will have to be the difference-maker in the playoffs.
3. Calgary Flames (Previous Ranking 1)
The Calgary Flames are still one of the best teams in the NHL, but injuries are still starting to pile up. Calgary bounced back nicely against the Los Angeles Kings. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk are going to get paid next season.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (Previous Ranking10)
The Maple Leafs have won five in a row and are looking good picking up wins against Boston, Tampa Bay, and Winnipeg. Auston Matthews is turning into the best player in the NHL leading the way with 54 goals. You have to talk about Matthews for the Hart Trophy. Toronto’s best players are the reason why they are winning right now.
5. New York Rangers (Previous Ranking 4)
Frank Vatrano continues to fit perfectly inside the Rangers top six. He has five goals in 10 games with the Rangers. Andrew Copp has been great as well for the Rangers with eight points in seven games. These pickups might not be the sexiest, but these are the type of moves that win in the playoffs.
6. Boston Bruins (Previous Ranking 6)
The Bruins have won three in a row and have a real chance to be one of the top three teams in the Atlantic Division. This may sound like a broken record but Jake DeBrusk continues to play well on the top unit for the Bruins with eight points including six goals over his last five games. That new contract looks really good now.
7. Minnesota Wild (Previous Ranking 9)
How about those Minnesota Wild? The Wild have won two in a row and have points in 10 straight games as they are peaking at the right time. Having Marc-Andre Fleury on this team has really solidified the position with Cam Talbot. This is a team that can make a run in the playoffs now.
8. Tampa Bay Lighting (Previous Ranking 7)
The Lightning are in an unfamiliar position as they are battling Toronto and Boston for home ice. But as head coach Jon Cooper has stated it does not matter to them if they have home ice or not, they will be ready to go once the playoffs start.
9. Carolina Hurricanes (Previous Ranking 4)
The Hurricanes are quietly going about their business. They have some winnable games down the stretch. Frederik Andersen continues to play in between the pipes. He could be considered for the Vezina Trophy this season.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins (Previous Ranking 5)
The Penguins have two of their last three games. Goaltending remains a question mark heading into the playoffs. Tristan Jarry is having a fine regular season, but can he get it done in the playoffs. Feels like they are locked in to play the Rangers in the first round.
11. Edmonton Oilers (Previous Ranking 17)
The Oilers are playing much better going 10-2-1 over their last 13 games, but it is not the offence or defence that scares most pundits it is their goaltending. Unless Mike Smith can stay healthy, the Oilers will go as far as their goaltending takes them. There is a legit shot they can still miss the playoffs.
12. Vegas Golden Knights (Previous Ranking 15)
The Vegas Golden Knights are getting hot at the right time winners of five in a row. They still occupy the final wild-card spot in a wide-open Western Conference. Jack Eichel has been great for them during this stretch. Hopefully Mark Stone can come back too. The only thing going against them is games played.
13. Los Angeles Kings (Previous Ranking 12)
The Kings are hanging on to second place in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles continues to put a historic season together. They have won four of their past six games, including five of six points in a road trip through Western Canada. You like the direction this team is heading.
14. St. Louis Blues (Previous Ranking 18)
The Blues are starting to find their footing again winning two straight games. They are not out of the woods just yet with the West being so wide-open.
15. Dallas Stars (Previous Ranking 16)
The Stars are just on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Even though the Stars have games in hand on the Golden Knights, losing to Seattle does not help their cause. Miro Heiskanen is back and Jason Roberston continues to perform like a stud for the Stars. Dallas just needs to win and they are in.
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16. Nashville Predators (Previous Ranking 13)
Nashville is holding onto the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It is great that Roman Josi is playing as well as he is and potentially could get Hart Trophy votes, but this team is playing .500 hockey over the last little stretch, they need to find the next gear if they want to make it to the playoffs.
17. Washington Capitals (Previous Ranking 14)
The Capitals are by far the weakest team in the Eastern Conference. Goaltending is a major problem for this team. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have not been good recently, there is a chance they could miss the playoffs.
