NHL Power Rankings: Closing out 2018 with a Bang

NHL Playoff Standings

With the NHL coming out of its mandated holiday break for Christmas, teams are looking forward to the year. Some more than others. While teams at the top are thrilled where they are, teams near the bottom can’t wait for their disappointing seasons to be over. During this time of year, some of the weaker teams are hoping Santa will bring them a winning streak. While those teams at the top are hoping Santa brought some players off IR. Here is the final NHL Power Rankings of 2018.

NHL Power Rankings: Closing out 2018

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning – The Tampa Bay Lightning are the best team in the NHL. These great regular season stats will not mean anything if they Lightning do not win the Stanley Cup.
  2. Winnipeg Jets – Hard to debate the Jets are playing close to the second best hockey in the league. Mark Scheifele is putting this team on his back. Look for Scheifele to remain on his hot streak as the Jets play close games.
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs – The Maple Leafs are getting back to full strength. John Tavares is clearly living up to the hype since signing in Toronto. The person benefiting the most from the break is William Nylander.
  4. Washington Capitals – With each passing month, the Capitals are getting better and better. While the team still has a weakness, their penalty kill, their offensive supremacy over everyone else in the division makes them the best.
  5. Calgary Flames – Who would have thought three of the top five teams would be Canadian. Calgary is playing great puck possession hockey, but their top five forwards can’t do it all.
  6. Nashville Predators – Clearly this team can play better. Injuries do not help at all. Hopefully the Predators can get healthy soon and return to playing a high level of hockey.
  7. San Jose Sharks – The Sharks are rounding into form very nicely. However, prior to the break, the Sharks cannot seem to finish games as well as they start them.
  8. Columbus Blue Jackets – The Blue Jackets slogan should be Feed Bobrovsky More! So much for being a distraction for Columbus. Whatever Bobrovsky is doing in his pregame routing hopefully he continues.
  9. Boston Bruins – Jaroslav Halak is playing some great hockey for Boston right now. In fact, you could say Halak is the starter in Boston. The Bruins are surprisingly playing well and getting Bergeron back made them better.
  10. Buffalo Sabres – After that amazing 10 game winning streak, the Sabres have been come back to Earth. Over the past 10-15, the Sabres are playing close to .500 hockey.
  11. Pittsburgh Penguins – Regardless of what you think of their goaltending situation, the Penguins were one of the hottest teams in the NHL prior to the break. Hopefully Pittsburgh can figure who they can rely on in between the pipes.
  12. Vegas Golden Knights – Here is a crazy stat for you hockey fans, in 34 starts this season, Marc Andre Fleury has 20 wins. That is incredible, it also does not hurt, that Vegas is playing a lot like last year’s team.
  13. Colorado Avalanche – Find someone else on the Colorado Avalanche not on the top line that is doing some scoring. You can’t. That is a problem if the Avs want success in the playoffs.
  14. Anaheim Ducks – The best gift the Ducks got for Christmas was a healthy John Gibson. Gibson is the reason the Ducks are in a playoff position. Maybe Santa gave them some goals this Christmas as well.
  15. Montreal Canadiens – The Canadiens are ranked 4th in five on five goals with 82. The Canadiens are becoming a faster and quicker team. Adding Max Domi surely helped and Jonathan Drouin has not hit stride just yet.
  16. Dallas Stars – All Dallas wanted for Christmas was learning how to win on the road. Dallas is established as a great home team, but if only that would translate to when they played on the road.
  17. New York Islanders – On the outside looking in, the Islanders are finding ways to stick around and make things a little interesting. The Isles just have to remember to shoot in the danger zones.
  18. Edmonton Oilers – Ken Hitchock is getting the Oilers to play a little better. However, the biggest problem now for Edmonton is their goaltending. The goals Cam Talbot is allowing is making his teammates always fight from behind.
  19. Vancouver Canucks – Vancouver needs to rely on their young talent even more than they already are. With Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Elias Pettersson, this team is finding a way to make things difficult for those good teams in the West.
  20. Minnesota Wild – With Matt Dumba out of the lineup, the Wild are struggling. Minnesota was struggling beforehand his injury, they are struggling even more without him. Time to reassess their options.
  21. Florida Panthers – Through 35 games, Aleksander Barkov has just two penalty minutes. Think about that for minute. The way Barkov plays, it is amazing he only has two minutes worth of penalties.
  22. Arizona Coyotes – The only way this team gets better on the ice, is if the saga off the ice gets resolved. Either relocate the team to Houston or find a way to get back to downtown Phoenix.
  23. Detroit Red Wings – Every now and then, a squirrel finds a nut. In the case of Detroit this rebuilding team will find a win here and there. Detroit will play hard every night, but who is kidding who, this team is rebuilding.
  24. Carolina Hurricanes – Maybe the Hurricanes should embrace their history even more. Wear the Whalers uniform because apparently that will bring them a win.
  25. New York Rangers – Time to face facts, as much as Henrik Lundqvist wants to be a part of this rebuild, it is time for him and the team to move on. Embrace the youth movement.
  26. Philadelphia Flyers – If the Flyers are smart, they will send Carter Hart back to the minors to develop some more after a win. Philadelphia needs to protect this kid because he has a bright future ahead of him.
  27. St. Louis Blues – As the old saying goes… go big or go home. Figure out what players you want to trade and what players you want to build around. Once the Blues figure that out, they can blow it up.
  28. New Jersey Devils – The Devils are really good or really bad. There is no middle ground. The future is now in New Jersey as the Devils will begin to MacKenzie Blackwood as their starting goaltender.
  29. Los Angeles Kings – Ilya Kovalchuk is back from injury for the Kings, and it is making the Kings fun to watch. Not only is Kovalchuk is having fun, but so is the rest of the team. Just feed him the puck.
  30. Ottawa Senators – Injuries keep mounting up for the Senators. But the job at hand for the Senators is to make sure they keep Matt Duchene and Mark Stone.
  31. Chicago Blackhawks – No surprise here where the Blackhawks stands. The highlight of the season for Chicago will be wearing those cool throwback sweaters for the Winter Classic playing in Notre Dame Stadium.

Read More:

NHL Power Rankings: Winnipeg Flying Up the Rankings

Photo Credit: By Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Be the first to comment

Hop on hockey fan, join the conversation ...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.