NHL Power Rankings: February Edition

Image Credit: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s been a little while, but the NHL Power Rankings are back in full swing.

First of all, I would like to apologize for the brief hiatus from the blog. I have been insanely busy with real-life obligations for the last couple of weeks, and it required me to put this on the backburner for a minute to handle it. I have also had time to conceptualize a new project for this blog, and more information of that will be coming up shortly, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the past couple of weeks have seen the NHL landscape start to even out a bit. We’re starting to determine where teams truly stand, and that could mean big things for the trade deadline in March. Rumors are beginning to swirl around several big-time players, and teams like Washington, Boston, and Edmonton are emerging as aggressive buyer candidates going forward. While the Stanley Cup can’t be won off the back of a strong first half, it does make some serious inferences on who should be taken seriously as legitimate contenders?

So how does the NHL stack up this week?

Disclaimer: these rankings are based on games played and stats recorded since January 30.

1. Colorado Avalanche (2): There’s a long list of reasons to watch the best team in the NHL right now, but the top of the list has to be watching Cale Makar. Makar is pushing the forty-goal mark, which would be the first time a defenseman has hit that number in over 35 years (Paul Coffey).

2. Florida Panthers (1): Jonathan Huberdeau was once the best player no one’s ever heard of; now he has a real chance to win the Hart Trophy this season. His 62 points are leading the NHL, and he has become the driving force behind the hottest offense in the league at this time.

3. Carolina Hurricanes (3): I had serious doubts when Carolina shifted away from their goaltending duo last season in favor of Frederik Andersen. He has rewarded the Hurricanes with a Vezina-caliber year.

4. Minnesota Wild (12): It’s amazing how the addition of a single player can shift a team from the middle of the pack to among the league’s elite so quickly. Kirill Kaprizov and crew could use a center at the deadline, but the results have this team looking like a dark horse to finally bring the Stanley Cup to the state of hockey.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (5): Everything is still the same: the elite players are rolling, depth contributions have been up, and Andrei Vasilevskiy still looks like the best goaltender on Earth. It’s odd, however, to think that their biggest competition for their third straight Stanley Cup may be in their own home state.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (7): Do you think the Coyotes are kicking themselves for letting Michael Bunting head north of the border? He’s been one of the quality depth forwards that Toronto has been coveting for years.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins (4): The Penguins didn’t look as strong this past week, and players like Evan Rodrigues have started to slow down a bit after a torrid start. We’ve seen good teams break out of slumps like this before, though, so there’s nothing to be concerned about long-term.

8. Vegas Golden Knights (8): 2022 hasn’t been kind to the Knights so far, but a 2-1-1 record on a difficult East Coast road trip could be the start of things turning around for them. The fact this team still looks like the best team in the Pacific despite the serious injuries is a scary thought for the postseason.

9. New York Rangers (9): The analytics haven’t always been favorable towards the Rangers, and they’ve been bailed out far too many times by Igor Shesterkin. This is a good young team, but there are serious flaws that have to be addressed in the next month or so.

10. Boston Bruins (13): Tuukka Rask has been extremely up-and-down since returning to the Bruins, but that was to be expected with such a long layoff. With an aging core and Patrice Bergeron possibly leaving in the offseason, could they go after a player like Claude Giroux to make one more serious Cup run?

11. Nashville Predators (6): Once again, the Predators seem to have the on-ice results to keep holding off a rebuild. Will they be willing to extend Filip Forsberg past this season?

12. St. Louis Blues (11): We may be in the midst of a full-blown goalie controversy in St. Louis. Jordan Binnington’s mediocre season has opened the door for Ville Husso, and the young backup has been more than good enough to earn more opportunities.

13. Calgary Flames (17): Calgary put together the most dominant performance of the season against Columbus, putting up 62 shots in a 6-0 victory. With games in hand of Pacific Division-leading Vegas, that could be a race to monitor as the season progresses.

14. Washington Capitals (10): It’s becoming clear that the Capitals are interested in upgrading their goaltending, and the name they’ve circled is Marc-Andre Fleury. Could you imagine a first-round playoff series between Pittsburgh and Washington with MAF in a Capitals jersey?

15. Anaheim Ducks (14): John Gibson is stealing games, Troy Terry is still producing, and Trevor Zegras continues to produce mind-boggling highlights. The rebuild seems to be reaching a critical phase in Anaheim.

16. Dallas Stars (15): The Stars look good lately, but it seems like they’ve always followed up good runs with equally bad ones. It’s hard to trust them until we see them have this type of success with any sort of consistency.

17. Edmonton Oilers (21): A four-game winning streak has pulled Dave Tippett and Ken Holland out of the fire for now. Can they continue this success with the pressure somewhat alleviated, and will Evander Kane be an asset or a detriment to the locker room?

18. Los Angeles Kings (18): The Kings seem to be a fringe playoff contender at the moment, which could be somewhat disappointing given how high expectations were for them. A strong second half from Quinton Byfield would be huge in pushing them to the postseason without having to make any big trades.

19. New York Islanders (27): They’ve looked better in recent times, but a losing streak at this point would all but end the Islanders’ postseason ambitions. Ilya Sorokin can’t do this on his own, unless he can start scoring goals from his net.

20. Vancouver Canucks (16): The Canucks have cooled off recently, going from winning the first seven games with Bruce Boudreau behind the bench to .500 in the next twelve. Would they potentially trade J.T. Miller if the price is right?

21. Winnipeg Jets (19): Connor Hellebuyck has endured a down season to this point, which is concerning at this stage. Wasting a season where Kyle Connor has been producing outstanding offensive numbers would be disappointing, to say the least.

22. San Jose Sharks (20): The Sharks were already trying to stay afloat in the Western Conference playoff picture. Losing Erik Karlsson might be the cannonball that sinks their ship.

23. Detroit Red Wings (22): The Red Wings have started to cool down, and it seems that they’ll be on the outside looking in the Eastern Conference by the time April rolls around. At least they’ll have two lottery tickets at the Calder Trophy?

24. Chicago Blackhawks (25): The vultures have started to circle Chicago to pick off pieces from them, and players like Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik are starting to worry fans about stalled development. Alex DeBrincat is still sniping goals, though…yay?

25. Columbus Blue Jackets (23): Losing 6-0 to Calgary with 62 shots is worthy of an apology to Elvis Merzlikins. It’s hard to get much worse than that.

26. Seattle Kraken (29): The Kraken are currently on one of those stretches where they’ve been playing better. It still won’t stop them from moving pieces at the deadline, though.

27. Ottawa Senators (28): Drake Batherson was arguably Ottawa’s best player all season. Losing him to long-term injury makes a bad team even worse.

28. Buffalo Sabres (30): The early returns on Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs have been promising, so they might turn out ok after trading Jack Eichel. It’s one of the few positive things going on in Buffalo right now.

29. New Jersey Devils (26): They’ve only won six games between December and January, and are now last in the Metropolitan behind a Flyers team that has had two massive losing streaks. I’ll be respectful towards Lindy Ruff, though, given recent circumstances.

30. Philadelphia Flyers (24): The good news is the Flyers broke their thirteen-game losing streak. The bad news is that it was their only win in January.

31. Arizona Coyotes (31): The Coyotes have already been dealing with massive issues, and now they might be playing in a college stadium for the next three years? Gary Bettman’s pet project is on life support and fading fast.

32. Montreal Canadiens (32): Thank you, Canadiens. Thank you for telling us you’ve given up.


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