18. New York Islanders (Previous Ranking 20)
Don’t look now, but the New York Islanders are still in the playoff hunt even though many people wrote them off a long time ago. They are 11 points having won four straight and getting hot at the right time. Lou Lamoriello knew it was best to do nothing at the deadline and see what his team was really made of.
19. Winnipeg Jets (Previous Ranking 18)
The Jets are battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are still hanging on by a thread, but there is still hope in Winnipeg and that is all you need as they said in Star Wars. Kyle Connor is having a season to remember as he just passed the 40-goal plateau.
20. Vancouver Canucks (Previous Ranking 19)
The Canucks are seeing their playoff chances slowly slip to the wayside. Vancouver is still putting up a fight, but they need wins not just points. They will be looking to the offseason shortly.
21. New Jersey Devils (Previous Ranking 22)
The Devils show signs of being a consistently good young team. Goaltending has been an issue for them all season a shame they couldn’t get consistent goaltending. Jack Hughes is out for the rest of the year but there is progress with potential four 20 goal scorers.
22. Ottawa Senators (Previous Ranking 28)
The Senators have good young pieces that are making progress. Josh Norris has hit the 30-goal mark, if he did not get injured he would be on for 47 goals in an 82 game regular season. They also have Tim Stutzle making great progress in his second year with Jake Sanderson now on board.
23. Buffalo Sabres (Previous Ranking 26)
The Sabres have something going on in Buffalo with Tage Thompson. Thompson is coming into his own now as both the Blues and Sabres are benefiting from that trade as he just passed the 30 goal plateau.
24. Seattle Kraken (Previous Ranking 25)
The Kraken’s goaltending is getting progressively better especially when Chris Driedger is between the pipes. Just imagine if they drafted the right players this team might have challenged for the playoffs. The right coach might have helped too.
25. Montreal Canadiens (Previous Ranking 30)
The Montreal Canadiens are playing better even though they have losses in two of their past three games. The effort is there under Martin St. Louis and that is all you can ask for heading into the offseason.
26. San Jose Sharks (Previous Ranking 24)
The only good thing going for the Sharks is the play of Timo Meier. He has it the 30-goal plateau this season. Meier is due a contract extension this summer, but with the other long-term contracts on the books, he might be a guy teams go after.
27. Chicago Blackhawks (Previous Ranking 23)
The Chicago Blackhawks have a nice trio for the future of Patrick Kane, Dylan Strome, and Alex DeBrincat. But the Blackhawks have to commit to the rebuild and try to move some contracts out. They are trying their best to do so with losses in eight of their last 10 games. There will be lots of changes in the offseason.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (Previous Ranking 21)
The Blue Jackets have lost six of seven games for an otherwise competitive team. It is nice to see Zach Werenski back in the lineup. If they can get their goaltending to straighten out for next year they will continue to be a tough out.
29. Anaheim Ducks (Previous Ranking 27)
The Ducks were such a feel-good story this season. Everything has come off the rails for this season with just two wins in their last 13 games. Anaheim was so close to a playoff spot just weeks ago.
30. Philadelphia Flyers (Previous Ranking 31)
The Flyers are leaving everyone scratching their heads this past week with Keith Yandle‘s ironman streak coming to an end. On one hand, you need to see what the future holds for this team on defence. On the other hand, you could have let him get to 1000 games.
31. Detroit Red Wings (Previous Ranking 23)
Imagine if Alex Nedeljkovic gave this team better goaltending. The Red Wings might have hung on to a playoff spot or at least in contention. Detroit better hopes he finds his game.
32. Arizona Coyotes (Previous Ranking 25)
That was a tough ending for the Coyotes leading scorer Clayton Keller. He took a hard crash into the boards and is done for the rest of the year. They have something special there with that player.
That does it for this edition of NHL Power Rankings… Stay Tuned for another edition next week.
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