NHL Power Rankings: Flames becoming contenders; Predators slumping
In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Calgary Flames keep climbing toward the top thanks to a 12-2-0 run over their past 14 games, including a nine-game winning streak entering the week. That stretch has included big wins against other top teams Florida (5-1), Toronto (5-2), Vegas (6-0), and St. Louis (7-1). They entered the season looking like a bubble playoff team but have taken off under Darryl Sutter in his second stop with the team.
Calgary boasts one of the league’s best top-line duos in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, and already made a significant move to strengthen their depth by getting Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens. Add in their strong defensive player under Sutter and excellent goaltending and they are starting to look like a team that can make a deep run in the playoffs.
Elsewhere, the Colorado Avalanche maintain their hold on the top spot while the Nashville Predators go through a slump that has seen them drop down a few spots thanks to a stretch that has seen them go 4-7-2 over the past month.
We look at all of that and more in this week’s rankings.
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To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 1). After a slow start Darcy Kuemper has very quietly put things together. He and Pavel Francouz both have save percentages north of .920 for the season. They get that level of goaltending this is as complete of a team as you will find in the NHL.
2. Florida Panthers (LW: 2). They already have nine players with at least 10 goals this season, including six with at least 15 goals. Just an insanely deep offense.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 4). Andrei Svechnikov’s big breakout season is happening as he chases the 40-goal mark.
4. Minnesota Wild (LW: 3). Kirill Kaprizov is going to be worth every penny of that contract he signed over the summer. Franchise changing player.
[Related: Emboldened by Boldy, should Wild be trade deadline buyers?]
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 5). Do you know who has quietly had a very good season here? Corey Perry. He should score 20 goals this season.
6. Calgary Flames (LW: 8). Not getting a lot of attention but they have the look of a team that ends up in the Western Conference Final and everybody asks “wow where did they come from?”
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 7). Their stars are playing great and they did a nice job building around them. They are still going to get a nightmare First Round playoff matchup that will dictate the entire narrative around them.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 6). The power play has taken a step back these past two games, and it has cost them against Toronto and Carolina.
9. New York Rangers (LW: 9). Igor Shesterkin has done everything else for them this season so it would have been really fitting if he had added “goal scorer” to his resume. They should really be aggressive at the NHL trade deadline to try to improve their forward depth.
10. St. Louis Blues (LW: 10). Ville Husso should be the guy here.
11. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 12). Jack Eichel has looked great so far since making his debut this past week, and that is fantastic news for the Golden Knights. They need him to be a difference maker and he absolutely has the potential and ability be that.
12. Washington Capitals (LW: 14). We should probably pay more attention to the fact that Evgeny Kuznetsov has had a really strong bounce back season. He and the Capitals both needed that.
13. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 17). They have looked like a different team since the coaching staff, but that game against Minnesota on Sunday shows they still have some real flaws that should be addressed.
14. Boston Bruins (LW: 13). They are back to being a one-line team and that is not good. Fortunately that one line is great. When they are all in the lineup, that is.
[Related: Bettman upholds Marchand suspension; what caused outburst]
15. Nashville Predators (LW: 11). They have struggled for a month now. Cause for concern or just the type of lull that comes with an 82-game season?
16. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 16). On the playoff bubble, but I like their chances with the way they defend and their center depth.
17. Dallas Stars (LW: 15). Such a difficult team to understand. They were rolling, and then lost to Arizona. Can not lose that game.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 19). They always seem to overachieve, and right now Patrik Laine is rolling. Get him signed.
19. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 20). Bit of a disappointment right now. They need a big second half from Connor Hellebuyck.
20. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 21). The performance of the rookies (Lucas Raymond and Mortiz Seider) has overshadowed the great season Dylan Larkin is having.
21. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 18). The playoffs seem like they might be slipping away, but still a nice season of progress here.
22. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 22). The question is now starting to shift to who gets traded over the next month. Something major like J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser? That would be significant to the long-term outlook of the team.
[Related: New Canucks front office faces big trade deadline questions]
23. New York Islanders (LW: 23). Even with above average goaltending this team has been bad. Just not their year.
24. Ottawa Senators (LW: 25). The best development here this season is Matt Murray maybe getting back on track. With that contract they need him to be good.
25. San Jose Sharks (LW: 24). The playoffs are starting to seem out of reach, which turns all of the attention to what happens with Tomas Hertl and his contract situation.
26. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 27). No player should be off limits in trade talks over the next month. See what offers you get for everybody.
27. Seattle Kraken (LW: 26). Joonas Donskoi with only one goal in 50 games might be the most baffling development on this team. Outside of the goaltending that is.
28. New Jersey Devils (LW: 29). Mackenzie Blackwood regressing so much the past two seasons has to be a major disappointment. Seemed like he was a big part of the plan to get this team back to contention and relevance.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 28). At this point it really seems to just be a matter of where and when Claude Giroux gets traded and not if he gets traded.
[Related: Giroux, Fleury ponder futures as trade deadline approaches]
30. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 30). There are definitely some positive developments here this season. Jeff Skinner’s bounce back. Tage Thompson having a nice year. Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs looking good in their initial debuts after the Jack Eichel trade.
31. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31). They have beaten some really good teams this season and really handed Dallas a significant defeat this week.
32. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 32). Cole Caufield looks like the player Montreal wanted Cole Caufield to be since the hiring of Martin St. Louis as head coach. Very important development there.