Power Rankings: The Blue Jackets 'all-in' push is a puzzler

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: 30)

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Just a note to start out here: The feelings aren’t based solely on the last week of games, or trades, but more like a mix of the two and how it affects teams’ Cup chances. Do not yell at me about this.

Erik Brannstrom is a future top-pairing guy, just like Thomas Chabot. Plus they have, I think, 600 picks in the next few drafts.

They need to add money like crazy this summer and that’s fine. Guys you can LTIR only get you more picks. Let the kids go out and get smoked every night for a few years, go after Alexis Lafreniere, and beyond.

I think Dorion did as well as he could have given that everyone knew they could use Ottawa as a cookie jar to dip into. They’re gonna be the heavy underdog every game the rest of the year though.

30. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 31)

29. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 28)

Didn’t think they were in a position to keep as many players as they did, but they did it anyway. Shouldn’t be a place for sentimentality but here we are.

28. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 27)

27. New York Rangers (LW: 29)

Speaking of sentimentality, the Rangers showed as little as they reasonably could. Hayes and Zuccarello and McQuaid all had to go and so they did. Now the Rangers have a million picks in the next few drafts, just like Ottawa.

Of note here is that apparently Columbus called them on Henrik Lundqvist but nothing happened there because Lundqvist has a no-move. And maybe the Rangers just didn’t want to trade him, but the way the Blue Jackets are pushing all-in with this group (which, we’ll get to that, but I’m not excited about it), you wonder how good the offer was.

26. New Jersey Devils (LW: 24)

25. Chicago (LW: 25)

The fact that they didn’t make any moves isn’t really a surprise. No one to sell that anyone would buy, no one to buy since there’s no point. They’re gonna try to make the playoffs again this year and they’re gonna miss by four points and they’ll pick 12th and that’ll be that.

24. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 26)

Edmonton feels like a big winner at this deadline because Ottawa didn’t take much money back. They’re gonna have to make a run at Lucic. Very cool.

23. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 22)

Getting Tanner Pearson back for Erik Gudbranson? Hell, getting literally anything back for Erik Gudbranson? That’s a big, easy W, baby!

Pearson appears to be broken, but there’s a chance he bounces back. Gudbranson is, has been, and will be, Gudbranson.

On the other hand, not sure I understand selling low on Jonathan Dahlen. Usually if the Sharks make a trade, they win it, so why trade with the Sharks? (Quick update here: I had to circle back to this entry because I saw where Benning said Dahlen is soft. Same as it ever was, I guess.)

22. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 21)

Not a bad return for Simmonds, but not a particularly good one either. Whatever.

21. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 23)

20. Florida Panthers (LW: 20)

19. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 18)

18. Minnesota Wild (LW: 19)

I think the Kevin Fiala/Mikael Granlund trade is a lot like Charlie Coyle/Ryan Donato. Granlund is a ceiling-Fiala, and the problem is that Fiala is kinda plateauing in his development. The Wild hope that’s not the case, obviously.

But the Preds are in win-soon mode (as opposed to the Bruins’ likely win-now) so they might not be able to wait for Fiala to figure it out. Now they don’t have to. Liked Minnesota’s deadline well enough, but they should have traded Staal.

17. Dallas Stars (LW: 16)

16. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 17)

We all know Derick Brassard is probably washed but what this trade presupposes is: What if he isn’t?

15. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 15)

14. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 13)

I’m really hoping for a Gudbranson/Johnson pairing just to see how many goals against they can concede the rest of the year. Twenty? Thirty? I think it’s possible.

Obviously Jim Rutherford didn’t have a ton of flexibility, but taking on Gudbranson for two more years is a terrible move for a team that, yeah, was desperate for a defenseman. But you went out and got one of the absolute worst in the league, who costs $4 million, and is signed after this season for TWO more. Good lord.

13. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 14)

For all their moves, it’s hard to see Columbus getting past an elite team like Tampa Bay in the playoffs. (CP)
For all their moves, it’s hard to see Columbus getting past an elite team like Tampa Bay in the playoffs. (CP)

Well it’s go time now.

