Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Deals get real?
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Deals get real?
Things are truly beginning to kick up on the trade rumors as desperate teams cling to their playoff hopes and teams that are out of it look for trades that can help them click the reset button. All eyes are on the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes as the two organizations already out of the running for the playoffs and Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata could be had by the highest bidders.
The trick for the general managers in the desperate buyer’s club is to figure out if their playoff hopes are based on anything real and if the high prices sought well ahead of the March 1 trade deadline are worth paying. For some teams it might be worth the stretch to get into the playoffs, but for others it would be straight madness to deal young assets for something that could get a struggling team over the hump this season.
It’s all part of the cat-and-mouse game around the NHL trade deadline, but it’s also the kind of misguided moves and inactivity that get owners to clean house at the management level when the regular-season carousel eventually stops. It should be interesting as it always is around the hockey world when stuff starts getting real.
1. Washington Capitals (29-9-6, previous ranking: 2)
The Capitals are 9-0-1 in their past 10 games and are neck-and-neck with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Washington can’t help but dominate in the regular season even if their major focus is the playoffs at this point.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets (30-9-4, PR: 1)
The Blue Jackets are 3-4-0 in the seven games following their epic winning streak, and have been passed by the Capitals on the power rankings. That’s okay, though, because John Tortorella and Co. essentially punched their playoff ticket with the winning streak, and can tread water the rest of the way.
3. Minnesota Wild (28-10-5, PR: 4)
Who would have guessed that the Minnesota Wild would emerge as the cream of the crop in the Western Conference? Bruce Boudreau getting a lot of credit and honors for the Wild’s step up this season, and it’s deserved to this point with this group.
4. Montreal Canadiens (27-12-6, PR: 5)
The seven goals allowed to the Wild last week with Carey Price? As my good friend Mike Giardi would say, “Oh Mama!”
5. Chicago Blackhawks (28-14-5, PR: 7)
It looks like the Blackhawks are in cruise mode a little bit, but they’ve won five of their past seven and recovered nicely from a 6-0 spanking at the hands of the Capitals.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-11-5, previous rank: 3)
The Penguins have lost three of their past four and saw Kris Letang get hurt in that stretch. That’s a tough stretch, but they also managed to rally together for a highly entertaining 8-7 OT win over the Capitals. So, it’s not all bad for the Penguins.
7. Anaheim Ducks (25-13-9, PR: 10)
The Ducks are 7-1-1 in their past nine since the New Year and they’re rolling with John Gibson having started all but one of those games between the pipes.
8. New York Rangers (28-16-1, PR: 5)
The Rangers have fallen off the pace of the other top Metro Division teams, but they’re still in very good shape for the playoffs. It feels like we’re watching the back nine of Henrik Lundqvist, though, doesn’t it?
9. Edmonton Oilers (24-15-7, PR: 13)
The Oilers have won three in a row while fortifying their playoff spot in the Pacific Division and still have a chance to make a push for their first divisional title in a long time.
10. San Jose Sharks (26-16-2, PR: 10)
The Sharks are second in the Western Conference with a plus-15 goal differential and have just one clunker loss to the St. Louis Blues to show for the past few weeks. So, things are just rolling along even if the NHL has cancelled Brent Burns’ favorite, the All-Star Breakaway Challenge.
11. St. Louis Blues (23-17-5, PR: 9)
It feels like the Blues are doing it with smoke and mirrors a little bit when you look at the number. Jake Allen has been going through some rough patches. But Vladimir Tarasenko is a great equalizer and is part of the group keeping St. Louis in the playoff picture.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs (21-13-8, PR: 14)
The Maple Leafs have won three in a row and a fan bid more than $14,000 for the Auston Matthews Centennial Classic jersey this week. So, things are coming up Toronto all over the place and the Leafs are putting themselves in extremely good playoff position.
13. Ottawa Senators (23-15-4, PR: 11)
The Senators are doing what’s required under Guy Boucher and it’s got them in really good position in the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Mike Condon deserves a lot of credit for giving them stable goaltending in a time of uncertainty.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (22-18-6, PR: 12)
The Flyers have cooled way off from their epic winning streak and this team continues to show some real weak spots in defense and goaltending. But they’re hanging around and waiting for some of their young players to really start leading the way.
