NHL Power Rankings: Are the Avalanche really this good?
Hey everyone, we here at Puck Daddy are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.
31. Buffalo Sabres (Last week: 30)
If that game against the Stars isn’t the thing that gets 12 guys traded this week, I swear the biggest deadline deal is gonna be Jack Johnson to Edmonton for a third-round pick.
This team is so bad, man. They gave up the fourth-most goals in the league over last week in just two games. Everyone in front of them played at least four.
30. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 28)
29. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 29)
28. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31)
If it seems like every damn week I’m just flipping around these last four teams in the bottom four, there’s a pretty good reason for that. I am. Because they’re the four worst teams in the league by a pretty wide margin and have been all season.
This past week, they went a combined 1-6-2. Arizona got the only win and both the OT losses. So here they are, kings of the basement. But it goes without saying that a theoretical playoff series against the team immediately ahead of them in these rankings would result in a series of what I can only assume would be ugly losses.
27. Ottawa Senators (LW: 26)
26. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 27)
25. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 24)
There’s always so much to like about this team and it gets undone by bad goaltending pretty much every time. A true bummer that you can set your watch to it, but that’s seemingly how it is, and perhaps will be forever.
Hilarious that the loss to Vegas on Sunday, though, seemed to be the thing that caused local media to permanently(?) lose patience with Scott Darling, who to be fair has been quite bad pretty much all season. He’s sitting at an abysmal .882.
However, let’s not act as though the team is getting a lot of high-quality performances elsewhere on the ice. There’s blame to go around — plenty for everyone. Their leading scorer has 37 points in 45 games. Only two other guys have even cleared 30 in 47. Amazing backup Cam Ward, for whom the local media will stan forever, is sitting at a robust .907.
The team’s all-situations PDO is 98. Last year it was 98.9. The year before that it was 98.6. And before that it was 97.9. You gotta go back to 2013-14 to find a team PDO of higher than 99, and even then it was 99.3.
And this despite the fact the team has added a lot of talent over those years. So at some point, you gotta say this isn’t a Scott Darling problem, but a Bill Peters problem. Full stop.
By the way, with all the revelations that the team’s new owner made his fortune preying on the working poor with subprime loans at high interest, I wish I could justify putting this team 102nd in this 31-team league.
24. Florida Panthers (LW: 22)
23. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 25)
Just want to get a point of clarification here: Everyone but the Edmonton media understands fully that Paul Coffey’s hiring as a “skills coach” is 100 percent paving the way for him to take a front office job the second Chiarelli gets the axe, right?
Like, we are all in agreement that this is the exact plan? And that this plan, unlike all the other times Edmonton hired a former Oilers great to run the team, this time will go 10,000 percent as they intended, right?
22. New York Rangers (LW: 21)
21. Chicago (LW: 17)
Even if you were sure Chicago was a playoff team before the season, and even if you felt the same way a few weeks into the season, and even if you felt the same way just last month, you gotta be out on them now, right?
With Corey Crawford possibly out for the entire second half of the season, they’re gonna be playing Jeff Glass for 25 games or so down the stretch. Probably not ideal unless they trade for someone. And even then, what does that accomplish? Get into the playoffs, lose immediately, and then…???
Of course, this will also get Stan Bowman — maybe even Joel Quenneville — a mulligan on the whole season. Whether that’s a good idea remains to be seen, I guess. This team needs a strip-it-down rebuild now but oh well.
20. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 12)
Hey the Los Angeles Kings, are you a critically acclaimed album by Toronto punk band Pup? Because The Dream Is Over.
They now sit tied for third in the division but technically a half-game behind Calgary because of a game in hand. Their most recent win was their first in seven tries. Since their eight-game winning streak came to an end on Dec. 9, they’re 5-9-2.
19. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 13)
I held out hope as long as I could but I think they might be cooked. Not a bad couple of years though.
18. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 23)
The Flyers are the reverse-Kings: They went 3-1 this week and since their 10-game losing streak ended, they’re 15-5-1. I’m still not actually convinced they’re all that good but for now you gotta tip your cap to ’em, hey?
17. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 19)
16. Minnesota Wild (LW: 18)
15. New Jersey Devils (LW: 16)
14. New York Islanders (LW: 15)
13. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 20)
Don’t have a lot to say about the mediocre middle-of-the-pack teams as a general rule but Colorado’s on 10 straight now and making noise in an absurdly hot division.
They’re now one point behind Dallas (also quite hot these days, but we’ll get to that in a second)
As with the Flyers, I’m 100 percent sure this is a blip, but if the answer to “how good are the Avs?” is, “They’ve been very hot lately but overall they have 55 points in 45 games,” I guess that sounds about right.
I said it in WWL yesterday but if Nathan MacKinnon isn’t your league MVP I don’t know what league you’re watching lately.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 9)
The Leafs got points in all three games this week but only won on Saturday.
People are calling it a turning point. Sounds hopeful to me. Let’s give them another three or four games of Roman Polak playing 19 minutes.
11. Calgary Flames (LW: 14)
10. St. Louis Blues (LW: 11)
The Blues, who went 2-1 this week, really only suffer because of how good the rest of the division is. Sorry but that’s life!
9. Dallas Stars (LW: 10)
The Stars have five wins in the last seven games. They’re now 10 games above .500. That’s good but wouldn’t you like to see just a liiiiiiittle bit more from them? I would!
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 7)
7. Washington Capitals (LW: 2)
Ah well. They got outscored 9-6 in three games, didn’t win one of them. I probably had them a little too high last week but in my defense they still lead their division (which I’m not super-high on despite almost everyone having at least a passable record) by a good margin!
6. San Jose Sharks (LW: 8)
How about this one: Between Monday the 15th and Sunday the 21st, the Sharks played FIVE games, four of them on the road. And the only one they lost was to Colorado, who’s just beating everyone these days.
I said last week you gotta like this team. Mainly because you gotta like this team.
5. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 4)
The bottom hasn’t dropped out yet, and maybe that means it just won’t. I think the fact that they’re on top of the division (with three more games played than Nashville) isn’t going to last, but let’s all just enjoy it for now because Connor Hellebuyck is having himself some kinda season and there’s a scary talent level with this team pretty much top to bottom.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 6)
Have you guys heard an expansion team has the best record in the league? No? No one has brought this up? Crazy.
3. Boston Bruins (LW: 3)
They just keep winning. I have some misgivings about, say, that D corps and the forward depth, but they’re just clobbering everyone. Their goal difference is massive and all the special teams are working as intended.
The PDO is probably too high to be sustainable, but we’ve said that about Boston in the past. If things are going well with the system and goaltending, it ought to appear a little high.
You’d probably like to see more scoring from people not named Bergeron, Marchand, or Pastrnak, but hey, who knows?
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 1)
Not the best run here, with the Bolts having lost five of the last seven but I’m gonna cut ’em some slack because losing a Norris candidate for six weeks — three of those five losses were in the games he’s missed all or part of — doesn’t help. They’re still the elite of the elite, but…
1. Nashville Predators (LW: 5)
Like I said in the Jets entry: They’re a point back in the division having been hit with injuries to important players for basically the entirety of the season so far. And they have three games in hand. This is a special team, full stop.
Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.
(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)