Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Buy or sell edition
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Buy or sell edition
With only six weeks until the NHL trade deadline, it’s time for teams to figure out where they’ll be for the rest of the season. Are they going to be powering forward to a playoff spot or giving up on the futile dreams for this season?
Clearly, the Blue Jackets were there in dealing off Ryan Johansen and are instead building with Seth Jones moving forward. The Buffalo Sabres seem to have finally had reality set in as well with Tim Murray ready to deal off some expendable veterans and the Winnipeg Jets would seem be entering that position as well in a cutthroat Central Division.
Edmonton is entering that neighborhood, as well with Calgary and Anaheim at least keeping close track of a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, while the Oilers are spinning back to oblivion. Above and beyond those few teams and Toronto, though, every other team is still in it and stands a winning streak away from busting into a playoff spot. So, once again the pickings may be slim when it comes to available players prior to the deadline thanks to the NHL parity.
Without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Washington Capitals (33-7-3, rank last week: 1) - Five wins in a row for the Capitals, who are distancing themselves from everybody else in the NHL. This is the team to beat, everybody. The Alex Ovechkin 500th goal was just the cherry on top of the sundae.
2. Dallas Stars (29-11-4, LW: 3) – Stars are still in a great spot, but we’re starting to see signs of trouble as the going gets tough in second half games. They aren’t as heavy and grinding as they need to be.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (29-13-4, LW: 5) – Nine wins in a row for the Blackhawks as they make their move up the standings.
4. Los Angeles Kings (27-12-3, LW: 4) – Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn have jumped right into the fray, and the Kings have gone 7-2-1 in the last 10 games.
5. Florida Panthers (26-13-5, LW: 2) – The Panthers have lost a couple of games to end the winning streak, but they are comfortably ahead of everybody else in the Atlantic Division now. They pretty much punched their playoff ticket with the win streak.
6. St. Louis Blues (25-15-7, LW: 8) – The injury bug is hitting the Blues, who have won only three of their last 10 games while falling behind the Stars and Blackhawks.
7. New York Islanders (24-15-5, LW: 7) – The Isles have won a couple in a row despite being banged up on the back end.
8. Detroit Red Wings (23-14-7, LW: 11) – The Red Wings have won five of six games since the calendar turned over to 2016, and are making their surge while hanging close to the Panthers in the Atlantic.
9. Minnesota Wild (22-13-8, LW: 6) – The Wild have lost a couple in a row, and are struggling for offense right now. They are quickly becoming an afterthought in the division, but they’re in good playoff position still thanks to the pathetic Pacific.
10. New York Rangers (23-15-5, LW: 10) – The Rangers are just floating along playing .500 hockey while not yet truly being pushed by teams like the Hurricanes, Devils or Penguins for a playoff spot.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (22-17-4, LW: 22) – The Bolts have won three in a row and Steven Stamkos is starting to catch fire offensively. Look out for Tampa Bay in the East because they’re about to make their move.
12. Arizona Coyotes (22-16-5, LW: 12) – The Coyotes have taken 10 out of a possible 12 points during the month of January, and keep further locking in their playoff spot in a weak Pacific Division.
13. Montreal Canadiens (23-18-3, LW: 9) – Carey Price won’t be back until after the All-Star break, but the Habs really need their MVP between the pipes back.
14. Boston Bruins (21-16-5, LW: 13) – The Bruins have lost eight of their past 10, and are slowly tumbling down the standings without David Krejci. They need to stop the bleeding somehow, and need to do it immediately.
15. San Jose Sharks (22-18-2, LW: 20) – The Sharks are back on the upswing of their roller coaster season with four wins in a row, and a playoff spot once again in their grasp.
16. Colorado Avalanche (22-20-3, LW: 23) – Credit to Patrick Roy and the Avs for hanging in there, and pushing back into a playoff spot. They are finding their way in the tough Central Division, and that’s not an easy thing to do.
17. Carolina Hurricanes (20-18-7, LW: 29) – Four wins in a row and a 6-2-2- record over their last 10 games have the Canes on the cusp of pushing for a playoff spot. Who would have thought that possible for a Hurricanes bunch with such little expectations?
18. Pittsburgh Penguins (20-16-6, LW: 21) – The Penguins are 3-1-2 in their last six games, and have stabilized under Mike Sullivan. But their offense continues to largely sputter, and it’s confounding given the talent on the roster.
19. Philadelphia Flyers (19-15-7, LW: 26) – The Flyers have won four games in a row, and are pushing and nudging their way back into the playoff picture. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek dominated against the Bruins in their come-from-behind win.
20. Ottawa Senators (20-18-6, LW: 18) – They’ve lost two in a row, and been outscored by a collective 11-2 score by the Capitals and Ducks. Ouch, babe.
21. New Jersey Devils (21-19-5, LW: 15) – Mike Cammalleri is out and the Devils offense is in major trouble.
22. Nashville Predators (19-17-8, LW: 14) – The Predators have lost five games in a row, and haven’t enjoyed a bounce from Ryan Johansen since his arrival.
23. Vancouver Canucks (17-17-10, LW: 16) – Have you heard that the Vancouver Canucks are looking to move Chris Higgins? That’s the rumor, or the press release sent out by the Canucks in this case.
24. Anaheim Ducks (18-17-7, LW: 19) – The Ducks are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and once again showing signs of life after languishing pretty much all season.
25. Calgary Flames (20-20-2, LW: 17) – The Flames need to make a decision as to whether or not they want to be a playoff team pretty soon. They’re one of a number of teams that’s just floating along in the Pacific Division.
26. Winnipeg Jets (20-21-3, LW: 26) – The Jets lost to the Buffalo Sabres in Evander Kane’s return to Winnipeg, and that set off some harsh words by Blake Wheeler for the collective team. Good for him for speaking up.
27. Toronto Maple Leafs (16-18-7, LW: 27) – What a dose of reality the 7-0 pounding that the Sharks gave them was for the Leafs. That one is going to leave a mark.
28. Buffalo Sabres (17-22-4, LW: 28) – The Sabres and Evander Kane won his return to Winnipeg. That might serve as the closest thing they’ll get to the playoffs this season. That’s kind of sad.
29. Edmonton Oilers (17-23-5, LW: 25) – Connor McDavid will be back after the All-Star break, but it probably isn’t going to matter for an Oilers team that couldn’t grasp the chance to get into the playoff mix.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (16-25-4, LW: 30) – Seth Jones is exactly what the Blue Jackets needed. They could really put things together the rest of this season even if it’s a lost one.