Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Midseason MVP for all 30 teams

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NHL Power Rankings: Midseason MVP for all 30 teams

The NHL has officially surpassed the halfway point of the regular season, with 631 games down and 599 left to go.

The Capitals remain in firm control of the Eastern Conference, and have yet to lose back-to-back games in regulation. Meanwhile in the West, the Stars are clinging on to the top seed of the Western Conference, with the Blackhawks just four points behind and the Kings not far either (seven points) with three games in hand.

In a special edition of this week's Power Rankings, let's take a look at each team's first half MVP.

Check in with CSNChicago.com for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13
 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

32-7-3, 67 points: Alex Ovechkin. Braden Holtby is on a torrid run, but Ovechkin is playing the best all-around hockey of his career and it's rubbing off on everyone. He's missed one game this season and in that game, the Capitals lost 5-0. They go as he goes.

2   3

26-12-3, 55 points: Drew Doughty. He logs the third-most minutes (28:00 per game) in the league and anchors the best defense in the West all while putting up ridiculous possession numbers (Kings control 58.3 percent of even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice).

3 4

26-12-4, 56 points: Jaromir Jagr. Aleksander Barkov is emerging as a legitimate No. 1 center, but the 43-year-old Jagr is the heart and soul of a Panthers team that has won a franchise-record 12 games in a row.

4
 

27-13-4, 58 points: Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks are 1-5-0 and have been outscored 17-5 this season in games when Kane is held without a point. He's the front-runner to win the Hart Trophy. Corey Crawford deserves honorable mention.

5
 

29-11-4, 62 points: Jamie Benn. The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner, who will surely be in the thick of that race all season long again, is the driving force on a Stars team that owns the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

6  

24-14-7, 55 points: Vladimir Tarasenko. Jake Allen makes a strong case, but it's hard to imagine where the Blues, who have been plagued all year by injuries, would be without Tarasenko. He's arrived as an elite player in this league.

7  

22-12-8, 52 points: Ryan Suter. At 30 years of age, Suter is quietly having a Norris Trophy-type season. He ranks second on the team in points (27) and averages 28:24 of ice time per game, which ranks second-best in the league.

8   10 

22-13-7, 51 points: Pavel Datsyuk. Dylan Larkin may be having a better season, but Datsyuk filled a gaping hole at the second line center position when he returned to the lineup. They control 57.1 percent of even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice.

9  

23-17-3, 49 points: Max Pacioretty. The Canadiens really missed Brendan Gallagher (18-6-2 when he's in the lineup vs. 5-11-1 without), but their captain continues to put up solid possession numbers and is keeping this team afloat without Carey Price.

10  

22-15-5, 49 points: Frans Nielsen. In a surprisingly down year for John Tavares, Nielsen is on pace to score a career-high in goals despite taking just 28.4 percent of faceoffs in the offensive zone. His role has been vital to the Islanders' success on a penalty kill unit that ranks No. 2.

11   12 

21-17-4, 46 points: Viktor Hedman. His numbers are down, but his production is not. The Lightning are controlling 56.6 percent of even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice, a fairly significant leap from last year's career-best 54.6 percent.

12   17 

20-16-5, 45 points: Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins are starting to play the right way under Mike Sullivan, and had it not been for Fleury, they would've had a much bigger hole to climb out of.

13   15

22-14-5, 49 points: Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers, who rank near the bottom in possession numbers, sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division due in large part to a strong blue line led by McDonagh.

14
 
11 

21-14-5, 47 points: Patrice Bergeron. He has 38 points in 40 games this season, on pace to break his career high (73) set in 2005-06, and is always a favorite to win the Selke Trophy. 

15
 
14 

21-17-5, 47 points: Cory Schneider. The starting netminder has posted stellar numbers this season: 2.09 goals against average, .926 save percentage and three shutouts. His record (18-13-5) doesn't match the numbers, but he's the sole reason the Devils are hanging in.

16   13 

19-16-7, 45 points: Shea Weber and Roman Rosi. These two go hand-in-hand. The All-Star defensemen have kept the Predators in the playoff race despite a dried up offense and a struggling Pekka Rinne.

17   26 

21-19-3, 45 points: Matt Duchene. After recording just two points in his first 10 games, Duchene has been a point-per-game player since, with 35 points in 33 games and has helped the Avalanche climb back into the playoff hunt.

18   16  

17-17-7, 41 points: John Gibson. The Ducks netminder is living up to the hype, posting a 9-6-2 record with a 1.84 goals against average, .926 save percentage and four shutouts this season. He's saving them from falling into the basement.

19
 
19 

18-18-7, 43 points: Justin Faulk. Doesn't have the best possession numbers on a club that ranks in the top five in that category, but he's reliable at both ends of the ice and logs heavy minutes. 

20
 
23 

21-16-4, 46 points: Oliver Okman-Larsson. The most underrated star in the league leads the Coyotes in ice time average (25:07) by more than three minutes. He plays in every situation, and leads the team with five game-winning goals.

21
 
22

18-15-7, 43 points: Michal Neuvirth. He's 9-5-2 this season with a 2.12 goals against average, .934 save percentage and three shutouts. Not bad for a "backup" goaltender on an average defensive team.

22   18  20-17-6, 46 points: Erik Karlsson. The Senators very well could be battling for the No. 1 overall pick if it weren't for Erik Karlsson, who leads the NHL in ice time (28:36 per game) and points among defensemen (45). He's the Norris Trophy favorite.
23   20  19-18-2, 40 points: Joe Pavelski. While Brent Burns is equally deserving, Pavelski has a league-leading seven game-winning goals and is the main engine to the Sharks' success.
24   21 

19-19-2, 40 points: Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames came alive in the month of December solely because of the breakout by Gaudreau, who scored 12 goals and six assists in 13 games, which included three game-winners.

25   24 

16-16-10, 42 points: Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The twins rank Nos. 1 and 2 on the Canucks in points this season (38 for Daniel, 34 for Henrik), which is 12 points better than the third-best on the club.

26   25 

19-20-3, 41 points: Blake Wheeler. Perhaps an All-Star in any other division (due to the new format), Wheeler has 41 points in 42 games with the Jets controlling 54.7 percent of even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice.

27   27 

16-17-7, 39 points: Jake Gardiner. Dion Phaneuf and Gardiner anchor the top pairing, but it's the latter who's doing the heavy lifting. Toronto controls 54.1 percent of even-strength shot attempts when they're together. That number drops to 44.1 percent for Phaneuf when they're apart; Gardiner's is 53.4 percent.

28   28 

17-23-3, 37 points: Taylor Hall. He has five game-winning goals and leads the Oilers with 41 points, stepping up big time without Connor McDavid, who's expected to return after the All-Star Game.

29   29 

16-22-4, 36 points: Ryan O'Reilly. He leads the Sabres in goals (17) and points (36), and has helped take lots of pressure off Jack Eichel during his rookie season. 

30   30 

15-24-3, 34 points: Brandon Saad. The former Blackhawks winger leads the Blue Jackets in goals (16) and is tied for the team-lead in points (30). His versatility allows him to play on any of the four lines.

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: