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NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche stay in first; Capitals, Predators improve

NHL Power Rankings

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Goalie Vitek Vanecek #41 of the Washington Capitals deflects the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena on March 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Colorado Avalanche maintain their spot in first place despite a growing injury list that now includes Gabriel Landeskog and Samuel Girard. They are in a tough race with the Carolina Hurricanes (who remain in the second spot) for the Presidents’ Trophy.

There are not many major changes in this week’s top-10, but the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators both make nice jumps this week thanks to their improved play in recent weeks.

The Capitals might be getting enough goaltending from Vitek Vanecek to allow them to search for other upgrades at the trade deadline, while the Nashville Predators are getting a great bounce back season from Matt Duchene to help further solidify their playoff spot.

We look at all of that and more in this week’s rankings.

Where does your team sit?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 1). Injuries to Landeskog and Girard are going to hurt, but their salary cap situation might open up for a big addition before the NHL trade deadline (depending on how long Landeskog is sidelined).

2. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 2). They are reportedly close to an eight-year contract extension for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Could be a big win if he becomes the player they hope, but also a little bit of a risk if he does not.

3. Florida Panthers (LW: 5). Their offense is just laughably good. They have scored at least five goals in 25 of their 59 games this season. That is nearly half of their games.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 3). Andrei Vasilevskiy is so good that a .918 save percentage seems like a “down” year for him. It is not really a down year.

5. Calgary Flames (LW: 4). This is a really good team, and as long as Jacob Markstrom keeps playing like this they will continue to be a really good team no matter how the rest of the lineup plays. He has nine shutouts already this season.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 6). Their past seven games have been against some of the league’s best teams and they are 5-1-1 with 11 out of a possible 14 points during that stretch.

7. Boston Bruins (LW: 7). This team is just lurking in the shadows and seems like the type of team that will end up in the Eastern Conference Final before anybody realizes how good it has been.

8. New York Rangers (LW: 8). They are 29-7-3 when Igor Shesterkin is the goalie of record. They are 8-10-2 when he is not. They are Colorado when Shesterkin plays. They are Chicago when he does not. Talk about a good news, bad news situation.

[Related: Rangers trade deadline targets; Hertl, Miller, and more]

9. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 9). Goalie. Goalie. Goalie. Goalie.

10. Washington Capitals (LW: 14). The Eastern Conference is so good that this team is the eighth playoff team in the conference. Vitek Vanecek might be calming some of their goalie concerns.

11. St. Louis Blues (LW: 10). Their offense is legit, and if Ville Husso is in goal they are not going to go away quietly. Still need an upgrade on defense.

12. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 11). Injuries have really mounted for this team recently but that was a really impressive win against the Florida Panthers with so many players out of the lineup.

13. Nashville Predators (18). Matt Duchene very quietly has 31 goals this season. Did you know that? Now you do.

14. Minnesota Wild (LW: 13). They are probably not in major jeopardy of missing the playoffs but they are probably closer to the bubble than they expected to be given their start.

15. Dallas Stars (LW: 12). The absence of Miro Heiskanen is going to be significant, and probably guarantees that John Klingberg is not getting traded. Assuming the playoffs are still their goal (which they should be). Joe Pavelski’s one-year extension was also a smart piece of business.

[Related: Stars re-sign Joe Pavelski for one year]

16. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 17). Back to back wins against Washington and Tampa Bay was significant, especially with Detroit, Buffalo, and New Jersey ahead. The key is not wasting that opportunity with those three games.

17. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 16). Hot take: They should not trade anybody and just see what these guys can do the rest of the way.

18. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 15). This is starting to get concerning for their playoff chances. Injuries are a problem, sure. But a lot of top teams have played a lot of games without a lot of top players this season and are not in this spot. Mark Stone is great. He is not so great that the entire operation should fall apart without him.

19. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 19). Expectations for this were higher than this result. They should have been higher. This team should be better than this.

20. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 20). Cole Sillinger looks like he has quite a future.

21. San Jose Sharks (LW: 26). They really missed Erik Karlsson when he was out of the lineup. A lot. Different team with him in there.

22. New York Islanders (LW: 23). Wonder what they look like with a fresh start and a more normal season next year. The goaltending is still legit.

23. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 24). The night and day difference in this team’s performance (on both a team level and individual level with the young players) is striking. Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki look like the players the Canadiens expected them to be since the coaching change.

24. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 21). Time to sell the pending free agents and get what you can. Still a promising future here.

25. New Jersey Devils (LW: 25). They have some key pieces in place, but making progress in this division is tough.

26. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 22). Their second half performance might be a little discouraging given the way they started, but this young core still looks strong. Especially now that Jakub Vrana is back and scoring goals.

27. Ottawa Senators (LW: 27). There are some good building blocks here, but the question marks still outnumber those positives.

28. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 28). Just get it over with and start the full scale rebuild.

29. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 29). Trading away a first-round pick for Rasmus Ristolainen and then re-signing him for five more years is not the key.

[Related: Flyers give Rasmus Ristolainen five-years, $25.5 million]

30. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 31). Beating Jack Eichel and the Vegas Golden Knights thanks to the players they received in the trade for him (Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs) is probably the highlight of the season for the Sabres.

31. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 32). Nice little stretch here with a 6-2-0 record in their past eight games with wins against Toronto, Vegas, and Colorado.

32. Seattle Kraken (LW: 31). Simply not the debut season anybody hoped for this year.