Power Rankings: Week 21

Power Rankings: Week 21

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for our weekly Power Rankings. Using multiple variables we score teams out of 100 and rank them accordingly so you know who the contenders are, who the pretenders are and which way teams are trending. Forget polling a bunch of people, our scientific approach will have you impressing your friends when you tell them who’s moving up and who’s destined to fall.

#1 Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning stayed quiet at the deadline, but honestly, what could they have added? They’re miles ahead in the standings and don’t look like they’re cooling down anytime soon. They’re on pace to challenge the all-time points record of 132, set by the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-77. So yeah, I think it’s fair to say they should get by.

#2 Calgary Flames

It’s seven straight wins for the Calgary Flames, who now have a seven-point cushion for the West’s top spot. They were in the running for big names such as Mark Stone and Kevin Hayes at the deadline, but ultimately decided the price was too steep. With most of the other top Western team loading up, Calgary’s inaction is almost like a step back, as we detailed here.

#3 San Jose Sharks

The Sharks may not have a first rounder until 2021 (a conditional one they could lose to boot), but that didn’t stop them from making moves at the deadline, adding Gustav Nyquist from the Red Wings. Nyquist just adds even more firepower to a team that already ranks 3rd in goals and 6th in goal differential. If he clicks quickly, they could make a run for the top spot in the West.

#4 Toronto Maple Leafs

Three convincing wins this week gets the Leafs back in 4th place according to the Super Computer, but the machine isn’t yet able to process the emotional impact of a 6-1 loss in John Tavares’ return to New York. Still, they’re back as the second best team in the Eastern Conference, with a March 11 matchup against the Lightning looming large on the calendar.

#5 Boston Bruins

Boston had a week of hard matchups but came out as big winners, beating the Sharks and Lightning and their only loss came in shootouts against the Blues. The Bruins were also winners at the trade deadline, adding Marcus Johansson on top of Charlie Coyle, who was acquired last week. They did a great job filling their needs for a reasonable price and this places them on the shortlist of cup favorites at the moment and that’s with David Pastrnak still sidelined.

#6 Nashville Predators

Two straight weeks in 6th place in both our Rankings and the standings, it seems this is right where the Predators belong. They made some great moves at the deadline earned them an honorable mention as Trade Deadline winners, but were also shut out twice in three games and needed shootouts to get past Edmonton. They could climb back up if new additions Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds integrate themselves seamlessly in the lineup.

#7 New York Islanders

That beatdown of the Maple Leafs must have been satisfying for Islanders fan. It just added another exclamation point on a surprising season that saw them go from afterthoughts to a potential division winner. Speaking of the division lead, they have a four-point game coming up against the Capitals tonight, who trail them by only two points right now

#8 St. Louis Blues

The Blues kept the scores low this week, with all three games ending with a score of either 2-1 or 2-0, winning twice. They needed extra time twice, which worries the Super Computer and drops them one spot. They have a chance to get back up quickly, with two games against wildcard teams and a Ducks-Kings back-to-back.

#9 Vegas Golden Knights

Just like last year, Vegas went big-game hunting at the deadline but this time, they left with the biggest name on the market in Mark Stone. Stone has yet to get a point for his new team, but he quickly made his presence felt by blocking nine passes in his debut. He looks like a great fit on this team, as highlighted by our own Mike Kelly.

#10 Winnipeg Jets

The Jets move back up into the top ten, but it has more to do with Pittsburgh dropping than it has with Winnipeg’s play. The acquisition of Kevin Hayes also gets the Super Computer purring, as he looks like a great fit on paper and could help push them over the top. Still, the Super Computer remains lower on this team than most, especially with Josh Morrissey out for a while.

#11 Pittsburgh Penguins

Two games this week for Pittsburgh ends with one win and one OT loss. Still, the Super Computer bumps them out of the top ten as they currently sit outside of a playoff position. The questionable Tanner Pearson for Erik Gudbranson deal doesn’t help either.

#12 Washington Capitals

The Caps were active at the deadline but focused on depth over star power, adding Nick Jensen and Carl Hagelin. Two fine acquisitions, but the price they paid was steep and they made it into our losers from the deadline. Still, in the short term, this makes them deeper as they attempt to repeat as champions. A win against the Islanders tonight would be a good start.

#13 Columbus Blue Jackets

The Jackets were, by far, the boldest team at the deadline. They’re truly going all in and traded away most of their picks to add immediate help, leaving them with only a 3rd and a 7th to play with this year. They’re going for it and their new acquisitions should help them consolidate their place in the playoffs.

#14 Carolina Hurricanes

Another win streak for the Hurricanes this week, who now have an 8-2-0 record over their last ten games. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors going forward, with four of their next five games against top-10 teams in our Rankings. Still, Carolina is clearly gunning for a late playoff push, as evidenced by their refusal to trade away Micheal Ferland, choosing instead to use him as their own rental.

#15 Montreal Canadiens

The Super Computer had no choice but to drop the Habs after bad losses to the Leafs and the injury-riddled Devils, but Montreal bounced back by trouncing the Red Wings 8-1. Babyfaced rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi made one of his best plays of the year against Detroit, setting up Joel Armia with a no-look feed for an easy goal. With only one of their next 6 games coming against a playoff team, now seems like the perfect time to pile up some easy wins.

#16 Colorado Avalanche

Three wins this week? Five wins in their last six games? Are the early-season Avs finally back? They’re knocking at the door of the last wildcard spot and they’re the only non-playoff team in the West with a positive goal differential. The addition of Derick Brassard at the Trade Deadline could give them the much-needed depth to secure a spot in the dance. The Super Computer believes in them and, with Minnesota selling at the deadline, they have a clear path to a wild card spot.

