1. Boston Bruins (No Change)
Average Rank: 1 (Unanimous)
The Bruins are easily the best team in the NHL. They are the scariest team to play at home, with a record of 17-0-2 at TD Garden. Nothing can slow Boston down right now.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (⬆2)
Average Rank: 2 (Unanimous)
Mitch Marner with his 23-game point streak sent the Leafs on an absolute tear. From Mid-November until now, the Leafs have been red hot and in the month of December, they are currently 4-2-1. Their recent success has moved them into the top five best records in the NHL this season.
3. New Jersey Devils (⬇1)
Average Rank: 3.33 (3,3,4)
The Devils still hold a tight spot in third place but are closing to losing their first-place position in the Metropolitan Division. The Devils have now lost five straight, but still, have a strong young team that competes on a nightly basis. New Jersey is going through the motions after the huge 13-game win streak they had to start the season.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (⬇1)
Average Rank: 4 (3,4,5)
The Golden Knights have been playing .500 hockey this month which has kept them in a firm spot for second place in the league. They are 5-5 in the month of December. Their .500 record this month still keeps them in a safe spot for the first spot in the overall weak Pacific Division.
5. Carolina Hurricanes (⬆3)
Average Rank: 5.33 (4,5,7)
Winners of five straight, and 9-0-1 in their last 10, the Hurricanes are surging into the top five of the NHL and our Power Rankings. The Hurricanes have capitalized on having a relatively easy schedule in the month of December. Now, they can try to overtake New Jersey for the first spot in the Metro Division.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (⬆6)
Average Rank: 6 (Unanimous)
The Penguins have bounced back big time from a slow start this year. The Penguins, as always, seem to always come back after looking like they are finally going to fully regress. The Penguins are 7-2-1 in their last 10, and with Kris Letang returning post-stroke, the Penguins have found some life.
7. Dallas Stars (⬇1)
Average Rank: 6.67 (5,7,8)
Jason Robertson may have cooled off on his goal scoring, but the Dallas Stars still remain a top team in the Central Division. Their young guns are rolling and their old veterans are putting on vintage showcases. Paired with their solid goaltending, the Stars have managed to hang tight as one of the top teams in the NHL right now.
8. Winnipeg Jets (⬇1)
Average Rank: 8 (7,8,9)
Josh Morrissey, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Kyle Connor have been the difference makers for the Jets. Sure, they have Connor Hellebyuck, but great goaltending can only get you so far. Without their success, they would not be in the position they are in right now.
9. Tampa Bay Lightning (⬆2)
Average Rank: 8.67 (8.9.9)
Tampa has been on a roll. The Lightning continues to prove why they are one of the NHL’s best potential dynasties and why they could continue for a third up this year. Nikita Kucherov remains a top scorer this year and the roster has finally clicked after a long run to the Stanley Cup Final last year.
10. Seattle Kraken (⬇5)
Average Rank: 10 (Unanimous)
The Seattle Kraken have fallen down to Earth. Their goaltending bender with Martin Jones has come to a close, but Phillip Grubauer slowly seems to be making strides in the net. The Kraken are still an exciting offensive team but need a lot of work in between the pipes if they look to succeed long term.
11. New York Rangers (⬆6)
Average Rank: 12.33 (12,12,13)
Winners of seven straight, the Rangers have struck gold making their comeback. The Rangers have gotten better defensively, and are slowly figuring out their offense at 5v5. They still rely heavily on their Power Play and Igor Shesterkin in the net. But if they can relieve their reliance on those two things, they can become an even scarier team.
12. Los Angeles Kings (⬆2)
Average Rank: 12.67 (11,11,16)
Climbing into the second spot in the Pacific, the Kings have been solid as of late. The Kings have been on the road for most of December, but have managed to snag wins against teams they should beat. They have the potential to make the playoffs, but it remains to be seen how far the Kings can go in their current state.
13. New York Islanders (⬇4)
Average Rank: 13.67 (11,15,15)
Now you see them, now you don’t. The Islanders were making strides in the right direction and gaining some headway in the MEtro. But with the injury to Semyon Varlamov and potential injury to Mat Barzal, the Islanders’ playoff hopes could be in trouble.
14. Minnesota Wild (⬆6)
Average Rank: 14 (Unanimous)
After a mediocre start to the season, the Wild have come back swinging. The team around Kirill Kaprizov has found its scoring touch. Winners of five straight and have gone 8-2-0 in their last ten games, the wild are popping off.
