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.

In honour of our American Thanksgiving (a regular old Thursday in Canada), the theme for this weeks TWC Power Rankings is what each team should be thankful for. Whether it’s a player, front office staff member, or a combination, we want to share as much positivity as possible this week. Many teams have several outstanding performers, but only a few individual(s) are highlighted here. Keep in mind the rankings are still based off of the normal criteria from previous editions, and not on the level of thankfulness. Before the turkey coma’s set in, feast your eyes on this week’s rankings!


 

31. Buffalo Sabres

| 5-13-4 | -1| LW 0-4-0

Buffalo SabresThankful for Evander Kane

The Sabres have once again underperformed in the first quarter of the season with lackluster performances from some star players – aside from Evander Kane. With 21 points in 22 GP, the highly scrutinized forward is having a huge impact in his contract year. He has fired 99 SOG this season, capitalizing on 12.1% of his chances. Whether or not he stays with the Sabres long term, he will either be a star player or potential star level trade chip.


30. Montreal Canadiens

| 8-12-3 | -1 | LW 0-2-1

Montreal CanadiensThankful for Phillip Danault

Montreal has had an extremely difficult season, and it has been tough for fans to keep upbeat about the team’s potential. With many wanting all sorts of changes in management, coaches, and players, Danault has been impressive all season. Since his breakout in the 2016-17 campaign where he registered 40 points, he’s provided an additional level of grit and effort for the Habs. On a team where there hasn’t been much to cheer for, Danault has committed to this team and is a bright spot on an otherwise dim season.


29. Arizona Coyotes

| 5-16-3 | +2 | Last Week 2-1-0 |

Arizona CoyotesThankful for Clayton Keller

Not much has gone right in the desert this season, making the rookie sensation an even more pleasant surprise. Taken seventh overall in the 2016 NHL draft, there are a few GM’s who probably regret passing over the young American (I’m looking at you Jim Benning). Despite recently losing his rookie scoring lead, he still remains a front runner in the Calder race.


28. Edmonton Oilers

| 8-12-2 | -1 | LW 1-2-0

Edmonton OilersThankful for Connor McDavid

Is this an easy pick? Yes. Is there anyone else that should be thanked? No. McDavid leads his team in goals, assists, points, and, according to Marc Spector, turnovers. Without Connor McDavid, the Oilers would be a completely different team. If the Oilers plan on making a run in the latter half of the season, they will need even more from the best player in the league.


27. Philadelphia Flyers

| 8-9-5 | +1 | LW 0-1-2
Philadelphia Flyers

Thankful for Sean Couturier

The departure of Brayden Schenn left a large hole in the Flyers lineup, which was immediately filled by Couturier. The 24 year old has cemented himself as the team’s number one center. In addition to his outstanding defensive play, he has contributed 23 points in 22GP. With Claude Giroux moving to the wing, Couturier has provided the Flyers with a well balanced lineup and could earn himself some Selke votes.


26. Florida Panthers

| 8-11-2 | -4 | LW 1-2-0

Thankful for Vincent TrochekFlorida Panthers

After “revamping” a solid portion of the forward group this off season, the Panthers had some questions to answer in regards to their offensive production. Not only is Trochek leading the team in points, but he is also doing so playing with sub-optimal, inconsistent line-mates. He has rotated through various players such as Jamie McGinn, Radim Vrbata, and Dryden Hunt, but he has yet to play extended periods of time with the big guns at 5v5. In addition to playing extensive special teams time, Trochek has evolved into one of Florida’s most complete players.


25. Boston Bruins

| 9-7-4 | +1 | LW 2-0-0

Thankful for Anton KhudobinBoston Bruins

At the start of the season, it was predicted that the Bruins would rely heavily on Tuukka Rask. What has happened instead? Rask hasn’t been himself and Khudobin has taken the reigns in net. He currently sits at 6-0-2 on the season, earning the Bruins a point in every start he’s made. If Rask can turn his play around, the Bruins will have a dangerous goaltending tandem. For the time being, the Bruins can thank Khudobin for keeping the team in the hunt.


24. Detroit Red Wings

| 10-9-3 | -4 | LW 1-1-1

Thankful for Anthony ManthaDetroit Red Wings

Take your pick between Mantha or Dylan Larkin. Both have been outstanding so far, but we are siding with Mantha this time around. Picked 20th overall in 2013, it has taken some time for Mantha to prove his first round value in the NHL. Last season he posted respectable numbers, but with 10 goals in 22G this season, he is turning into the Red Wings’ primary goal scoring option. For a team in somewhat of a transition stage at the moment, it is key to start getting production from younger stars. He may have taken some scrutiny from his coach after the loss to Edmonton, but expect a strong rebound effort this weekend.


