The Win Column Power Rankings is a weekly feature that will highlight the current rankings of all the NHL teams during that specific week. While their place in the standings will be taken into affect, each team’s’ weekly performances will have the greater effect on how high, or low, they end up ranking.
Back to basics for this weeks TWC Power Rankings. Lots has changed in the past two weeks that it felt right to getting back to breaking down each team’s performance. With so much equality in the league still, it’s important to keep in mind that just four points separate 4th place and 23rd place at the moment. Even if a team goes 2-1, its doesn’t mean they necessarily should overtake a team that went 1-1. Every team’s potential is still taken into affect. With everyone so close together in points, its almost necessary to somewhat ignore records, and every week is going to get even more difficult to rank. Once some separation occurs, it will be easier for your team to jump all over the rankings. For now not much change in the middle had occurred. All that being said, enjoy week six!
31. Arizona Coyotes
| 2-13-3 | SAME | Last Week 1-1-2 |
Positive: They won another game. Negative: They lost three more. I feel bad for Coyotes fans at this point, so I am not going to dwell on their shortcomings. Just imagine how amazing a Rasmus Dahlin – Oliver Ekman-Larsson pairing would be!
30. Florida Panthers
| 4-8-2 | -4 | LW 0-1-1
Going 0-1-1, in combination with other teams performing better, has sent the Panthers tumbling even further down the standings. They are still allowing far too many shots on net, and getting terrible goaltending as well, which makes for a truly unfortunate combination. Trading Jason Demers at the start of the season may have not been the best call, seeing at how weak the backend is now. Florida is going to need more from every aspect of the lineup if they wish to stay relevant.
29. Buffalo Sabres
| 5-8-2 | SAME| LW 1-1-0
Finishing the week 1-1-0 for the second straight week doesn’t mean the Sabres are getting worse, but they also aren’t improving. They are still looking for their first defenceman goal, and losing Rasmus Ristolainen for a few weeks will not help in that department. Jack Eichel is ramping up his play and Evander Kane continues to improve his trade value (Matt Duchene 2.0). With a few favorable match-ups this coming week, i’m wondering if the team can turn over a new leaf.
28. Carolina Hurricanes
| 5-5-3 | -6 | LW 1-0-1
Something is just not working in Carolina. Losing in a shootout to Arizona and beating Florida do not add up to a successful week. The defence that was so heavily lauded before the season has been underwhelming to say the least. Sure they are still pacing behind the majority of teams in games played, but they continue to disappoint. Last year’s breakout star, Sebastian Aho, has been held without a goal, something the team is severely lacking at the moment. With a four game week coming up, there will be a larger sample size to analyze from. For now, they find themselves dropping again.
27. Minnesota Wild
| 6-7-2 | -4 | 1-3-0
Last night’s shutout against the Canadiens somewhat forgives the Wild for a terrible week. With the win, they finished the past seven days 0-3-1, which is pretty terrible for a team with such high potential. While some of their key players have missed time with injuries, they will need Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter to get back to game speed fast, and Tyler Ennis to start producing more offensively. They aren’t far behind right now, but are taking on more water than they should be at this point.
26. Boston Bruins
| 6-5-3 | -2 | LW 1-2-0
The Bruins have yet to jump out of the proverbial basement, especially after a 1-2-0 week. Their record is still technically above .500, but they haven’t shown quite enough to be considered one of the stronger teams in the league. They have been getting some solid performances out of their rookies Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk, but outside of the top line there hasn’t been much to cheer about. Back-to-back games against the Leafs should be fascinating to watch, especially with the Bruins heading for the dreaded California road trip next week. Two wins would jump them right into the playoff conversation, which seems to be the theme of the league this year.
25. Edmonton Oilers
| 6-8-1 | +5 | LW 3-1-0
Back to back OT wins have inspired a sense of optimism in Edmonton. While this is a huge step in the right direction, the Oilers still have a long way to go. The Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid duo in OT has been an absolute treat to watch, but they will need to replicate that same magic in regulation if they want to get back into the playoff hunt. Something I’ll be watching for in the upcoming weeks is if Jesse Puljujarvi is going to receive a call up. After Kailer Yamamoto was returned to the WHL, his spot *should* be going to the fourth overall pick. He strutted his stuff in the preseason, and could be the kick the team needs.
Editors Note: Puljujarvi was recalled earlier this morning.
24. Montreal Canadiens
| 7-9-1 | +3 | LW 3-1-0
Much, much, better showing for Montreal. Yes, last night was hard having two goals called back, but they also were missing their three best players. The three straight wins that preceded last night’s shutout loss were much better from an offensive and compete level standpoint. They have vaulted back into relevancy at the moment, and have two easy games coming up this week to continue the trend. Are the Habs going to continue up the standings? Time will tell, but this week they find themselves higher on our rankings.
23. Colorado Avalanche
| 8-6-0 | -2| LW 1-1-0
Here we go Avs fans, the final time we mention a Matt Duchene trade (probably). Joe Sakic finally pulled the trigger on what was an extremely drawn out and public process, and traded away Duchene to the Senators. The Avs got a significant haul in the process, which makes the wait that much more bearable for fans. Will be interesting to see who fills Duchene’s hole in the lineup from an offensive viewpoint. The cornucopia of pick and prospects will help improve this team’s future. As for now? Well, they aren’t playing terrible hockey. A 1-1 week is keeping them in the playoff hunt. Have to love the bounce back year from Semyon Varlamov, who has put forth some amazing performances. The focus is obviously on the back-to-back Global Series game against Duchene’s Senators, so we should some interesting things to discuss next week.
22. Detroit Red Wings
| 8-8-1 | +3 | LW 2-1-0
A better overall week for the Red Wings in comparison to their huge drop off the past two weeks. A strong 2-1 Western Canadian road trip that was somewhat muted by last night’s loss to the Flames. The Red Wings still put forth a strong fight, even after being down three goals. With three points last night, Anthony Mantha has jumped to the team lead in scoring – which was something that a lot of people hoped would happen. This team sure does have a lot of fight in them, and I doubt we will see them drop as low as last week’s position for a while.
21. Anaheim Ducks
| 7-6-3 | -5| LW 1-1-2
Add Ondrej Kase and Ryan Miller to the list of broken Ducks. The fact that this team is staying afloat after so many injuries is just mind boggling. Their 1-1-2 week seems somewhat successful at this point. A similar thing happened a few seasons ago when the first half went extremely poor, and then they still ended up winning the division. Essentially, you shouldn’t count out the Ducks yet, but they will fall back for the moment. Sidenote: I hate how much I love this.
20. Philadelphia Flyers
| 8-6-2 | -1 | LW 1-0-1
Last night’s dominant win against the Blackhawks made up for a quiet week from the Flyers. Going 1-0-1 is just another week for the the team and allowing them to remain pretty much the same in the middle of the pack. Shayne Gostisbehere reached the career 100 point plateau, which is the fastest in Flyers history for a defenceman. With Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux both reaching 20 points already, you forget that Sean Couturier is leading the team in goals (10). That top line is something special.
19. Calgary Flames
| 9-7-0 | -2 | LW 2-1-0
Would have been a perfect week had they not squandered a strong outing against Vancouver. The Flames have found some of their scoring touch, with two bottom six goals finally coming in last night’s game. Johnny Hockey is now in sole third place in NHL scoring with 23 points, completely outpacing his previous season’s production. They enter a tough stretch in the next two weeks with a game against St. Louis at home before departing on a six game road trip. Hopefully they don’t go much lower.
18. Washington Capitals
| 8-7-1 | SAME| LW 2-1-0
With games against three of the weaker teams in the league, you would have expected a perfect week. Unfortunately, the Capitals always make it harder on themselves and ended with a loss to the Sabres. A home match-up against the Penguins will hopefully make up for their poor performance on Tuesday night. Philip Grubauer is probably tired of losing, especially in back-to-back contests, and they will need him to earn his first win soon to take some of the load off Braden Holtby.
17. San Jose Sharks
| 8-6-0 | -5 | LW 1-1-0
Our biggest gainers from last week take a small fall after an OT win against their state rival and an undressing by the number one team in the league. Can’t fault them for losing the latter, but other teams improved slightly more. Their bounce back from such a disastrous start is in large part due to the play of Logan Couture and Martin Jones. The Brent Burns goal watch still remains on, but imagine when he starts scoring again! I think this team has potential to continue its climb during the rest of the year.
