Welcome back to the final edition of NHL Power Rankings here at Full Press Hockey for this season.
The NHL season is over as the Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner. In fact, all 16 teams are set with the playoffs beginning Monday, April 17th. Like with last year’s final power rankings, the teams that made the playoffs will occupy the first 16 slots. From there we will rank the teams that missed the playoffs.
There has been a shake-up inside the top five since the last NHL Power Rankings. In addition to the top five, there is some change in the Top 10 as well. Ranking the final playoff teams will interesting too. With those bubble teams so close to each other, the order will surprise some.
Time to dive into this week’s NHL Power Rankings.
NHL Power Rankings
1. Boston Bruins (Previous Ranking 1)
The Boston Bruins are the best team in the NHL. Right now the only thing stopping the Bruins is the Bruins themselves. They have such a complete team and know how to put losses behind them. Is there a team that can beat them in a best-of-seven series? Does a record-setting year have to end a Stanley Cup? It should, right?
2. Edmonton Oilers (Previous Ranking 7)
The Edmonton Oilers are one of the hottest teams to end the season playing some of their best hockey. For the first time since the 95-96 Penguins, a team has three 100-point scorers. Offensively Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the rest of that offence are clicking. The key for the Oilers will be their goaltending come playoff time.
3. New Jersey Devils (Previous Ranking 3)
The Devils ended up with home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Even when they don’t have their best they find a way. But the Devils are also beating the teams they need to as well. Jack Hughes continues to break records for this team. What a season for a team that had little to no expectations.
4. Dallas Stars (Previous Ranking 10)
The Stars finished the season on a heater winning their sixth straight game. Jason Roberston and Wyatt Johnston have carried the Stars to this spot. However, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are both playing well as the Stars head into the playoffs.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (Previous Ranking 11)
The Maple Leafs have played well down the stretch winning their final four games. Matthew Knies has come in from Minnesota and has not missed a beat. Would it shock you if he is on the playoff roster? This is a big playoff for this group as William Nylander has priced himself out of Toronto.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (Previous Ranking 8)
The Golden Knights are looking good as any team to come out of the West. Goaltending which was a question mark looks to be an area of strength as Laurent Brossoit is showing his stuff. And with Mark Stone coming back for Game 1, the Golden Knights are a threat.
7. Colorado Avalanche (Previous Ranking 5)
And just like that the Colorado Avalanche are challenging for the Central Division crown as most expected they would this season. However, the Avalanche were dealt a major blow with Gabriel Landeskog being lost for the rest of the season. This is still a talented group led by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. It is definitely a chore to repeat, but they have the team to do it.
8. Los Angeles Kings (Previous Ranking 4)
The Los Angeles Kings are a sleeper team in the West and the Pacific Division. Adrian Kempe finished the season with 40 goals and the new additions to this team have fit in well. It will be a tall order against the Oilers in the first round, but the Kings have the team to slow down the high-powered Oilers team.
9. New York Rangers ( Previous Ranking 6)
The Rangers did not finish the season the way they wanted to. However, they still have a good team as they enter the playoffs. Expectations are high. The Rangers power play is deadly led by Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane, and Mika Zibanejad.
10. Carolina Hurricanes (Previous Ranking 2)
While the Hurricanes finished tops in the Metro they are a group that is limping into the playoffs. They are missing Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty. It will be interesting to see how they produce offence in the post-season. The good thing is they have home ice.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (Previous Ranking 12)
It is playoff time for this group. Brayden Point had the quietest 50-goal season and they look to be ready for their first-round matchup against Toronto. But for the first time in four years, this team looks vulnerable, especially on defence. But will that matter with Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes? We will find out.
12. Minnesota Wild (Previous Ranking 9)
The Wild slipped at the wrong time and lost home ice in the Central. Minnesota is a hard-working team and kept their playoff streak alive. Kirill Kaprizov is back and offensively this team has not missed a beat thanks to Matt Boldy. The question remains who will start in the playoffs for Minnesota this year as both Filip Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury are playing well?
13. Seattle Kraken (Previous Ranking 14)
The Seattle Kraken dug deep to the top wild-card spot in the West. Seattle had chances to pass the Kings for third in the Pacific, but could not close the deal. However, this Kraken team has a chance to pull the upset as they continue to play as a team on both sides of the puck. Such a good team on the road, Seattle is playing with house money.
14. Florida Panthers (Previous Ranking 16)
The Florida Panthers got help but did it the hard way and found a way to make the playoffs. It helps when you get a kick in the pants from Keith Tkachuk. But it was Matthew Tkachuk and Alex Lyon that brought this team to the playoffs. Let’s see if that carries over into the first round. There was a reason they overhauled their coaching staff after last year’s playoff exit.
