Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Bruins hold fast
The Olympic roster freeze will be in effect for the NHL as of 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and it doesn’t appear there will be any seismic trades prior to the February deadline ahead of the March 5 trade deadline.
The Predators dealt for Michael Del Zotto and the Vancouver Canucks wheeled for Raphael Diaz as it appears puck-moving defenseman are in plentiful supply, but everything else might just wait until after the break. Teams don’t have a lot of cap space, too many teams are still in “buy” or “wait and see” mode rather than “sell” mode, and every team wants to gauge their situation after they see what injuries crop up during the Olympics.
So don’t expect a lot movement in the next couple of days aside from the minor deal here and there a la the Dale Weise/Diaz trade between the Canadiens and Canucks.
With the teams ready for an Olympic break in the next few days, here are the rankings:
30. Buffalo Sabres (15-32-8, last week: 30) – Two wins in their last 10 games and a league-worst minus-57 goal differential. At least they got some value for Thomas Vanek before they bottomed out, and will get some value for Matt Moulson as well.
29. Edmonton Oilers (19-33-6, last week: 29) – I actually like what Edmonton is doing bringing in some gritty players like Matt Hendricks and Matt Fraser. Tell the Corsi geeks to take their heads up from the spread sheets every once in a while.
28. Calgary Flames (21-28-7, last week: 28) – The Flames had a five game winning streak snapped this week, but seem to be responding and playing with a little energy under Bob Hartley.
27. Florida Panthers (22-27-7, last week: 26) – The Panthers looked like they were already in their Olympic break vacations when they rolled through Boston last week.
26. New York Islanders (22-28-8, last week: 27) – The Isles are 10 points back of a playoff spot now, and Thomas Vanek wants to take it to unrestricted free agency. Time for a fire sale on Long Island pretty soon.
25. Washington Capitals (25-23-9, last week: 22) – The Caps clearly have enough talent to qualify for the playoffs and they’re playing in the right division, but their regular season seems to be the same old thing for them.
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
24. Nashville Predators (25-23-9, last week: 25) – The Preds have taken points in eight of the last 10, pushed St. Louis to the shootout and have a big tilt with Minnesota on tap this week. Barry Trotz’s boys never give up, do they?
23. New Jersey Devils (23-21-13, last week: 24) – Things had been going so well for Jaromir Jagr in Jersey until he started complaining about his linemates. That’s just Jagr being Jagr.
22. Winnipeg Jets (28-25-5, last week: 23) – A three-game win streak and eight wins in their last 10 games for Winnipeg has taken them to within two points of a possible playoff spot. Paul Maurice is a miracle worker, apparently. Or Claude Noel is the opposite of that.
21. Carolina Hurricanes (25-21-9, last week: 15) – Anton Khudobin was the NHL’s first star for the month of January. Let that sink in for a little bit while the Canes figure out what to do with Cam Ward.
20. Phoenix Coyotes (26-20-10, last week: 18) – True story: Paul Bissonnette said that Shane Doan was rooting for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl because he had Rocky Mountain Fever. That’s pretty funny.
19. Dallas Stars (26-21-9, last week: 21) – The young and restless Stars have won two in a row and pulled out of their death spiral, but that might have been enough to make them sellers after the Olympics.
MIDDLE OF THE SCRUM
18. Ottawa Senators (25-21-11, last week: 20) – The Sens lose big to the Leafs, and then take three of four points from the Penguins and Blues. Ottawa is a difficult team to figure out.
17. Vancouver Canucks (27-22-9, last week: 14) – The Canucks have lost five in a row, and continue to look like a round peg roster full of players with a square hole coach in John Tortorella. Just a weird fit.
16. Philadelphia Flyers (28-23-6, last week: 16) – Impressive work by the Flyers taking two of three in the dreaded California road trip with victories over the Kings and Sharks. Steve Mason is getting hot again.
15. Los Angeles Kings (30-22-6, last week: 20) – One win in their last 10 games for a team that is desperately in need of a winger that can provide some offensive punch.
14. Montreal Canadiens (30-21-6, last week: 13) – Habs GM Marc Bergevin made a move to shake things up by dealing Raphael Diaz, but this is a team that still feels like it’s on the verge of imploding.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (29-23-4, last week: 19) – The Blue Jackets are in prime playoff position, and thanking their lucky stars that they’re now in the Eastern Conference. Nathan Horton has been so good for them.
A FIGHTING CHANCE
12. Minnesota Wild (30-21-7, last week 11) – It’s a shame that Josh Harding’s health has hit another bump in the road after putting together some really inspiring hockey this season. The hope is he can resume after the Olympics.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs (30-22-6, last week: 10) – Seven wins in their last 10 games, and all of the Randy Carlyle firing whispers and Kadri trade rumors go away. Funny how that happens.
10. Detroit Red Wings (25-19-12, last week: 17) – Call it a hunch. Call it intuition. But something tells me the Wings are going to be one of the NHL’s best teams after the Olympic break.
9. New York Rangers (31-23-3, last week: 13) – The Rangers have won four in a row, and Ryan Callahan seems to be in a good mindset despite the contract stuff swirling around him. The Blueshirts can’t deal Callahan and Dan Girardi from a playoff team, can they?
8. San Jose Sharks (35-16-6, last week: 6) – When Joe Pavelski is the big offensive producer for the Sharks, it means the rest of their offense has gone into hibernation a bit.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-19-5, last week: 8) – The Lightning have actually lost a couple of games as of late, but they’re bringing back a serious power player in Steve Stamkos on Saturday.
BEST OF THE BEST
6. Colorado Avalanche (36-15-5, last week: 7) – The Avalanche were on a nice little run until they got stomped by Ryan Callahan and the Rangers. This team strikes me as a first round victim come playoff-time.
5. Boston Bruins (36-16-3, last week: 5) – One little listless loss to the Canadiens is their only black mark as of late. The B’s are headed into the break playing their best hockey, and are 7-1-1 in their last nine games.
4. St. Louis Blues (37-12-6, last week: 4) – The plus-59 goal differential is pretty impressive from a Blues team without any weakness, but the injury to Vladimir Sobotka is a costly one.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (39-15-2, last week: 3) – You didn’t hear this from me, but there might a possibility that Blake Wheeler is in play for the Penguins if the Jets continue to fall out of the race. That would be very, very interesting.
2. Chicago Blackhawks (34-10-15, last week: 2) – It’s amazing to me that the Blackhawks have lost 15 overtime and shootout games given their personnel. How is that possible?
1. Anaheim Ducks (40-13-5, last week: 1) – Ryan Getzlaf. Corey Perry. Jonas Hiller. Cam Fowler. This team is young, talented and deep, but it’s about proving it in the playoffs after this kind of regular season showing.