23. Ottawa Senators

| 8-6-6 | -12 | LW 0-2-1

Ottawa Senators

Thankful for Mark Stone 

There may be a leading scorer trend in this edition of the rankings, but you can’t blame Stone for this one. 13 goals has him nearly double his nearest teammate. He is shooting at an insane 24.5% right now, but I don’t believe that percentage will drop as sharply as some may think. Stone is a clutch player and has a dangerous shot to back it up. He also plays PK minutes and boasts a strong defensive game as well. Stone is just another complete player in the Senators lineup, and someone they desperately need to keep up the good work.


22. Minnesota Wild

| 10-8-3 | -5 | 1-1-1

Minnesota WildThankful for Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker

With a combined 19 goals between them, the duo has accounted for almost 30% of Minnesota’s offense this season. Having reliable guys who can pick up the slack when other players are in a funk is exactly what teams need to be successful. At one point, Zucker seemed to be the only Wild forward who could score, and Niederreiter is on an absolute tear of late. The Wild’s reliance on these two players will decrease, but they should be grateful that these two have stepped up.


21. Colorado Avalanche

| 11-8-1 | +3| LW 2-1-0

Colorado Avalanche

Thankful for Joe Sakic

Before the pitchforks come out of the shed again, hear me out. Did Sakic rush to trade Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog? No. Did he fire his rookie coach after a disastrous first season? No. Did he make a bunch of low cost moves in the off season to improve his team? Yes. It’s not a perfect situation, but with so much fan and media pressure over the last year and a half, it is good to see Sakic sticking to his guns. The Avalanche have been nowhere near as bad as everyone thought they would be, and some of that credit should go to the GM (however controversial that may be).


20. San Jose Sharks

| 11-8-1 | -6 | LW 1-1-1

San Jose Sharks

Thankful for Martin Jones

San Jose’s offensive stars are struggling this season, which is why their net-minder’s performance is so critical. Jones has a 9-5 record this season and is keeping this team in the chase. Sitting at a 2.03 GAA and a .929 SV% and in the upper echelon of goaltenders this season, only a few netminders are ahead of Jones. As the Sharks wait for the goal scoring to return, they should be thankful for the brick wall in their net.


19. Chicago Blackhawks

| 10-8-3 | -6 | LW 1-0-1

Chicago BlackhawksThankful for Alex DeBrincat 

Chicago’s cap concerns are well known, and the Blackhawks and have suffered for it the last few seasons. Losing key contributors to their lineup year after year must sting, but they somehow always manage to find serviceable replacements. DeBrincat is no exception, as the 2016 second round pick has contributed 13 points so far this season. He may not be an all star just yet, but the Hawks have a knack for finding these types of players to fill their lineup. Unheralded performances are a huge reason to be thankful.


18. Anaheim Ducks

| 10-8-3 | +7 | LW 2-1-0

Anaheim Ducks

Thankful for The Replacements

It’s no secret that the Ducks have been ravaged by injuries this season, but their response to the adversity has been remarkable. Players like Derek Grant, Chris Wagner, and Ondrej Kase have all stepped up in the absence of the Anaheim mainstays. Every player that has been placed in the lineup deserves full credit for keeping the Ducks in the playoff race.


17. Carolina Hurricanes

| 9-7-4 | +4 | LW 2-1-0

Carolina HurricanesThankful for Teuvo Teravainen

Acquired in the Bryan Bickell salary dump trade, Teravainen didn’t necessarily burst onto the scene last season with the ‘Canes. It has been the complete opposite during this campaign; through 20 games he has nearly reached the halfway point of last season’s point total. He is on pace to set career highs in almost every statistical categories, and has formed strong chemistry with fellow young gun, Sebastian Aho. Teravainen has been dynamite on the power play even though the team ranks 27th, and will be relied upon more in the latter half of the season.


16. Los Angeles Kings

| 12-8-2 | -4| LW 1-2-0

Los Angeles Kings

Thankful for Dustin Brown

It’s easy to hate on Brown after his last few seasons. He was an ineffective player, was stripped of his captaincy, and despite it being almost a certainty that he would be traded, he remained in Los Angeles. Through 22 games this season, he has been a revelation. With 19 points in 22 GP, the rebound of Brown has been miraculous. While he still may not be worth his massive contract, for a guy to come back from some of the lowest points in his career to help fuel the Kings is beyond admirable.


