Welcome back to another edition of NHL Power Rankings here at Full Press Hockey for this season.
The NHL’s regular season is hitting the holiday break for a couple of days. This is the last NHL Power Rankings until the new year. It is the year of the streak. Just when you thought you have figured out a team, you realized you had not. With the holiday freeze in effect, no trades will happen, but look for action to pick up after the freeze is over. The Winter Classic is around the corner with some familiar faces playing in it. But there continues to be a shake-up inside the rankings entering the holidays. Some bases will be happy others will be sad. One thing is for sure the competition level amps up as the calendar flips to the New Year.
Time to dive into the NHL Power Rankings and find out where these teams stand after a week off.
NHL Power Rankings
1. Boston Bruins (Previous Ranking 1)
The Boston Bruins are the most complete team in the NHL right now. No surprise they are number one again in this week’s NHL Power Rankings. They rarely lose especially on home ice. They have four lines that can score. Their defence is playing great as well. The question is can they continue to play at this pace for the whole season? Right now the answer has to be yes.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (Previous Ranking 2)
Still, cautious optimism in Toronto as the Maple Leafs have continued to play well. The big boys are producing at the rate they should. Defensively the team is very sound. Not to mention the goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray has been excellent. Again prove it in April.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (Previous Ranking 3)
Ok. Maybe they should not have gone to Toronto three days early. However, the Lightning know it is all about April. They just have to get there. Andrei Vasilevskiy is back to playing at the level we expect him to play at. The question is when is all this hockey going to catch up to the Lightning?
4. Carolina Hurricanes (Previous Ranking 7)
How about those Carolina Hurricanes? Six wins in a row and first in the Metro Division. Pyotr Kochetkov’s incredible season continues for the Hurricanes, he has taken the number one job in Carolina. This team continues to just get better and better. Always a threat to win and go all the way.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (Previous Ranking 4)
The Penguins are another machine that continues to roll on. Winners of seven of their last eight games, goaltending has been a big reason why the Penguins are having success this season. Let’s see what they can do in the playoffs.
6. New York Rangers ( Previous Ranking 12)
Despite their loss in Pittsburgh, the Rangers have played really well. They had won seven in a row prior to the loss and clicking on all cylinders. Igor Shesterkin was back to his old self, while Gerard Gallant was pushing all the right buttons. This team is dangerous when they get going.
7. Minnesota Wild (Previous Ranking 13)
Just when you think you have solved teams in this league, they flipped the script. Like the Minnesota Wild. 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. Winners of six straight and looking strong again as they try to extend their playoff streak. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello are the reasons why this team is performing so well.
8. Winnipeg Jets (Previous Ranking 8)
The Jets are not going anywhere anytime soon. Their top players continue to perform at a high level. Josh Morrissey is one of the most underrated defencemen in the NHL. Good home and road split make the Jets a dangerous team.
9. Dallas Stars (Previous Ranking 10)
The Stars had a successful road trip going 3-2. They played some very good teams during that five-game stretch. Jason Roberston got his first goal in seven games. The Stars are not in this position without Jake Oettinger.
10. Colorado Avalanche (Previous Ranking 11)
The Avalanche are starting to get some reinforcements back into the lineup. Alexandar Georgiev is showing why the Avalanche traded for and signed him to that deal. Cale Makar is back to doing Cale Makar things. If there was one thing they could wish it is a second-line center.
11. Washington Capitals (Previous Ranking 15)
The biggest movers of the week are the Washington Capitals. Like the Penguins just when you thought they were out, they are back in it. Charlie Lindgren is playing well and the Capitals have won five straight games. Oh yeah, Alex Ovechkin just joined the 800-goal club.
12. Seattle Kraken (Previous Ranking 9)
6-4-0 over their last 10 games is not the worst thing in the world. Seattle has definitely slowed down their pace from earlier in the season. But the keys to success for Seattle remain the same rock-solid defence and goaltending leads to goal-scoring.
13. Vegas Golden Knights (Previous Ranking 6)
Look the Golden Knights are still leading the Pacific Division. They still have a good team. But losses in two straight and 5-5 in their last 10 games is not ideal when teams are starting to charge behind them.
14. New Jersey Devils (Previous Ranking 5)
The Devils have it the skids for the first time since the beginning of the year. The losing streak (yes it was a losing streak, not a winless streak) hit six games. As Denis Green said maybe the Devils are who we thought they were all along a rebuilding team that is still a year or two away from competing. But they show great fight and heart. Never out of any game.
