NHL Power Rankings: Where things stand after NHL trade deadline

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we will be taking a look at where things stand in the league after the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.

Try to look at it as a mixture of where teams are in the standings, how they are currently playing, and what their rosters look like after the additions and subtractions they’ve made.

The Avalanche hold on to the top spot, with the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning right behind them.

Where does your team rank?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Colorado Avalanche. Already had what is arguably the best roster in the league. Carl Soderberg is a decent depth addition and Devan Dubnyk addresses the backup goalie situation. He may not be the player he was, but he is an upgrade over Hunter Miska and Jonas Johansson.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning. Creative work by Julien BriseBois to get David Savard at a quarter of his salary cap rate. Another strong deadline move for the second year in a row.

3. Carolina Hurricanes. A mostly quiet deadline but the Hurricanes did not need much. An outstanding team playing at an extremely high level this season.

4. Vegas Golden Knights. They did not make the big blockbuster move they have have been accustomed to making but Mattias Janmark can bring some offense to their bottom six.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs. Playing great hockey right now and they added some nice depth pieces in Nick Foligno and David Rittich. Not many weaknesses in that forward group with Foligno in the mix.

6. Washington Capitals. They paid a steep price for Anthony Mantha but he is a perfect fit for the Capitals style of play. He is also signed long-term, meaning the trade should save them salary cap space over the next two years as Jakub Vrana was due for a significant raise this offseason.

[Related: Mantha makes Capitals even bigger]

7. Pittsburgh Penguins. Jeff Carter gives Mike Sullivan a lot of lineup flexibility and options to work with. He can play wing, he can be the third line center, and he did not cost them much of anything.

8. New York Islanders. Kyle Palmieri is a great Anders Lee replacement. Maybe not the same type of player exactly, but a really good fit for the way the Islanders play.

9. Florida Panthers. There is nothing wrong with adding Brandon Montour or Sam Bennett, but given the salary cap space and their success this season I would have liked to have seen them go for a bigger score. Still an excellent team.

10. Boston Bruins. The expectations for Taylor Hall right now are as low as they have ever been, which explains the low price to acquiring him. I am expecting a big stretch run from him in a better situation.

11. Minnesota Wild. Bill Guerin and the Wild are rolling with the roster they have. The good news is it is a pretty good roster.

12. Winnipeg Jets. I am not sure Jordie Benn is enough of an upgrade to the defense to give them a chance against a team like Toronto in the playoffs. Or Connor McDavid.

13. Nashville Predators. Their recent surge took them out of the sellers market, but it did not really put them into the buyer market, either. Erik Gudbranson keeps changing teams for a reason.

14. Edmonton Oilers. Ken Holland’s comment about not being able to go all in every year just does not work for me. When you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl every year is an all in year.

15. Montreal Canadiens. Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merril give them a lot of bodies on defense, but it is debatable as to how much better it makes them. Eric Staal will be the player that makes or breaks the deadline for them. Besides their biggest addition to the lineup could be Cole Caufield.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2021 NHL Trade Tracker]

16. St. Louis Blues. The Blues are banking on the idea that the roster they have can turn it around. Given their schedule that is going to be a challenge. If they do, they will have earned it.

17. New York Rangers. Other than trading Brendan Lemieux the Rangers stayed quiet. That is okay though because trading him opened the roster spot for Vitali Kravtsov.

18. Philadelphia Flyers. Scott Laughton is a nice player, but a five-year term for a third-liner is always risky.

19. Dallas Stars. Injuries and COVID have played havoc on their season. Their biggest advantage for the stretch run is the games in hand. But they have to win.

20. Chicago Blackhawks. They had a decent trade deadline in terms of collecting assets and some future picks, but it is hard to say they are better in the short-term for a playoff push.

21. Arizona Coyotes. They have the scheduling edge over St. Louis and San Jose in that playoff race. Can they take advantage of it?

22. San Jose Sharks. I don’t know that trading Devan Dubnyk hurts their playoff chances, but they also did not really do anything to improve them. Smart move to buy an extra draft pick in the Mattias Janmark trade.