15. Vancouver Canucks

| 11-8-3 | +8 | LW 2-0-1

Vancouver Canucks

Thankful for Brock Boeser and Travis Green

Tough to choose between these two. Boeser, who was healthy scratched a few times at the start of the year, has burst onto the scene as the Canucks’ biggest offensive weapon. 11 goals and 10 assists so far this season have him leading the Canucks and is showing no signs of slowing down. On the other hand, Green has gone somewhat unnoticed in the league. He’s led his underdog team to an 11-8-3 start, and has reduced the two franchise twins’ TOI without anyone batting an eye. Let the Cinderella story continue.


 

14. Pittsburgh Penguins

|11-9-3 | -8 | LW 0-2-0

Pittsburgh PenguinsThankful for Phil Kessel

Seeing as Sidney Crosby is having an *off* year (17 points through 23GP), the honour goes to everybody’s favorite NHL player: Kessel. Besides being a point per game player and taking 88 shots on net (fifth in the league), he has provided the Penguins with much to be happy about. Whether it’s being terrorized by Ryan Reaves, being schooled by Reaves, or just his overall demeanor, Kessel provides a perfect distraction for when times get tough. If there is one player in the league I wished I had on my team, it would be him.


13. Dallas Stars

| 11-10-1 | +6 | LW 2-1-0

Dallas StarsThankful for John Klingberg

With so many juggernaut forwards throughout their lineup, the Stars should be thankful that one of their top point producers is a blueliner. Klingberg has posted 20 points this season while shouldering the shutdown duties of a number one defenseman. He definitely deserves some early season Norris love for his bounce back efforts; he is tied for the defensive scoring lead, all while averaging nearly three minutes less TOI.


12. New York Rangers

| 11-9-2 | +6 | LW 2-1-0

New York RangersThankful for Kevin Shattenkirk 

It was tough not to pick Mika Zibanejad, but Shattenkirk has an extra dose of thankfulness. The prized free agent signing, who took a hometown discount, got off to a slow start, just like the whole Rangers’ team. As of late, he has been absolutely dominant for the Rangers, specifically on the power play. With nine of his 17 points coming on the man advantage, he has been essential in the team’s turnaround. He is currently shooting at 10.6% and only plays 20:49 per game, but waiting to acquire Shattenkirk in free agency is looking like a huge win.


11. Washington Capitals

| 12-10-1 | +4| LW 2-1-0

Washington Capitals

Thankful for John Carlson

On a team with numerous gifted scorers whose primary mentality is to shoot first, it is essential to have a wingman to administer the puck. On a Capitals team that sorely missed offense from the blueline, Carlson has rebounded to provide it in spades. Currently in a tie for first in assists among defenseman, Carlson has largely gone unappreciated by the rest of the league. He is back as Washington’s number one defenseman, playing key PP and PK time, and has also scored ~50% of his points at 5v5.


10. Calgary Flames

| 12-8-1 | +7 | LW 2-0-1

Calgary FlamesThankful for Mike Smith 

No disrespect to Johnny Gaudreau, but who would have thought Smith would be as good as he has been? Written off before the season even began, Smith has become the backbone of this Flames team. Finally given the opportunity to play on a team with playoff aspirations, winning, as he has said, in the only thing that matters to him. With a number of games being stolen by the 35 year old goaltender, the Flames can only hope his play continues into the meat of the season, and beyond.


9. Vegas Golden Knights

| 13-6-1 | +1 | LW 2-0-0

Vegas Golden KnightsThankful for George McPhee and Gerard Gallant

I don’t believe anyone who said they thought the Golden Knights would be as good as they have been to start the year, except maybe for George McPhee. The Vegas GM endured harsh criticism for how he handled the expansion draft process and period leading up to the beginning of the season. He seemed to have too many defenseman, too many goalies, and not enough NHL players to warrant a lineup. Of course, that was ages ago as the Golden Knights are the Pacific Division leaders at Thanksgiving. Gerard Gallant also deserves an immense amount of credit for taking this group of *castaways* and making them into a team. Both of these men deserve all the thanks this holiday season.


8. New Jersey Devils

|12-5-4 | -3 | LW 1-1-1

New Jersy Devils

Thankful for Brian Gibbons

You have to love the underdog story. An un-drafted college signee, Gibbons played 66 NHL games prior to this season, collecting 22 points. Out of the league since the 2014-15 season, the now 29 year old looked to be an AHL regular. He was given a shot this season on what was expected to be a developing roster, and has taken the team lead in goals with 10. Doubling his previous NHL totals in just 21 games, Gibbons appears to have solidified his spot in the NHL. Gibbons is just one of several players who have contributed to the surprise rise of the Devils this season.


