Welcome back to another edition of NHL Power Rankings here at Full Press Hockey for this season.
The NHL is back in action after the holiday break as we are getting back in the swing of things as the halfway mark hits. Like the NHL, the Full Press Hockey NHL Power Rankings were off for weeks. It made sense considering teams were off for a couple of days. However, everyone is back in action and races in both the Eastern and Western Conferences are heating up. We are inching closer to the All-Star Game as the Winter Classic just passed. There is one team that stands out amongst the rest.
Time to dive into the NHL Power Rankings and find out where these teams stand after a couple of weeks off.
NHL Power Rankings
1. Boston Bruins (Previous Ranking 1)
The Boston Bruins are the most complete team in the NHL right now and remain number one on the NHL Power Rankings. Shocker. David Pastrnak was just named the first star of the week and is not slowing down. They have four regulation losses and continue to be dominant on the road. Even with Jake DeBrusk out, the Bruins continue to be a machine. The question is can they complete the task and make this a truly historic season?
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. It will be interesting to see what additions this team makes at the deadline to push them over the top. Can the goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray hold up in the playoffs as that is the real test?
3. Dallas Stars (Previous Ranking 9)
The Stars continue to play well getting contributions from everyone in their lineup. First-year Pete DeBoer has this team heading toward the playoffs. It is good to see them get more production than just from one line. The Stars are not in this position without Jake Oettinger.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (Previous Ranking 4)
How about those Carolina Hurricanes? Yes, they went into a little bit of a lull however they are still one of the better teams in the league. Max Pacioretty has returned to the lineup for Carolina. Now with Frederik Andersen coming back, what do they do with three goalies?
5. Seattle Kraken (Previous Ranking 12)
The Seattle Kraken are not going away folks. Hate to say it. Winners of six in a row including five wins in a seven-game road trip, the Kraken continue to get scoring by committee. In addition, it is great goaltending and defence.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning (Previous Ranking 3)
We know what this Lightning team is all about. Survive the regular season before the playoffs come in April. As long as they stay healthy the Lightning will be a threat to win the Cup again this year. The question will be what additions they make to help them improve their club come playoff time.
7. New Jersey Devils (Previous Ranking 14)
The Devils are starting to find their mojo again after back-to-back come-from-behind victories against two very good teams. Jack Hughes is showing why he is an All-Star as he continues to lead this team offensively. The Devils are never out of any game with the heart and resiliency they show every game.
8. Washington Capitals (Previous Ranking 11)
And just like that the Washington Capitals are back in the playoff picture. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the year? Charlie Lindgren is a big reason why the Capitals are in this position. It is no longer about scoring goals for Alex Ovechkin anymore. And now with Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom back, this high-powered team just got better.
9. Minnesota Wild (Previous Ranking 7)
The Wild are closing in on the Jets and Stars in the Central Division, but still have holes to fill in their lineup. The salary cap will be an issue for them, but the Wild are finally getting more scoring than just Kirill Kaprizov.
10. New York Rangers ( Previous Ranking 6)
The Rangers find themselves in a good spot in the Metro Division and the playoff picture. They are starting to put things together again. While they want to make moves, they continue to want to build internally with players like Kaappo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere. Vincent Trocheck has been excellent for the Rangers as well. It will be interesting to see what they do.
11. Los Angeles Kings (Previous Ranking 15)
The Kings are right near the top of the division again. Three straight wins as the goaltender Pheonix Copley has found a home in Los Angeles. Kevin Fiala is lighting up the scoreboard just as they expected he would.
12. Winnipeg Jets (Previous Ranking 8)
The Jets are not going anywhere anytime soon. Sitting second in the division and getting reinforcement back in the lineup. Rick Bowness has done an excellent job with this team this year. Kyle Connor and Pierre Luc-Dubois are thriving in this system especially Dubois who is on a 93-point pace.
13. Vegas Golden Knights (Previous Ranking 13)
Even with Jack Eichel back in the lineup, the Golden Knights still do not look like a clear frontrunner to win the Western Conference. Like most teams, they are up against the salary cap and will need their players to step up for separation to occur.
14. Buffalo Sabres (Previous Ranking 18)
Tage Thompson has put the Buffalo Sabres on his back. Despite two losses in a row, the Sabres are 7-3 over their last 10 games and are right back in playoff contention. You have to love what head coach Don Granato is doing especially with the young players. They are even getting solid goaltending.
