Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NHL Power Rankings (2 of 4)

Most teams have completed around 24 of their 48 games and so far every team is still in the playoff hunt.  That sets up another exciting 24 games to finish the short year of hockey.  Here is my 2nd of 4 power rankings:
Crosby and Kunitz are tearing it up
and making defensemen look stupid.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Anaheim Ducks
  3. Boston Bruins
  4. Montreal Canadiens
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Los Angeles Kings
  7. Carolina Hurricanes
  8. Toronto Maple Leafs
  9. Ottawa Senators
  10. Minnesota Wild
  11. Vancouver Canucks
  12. San Jose Sharks
  13. New Jersey Devils
  14. New York Rangers
  15. St. Louis Blues
  16. Detroit Red Wings
  17. Dallas Stars
  18. Nashville Predators
  19. Winnipeg Jets
  20. Washington Capitals
  21. Colorado Avalanche
  22. New York Islanders
  23. Colorado Avalanche
  24. Columbus Blue Jackets
  25. Philadelphia Flyers
  26. Edmonton Oilers
  27. Calgary Flames
  28. Tampa Bay Lightning
  29. Buffalo Sabres
  30. Florida Panthers
How the divisions break down:
Kunitz and Crosby look unstoppable.  The Penguins offense has not taken a step back despite losing Malkin to injury.  If they can sure up their defense they could be a cup contender.  Jersey slipped a bit but are still hanging around the playoff picture.  Nash looking better every day in New York.  Islanders hanging in there while Philly continues to struggle.  Flyers team defense and goaltending might be the worst in the league.

Boston has played the least amount of games and yet they are still on Montreal's tail.  The Habs continue to impress as Carey Price enters the group of elite goalies in the league.  Price could steal team Canada's starting goalie job from Luongo/Ward/Brodeur/Fleury.  Ottawa staying in the mix despite Karlsson and Anderson being injured.  Toronto thriving under new coach.  Buffalo a disaster, no reason to be as bad as they have played.

Carolina was not wrong to grab Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin this off season.  Despite Ward being hurt, they still sit on top of the Southeast.  Winnipeg is still hanging in the playoff picture.  Tampa Bay is clueless in their defensive zone and might miss playoffs despite St. Louis and Stamkos putting up stupid good numbers.  Florida keeps losing those OT games, but they won't have 17 OTL's propelling them to the playoffs this year.  Washington is improving but still bad.  Ribeiro Washington's MVP at the halfway mark.

Chicago finally lost a game but they are basically a lock for either the 1 or 2 seed in the west conference.  Detroit, Nashville, and St. Louis pass each other every day as they jostle for position.  2 of those 3 should make the playoffs.  Columbus has lost 3 of their best players and yet, they find themselves on a 5 game winning streak.  Could they be rallying around their defensive style and Bobrovsky?

Vancouver continues to roll Cory Schneider out as their "starter," but Luongo has significantly superior numbers.  They need to trade one of them or start utilizing the tandem better.  Minnesota is on top of the division as people may have suspected.  Yes, Suter and Parise are good enough to transform a bottom 5 team in the NHL into a playoff team.  Alberta continues to be a joke of a hockey province.  Colorado finally has O'Reilly back but it could be too late for them to make a playoff push.  In other news, Jay Feaster of the Calgary Flames wins worst GM of the year for the 5th time in 8 years and still has a job in Calgary after he almost traded a 1st and 3rd round pick to Colorado so Ryan O'Reilly could play for a different team (probably Columbus).  He has Garth Snow to thank for the 3 years he lost.

As expected this entire division is good again.  If the season ended today all 5 teams would see the postseason.  The Ducks continue to surprise and could even take the President's Trophy right out of Chicago's hands.  It is amazing what Getzlaf and Perry can do with contracts on the line.  The Sharks continues to take every game into overtime, yet cannot seem to get a win streak going.  The Kings look like their former selves, kind of.  They are winning again but its Bernier getting it done in net, not Quick.  Also they are scoring at will and mediocre defensively.  Completely different looking team from last year but it is the winning that matters most.  Dallas and Phoenix are hindered by a budget but they still play tough hockey and look to stay in the playoff mix to the end.  Side note: Joe Nieuwendyk made a puzzling trade by trading a 3rd round pick and Michael Ryder to Montreal for Erik Cole.  Ryder was on a 7 game point streak and killing it with Eriksson and Benn, but I guess he saw something in Cole....

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