Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Ducks fly together
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings
The trade chatter has all but dried up with so many teams rebounding strongly after poor starts to the season. Take the Ottawa Senators for instance: GMs might have been licking their chops at the potential availability of some veteran players on a team like Ottawa after they staggered out of the starting gate.
The Bruins certainly would have loved a shot at a defensive warrior like Chris Phillips as a temporary replacement for Dennis Seidenberg. But Bryan Murray came out this week, and said the Senators will be buyers during trade season rather than sellers as he looks for some veteran helps. Other teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are in the same boat.
So now there is a lull with the trade talk among most GMs as there simply isn’t a large enough pool of quality players at palatable prices with some very clear needs created by injuries and holes on some team’s rosters. Instead they will play on, and hope that player trade pool gets bigger sometime between the Olympic break and the March 5 NHL trade deadline.
Clearly it’s still early in the power rankings season and time will tell with a lot of these teams, but here are the rankings:
THANKS FOR PLAYING
30. Edmonton Oilers (15-28-5, last week: 30) – Still waiting for those bold moves from Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. The Sabres finally admitted things were broken, and they started to get better.
29. Calgary Flames (15-24-6, last week: 28) – They rank 28th in the NHL in offense and 29th in the NHL in defense. But at least they’re mediocre on the penalty kill.
28. Buffalo Sabres (13-26-5, last week: 29) – The Sabres are at least trying to be hard to play against, and slapped a very uneven Capitals team with a shootout loss on Sunday night. Buff has taken points in each of their last three games, and Ryan Miller is playing like he wants to be the guy for Team USA.
27. Winnipeg Jets (19-23-5, last week: 24) – The Jets have lost five in a row, and canned Claude Noel in favor of Paul Maurice. Next step: unloading some of the problem players on the roster.
26. Florida Panthers (17-21-7, last week: 27) – Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau forms a nice building block for Florida. The big question: are they making money or losing big money as a franchise?
25. Nashville Predators (19-21-7, last week: 25) – Three losses in a row and three wins in their last 10 games have put the Predators on life support for a playoff spot. They can’t hang in the West this year.
24. New York Islanders (18-22-7, last week: 26) – They’ve won four in a row and seven straight on the road after appearing like they were going to bottom out in the Metro Division. Well, they’re still the bottom. But you get the point.
23. Dallas Stars (20-18-7, last week: 21) – Six losses in a row and they’ve been outscored 26-12 over that span. The defense has completely failed the Stars as of late, and Tyler Seguin has just two points and a minus-6 during the month of January.
22. Carolina Hurricanes (19-17-9, last week: 18) – Who would have thought Anton Khudobin would lead the Hurricanes back toward the playoff picture? He’s 4-1 for the Canes during the month of January.
21. New Jersey Devils (19-18-10, last week: 23) – The Devils have taken six of their last possible eight points, and have a big game against the Habs on tap for Tuesday night.
HANGIN' IN THERE
20. Columbus Blue Jackets (21-20-4, last week: 22) – A quiet 16 goals and 33 points for Ryan Johansen, who is leading a Blue Jackets team off to an impressive 4-1 start in the month of January.
19. Toronto Maple Leafs (22-20-5, last week: 15) – The Leafs stopped the hemorrhage with a shootout win over the Devils, but they allowed 21 goals in a four-game losing streak. The vultures are starting to circle around Randy Carlyle.
18. Ottawa Senators (20-18-8, last week: 17) – A big shootout win over the Habs was impressive, as is the 5-0-1 record over the last six games that’s pushed Bryan Murray into “buy mode” rather than “sell mode.”
17. Phoenix Coyotes (21-14-9, last week: 14) – Shane Doan isn’t happy with the way Phoenix is playing, and they’re 3-6-4 in their last 13 games. They’re getting left out in the dust in the desert.
16. Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-4, last week: 24) – The Flyers are back in the playoff picture as they should be, but got handled by the Rangers and Lightning over the weekend.
15. New York Rangers (24-20-3, last week: 20) – The Blueshirts have won seven of their last ten, and Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist are starting to play their best hockey. That’s the recipe for success.
14. Detroit Red Wings (20-16-10, last week: 12) – The Wings scored four goals in three road games against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks last week, and lost two of three. That is an Eastern Conference gauntlet if ever there was one.
13. Washington Capitals (22-16-7, last week: 15) – The Capitals are erratic, but they’re also slotted in as the second-best team in the Metro Division at this point.
12. Minnesota Wild (25-18-5, last week: 16) – Five wins in their last six games have cooled the hot seat for Mike Yeo, and keep their playoff aspirations realistic in a tough conference.
11. Vancouver Canucks (24-13-9, last week 11) – The Canucks have lost five of six, but also taken points in their last three games. They’re just grinding in front of Eddie Lack right now.
BEST OF THE BEST
10. Los Angeles Kings (27-14-5, last week: 9) – Two wins in their last nine games, and Jeff Carter has essentially become a one-man show on offense. The Kings could use a little more scoring.
9. Montreal Canadiens (26-15-5, last week: 8) – Big OT win over Chicago last weekend keeps Montreal in the top 10, and keeps opponents wary of how dangerous they are.
8. Colorado Avalanche (28-12-5, last week: 10) – Five wins in the last six games started by Semyon Varlamov, and some challenging words for Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Patrick Roy. Things just stay interesting in Colorado this year.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (27-14-4, last week: 7) – No Stephen Stamkos, and no Ben Bishop? No problem, says the Lightning.
6. San Jose Sharks (28-12-6, last week: 5) – The Sharks are still a tough out, but they’re not nearly as dangerous offensively without Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture. Joe Thornton looked like he was just woken up from a nap in the loss to the Bruins.
5. Boston Bruins (29-14-2, last week: 6) – Things haven’t been pretty without Dennis Seidenberg, but they’ll have to find some answers in the defensive end without him. It was a big rebound win vs. San Jose last weekend.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (33-12-2, last week: 4) – The one constant through all the injuries for Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby. As long as Sid the Kid is doing his thing, the Penguins can build it around him.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (30-8-10, last week: 3) – A win over dreadful Edmonton doesn’t cancel out losses earlier this week to the Rangers and Canadiens. Chicago is just merrily, merrily, merrily floating along.
2. St. Louis Blues (31-8-5, last week: 1) – Vladimir Sobotka has really turned into a heck of a player with the St. Louis Blues. One has to wonder if that would have happened in Boston given their organizational depth at forward.
1. Anaheim Ducks (35-8-5, last week: 2) – Seven wins in a row for the Ducks, and their starting goaltender, Jonas Hiller, has won 14 consecutive games. At this point they’d just better hope they’re not peaking in January.