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NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche keep climbing; Predators keep winning

NHL Power Rankings

DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 02: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a shot against the Anaheim Ducks at Ball Arena on January 02, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Ducks 4-2. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

In this week’s NHL Power Rankings the Hurricanes remain in the top spot, while the Avalanche continue to inch a little closer to No. 1 thanks to a recent run that has seen them go 16-3-1 in their last 20 games.

When healthy the Avalanche still have a great blend of gamebreaking forwards on offense and impact players on defense to form one of the league’s most complete teams. The big question will be whether or not Darcy Kuemper is the goalie to backstop them to a title, and after a slow start even he is starting to turn his season around since the start of December.

Meanwhile, the Predators continue to be one of the league’s biggest surprises as they continue to pile wins and keep a steady hold on a top-10 spot.

We take a look at all of those teams and more in this week’s rankings.

Where does your team sit?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 1). They have some goaltending injury issues that are worth monitoring right now. That was always going to be the big question here. Otherwise the team is great.

2. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 3). Cale Makar has a real chance to score 30 goals this season, a number that is almost unheard of for a defenseman in the modern era.

3. Florida Panthers (LW: 2). Not having Aaron Ekblad at the end of last season was a significant loss. He is back and healthy this season and playing great hockey.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 4). Upgrading their goaltending depth behind Andrei Vasilevskiy might be a wise move.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 6). Upgrading their goaltending depth behind Tristan Jarry would be a wise move.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 8). We have not seen much of them over the past couple of weeks, and that was a tough loss against Colorado, but they are clearly one of the better teams in the league this season.

7. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 4). Being traded to Vegas was a career-altering move for Chandler Stephenson. He is currently their leading scorer.

8. Nashville Predators (LW: 9). If they wanted they could be really active at the trade deadline and really try to make some noise.

[Related: Forsberg, trade deadline present Predators with tricky decisions]

9. New York Rangers (LW: 11). They kept getting wins even without Artemi Panarin (three out of four games) and now they are getting him back in the lineup.

10. Washington Capitals (LW: 5). The way they have played through their injury situation this season makes you wonder what they can be capable of when they are healthy.

11. St. Louis Blues (LW: 13). They have been nearly unbeatable at home and have quietly put together a top offense.

12. Boston Bruins (LW: 12). Getting Tuukka Rask back will be nice, but they still really need another center. If the Flyers make Claude Giroux available this would be a great fit if they can make the money work.

13. Minnesota Wild (LW: 14). Injuries to some of their top players have been a big hurdle here recently. Excellent team when healthy.

14. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 16). They have cooled off a bit in recent weeks. Do you know who has not cooled off? Troy Terry. He is already at 22 goals.

15. Calgary Flames (LW: 13). They had a really tough road trip through Carolina and Florida, losing all three games by a combined score of 16-6.

16. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 15). They have high end talent at the top of the lineup and great goaltending and not much in between.

17. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 17). They are set to return after a week long layoff. They still have some ground to make up.

18. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 19). They are really hanging around in the playoff race and they are not yet getting much from their best prospects.

19. Dallas Stars (LW: 23). They were 45 crazy seconds away from a five-game winning streak. This could still be a dangerous team.

[Related: Trade or contract extension? Stars face tough call with John Klingberg]

20. San Jose Sharks (LW: 24). The Pacific Division has been stronger than expected this season, and that includes the Sharks who entered the season with low expectations.

21. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 18). They are 9-13-2 since that 9-1-0 start. They can not keep wasting the prime years of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

22. New York Islanders (LW: 22). They will go 12 days between games, and that layoff happened just as they were starting to show some improvement.

23. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 21). Maybe they are not ready to be a playoff team just yet this season, but the signs for real hope and optimism are absolutely there.

24. New Jersey Devils (LW: 25). Jack Hughes has been dominant since returning to the lineup. That is a very good and encouraging sign.

25. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 20). The question now is starting to become whether or not they trade Claude Giroux.

26. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 26). They play hard, they probably overachieved at the start, but they simply lack the talent and depth to seriously compete in a tough Metropolitan Division.

27. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 27). Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas and getting a win is a nice bright spot for him.

28. Ottawa Senators (LW: 28). The last time we saw them nearly two weeks ago they were losing 6-0 to Toronto.

29. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 29). There is no more loyal fan in hockey than a Sabres fan that keeps returning to this year after year.

30. Seattle Kraken (LW: 30). Another team that has had a long layoff this week. No chance to really improve (or get worse).

31. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31). They are doing exactly what was expected of them this season. Just a tough situation given the state of the roster.

32. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 32). Another team that has not played in more than a week, but even when they are playing this season nothing is going right.