NHL Power Rankings: Capitals sneak into the Top 5

Yahoo Sports

Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo Sports 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. Ottawa Senators (Last week: 29)

I didn’t realize how bad their injury situation had gotten, but they have a ton of guys on the shelf right now, including Thomas Chabot and Craig Anderson. Not that Anderson in particular is all that good (.905) but the backup options are much, much worse.

30. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 28)

29. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 30)

Having previously written off the Kings altogether, did you know they only have four guys with more than 17 points? If they’re smart, they’ll trade Alex Iafallo (21 points) while he’s still their No. 2 scorer and before people realize he’s not that good.

28. Chicago (Last week: 31)

Not that Brandon Manning-for-Drake Caggiula is gonna change the shape of the franchise or anything like that, it must have been nice for these guys to get a win.

27. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 25)

26. New York Rangers (LW: 26)

25. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 27)

24. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 22)

These guys are now five points out of a divisional playoff spot and that number is only going to keep growing. Let’s put it this way: They’re only two points up on Vancouver. Vancouver!

23. St. Louis Blues (LW: 21)

These guys have the third-worst points total in the league. Truly amazing how bad they’ve been. Everyone liked their summer! Incredible.

22. New Jersey Devils (LW: 24)

21. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 20)

20. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 18)

Ah, jeez. I think this is gonna be a longer-than-normal entry.

These guys suck. Can’t win on the ice because Peter Chiarelli has managed this team into the ground. As recently as TWO WEEKS AGO, the dimwits in the local media were saying, like, “Ah you would have to be a fool to criticize Chiarelli now!” and they’re all turning on him just two weeks later thanks to a five-game losing streak.

Wow, isn’t it amazing that a team couldn’t instantly go from being one of the worst in the league to one of the best just because they changed coaches? Maybe coaching wasn’t the problem. Maybe it was that Chiarelli only seems to have interest in chipping away at the edges of this team and somehow loses every single trade he makes, to the point where he’s now trying to get out from under the Ryan Spooner acquisition he made like a month ago.

How does Chiarelli still have a job? I’m serious. He should have been fired two years ago but now it really doesn’t make sense to keep him. He made two trades yesterday that made the team unequivocally worse, and some how took on salary and gave up a pick to do it. How many No. 6/7 defensemen does he think this team needs? And even if the answer is “five” or whatever, how on earth do you think that’s what’s going to turn this flaming pile of dog turds around?

I guess the good news is the Edmonton beat reporters to have been given the green light to go in on Chiarelli at long last. They would never do anything to “hurt the team” without ownership/upper management’s say-so, and the fact that they’re now crushing him for doing stuff they all agreed with — at least publicly — is a pretty good sign that Chiarelli’s days are numbered, but also that they’re just as dumb as anyone else in that city.

They deserve each other. What a mess.

19. Dallas Stars (LW: 19)

Honestly, if it wasn’t for Lites going off this weekend we’d be in another 24-hour “Chiarelli stepped in it again” news cycle.

18. New York Islanders (LW: 23)

17. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 16)

16. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 13)

I’m done thinking these guys have the ability to turn it around. Barring some insane, unforeseeable PDO bender, they’re gonna slide down the Power Feelings for the rest of the year.

15. Minnesota Wild (LW: 17)

Yeah they lost to Chicago in embarrassing fashion (5-2? woof) but they also outshot them 48-20 and lost. It happens. Plus when you win in Winnipeg, that’s pretty good. Exactly what you’re going for, I would say.

14. Florida Panthers (LW: 15)

At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if they either did what they did last year, absolutely obliterating the league for the second half of the season, or just absolutely crashed and burned. I guess they could stay mediocre, too, but I’m leaning toward a big swing for these guys. They’re good and talented but something is just off.

13. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 14)

12. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 9)

A 4-5-3 December doesn’t necessarily “feel” right — they’ve played better than that — but neither did a 10-game winning streak, y’know?

I thought at the beginning of the season that they’d end up being a playoff bubble team, probably on the outside looking in because of the strength of that division. They just don’t have the offense, it seems to me. They only scored 29 goals this month (on 390 shots!) and things aren’t gonna get easier.

Nonetheless, they’re still third in the division (trending down) and locked in enough standings points to keep themselves relevant for a while longer. Which, if we’re being honest about the state of this franchise, still counts as progress.

11. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 12)

10. Boston Bruins (LW: 10)

9. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 11)

Huge, huge, huge December for these guys. I guess it’s true that they always had the talent to rip off a streak of 10-3-1 at some point in the season, but it came pretty soon after a late October to mid-November slump in which they went just 1-7-2.

Their first 19 games saw them go 7-8-4 overall, which stinks. But in the last 19, it’s 13-4-2. If they’ve really and truly turned a corner here, the rest of the league should be on notice.

8. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 4)

The Jets didn’t take as big a step back as some of the others; almost every team in front of them just went undefeated or won and lost, but Winnipeg went 0-2. That’s how it goes sometimes and I’m not worried about it.

7. San Jose Sharks (LW: 8)

I’m probably gonna do a take on this tomorrow but anyone still peddling the idea that the Karlsson trade didn’t work out must have missed this team going 9-2-2 with a plus-89 shot difference and plus-20 goal difference in the last 13 games.

They started slow, for sure, but they’re a point out of the division lead and an absolute juggernaut. They’re eighth in the league in goals per 60, trending up. If they had any kind of goaltending (Martin Jones and Aaron Dell are collectively .900) this would be one of the three best teams in the NHL. Grow up.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 5)

5. Washington Capitals (LW: 7)

They’re 9-1-0 in the last 10 and you can’t knock them for winning but their all-situations shooting percentage over the past two seasons is second-highest in the league.

Do we really think they can keep it up forever? I can listen to arguments either way, but the two teams clustered around them (Tampa and Toronto) have a lot more top-to-bottom talent than the Caps do.

4. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 6)

3. Nashville Predators (LW: 2)

2. Calgary Flames (LW: 3)

I can’t believe I’m saying this but the Flames just look awesome. I kinda don’t think them being one of the best teams in the league is a fluke. They’re fifth in points percentage for the season and that’s with Mike Smith being horrible for most of the year.

Dating back to Nov. 17, they’re 13-4-3. Of course, they’re 1-2-2 in the last five but they’ve built themselves the cushion where getting just five points out of five games doesn’t really impact them all that much.

A fun fact: They’re just 2 for 11 in the shootout, and Sean Monahan has both of them.

All the underlyings remain solid. If Bill Peters can keep Mike Smith’s butt stapled to the bench (he’s .888 versus Rittich’s .924) that’s gonna work out real well, I bet.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 1)

Undisputed at this point. Everyone recognizes their power.

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Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)

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