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15. Winnipeg Jets (Previous Ranking 17)
How about the Winnipeg Jets? On the back of Connor Hellebuyck, the Jets were able to close the deal against teams behind them to clinch the final wild-card spot in the West. When we the Jets at their best they are tough to play against. However, let’s see if the Jets can put their playoff past behind them, especially Mark Scheifele.
16. New York Islanders (Previous Ranking 13)
The New York Islanders had to do it the hard way, but they finally sealed the deal with a win in their final regular season game. Getting Mathew Barzal back will help this team offensively. Not to mention having Ilya Sorokin between the pipes will be huge. Sorokin can steal a series for the Islanders.
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17. Calgary Flames (Previous Ranking 18)
Not exactly the way the Flames wanted to finish the season. They just missed the playoffs, but losing to Anaheim and Chicago in the final weeks did not help their cause. If they wanted to make the playoffs, they needed to win those games. Not to mention they were consistently inconsistent.
18. Pittsburgh Penguins (Previous Ranking 15)
The Penguins have themselves only to blame for the team missing the playoffs for the first time in 16 years. Thus management paid for it as the team let go of Ron Hextall, Brian Burke, and Chris Pryor. Too many bad contracts and not addressing holes on the team cost the Penguins a playoff spot.
19. Nashville Predators (Previous Ranking 19)
The Nashville Predators showed they were in selling mode and put up a good fight, but in the end, it was not enough as they fell short of the playoffs. The future is bright with Barry Trotz as the new general manager in Nashville.
20. Buffalo Sabres (Previous Ranking 23)
It has been a great season in Buffalo. The future is bright for the Sabres organization with Alex Tuch, Tage Thompson, and Devon Levi. Just imagine if they had average goaltending they might have ended their playoff drought instead it extends to 12 years.
21. Vancouver Canucks (Previous Ranking 21)
How about those Canucks right now. Over their final 10 games, the Canucks went 5-3-2. Let’s see what this team can do under a full season of Rick Tocchet. Elias Pettersson joined the 100-point club while Andrei Kuzmenko hit the 40-goal plateau.
22. Ottawa Senators (Previous Ranking 24)
The Senators put up a valiant fight but fell short in the end. Ottawa has a bright future and will be a contender for a playoff spot next year. They just need to start better. But Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle are only getting better. Not to mention another year of Alex DeBrincat look out for this team.
23. St. Louis Blues (Previous Ranking 24)
It is all about the future for the Blues. But is firing the assistant coaches the answer in St. Louis? Or is that a copout? It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward with the Blues.
24. Washington Capitals (Previous Ranking 25)
The Capitals just could not get it done in the end. Alex Ovechkin had another 40-goal season. Incredible what Ovechkin is doing at his age. He continues to score goals. One bright spot is the play of Rasmus Sandin.
25. Detroit Red Wings (Previous Ranking 27)
It is all about the future for the Red Wings. Just imagine if they got better goaltending this season. Ville Husso played great, but if he was a little better, maybe Detroit does not tail off in the end.
26. Arizona Coyotes (Previous Ranking 26)
Despite the arena situation surrounding the Arizona Coyotes, the Coyotes are playing well at Mullet Arena. There is something about that place where the magic happens. Speaking of magic, how about Matias Maccelli? Maccelli is setting career highs in every statistical category.
27. Philadelphia Flyers (Previous Ranking 20)
There are going to be changes in Philadelphia this off-season. You have to wonder with the performance of this team what direction they go in next. The problem is there is a lot of bad money on the books.
28. Montreal Canadiens (Previous Ranking 27)
We knew it was going to be a bad season in Montreal. But so many injuries affected this team and their ability to field a team. Players love playing for Martin St. Louis, it will be interesting to see who they bring back.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (Previous Ranking 30)
Finally, Johnny Gaudreau is showing what he can do for the Blue Jackets. But as he said it is garbage time. However, the Jackets finished the season with three wins in their final four games so that is a plus. They will have a good draft pick when the lottery rolls around.
30. Anaheim Ducks (Previous Ranking 28)
The Anaheim Ducks finished with the worst record in the NHL. Now it does not make sense they are 30, but the Sharks losing streak trumps that. But just imagine Trevor Zegras with Connor Bedard.
31. Chicago Blackhawks (Previous Ranking 31)
It is the end of the era in Chicago as the Blackhawks are not re-signing Jonathan Toews. The Hawks are going into rebuild mode, but how fitting was it that Toews scored in his final game at the United Center as a member of the Blackhawks.
32. San Jose Sharks (Previous Ranking 28)
It is great what Erik Karlsson is doing. Karlsson hit the 100-point mark as a defenceman. The first time since Brian Leetch. The Sharks finished the season on a five-game losing streak. The debate will begin about whether or not Karlsson deserves the Norris Trophy.
That does it for this edition of NHL Power Rankings… Stay Tuned more another edition of NHL Power Rankings next week.
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