They’ve traded basically an entire draft to build what looks like a pretty good team, but what they’re really doing is hoping Sergei Bobrovsky’s save percentages regress back to his career norms. That’s it.

They’re in a playoff spot right now and Pittsburgh helped them lock it up by getting worse, but man, even after all these trades, how are you gonna look at this roster and be confident they’re much more than a push with the Capitals? How are you going to make all these trades and be a coin flip in the FIRST round? And that’s if they don’t slow down, right? I don’t think they will, but Carolina is coming hard, and there’s a chance these guys play Tampa in the first round. They would likely get killed.

With the decision to Go For It this hard, you absolutely have to respect it. No one’s ever done it before, right? Don’t see it working out, but you gotta hand it to Kekalainen.

12. New York Islanders (LW: 11)

The decision to stand pat was the right one. Let this group go as far as it can (probably not very) and that’s that. I know Islanders fans wanted to really push for it with this group, but I don’t know how you can if you’re Lou Lamoriello.

Like, everyone including Islanders fans thought this was going to be a down year for the club, and it hasn’t been. That’s great. But the fundamental makeup of this team hasn’t changed. There aren’t enough difference-makers on it to go toe-to-toe with legit Cup contenders. So you don’t want to go chasing a dragon, give up some futures (which you need in the long run), and overpay for a Wayne Simmonds or something.

You wanted Mark Stone? Great, so did half the NHL. One team gets to get the best player available. That’s life. In the end, Lamoriello did what was probably best for the team.

11. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 12)

10. St. Louis Blues (LW: 10)

Interesting move to stand pat, but I get it even if I don’t necessarily agree.

9. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 7)

If you’re only gonna make one trade on the day, at least get the best guy available.

Brannstrom’s tough to give up, sure. Especially because I don’t love the long-term look of Vegas’s blue line. But they’re gonna trade a winger this summer, and it won’t be Stone or Pacioretty in all likelihood. Is it Alex Tuch, who seems to be punching above his weight this year like Bill Karlsson did last year? Is it Reilly Smith? Is it Jon Marchessault?

You don’t want to give up any of those players, because on paper I’m not sure you get a better top seven forwards than Stone, Pacioretty, Stastny, Marchessault, Smith, Karlsson, and Tuch. A few of those guys are having downish years (Karlsson’s shooting percentage regressing? You don’t say!) but they can play.

And what I really like here is they’re gearing up for what’s likely to be a tough matchup in the first round with San Jose. The difference, I think, is that you gotta believe in Fleury/Subban more than Jones/Dell.

If it’s an arms race, you gotta think they stocked up here without giving up anything of note from the current roster. You take that.

8. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 9)

Kevin Hayes isn’t a bad consolation prize, but like I wrote a while back they needed a defenseman who can move the puck and they didn’t get one. Meanwhile, Nashville stocked up on forwards (even if I don’t love Simmonds’s game in 2019). All the other Winnipeg trades — and there were a lot — were fine to unnecessary.

Provided they win the division, they should beat whoever they get in the first round. After that, coin flip. That is, unless Laine really has figured it out. Which I’m dubious about.

7. Washington Capitals (LW: 8)

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 6)

I like Petan a lot as a depth forward add. Okay that’s it, see ya.

5. Boston Bruins (LW: 5)

Coyle and Johansson both help but not the extent that the Bruins probably needed. Nyquist would have been a help, too, and they were reportedly right there for that add, but whatever. They’re good, they’ll keep up with Toronto for a while then probably lose in seven games and that’s it.

Like I said the other day, maybe they just figure that’s all they could do with this group plus whomever they ended up adding. I get it. Especially because you don’t wanna trade a first-round pick two years in a row. Okay.

4. Nashville Predators (LW: 4)

I said it above: Granlund is good, Simmonds looks cooked to me, but should be a solid depth player and second-power-play-unit guy. Both probably help, and the cost wasn’t substantial in either case. Hard not to like what they did, given their situation.

3. San Jose Sharks (LW: 2)

Nyquist and Dahlen are good adds.

2. Calgary Flames (LW: 3)

That these guys didn’t really do anything is a real worry, especially because you know Mike Smith is getting two starts per round in the playoffs, minimum.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 1)

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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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