In this week’s NHL Power Rankings we go with a more traditional ranking and take a look at where each NHL team stands through the first month of the offseason.
We are not just looking at the moves teams made, but what those moves mean to their overall rosters.
Simply put: Who is the best team on paper right now through the first month of the offseason? With some intriguing free agents still available and trades to be made this outlook can obviously a change before the season. So just consider this a progress report of sorts for the offseason.
Where does your team rank?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Tampa Bay Lightning. We know they are going to lose somebody from their current roster, we just do not know who (Tyler Johnson? Alex Killorn?). Even when that happens the defending Stanley Cup champs have the best and deepest roster in the league.
3. Vegas Golden Knights. Losing Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny will hurt, but adding Alex Pietrangelo gives them a bonafide No. 1 defender. And while questions remain as to how they will split the playing time, having Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury in net is significant.
4. Boston Bruins. Defense is a big question, especially when it comes to replacing Torey Krug‘s minutes and production. But it will not be enough to knock them too far down the league standings. Still a top contender.
5. St. Louis Blues. Losing Pietrangelo hurts, but Krug is a pretty darn good replacement.
6. Washington Capitals. By far the best roster that Henrik Lundqvist has been a part of since the 2013-14 season. He will have a shot at the Stanley Cup here.
7. Dallas Stars. The health of some key players at the start of the season will be a concern, but when healthy they have two elite defensemen, two outstanding goalies, and a roster that has gone deep in the playoffs two years in a row.
8. Carolina Hurricanes. Not a very busy offseason, but they should be expecting some improvement from within. Andrei Svechnikov should take a massive leap this season toward superstardom.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins. Goaltending is the biggest question here. They improved the roster in some areas, but the Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith duo in net will determine what the team is capable of.
10. Edmonton Oilers. Tyson Barrie, Kyle Turris, and Dominik Kahun were all fantastic pickups that can greatly improve the team’s depth around its two MVPs (Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) at a minimal price. But will the goaltending be good enough?
11. New York Islanders. We saw two different versions of this team last year. At times they looked like an obvious contender. They also had stretches where they looked lousy. A full season of Jean-Gabriel Pageu will be significant, but losing Toews off the blue line also hurts.
12. Philadelphia Flyers. They have some wiggle room under the salary cap and I am still waiting for them to do something with it.
13. Toronto Maple Leafs. I don’t hate what they did this offseason (T.J. Brodie was a great pickup) but this roster did get a lot older this offseason.
14. Vancouver Canucks. Braden Holtby is a big name, but given the way he has played the past two years I am not sure he is an upgrade over what they had. Losing Tyler Toffoli seems to be the result of a series of self inflicted mistakes, but adding Schmidt from Vegas for almost nothing salvages what could have been an ugly offseason.
15. Calgary Flames. Jacob Markstrom should be an upgrade in the short-term, but is he enough to take them from the playoff bubble back to the top of the Western Conference?
16. Montreal Canadiens. What a wild offseason. Probably overpaid for Joel Edmundson, took a massive gamble on Josh Anderson, are spending a bonkers amount of money on goalies, and also made one of the best free agent signings of the offseason in Toffoli. What makes me most excited for them is the potential that Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi bring to the table.
17. Columbus Blue Jackets. Max Domi and Mikko Koivu add some much-needed depth down the middle behind Pierre-Luc Dubois (who still needs re-signed). What they really need is for the goaltending to repeat its performance from a year ago.
18. Winnipeg Jets. Love the forwards. Love the goalie. Hate the defense.
19. New York Rangers. Obviously the big addition here is No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere, and that is great news for the long-term outlook. Lot of reasons to like where this team is heading, and could see this roster making a big jump once the season begins.
20. Nashville Predators. They lost a lot of goals from last year’s team and did not really bring in anybody that looks to replace them. They were already trending backwards as a team and I am not sure anything from this offseason reverses that.
21. Florida Panthers. Every year the Panthers seem like they make 100 moves and it always ends up leaving them in the same place in the standings.
[Roundtable: Best free agentsSignings, most improved teams]
22. Buffalo Sabres. Taylor Hall and Eric Staal are wonderful pickups. But are they going to be enough to make up the massive gap that existed between them and the playoff teams? They are also, at this point, just one-year players in Buffalo. Ignoring the goalie position also seems unwise.
24. Minnesota Wild. This is probably a team that spends most of the year on the playoff bubble but ultimately falls short due to a lack of impact players, especially at forward.
25. New Jersey Devils. The goalies give them a chance. Need to find more offense.
26. Arizona Coyotes. The Western Conference version of New Jersey.
28. Chicago Blackhawks. An outstanding goalie duo made this team look more competitive than it should have been a year ago. They no longer have that goalie duo. The rebuild has officially arrived. This season could get away from them very quickly.
29. Ottawa Senators. If you squint really hard you can see a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still a very lengthy tunnel.
30. Los Angeles Kings. Their farm system is absolutely loaded. Maybe the best in hockey. But it will take time to make an impact in the NHL.
31. Detroit Red Wings. This was a very productive offseason in terms of finding good value in free agency. But the best value those signings have for them is as trade assets at the deadline. This rebuild is still in its very early stages. Next offseason is where they could make a big move.