16. Vancouver Canucks
| 8-6-2 | -1 | LW 2-2-0
A 2-2 week from the Vancouver Canucks is nothing to complain about. Beating Pittsburgh and stealing the game against the Flames were somewhat muted with the losses to Detroit and Anaheim. The former being a game they should have earned at least a point from. The line of Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Sven Baertschi has been outstanding the last few games, and now they respectively lead the team in points. It’s tough to see what kind of team they are at the moment, but I clearly like to make the 2014-2015 Flames comparison. No expectations and lots of doubts, but plenty of strong hockey.
15. Chicago Blackhawks
| 7-7-2 | -5 | LW 1-2-0
Shutouts galore in Chicago. Going both ways though, the Hawks had two straight shutout wins followed by a goalless effort against the Habs . The Hawks are still dangerous but appear to be lacking the consistency that we normally expect from them. The team appears to have tumbled down the standings, but with so many teams being so close together they aren’t even close to being out of it. They take a small tumble after a 1-2-0 week.
14. Vegas Golden Knights
| 9-5-1 | -2| LW 1-1-1
The Knights will not go quietly into the night. Maxime Lagace earned his first NHL win this past week and they also had their first ever retiree in Vadim Shipachiov. Can’t imagine how this team is going to perform once they have their two starting goalies back in the mix. A 1-1-1 week is going to have them remain around the same spot as last week’s rankings, but I can’t help but imagine if Vegas ends up being a playoff team this year in such a weak Pacific division. Looking forward to the #87 banner raising next season.
13. New York Rangers
| 8-7-2 | +15 | LW 3-0-0
Wait what the heck happened in New York? Before you could even say Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have rattled off five straight wins. They now find themselves out of the Eastern Conference basement and in the final wild card spot. Mika Zibanejad has solidified himself as the team’s number one center and is firing at a PPG pace. King Henrik is 6-1 in his last seven games and maybe has his new mask to thank for it. Things are looking much better in the Big Apple; the Rangers are the biggest gainers this week.
12. Dallas Stars
| 8-7-0 | -1 | LW 1-1-0
Another 1-1 week will also keep the Stars “relatively” stable. Last week’s biggest concern edition outlined the team’s outstanding special team’s play, which apparently wasn’t ok for the fans. So I’ll use this time to outline a different concern: Martin Hanzal. Sought after free agent has 1G in 12 games and is a -10. For a guy who is making $4.75M per year, you’ve gotta wonder if there already is some buyer’s remorse. When your contract and play can be confused for Troy Brouwer, there is clearly an issue.
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
| 9-6-1 | -6 | LW 0-2-1
After demolishing the Panthers last week, the team has gone winless in their past three games. John Tortorella ripped his team, again, and the power play is still struggling. A huge win was getting Cam Atkinson back from injury, which should help in both power play execution and goal scoring. Josh Anderson has the most goals on the team with six, but the Jackets are going to need more from Artemi Panarin, Alexander Wennberg, and Nick Foligno if they want to remain in the top percentile of the league.
10. Ottawa Senators
| 6-3-5 | -3 | LW 0-1-0
Winning the Matt Duchene sweepstakes was the biggest new in Ottawa lat week; the Sens only played one game. Their loss to the Knights was not their finest outing, but tough to knock on them too much after such an uneventful week on the ice. It would be poetic justice to see Duchene light up his former team and I’m sure that fans are preparing for it. It will be interesting to see if the former 30 goal scorer can replicate his prowess in Ottawa, or become Bobby Ryan 2.0.
9. New Jersey Devils
| 9-4-2 | -5 | 0-2-2
Last week, I gave the Devils credit by saying that they had no big concerns at the moment, which was apparently a big no from the fanbase. But the team seemingly did my job for by going 0-2-2. They still are tied for fourth overall in the standings, which speaks to their fantastic start to the season, but there are some holes to fix moving forward. Taylor Hall probably would have loved to take one of the games from his former team, but having Kyle Palmieri back in the lineup will be his consolation prize. If Palmieri can stay healthy it would be a huge win for the Devils. Sidenote: glad to have you back Brian Boyle, we’re all cheering for you.