15. Edmonton Oilers (⬇2)
Average Rank: 14.33 (12,15,16)
McDavid and Draisaitl have no brakes in terms of their ability to score. They continue to make the NHL their oyster. Yet still, the Oilers as a whole continue to be mediocre. The Oilers’ goaltending struggles continue as Skinner and Campbell continue to be inconsistent.
16. Colorado Avalanche (⬇6)
Average Rank: 14.67 (13,13,18)
The Avalanche, although dropping in the standings and the power rankings, are still one of the better rosters in the NHL. Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar continue to hold down the fort in the absence of Nathan MacKinnon. They still are going to have to fight through without him to remain competitive, which is no easy challenge.
17. Detroit Red Wings (⬇2)
Average Rank: 17 (Unanimous)
The Red Wings saw early success but have fallen back. The Red Wings, although making solid moves this offseason, still don’t have enough to be a top team in the Atlantic. They still have a long way to go to be a playoff team, but they have great pieces.
18. Florida Panthers (⬇2)
Average Rank: 18.67 (18,19,19)
Even with the addition of Matthew Tkachuk, the Panthers can’t truly get any traction. Bobrovsky continues to look like a terrible contract and the offense outside of Tkachuk remains a question mark.
19. Washington Capitals (⬆4)
Average Rank: 19 (16,18,23)
Ovi and the Caps managed to turn things around in DC. Washington has gotten a better record at home and are now 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Despite their injury-riddled lineup, they still might be able to make something out of the season.
20. Calgary Flames (⬇1)
Average Rank: 19.67 (19,20,20)
The Flames have not lived up to their expectations. Huberdeau and KAdri are only now slowly starting to get their offense in gear. This team needs a lot to go right to be a top team in the Pacific again.
21. Montreal Canadiens (No Change)
Average Rank: 22 (21,22,23)
This season continues to be all about development. The young core of Suzuki, Dach, and Caufield are making great strides.
22. St Louis Blues (⬇4)
Average Rank: 22.67 (21,23,24)
The blues continue to be the model of inconsistency. They go on big winning streaks and big losing streaks. Jordan Binnington has also not been the goaltender the Blues have wanted.
23. Nashville Predators (⬇1)
Average Rank: 23 (20,24,25)
The Predators continue to be just average. Juuse Saros continues to be the shining star for the Predators, but the team can’t find ways to win consistently.
24. Vancouver Canucks (⬆1)
Average Rank: 23 (21,22,26)
The Canucks remain a team that doesn’t believe they need to continue their rebuild but also doesn’t have the talent to take the next step. This season may not give them the answers they need, but something has to change within the organization if they want to start winning.
25. Buffalo Sabers (⬇1)
Average Rank: 24 (22,24,26)
Tage Thompson is all the rage and the Sabers’ offense is much improved. This team loves to score, but not much else. In a couple of years, they can make that next stride. But for now, this season can show the Sabers what kind of talent they really have.
26. Ottawa Senators (⬆1)
Average Rank: 25.67 (25,26,26)
The Senators have been winning more than of late, but not enough to move the needle. The additions of Giroux and DeBrincat have been great pieces added to this club. Once this team builds a solid blue line, they can really consider competing at a high level.
27. San Jose Sharks (⬇1)
Average Rank: 27.67 (27,28,28)
Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier remain the Sharks’ best players. Not much else is going on in San Jose. The Sharks should look at their assets and look to push their rebuild further along.
28. Philadelphia Flyers (⬆1)
Average Rank: 28 (27,28,29)
The Flyers are the most confusing team in the NHL. They truly believe they can compete for a playoff spot, yet the roster is nowhere close right now. The Flyers have been in a weird back-and-forth limbo between competing and not. I think for them it is finally time to blow it up.
29. Arizona Coyotes (⬇1)
Average Rank: 28.33 (27,29,29)
The Coyotes may not have much going for them, but they have great moments when they upset teams way better than them. The Yotes are making the most of a season when playing out of a college arena.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (No Change
Average Rank: 30 (Unanimous)
Laine finally has come back and looked good for the jackets. Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine just unfortunately aren’t enough to be the difference for Columbus to become a playoff contender.
31. Chicago Blackhawks (No Change)
Average Rank: 31 (Unanimous)
The Hawks don’t even have 10 wins on the season yet. Chicago soon has to look itself in the mirror and realize the glory days are over. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews deserve better and should look to be traded, for their sake and Chicago’s.
32. Anaheim Ducks (No Change)
Average Rank: 32 (Unanimous)
The Ducks have finally won more than one game in regulation. There’s not really much else to look at for positivity. This Ducks team has a long way to go in their rebuild.