NHL Power Rankings: Maple Leafs climbing; Kings struggling
In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Toronto Maple Leafs make a significant jump into the top-three thanks to an offense that is lighting up the scoreboard and a historic goal scoring season for Auston Matthews. They are 15-5-2 in their past 22 games (even with their goaltending issues) and are in a strong position to secure home-ice advantage in the First Round. They have also played extremely well against their potential playoff opponents, owning a 4-1-0 record against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
In the Western Conference things are starting to get interesting in the Pacific Division where the Los Angeles Kings have taken what looked like a guaranteed playoff spot and fallen back to the bubble thanks to their recent stretch that has seen them lose 10 of their past 16 games. That includes their current three-game losing streak.
We take a look at all of that and more in this week’s rankings.
Where does your team sit this week?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 1). Does not matter which top player you take out of the lineup, they just keep winning and steamrolling over the league.
2. Florida Panthers (LW: 2). The good news: The only thing that could hold them back right now is goaltending. The bad news: That is a bad thing to have as your potential weakness in the playoffs.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 7). The sentence above for Florida also applies here.
[Related: Matthews leads Richard race; what are his MVP chances?]
4. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 3). They are still probably the most complete team in the East. Florida and Toronto are just playing a little better at the moment.
5. Calgary Flames (LW: 8). Johnny Gaudreau is going to make some serious money this offseason.
6. New York Rangers (LW: 10). They have looked great since the trade deadline even though Igor Shesterkin is not playing at his best. Great sign. Shesterkin can be better, and now the supporting cast around him is better.
7. Minnesota Wild (LW: 6). One of the most exciting teams in the league now has one of the most exciting goalies in the league. And Marc-Andre Fleury is off to a great start with them.
8. Boston Bruins (LW: 5). They have been great lately, but there is a small concern: They are beating up on non-playoff teams and struggling with top teams.
9. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 4). Imagine winning your division and getting this team as a wild card opponent in the First Round. Might happen for Florida or Carolina.
10. St. Louis Blues (LW: 10). They have assembled an outstanding, deep, and balanced offensive team. They have scored at least four goals in eight consecutive games.
11. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 12). The coaching change has done wonders for this team. But is it enough to make up for the shortcomings on defense and in net?
[Related: Playoff goalie confidence rankings]
12. Washington Capitals (LW: 14). Just when it looked like they were fading a bit they beat Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Boston in three consecutive games. Goaltending is still something to watch here.
13. Dallas Stars (LW: 13). Jason Robertson is one of the best players in hockey. Get used to hearing that.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 9). They have only won three of their past 10 games and Tristan Jarry has a sub-.900 save percentage during that run. Not the time of year for that. Plenty of time to turn it around. Also the talent to make it happen.
15. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 15). With the Kings sliding they might actually pull this off. The rest of the Western Conference better hope they do not.
16. Nashville Predators (LW: 17). Their playoff spot should be okay, but they are not playing their best hockey at the moment.
17. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 16). A month ago they looked like a playoff lock and were gaining ground on Calgary at the top of the Pacific Division. They are just 6-7-3 since then and have Vegas breathing down their necks. Not great.
18. New York Islanders (LW: 18). They need more offense next season, including from Mathew Barzal. He has been good. He has the potential to be great.
19. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 22). They have been better under Bruce Boudreau, but his future with the team is not known beyond this season and they have some salary cap issues to work through. No idea what to project for them next season.
20. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 19). Kyle Connor’s push for 50 goals is the thing to watch for here.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 20). Jakub Voracek has five goals and 47 assists. Just a wild stat line for a forward.
22. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 21). They are finishing strong, seem to have done well in the Jack Eichel trade, and get to see a glimpse of Owen Power this season. By recent Sabres standards this is a decent year.
23. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 26). Mortiz Seider should win the Calder.
24. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 24). Cole Caufield probably would have won the Calder with a full season of Martin St. Louis as his coach.
25. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 28). Trevor Zegras might not win the Calder but he is the most exciting rookie (and one of the most exciting players) in the league.
26. San Jose Sharks (LW: 23). Doug Wilson’s departure creates a lot of questions for the direction this team takes with new leadership.
[Related: Wilson steps down as general manager of Sharks]
27. New Jersey Devils (LW: 27). Seeing what Jack Hughes is capable of over a full season is something to look forward to here, even if things do seem far away.
28. Ottawa Senators (LW: 25). With Josh Norris having a breakout season and Tim Stützle looking like a cornerstone player the Erik Karlsson trade is working out nicely here.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 29). Difficult to see a path here for this team to be dramatically and meaningfully better next season.
30. Seattle Kraken (LW: 31). They played like an expansion team. They had opportunities to be better than a typical expansion team and missed them.
31. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 30). Everything must go this offseason. Everything. The next cornerstone building block does not currently exist on this roster.
32. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 32). The only thing you can say about this season is that it went exactly the way everybody expected it go for them.