8. Nashville Predators
| 8-5-2 | +12 | LW 3-0-0
Three straight wins have the Predators looking like the team we expected. The three wins featured strong team performances against formidable opponents in the Blue Jackets, Kings, and Ducks. David Poile has executed so many strong trades over the last few seasons that I have high expectations for the Kyle Turris acquisition. Allowing them to ice a Ryan Johansen – Turris – Nick Bonino as their top three centers gives them much more flexibility, while also allowing Bonino to settle into a more natural role. Turris may not be the most flashy player, but gets the job done on both ends of the ice. Losing Samuel Girard as part of the package hurts, but should pay off during the rest of the season.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
| 10-7-0 | +2 | LW 2-1-0
After a brief tumble from the top of the standings, the Leafs have won back to back games – even without Auston Matthews for the latter! Frederik Andersen has bounced back from sub-par performances and given much more stability for a bit of a leaky defence. With William Nylander and Mitch Marner suffering somewhat of a sophomore slump at the moment, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau have risen to the occasion. The Leafs have by far the most outstanding forward depth in the league right now, which has been demonstrated from game to game. Some work to be done, but the Leafs look to be back to their better selves.
6. New York Islanders
| 8-5-2 | +2 | LW 1-0-1
Do you know what Islanders fans hate? Talking about the John Tavares contract situation! So don’t worry people we will not be talking about his impending UFA situation, how he’s pretty much playing at MVP level and how he’s most likely going to take the kings ransom in the off season. We can talk about something else, like Josh Bailey. Tied for the team lead in points with 18 (3G 18A), he also find himself in the top 25 in league scoring. I wonder who he is playing with? Oh what’s that? I said I wouldn’t talk about him anymore? Rats.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
| 9-6-2 | +1 | LW 1-1-0
A fairly quiet week for the Penguins saw them losing to Vancouver and beating the Coyotes on home ice. Phil Kessel has been balling out, in more ways than one, while Sidney Crosby has just not. Sid the 30 year old kid is a -12 on the year and has accumulated 32 PIM as well. He’s still the best player in the world, but with 13P in 17GP he’s having somewhat of an off year.
4. Winnipeg Jets
| 8-3-3 | +10 | LW 1-0-1
It was idiotic to rank the Jets at 14 last week, I sincerely apologize. Early season hesitation got the better of me, but this team is firing on all cylinders now. Yes I talk about the Jets goaltending every week, but Connor Hellebuyck is 8-0-2 on the season and should end the conversation about who is the number one net-minder. Blake Wheeler is currently T-3 in league scoring, with line-mate Mark Scheifele only a few spots behind. They should have had a perfect week, had it not been for the missed interference call against Montreal. With back to back games against the Coyotes this coming week, the Jets should continue to rise.
3. Los Angeles Kings
| 11-3-2 | SAME | LW 1-1-1
Add the Kings to the list of 1-1-1 teams from this past week. Not nearly as dominant this past week as some may have expected, so the Kings will remain where they ended last week. Their penalty kill is operating at an insane 91.5%, which is normally not the case for a team that has already played 16 games. I’m sure they don’t want to be taking that many penalties, but I’m sure that the mood is confidence when taking the ice for the PK. The emergence of Adrian Kempe this season has also given the Kings an additional offensive option, in addition to the resurgence of the usual suspects.
2. St. Louis Blues
| 13-3-1 |-1 | LW 3-0-0
How can a team in a number one position win three straight games and find themselves dropping one spot? Just look towards the next team. Nothing against the Blues at all, and it’s painful to see them drop as they are one of the most sound hockey clubs around right now. They squeaked by Arizona last night, which may have caused some heart attacks in the St. Louis area, but were still able to beat the Leafs and Devils earlier in the week. It’s a two horse race for the top spot, and unfortunately the Blues fell just behind this week.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
| 13-2-2 | +1 | LW 3-0-0
Halloween is long gone, but the Lightning are still the scariest thing around right now. Andrei Vasilevskiy has 12 wins on the season already. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are leading the league in points and goals respectively. The team is averaging four goals per game with a +24 goal differential on the season. They easily beat the Sharks and Kings, who are not easy outs, and look virtually unstoppable. The Lightning earn the number one spot this week after going undefeated against the toughest opponents.
What are your thoughts? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below.