#17 Minnesota Wild

The Wild are currently on a four-game win streak, but the outlook doesn’t look good going forward. They’ve headed downhill fast since Mikko Koivu went out with an injury and they’ve now traded away their second-leading scorer, Mikael Grandlund, at the deadline. They got promising young forward Kevin Fiala in return, which is a solid piece, but he’s nowhere near Granlund’s level right now. At least they managed to extend Eric Staal’s contract at a reasonable price.

#18 Florida Panthers

A long week for the Panthers, who needed extra time in three of their four games, losing twice. They made some moves at the deadline, like shipping away Derick Brassard and Bogdan Kiselevich to the Avs and Jets respectively, but shied away from big names, turning their attention to free agency. Roberto Luongo also posted the 485th win of his career, making him third on the all-time list, adding one more accolade to an outstanding career.

#19 Dallas Stars

The Stars acquired Mats Zuccarello before the deadline just to see the diminutive forward break his arm in his first game in green. The good thing is he should be back for the playoffs, but they have to claim a spot first. They’re still hanging to the top wild card spot in the West and their March schedule looks favorable. With just two points between them and Arizona in the West standings, this is the perfect time to try and get a more comfortable cushion.

#20 Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers made one of the biggest moves of the Trade Deadline, moving Wayne Simmonds to Nashville. A conditional 4th round pick and Ryan Hartman isn’t much of a return for Simmonds but at the end of the day, Simmonds has been struggling this year so the return was never going to be amazing. Hartman plays a hard-nosed game and made it known on only his second shift in a Flyers uniform when he ran over Rasmus Dahlin of Buffalo.

#21 Arizona Coyotes

We said last week that another big week for the Coyotes could put them into a playoff spot and they delivered with three straight wins. Sadly for them, the teams they’re chasing also picked up wins so they’re still one point out. The ‘Yotes are on a five-game winning streak right now and it sounds like they might be getting a few bodies back soon which could really help them make a run at a wildcard spot.

#22 Buffalo Sabres

Another rough week for the Sabres and they’ve fallen all but out of the playoff race. Without another miracle 10-game win streak, the Sabres season will end outside of a playoff spot. They chose to keep Jeff Skinner and will do their best to sign him before he hits free agency this summer. Picking up Brandon Montour from the Ducks could end up being a great move by them as a building block on their D-core.

#23 Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers failed to give themselves any cap flexibility at the deadline which makes them deadline losers. Realistically though it was almost an impossible task. Their lack of good rentals put them in a position where any teams looking to make a deal wouldn’t consider doing anything with the Oilers. Their best option at this point is to hope for another draft lottery win. They’ve been pretty successful at that.

#24 New Jersey Devils

With Taylor Hall undergoing knee surgery this week, the Super Computer decided it was time to start moving the Devils back down the rankings. The Devils made some good moves at the deadline trading away Keith Kinkaid, Marcus Johansson, and Ben Lovejoy for picks and Connor Carrick. Those moves will help the Devils rebuild their roster for when they have a healthy Hall going into next year.

#25 Vancouver Canucks

Not many big moves at the deadline for the Canucks who traded Erik Gudbranson for Tanner Pearson and Sam Gagner for Ryan Spooner. The future in Vancouver looks pretty bright so not making any brash moves that could hurt them, in the long run, is probably a win for them. For this year though, the Canucks are starting to fade off the playoff pace and would need a big last last-minute to get themselves back in it.

#26 New York Rangers

The Super Computer compensated for the potential moves the Rangers would be making at the deadline and decide to leave them there now that we’ve moved past it. They were able to turn Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes into some good future picks and a solid asset in Brendan Lemieux. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Rangers start sliding down the standings after these moves but that would just be even better for the rebuild their owners have been preaching.

#27 Chicago Blackhawks

Only one win this week and Patrick Kane’s point-streak was finally snapped. Not the best time for it either because they dropped from being one point out of playoffs to five points out. If it weren’t for everyone below them not making a push the Hawks may have slid down the rankings a bit. Instead, they stand pat and may have lost their shot at making playoffs this year.

#28 Detroit Red Wings

The Wings got an early jump on the Trade Deadline, dealing Nick Jensen to the Capitals and then shipping Gustav Nyquist to the Sharks on Monday. The Wings failed by not recuperating a 1st round pick for Nyquist or Jimmy Howard but at the end of the day, they still managed to get a few good picks for pending UFAs that may not have been part of the future in Detroit. Regardless of that, we still have them as one of our Trade Deadline losers. The Wings are almost guaranteed to finish bottom-five at this point so the more losses the better for them.

#29 Los Angeles Kings

Only one low-level move at the deadline for the Kings and not a single bad contract coming off the books this summer puts them in a tight spot going into the summer. Oh, they’re also on a 10-game losing streak but that might be just what they need. A high draft pick could help turn this aging team around.

#30 Anaheim Ducks

With the loss of Brandon Montour and not a single win this week made the Super Computer drop the Ducks below the winless Kings. Recuperating a 1st round pick from the Sabres for Montour though was a great move, even if it doesn’t help this season. The Ducks do get John Gibson back tonight but with Ryan Getzlaf and Ondrej Kase still on the shelf, they won’t have much scoring punch.

#31 Ottawa Senators

What a week for the Sens, trading away their top-three scorers, firing their coach, and winning our dishonorable mention for Trade Deadline losers. Under the circumstances, they managed to get some good assets for their top guys but it’s very concerning to see how many top players have left their organization over the last two years. Something needs to change in Ottawa and firing Guy Boucher for not having success isn’t even close to the answer. The Super Computer feels safe in saying the Sens won’t be leaving the basement of our power rankings for the rest of the year.