 

7. New York Islanders

| 12-7-2 | +1 | LW 2-1-0

New York Islanders

Thankful for Matthew Barzal 

Apparently it’s considered taboo to mention John Tavares in the TWC Power Rankings, the Islanders should be extremely appreciative for the impact that Barzal has had. Currently tied for second in rookie scoring, he has moved up the depth chart as the team’s second line center and has earned a spot on the first powerplay unit. Not only is this secondary scoring helping his wingers, but he provides an extremely dangerous one-two punch down the center of the ice with Tavares.


6. Toronto Maple Leafs

| 14-8-1 | -4 | LW 1-1-1

Toronto Maple Leafs

Thankful for James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri

What? Where is Auston Matthews? It is obvious who the Leafs’ best player is, and will be for a very long time, but at this point of the season, thanks goes to the supporting cast. With William Nylander and Mitch Marner struggling to score goals during the first 23 games of the season, van Riemsdyk and Kadri have a combined 22 goals. When your stars aren’t producing as much, it’s key, especially for the Leafs, that they can rely on these two for some offence.


5. Winnipeg Jets

| 13-5-3 | -2 | LW 2-1-0

Winnipeg Jets

Thankful for Connor Hellebuyck 

Steve Mason has been nothing short of a disappointment this season, and Hellebuyck is the reason for the Jets’ success. With an 11-2-2 record, he has established himself as the number one option now and for the future. The Jets have had some outstanding forward performances from several players, but the young netminder is to thank this year.


4. Nashville Predators

| 13-6-2 | +3 | LW 3-0-0

Nashville PredatorsThankful for David Poile

Is there a bolder GM in the league right now? What Poile has done in Nashville needs to be appreciated more often, especially during the holiday season. His top players have all been acquired in big league blockbusters: Ryan Johansen, PK Subban, Filip Forsberg, and most recently Kyle Turris. He is unafraid to give up assets to improve his team, and he continues to manage his players so well that lineup holes can be filled internally. Nashville is on a tear since Turris entered the lineup; they are 5-1 since the trade and 8-2 in the month of November.


3. Columbus Blue Jackets

| 14-7-1 | +6 | LW 3-0-0

Columbus Blue JacketsThankful for Sergei Bobrovsky 

He’s back on the case! The reigning Vezina winner has been superb again this season. Currently leading the league in GAA and SV% for a goalie with 10+ starts, Bobrovsky is the main reason why the Blue Jackets are sitting in first place in the Metropolitan Division. With their surprisingly abysmal power play, Bobrovsky has been a special teams star. Undefeated in his last five , he looks to be on track to add even more hardware this season.


2. St. Louis Blues

| 16-5-1 |+2 | LW 1-0-0

St. Louis Blues

Thankful for the #1 Line

Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, and Jaden Schwartz have been perfection this season. Doug Armstrong pulled off a coup this offseason by acquiring Schenn for Jori Letera and a few picks. The trio has combined for 86 points in just 22GP. That is just insane. All three are in the top 10 of league scoring, and make up the most dangerous trio. The numbers speak for themselves; everyone should be thankful for the brilliance of this line.


1. Tampa Bay Lightning

| 16-3-2 | SAME | LW 1-1-0

Tampa Bay LightningThankful for Dan Girardi Stamkov

Is that the correct couple name? Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are the definition of dynamic duo. 27 goals, 42 assists, and 69 points between the two of them after only 21 games played. Of course it feels criminal not to acknowledge the heroics of other members of this year’s squad: Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, Vladislav Namestikov, and Brayden Point. All of these individuals deserve some credit for this unbelievable team success, but these two forwards are in a league of their own.


 

What are your thoughts? Disagree? Who else are you thankful for? Sound off in the comments below.

Follow me @johnmackinnon24 and The Win Column @wincolumnblog.

 


Previously:

TWC Power Rankings: Week 1 

TWC Power Rankings: Week 2

TWC Power Rankings: Week 3 

TWC Power Rankings: Week 4 – Tweet of the Week Edition 

TWC Power Rankings: Week 5 – Biggest Concern Edition 

TWC Power Rankings: Week 6 

TWC Power Rankings: Week 7

2 thoughts on “TWC Power Rankings: Week 8 – Giving Thanks Edition

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