23. Calgary Flames. Their trade deadline activity indicates they have thrown in the towel on this season. For good reason.

24. Vancouver Canucks. Not much to judge here lately. The most important thing is everybody being healthy. The trade deadline activity does not really impact the short-term or long-term outlook. The Tanner Pearson re-signing, though, is a curious move.

[Related: Winners And Losers Of The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline]

25. Los Angeles Kings. They could get hit pretty hard on cap recapture penalties if Jeff Carter retires after this season, but they have cap space to work with and picked up a couple of future assets. Re-signing Alex Iafallo is a nice move as he should fit in with their short-term future.

26. Columbus Blue Jackets. Getting two first-round picks for Nick Foligno and David Savard is great asset management. That is promising for the future. The remaining roster for this season is significantly weaker.

27. Detroit Red Wings. If they were going to trade Anthony Mantha, they managed to get a great return for him.

28. New Jersey Devils. They lost a lot from this current roster but Jack Hughes looks more and more like a star every game. So they have that going for them.

29. Ottawa Senators. The only thing that matters here is just continuing to see the young players develop.

30. Anaheim Ducks. They still seem to be stuck in that no-man’s land of needing to rebuild without fully committing to it.

31. Buffalo Sabres. They have played a lot better since the coaching change, but this is still a team that is way too far away from seriously contending.

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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    Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

    Andrei Kuzmenko
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

    The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

    The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

    Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

    His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

    Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

    He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

    He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

    A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

    Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.

    Hurricanes top Stars in OT to win matchup of 1st-place teams

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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    DALLAS – Martin Necas scored 1:34 into overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in a matchup of division leaders Wednesday night.

    Sebastian Aho had a short-handed goal and Brent Burns also scored for the Hurricanes, who lead the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. The game-winner was Necas’ 19th goal this season.

    Dallas is still atop the Western Conference, and the Central Division, after its second consecutive 3-2 overtime loss at home. Jason Robertson scored his 33rd goal for the Stars, and 19-year-old rookie Wyatt Johnston got his 13th.

    Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen didn’t return after the first intermission because of an upper-body injury, soon after a strange sequence that ended with Robertson scoring on a shot from what seemed to be an impossible angle.

    The puck was bouncing on the ice behind Andersen and settled against the post after Tyler Seguin‘s shot before the goalie was able to swipe it away to his right. Robertson then shot from behind Andersen, and the puck apparently ricocheted off him and into the net for a 2-1 Dallas lead. Robertson’s 33rd goal matched his assists total.

    Antti Raanta replaced Andersen and stopped all 15 shots he faced – none in overtime – after the starter had four saves. Raanta had to shake off getting struck in the head by Mason Marchment‘s stick when the Stars forward was behind the net fighting for the puck midway through the third period.

    Stars goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 22 shots, including a glove save of Andrei Svechnikov‘s wrister with just more than five minutes left in regulation.

    Aho’s 200th career goal put Carolina up 1-0 midway through the first period. The Stars got even just more than two minutes later when Johnston scored unassisted after a faceoff.

    Johnston also had a shot ricochet off the post with just under six minutes left.

    In between the first two goals, Oettinger went into a fully extended split, with his right skate against the post, to deny Paul Stastny‘s attempt to knock in a loose puck.

    Burns tied the game at 2 in the second period, getting the puck after a faceoff, then skating over the top of the circle and scoring top shelf over Oettinger’s left shoulder.

    NOTES: Marchment was coming out of the penalty box at the same time Carolina made an errant pass in the second period. He had a breakaway attempt, but couldn’t get enough control of the puck to get off a quality shot. … Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce and Stars center Luke Glendening both got five-minute penalties for fighting in the second period.

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Will play San Jose on Friday night in the first of three consecutive home games.

    Stars: Host the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in their last game before the All-Star break.

    Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry out until after the All-Star break

    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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    PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry‘s on-again, off-again season is now off again.

    Coach Mike Sullivan said that the two-time All-Star will miss at least two games with an upper-body injury.

