NHL Power Rankings: Where things stand after first month of offseason

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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.

2. Colorado Avalanche. Adding Brandon Saad and Devon Toews to this already outstanding roster should make them runaway favorites in the Western Conference when the season begins.

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.

[Alex Trebek and his connection to hockey]

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.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker]

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.

23. San Jose Sharks. There is a path for them to improve, but it is going to take a lot. At the top of that list: A bounce back year for Devan Dubnyk.

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.

27. Anaheim Ducks. There is nothing wrong with signing Kevin Shattenkirk, but that is not moving the needle for this team. Long way to go here.

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.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.