15. Los Angeles Kings (Previous Ranking 18)
The Kings again are so inconsistent but are getting hot at the right time with three straight wins. Viktor Arvidsson has goals in four of six games. It is Phoenix Copley who is stepping up his game in between the pipes. The Kings need that to continue.
16. Calgary Flames (Previous Ranking 17)
Maybe this is what the Flames needed. Get some wins against a weaker opponent to build confidence. Jonathan Huberdeau got his first three-point game of the season. Calgary needs to start making a push.
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17. Edmonton Oilers (Previous Ranking 14)
We know Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are great offensively. But defensively the Oilers have to be better. It starts and ends with their goaltending. We know what Jack Campbell can be, but this system isn’t helping him. A nice new contract for Stuart Skinner makes many wonder if Campbell’s days are number.
18. Buffalo Sabres (Previous Ranking 22)
Tage Thompson has put the Buffalo Sabres on his back. Buffalo has won four straight games. They are inching closer to a wild card spot. Outside of Thomspon, the Sabres are getting contributions from Dylan Cozens Jack Quinn, and Rasmus Dahlin. This team is fun to watch again.
19. Florida Panthers (Previous Ranking 19)
Florida is one of those teams trying to find their game again. After last year’s domination, it is good for them to come back to Earth and find ways to win hockey games. Maybe it is good this team is going through adversity. If they do make a run it will make them stronger later on.
20. New York Islanders (Previous Ranking 16)
Injuries are definitely hurting this team. But goaltending aside, the Islanders need more offence. Having great goaltending and defence is all well and good, but they have to be more aggressive and can’t sit back and wait.
21. Nashville Predators (Previous Ranking 20)
Nashville is just too inconsistent. One week they look great another week they look awful. The Predators are at a turning point in their season. They have to get it together if they want to make the playoffs in a tough Western Conference.
22. Ottawa Senators (Previous Ranking 21)
Back-to-back losses for the Senators puts them in a tough spot. They are trying to dig out of this hole they created for themselves. Congrats Artem Zub on getting a team-friendly well-deserved contract. The next item is keeping Alex DeBrincat.
23. Montreal Canadiens (Previous Ranking 23)
The Canadiens are a fun team to watch. The dynamic duo of Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki is a thing of beauty. Montreal is in the thick of things. This team is exactly who we thought they were. It is going to be a grind and they will sneak out some wins.
24. St. Louis Blues (Previous Ranking 25)
The Blues are such a strange team. They are so hard to figure out. Too many inconsistencies in their game. They are so streaky as they just had their latest four-game winning streak snapped. But they are right in the thick of the wild-card chase in the West.
25. Vancouver Canucks (Previous Ranking 24)
Things are going from bad to worse in Vancouver. You can clearly see this team needs Thatcher Demko back. You have to wonder what changes are coming. The door is open on pretty much everyone to be traded except Elias Pettersson. Again it will take a lot for certain players to be traded but they will listen.
26. Detroit Red Wings (Previous Ranking 26)
Detroit is hanging on in the Eastern Conference as they plug away to make a return trip to the playoffs. The Red Wings may still be a year or two away from getting back to the dance. Especially with such a loaded division.
27. San Jose Sharks (Previous Ranking 27)
The Sharks are on the cusp of being out of the playoffs. San Jose is doing their best to hang on, but it probably will not happen. However, Erik Karlsson continues to have a fantastic season. Timo Meier is only raising his stock as well.
28. Arizona Coyotes (Previous Ranking 28)
The Coyotes are a team that will help facilitate some trades at the deadline. It is not if but when Jakob Chychrun gets traded. To Whom is the real question?
29. Chicago Blackhawks (Previous Ranking 29)
Nobody really knows what Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will do, but you can see the frustration on Kane’s face. Once the calendar flips to 2023 all bets are off. Now that Kane and Toews have started 1000 games together, the end is coming in Chicago.
30. Philadelphia Flyers (Previous Ranking 30)
The one thing about the Flyers is they will never quit under John Tortorella. Wins may be hard to come by this year in Philadelphia, but hard work won’t be. Those in Philly will be in for a long season.
31. Columbus Blue Jackets (Previous Ranking 31)
The Blue Jackets just can’t catch a break. The injuries continue to pile up for this team and so does the losing. The current streak is up to five in a row with no end in sight.
32. Anaheim Ducks (Previous Ranking 32)
There is not much to say here except for the Ducks are really a bad team. It sure seems like Anaheim is tanking for Connor Bedard. Sure they will get wins here and there, but this is still a young team that will be a seller at the deadline.
That does it for this edition of NHL Power Rankings… Stay Tuned more another edition of NHL Power Rankings next week.
Hope everyone has a great holiday season.
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