NHL Power Rankings as of Dec 20th, 2019:
I apologize for the late post for this round of power rankings. As a business owner and university student, spare time is tough to get a hold of. Once again, I have The Hockey Guy to thank for inspiring me to push through to keep this going.
#31 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have been very hard to watch this season. This season is the worst they had in over 30 years. Since Jeff Blashill will likely remain as head coach, they’ll be tanking to draft either Byfield or Lafreniere. They’ll likely not go up in the power rankings for the rest of the season.
#30 New Jersey Devils
With Taylor Hall now gone, the Devils have established themselves as sellers. They’ll also be looking forward for a lottery pick in June with Detroit and Los Angeles partaking in the sweepstakes.
#29 Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have had an awful road record this season. If it weren’t for that, they’d be ranked much higher on the power rankings because they played well at home. Despite that, they’re not likely to improve much because they can’t score and have looked slow on the ice.
#28 Chicago Blackhawks
If it weren’t for Robin Lehner, the Blackhawks would look just as bad as the Red Wings. Their blueline is thinner than a piece of paper and the offense isn’t firing at all cylinders. Their V6 engine looks like it has 3 spark plugs burnt out as Kane, Strome and DeBrincat are the only forwards that have scored a respectable amount of amounts. Toews has been a disappointment.
#27 Anaheim Ducks
The only way the Ducks would make the playoffs this season is if John Gibson stood on his head in net. He hasn’t provided excellent goaltending as of late and that’s terrible for the Ducks because they don’t score a lot of goals. Their defensive core is good but there isn’t enough talent up front to get the job done.
#26 Ottawa Senators
You gotta give the Sens credit. They were expected to be bottom feeders by a country mile but they’ve beaten some good teams this season. They play with a lot of effort but the talent isn’t there. Chabot and Tkachuk are future leaders for this club but this isn’t the year they do big things. Give it two more seasons.
#25 San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have looked sloppy and their goaltending is a mess. Since Pavelski left, this team hasn’t been playing the same despite having some great talent on offense and defense. Martin Jones can’t post a sp% above .900 if his life depended on it. They need to trade one of their forwards for better goaltending if they want to save their season. Penalty killing has been excellent though.
#24 Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets were dealt a bad hand but they’re trying to make the most of it. They at least beat some good teams this season including the Capitals. There are some good pieces on this roster but they can’t score and their goaltending isn’t the greatest. Special teams is mediocre and they don’t have any standout traits they excel at as a team.
#23 Vancouver Canucks
After a great October, the Canucks have looked flat in November and at least half of December. Despite adding J.T. Miller and Tyler Myers, the Canucks have not been able to play a full 60 minutes and their preparation is poor. They’ve allowed the first goal in 22 out of 34 games this season and that has to change if they want to turn this season around. Talk of a coaching change will be in the cards after Christmas if they don’t perform well before the break. Their bright spot has been their scoring and their powerplay is above 25%. That’s still a huge positive so not all is lost yet.
#22 New York Rangers
You have to like what the Rangers are doing with their rebuild. Panarin has been delivering on his contract, and they’re getting scoring from their depth as well. The blue line is still an issue as they don’t have any solid defensive defenceman besides Trouba guarding the net. If this squad happens to go on a run, they’ll be very dangerous down the stretch. That largely depends on goaltending.
#21 Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are currently holding a playoff spot but it’s only because Jackl Eichel has been carrying them on his back. Now that he is injured the Sabres will face a lot of grief holding onto that spot, especially with Tampa and Toronto crawling up to them in the standings.
#20 Florida Panthers
Despite having great special teams, the Panthers have been inconsistent throughout the season. Yes, they’ve been able to come back from being down 4-0 and win twice but this is a team that doesn’t play a full 60 minutes most nights. They have enough pieces to make the playoffs and go on a deep playoff run but they need to prove they can win now so they can secure a playoff spot first.
#19 Nashville Predators
The Preds have been a tough cookie to crack this season. A team usually known for their sound defence, are now scoring in bunches and allowing more goals. Pekka Rinne hasn’t been playing great between the pipes and now Jussi Saros is starting more games.
#18 Minnesota Wild
The Wild have had a miserable start to their season but have made strides as of late. They’ve been great during the month of December so far but they may have peaked as other teams like Calgary and Dallas have also corrected their poor starts. They still allow too many goals to sustain their hot streak.