    Jarry was scheduled to start against Florida but reported an upper-body issue when he arrived at PPG Paints Arena. Casey DeSmith got the last-second start as the Penguins pulled out a wild 7-6 victory over the Panthers.

    Jarry is out through at least the All-Star break. Pittsburgh plays at Washington and then hosts San Jose before getting a full week off.

    The 27-year-old Jarry has played well when he’s been in the lineup, posting a 16-5-5 record with a 2.65 goals-against average in 27 games. His availability, however, has been an issue of late. He missed more than two weeks earlier this month after being injured against Boston in the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

    The Penguins are not as sharp when Jarry is out. Pittsburgh is 8-10-3 with DeSmith or Dustin Tokarski in goal this season. The Penguins recalled Tokarski from their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to back up DeSmith during Jarry’s absence.

    Letang scores twice in return, Penguins beat Panthers 7-6 in OT

    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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    PITTSBURGH – Amid a nightmarish season off the ice, Kris Letang has been searching for joy. A sense of normalcy.

    He found a little of both.

    The veteran Pittsburgh defenseman scored twice in his return from a lower-body injury, the second with 54 seconds left in overtime to give the Penguins a 7-6 victory over Florida.

    “I was just happy to be out there,” Letang said. “Be in the atmosphere of the team.”

    Letang’s 17th season with Pittsburgh has been pockmarked by health issues and a profound sense of loss. He missed two weeks after suffering the second stroke of his career shortly after Thanksgiving. He then tweaked something in a loss to Detroit on Dec. 28.

    His father died unexpectedly a few days later, and Letang spent an extended amount of time with his family in his native Montreal, with his teammates making an unexpected stop to join Letang for his father’s wake at the end of a West Coast swing earlier this month.

    The Penguins activated him off injured reserve on Tuesday afternoon. Letang responded with four points in a rollicking game that featured 13 goals, the last Letang’s one-timer from just above the left circle on the power play that gave Pittsburgh just its fourth win in 12 overtime games this season.

    “It was kind of surreal, you know?” Letang said. “I didn’t know what to think or how it was going to go. These guys supported me for the last month… it’s just great to be back.”

    The Penguins, currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, opened up a small bit of breathing room over the ninth-place Panthers by beating Florida for the 18th time in its last 21 trips to Pittsburgh.

    Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Danton Heinen each had a goal and two assists for The Penguins. Rickard Rakell and Drew O'Connor also scored for the Penguins.

    Casey DeSmith struggled in place of Tristan Jarry, a late scratch with an upper-body injury. DeSmith stopped 33 shots, including both he faced in overtime, to win for the third time in his last 10 starts.

    “That was a huge two points for us,” DeSmith said. “Obviously we’re battling with them in the standings. Character win at home.”

    Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for Florida, including a tying goal with 2:32 left in regulation. Aaron Ekblad had a goal and two assists. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and an assist. Colin White‘s sixth goal of the season 4:10 into the third gave the Panthers the lead but Florida couldn’t hold it.

    Alex Lyon made 42 saves after getting the start when Spencer Knight was unavailable for reasons head coach Paul Maurice would not disclose. The Panthers are 7-3-2 since January 1 to surge back into the fringe of contention.

    “We’re so much more of a different hockey team than we were a month ago at this time,” Maurice said. “Rallied around each other, battled as hard as they could to get a point on the road in the circumstances that we’re in. I couldn’t be more proud.”

    Neither Lyon or DeSmith – who got the heads up he was playing less than an hour before the opening faceoff – appeared quite ready to play on short notice. They gave up a six goals – three by each team – during a frantic first period that included Letang’s first goal since Dec. 15 and Tkachuk’s 25th of the season.

    Things settled down in the second. Ekblad’s short-handed goal put the Panthers in front but Crosby knotted the game at 4-4 with a pretty backhand through Lyon’s legs with 40 seconds to go in the period to set up a hectic third in which both teams squandered one-goal leads.

    “It wasn’t pretty but you need to find ways to win sometimes,” Crosby said. “We did a good job of that here today.”

    UP NEXT

    Panthers: Host Angeles on Friday night.

    Penguins: At Washington on Thursday night.