15. Calgary Flames (24-20-3, PR: 16)
The Flames are treading water in the dog days of January and need to find another gear if they’re going to make life easy for themselves. Matthew Tkachuk has been pretty good in some big moments this season.
16. Boston Bruins (23-19-5, PR: 15)
The Bruins take one step forward and then blow their foot off with a weak, limp shutout loss to the Islanders where they never showed up. Something needs to change with this group and that change shouldn’t be trading away young pieces.
17. Carolina Hurricanes (21-16-7, PR: 19)
The Hurricanes have won four of their past five, continue to hang around on the edge of the playoff conversation and have even found a little bit more offense as of late. Still, they’ll need to trade for another offensive forward if they really want to make a push.
18. Los Angeles Kings (22-18-4, PR: 17)
Anze Kopitar is having a subpar season for the Kings, but he’s still helping them stay close with Jonathan Quick having been missing in action all season. LA deserves plenty of credit for that.
19. Nashville Predators (20-17-7, PR: 24)
The Predators have quite the goaltending tandem in Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros and they’ve done a good job of fighting through some injuries as of late. The imminent return of P.K. Subban is going to help quite a bit.
20. Tampa Bay Lightning (21-20-5, PR: 20)
At some point the Lightning are going to have to go on a run, or go down as an epic disappointment this season. The injury news with Ryan Callahan certainly didn’t add any rosiness to the picture for the Bolts, but at least they managed to honor Marty St. Louis in retiring his number.
21. Vancouver Canucks (21-19-6, PR: 21)
A Ryan Miller shutout pulled the Canucks out of a four-game losing streak and he's one of the big reasons why Vancouver has perhaps exceeded some expectations while sticking around the playoff picture.
22. Florida Panthers (20-18-8, PR: 18)
Way too much inconsistency, way too many injuries and way too much bad karma with this team this season. Is it any surprise at all that the Islanders seem poised to jump all over Gerard Gallant as a coach now that he’s free to take a new head coaching gig.
23. New Jersey Devils (19-18-9, PR: 25)
The Devils have won three in a row after escaping their prolonged losing streaks and amazingly they’re only three points out of a playoff spot. It will take some doing, but New Jersey could still surprise some people based on the talent and goaltending there.
24. Dallas Stars (19-19-8, PR: 22)
A 7-6 win over the Rangers snapped them out of a losing stretch this week, but also illustrated everything that’s wrong with a Dallas team that looks like it's going to miss the playoff cut this season.
25. Detroit Red Wings (19-19-6, PR: 27)
A couple of impressive wins for the Red Wings over the Penguins and Canadiens with rookie goalie Jared Coreau between the pipes. If Detroit is going to make a push, now is the time.
26. Buffalo Sabres (17-18-9, PR: 26)
Robin Lehner thinks it’s time for the Sabres to do their jobs. Just think what Buffalo could have been capable of this season if they’d actually figured that out so much sooner.
27. Winnipeg Jets (20-23-4, PR: 27)
The Jets picked up Ondrej Pavelec from his AHL sentence in a last-ditch effort for Winnipeg to make a rush at a playoff spot, but it feels too late for this group and for Paul Maurice. Too much talent on this roster to be where they are right now, but their goalies certainly didn’t help them out.
28. New York Islanders (17-17-8, PR: 28)
Jack Capuano was fired after the Islanders had one of their best wins of the season in a 4-0 victory over the Bruins. I’d hate to see what Garth Snow would have done to Capuano if the Islanders had actually lost the game.
29. Arizona Coyotes (13-24-6, PR: 29)
The Coyotes are out of it, so it’s time once again to stoke up the Shane Doan trade whispers. One of these years it’s going to be true as Doan seeks out a place to win a Stanley Cup before riding off into the sunset, but there’s no telling if this is going to be that season.
30. Colorado Avalanche (13-28-1, PR: 30)
The Avalanche want outlandish prices for players like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene, who have never been able to truly serve as impact players for bad Avs teams. Sounds like a team adrift at sea hoping they can find a sucker GM or two to take advantage of.