#17 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs are certainly doing better under Head Coach Sheldon Keefe but they’re still outside of a playoff spot. It shouldn’t be too much of a concern as this team is done with regular season accolades. They’ll wake up to the playoffs in April. Except if they face Boston. If that’s the case they’ll just go back to sleep. The pieces are there to go on a deep run and their offense has been good as of late. No need to panic.
#16 Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning just don’t try hard enough and play uninspired hockey. They are easily the most talented team in the league but won’t wake up until April. Not much to talk about here.
#15 Montreal Canadiens
They’ll continue to be a middle-of-the-road team as far as I know. Shea Weber and Brendan Gallagher have continued to excel. If they had more production from their youth and great goaltending from Carey Price, this will be a very scary hockey team. They’re worth keeping an eye on. Good powerplay. Penalty killing needs to improve.
#14 Winnipeg Jets
The consistency is a bit worrying for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck has been outstanding but he can’t be a brick wall every night. The weaknesses in the Jets still show in their blue line plus the offense can be red hot one night and ice cold the next. Special teams need to improve significantly.
#13 Edmonton Oilers
Old patterns have been coming back from the Oilers and it’s not the positive kind either. McDavid and Draisitl can’t carry this team if their supporting cast isn’t pulling their weight. Koskinen has been inconsistent in net and the defence has looked out of sync at times. They’re still in a playoff spot, but for how long?
#12 Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have been playing well except for that hiccup against the Jets earlier this week. They’ve been scoring a decent amount plus their penalty killing hasn’t been bad either. This team has shown they can compete against strong teams and take advantage of those who are struggling as well. They are worth a second look and but am not sold on them yet.
#11 Pittsburgh Penguins
The thing about the Pens is that they just don’t die. Even with Crosby out, the Pens are still winning and Malkin has has stepped up to the plate. He’s still missed on the powerplay but the overall 5 on 5 game from the team has still been excellent. Let the good times roll.
#10 Calgary Flames
Boy does a coaching change ever.. well.. change things. The Flames were just on a six game winning streak catching up to the Oilers in the standings. They’ve definitely emerged from the grave and have looked alive in the last couple of weeks.
#9 Boston Bruins
The Bruins are still high in the standings but they’ve struggled as of late. Losing to Ottawa, Chicago and Los Angeles this month doesn’t bode well for the bottom line; needing to beat teams you’re supposed to beat. Their recent cold streak has also exposed the lack of depth the Bruins have up front. When Pastranak and Marchand don’t score, the rest of the team doesn’t pick up the slack.
#8 Dallas Stars
The Stars have put together an impressive turnaround to their season. They had one of the worst starts in franchise history and have now transformed into a playoff threat in just under a month. They still have scoring issues but their defence and goaltending have been fantastic.
#7 Arizona Coyotes
Fans from all over are admiring what the Coyotes are doing this season. They are currently the Pacific Division leaders and management has felt confident enough to bring in Taylor Hall to add some scoring punch. Darcy Kuemper has been playing like an elite goaltender and is worthy of a Vezina nomination if he keeps up the pace. The only reason they are only 7th is because there are other teams that have been better in their last 10 games than they have.
#6 Carolina Hurricanes
The Canes have been rolling and have times looked absolutely dominant. Their forecheck and up-tempo pace is impressive and have worn teams down to beat them numerous occasions already this season. Andrei Svechnikov has been having a season to remember and there is no signs of him slowing down either.
#5 Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights did struggle earlier in the season but have been on a tear since. Pacioretty has been on a great run plus Fleury has been getting the rest he needs. Their special teams have been great.
#4 Colorado Avalanche
They still continue to be a juggernaut in the West. Now that Landeskog and Rantanen are back, they look as deadly as ever and will make it hard for opponents to stop them every night they play. Their secondary scoring has been exceptional and there is definitely a feeling that offense will be abundant for the rest of the season.
#3 St. Louis Blues
The Blues have been making this season look easy. They’re still enjoying the ride from the Stanley Cup finals in June and they look poised to go back to the finals. There’s still long way to go in the season but so far so good.
#2 New York Islanders
YES! YES! YES! The Islanders are not a fluke and look like the most stable and structured team in the league right now. The only negative is they don’t score a ton of goals but they make up for it with excellent defence, goaltending and coaching.
#1 Washington Capitals
The Capitals have looked better than ever. John Carlson is having a Norris Trophy type of season and the offense this team possesses is insane. They have two elite scoring lines and depth that’ll make someone like Brian Burke salivate. There are no glaring weaknesses with this team and they’re an easy choice to win the Metropolitan division right now.
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