15. Colorado Avalanche (Previous Ranking 11)
Time is starting to slip away for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen can only do so much. The injury bug has really hurt the Avalanche’s chances to repeat. Even with all that Colorado is right in the thick of things for the playoffs.
16. Pittsburgh Penguins (Previous Ranking 6)
The Penguins have won two in a row after another multi-game losing streak. Pittsburgh like the other top teams in the Metro are battling for a playoff spot, but again are you counting this team out with the lineup they have even if they fall behind the eight ball?
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17. St. Louis Blues (Previous Ranking 24)
The Blues are such a strange team. They are so hard to figure out. Too many inconsistencies in their game. St. Louis is finding out what life is like without Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. And right now they are flourishing especially Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas.
18. Edmonton Oilers (Previous Ranking 17)
We know Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are great offensively. But defensively the Oilers have to be better. That has been the key for the Oilers during the McDavid years. They have to address the left side of that defence. It is great they can score goals, but they can’t stop the puck. Maybe Evander Kane will help them out when he comes back.
19. Calgary Flames (Previous Ranking 16)
Somehow with all their inconsistencies, the Flames are still holding onto a wild card spot in the West. But they have to start going on a run and winning games they should. Losing to the Blackhawks in overtime and blowing a 3-1 lead to the Blues does not help their playoff chances.
20. Nashville Predators (Previous Ranking 21)
Nashville is 6-2-2 over their last 10 games along with being 4-1 in their last five games. A big reason is the play of Juuse Saros. Saros is the key to their success. He is one of the best goalies in the league, but they will need to score goals as well. Just can’t rely on goaltending all the time.
21. 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. However, something is not clicking in Florida. Is it the coach? It is losing MacKenzie Weegar? Something is up in Florida and they need to fix it quickly.
22. Philadelphia Flyers (Previous Ranking 30)
Well, John Tortorella since the end of December and the start of the New Year has this Flyers team playing as he wants them to. Winner of six of their last seven games. Averaging four goals a game, the Flyers are rolling. You have to wonder if Ivan Provorov and Kevin Hayes get dealt.
23. New York Islanders (Previous Ranking 20)
The Islanders are getting reinforcements back, but this team has yet to address their biggest need. Goal scoring. Not having Mathew Barzal in the lineup hurts, but even with him in the lineup, they needed more than him to score goals.
24. 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. There are so many teams they still have to pass especially with the Metro teams they are playing.
25. Ottawa Senators (Previous Ranking 22)
Tim Stutzle is having an excellent season for Ottawa. His production is up after signing that eight-year extension. Stutzle is going to surpass all of his career highs. Currently, he has 39 points in 36 games. This young Senators team will be good in a season or two.
26. Vancouver Canucks (Previous Ranking 25)
What else can you say about Vancouver that has not already been written? This team is a complete mess. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat are both likely gone. This team needed to start from scratch. Re-signing J.T. Miller when his trade value was at his highest probably was not the best idea and now they are paying for it.
27. 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.
28. San Jose Sharks (Previous Ranking 27)
The Sharks have found themselves out of playoff contention again. Yes, they will win some games over the course of the season. Erik Karlsson continues to get points as he leads all defencemen in points and assists notching his 43rd the other night. But it comes down to the trade deadline and who stays and who goes. Besides Karlsson, Timo Meier‘s name continues to be out there.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (Previous Ranking 31)
There are different levels of bad, Columbus is in the mix with the likes of Arizona, Anaheim and Chicago. Being shut out twice already in 2023 is not good. Johnny Gaudreau has one goal in 13 games, how is that signing looking now?
30. Arizona Coyotes (Previous Ranking 28)
The Coyotes have lost six straight games as their chances increase for Connor Bedard. Jakob Chychrun will not be the only name that gets traded from Arizona this year. Again when it happens who knows?
31. Anaheim Ducks (Previous Ranking 32)
While the Ducks are playing better as a team it does not excuse the fact they are a bad team. There are signs of improvement with sneaking out wins here and there, but this is still a young team that will be a seller at the deadline.
32. Chicago Blackhawks (Previous Ranking 29)
We thought Anaheim was the worst team in the league, Chicago is approaching Colorado levels in Jared Bednar’s first year. Look we all know what Chicago wants to do, but the on-ice product is not very pleasing to watch.
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.