*This is not Stanley cup predictions or favorites*. This is solely based on performances since the last edition of power rankings (week 11).
Performance, Wins/Losses, schedule, number of games, and other statistics all are taken into consideration. (Records in parentheses display teams performance since last power rankings)
- Colorado Avalanche (7-1)
Still the hottest team in the NHL sweeping the Blues and Ducks en route to the top of the West division. The recent hot streak could have very well stemmed from an invigorating battle with the Coyotes at the end of March which saw a heated Nathan MacKinnon. Brawls broke out and helmets went flying. Meanwhile, the Avalanche have lost just once since that altercation. The Avs only have to see the Golden Knights twice more this regular season which should bode well if they look to maintain the top spot. Although, the Avalanche will see a lot of the Blues, Kings, and Sharks who are all vying for the final playoff spot in the West. Thus, we could very easily have an early glimpse of the 1 v 4 series in the West.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-0-1)
No losses since the last power rankings thanks to the record setting legend that is Jack Campbell. The former King has set a new NHL record with his 11th straight victory to start an NHL season. It also bodes well he’s playing alongside a red-hot Leafs team that has won six straight. Six points clear atop the North and making major deadline moves, it looks like the Leafs are gearing up for a lengthy playoff run.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-2)
Probably one of the bigger East surprises considering they are a lock over the Bruins to make the playoffs at this point in the season. What was a rocky start has seen the Penguins team lean on a lot of their top guys in Guentzel, Crosby, Rust, etc. In what was a difficult stretch in facing the Islanders, Capitals, and Rangers the Penguins should continue to rack up points as they will see the Devils and Sabres a combined seven times for the rest of this season. Furthermore, the Penguins are only two points back from the top spot in the East. Although many presumed Hextall was brought in to rebuild, he could be tasked with giving the Penguins another final push for the Stanley Cup.
Add another goal to the list for Jake Guentzel! The Penguins forward now has 19 points (9G-10A) in 18 career games vs. New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/SHJvLQR2ya
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 12, 2021
4. New York Islanders (5-2)
The first team to make a major splash at the deadline (as detailed here) shows how Lou and Trotz feel about this team. It was evident during last years run that they were no fluke and have continued to prove it this season as they sit tied with the Capitals for first in the East. While a Hall trade was apparently in play, Zajac made the Palmieri deal enough for the Islanders to go through with it. They both should fit right in and help this team make a run. The Islanders have a rather tough schedule to finish out the season, yet will have the chance to move ahead of the Capitals in any of the three remaining games between the two clubs. Luckily, the Islanders will finish out the season with two games against the Sabres, then the Devils, and an away game a Boston. While many Islander fans will remember the fun 1st round of 2019 when they swept the Penguins, they should hope their club can take hold of the East to avoid Pittsburgh as they are 1-5 against the Penguins this season.
5. San Jose Sharks (5-2)
In what many would deem an extremely unlikely run, the Sharks find themselves only four points out with a game in hand of the Blues. Outside of a sweep against the Wild, the Sharks have been relying on teams like the Ducks and Kings for many of their wins, as has much of the division. Their schedule gets a lot more difficult towards the end of the season so their playoff hopes look pretty dim. It also appears they’ll lean heavily on Martin Jones the rest of the season. It was a nice little run and some excitement for the fanbase, but the Blue and Coyotes both have more depth to compete.
6. Winnipeg Jets (4-1-1)
Still hanging towards the top of the North division. They haven’t seemed to crack the the Leafs quite yet as they are 2-4 in the season series. Luckily, it’s unlikely they will meet until at least the second round if at all. Nevertheless, the Jets are still one of the deeper teams, especially when it comes to the center position. They have the goaltending and forward depth and are likely to see Edmonton in the first round. Jets are 4-2 versus the Oilers this season.
7. New York Rangers (4-1-1)
Like the Sharks, the Rangers seem to be getting hot for one last playoff push. And while they have moved ahead of the Flyers in the standings, both teams are too far back to really make it interesting. If the Rangers were better able to ward off their consistency issues things could be a bit different now. On the bright side, contributions keep coming from the young kids (Kakko, Lafrenière, Miller, Shesterkin). Not to mention, Adam Fox has quietly been having an unbelievable year on the back-end. The Rangers should be more interesting next year if they can figure out how to get more consistent production. In the meantime, we will keep an eye on Eichel watch.
Adam Fox (@foxyclean) is __________. pic.twitter.com/AERFfmQVH5
— NHL (@NHL) April 7, 2021
8. Carolina Hurricanes (4-2-1)
The Hurricanes are always going to quietly go about their business. Although this stretch isn’t as dominate as we are accustomed to seeing from them, they still swept the panthers en route to four wins. Oh, and they are first in the Central with a game in hand. I had thought pre-season the Canes could compete for the division but questioned if they had the stuff. Turns out they do. It looks like the Hurricanes are quietly a Stanley Cup contender. The Central is already a battle and I’d try and avoid Canes in the first round.
9. Nashville Predators (5-2)
The Hurricanes slide ahead of the Predators due to a slightly stronger schedule of games. This Predators team however is still red-hot from the last power rankings and has jolted to life. What was once a team that was looking to sell heavy at the deadline is looking to make a legitimate playoff push. Like previously mentioned, the Central is a complete battle right now but the Predators have been running through the two opponents competing with them for the fourth Central spot. This is all without leading scorer Filip Forsberg who has been on the IR for a bit now. Luckily, players like Eeli Tolvanen have drastically stepped up to help fill the gap, especially on the power play. The former first round pick has 10 points in his last 10 games. While the Preds don’t have the easiest schedule moving forward if they stay this hot going into the playoffs, they could be more difficult to handle than most initially thought.
10. Edmonton Oilers (4-2-1)
The Oilers are doing well keeping the Jets honest at second place in the North. This is mainly thanks to their flawless record against division bottom-dweller Ottawa. 9-0. That’s eighteen points alone from one team. Regardless, you have to get your wins when you can. They’ll get the Jets three more times this season albeit all in Winnipeg. Not to mention, McDavid and Draisaitl continue to lead the league in points with 69 and 61, respectively.
McDavid to Draisaitl, you know the rest. #LetsGoOilers open the scoring in Ottawa. pic.twitter.com/5a8EdLnLPj
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) April 7, 2021
Honorable Mentions: Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild
Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3) – The Bolts were caught in one of their biggest slumps of the year after losing to the Red Wings and Blue Jackets in back to back games. They won their last two and added Savard at the deadline. Looks like they should be getting back to form.
Vegas Golden Knights (4-3-1) – Like the Bolts, the Knights found themselves in one of their biggest slumps of the season. They lost to the Kings at home before losing to the Wild in a two game series. Following a loss to the Blues, they’ve managed to sweep the Coyotes. They haven’t made any deadline moves and will likely remain quite. Like Tampa they should find their game again. If they win their next game they are only two back of the Avalanche.
Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) – Cooled off since having a massive run earlier in the year. They’ll have a really tough first round opponent in either Vegas or Colorado. Still, it’s a different Wild team and they are still getting great goaltending and contributions throughout the lineup.