As all teams pass the halfway point of the season, our contributors have ranked the teams in our inaugural power rankings.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning have a well balanced forward core, stacked blue line and an elite goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy. They can play physical and with speed, which matches them up with most, if not all, game plans.
2. Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets have been the best team in a stacked Central Division. They will be tested, as they deal with injuries to Dustin Byfuglien and Nicholaj Ehlers.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Vegas Golden Knights
5. Calgary Flames
The Flames have won four in a row. Johnny Gaudreau is going to force some writers to re-think their Hart Trophy Ballots.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews has not missed a beat since his early season shoulder injury, but the Leafs really need to get their goaltenders healthy.
7. Washington Capitals
Alexander Ovechkin is running away with the Rocket Richard. Hopefully, Phoenix Copley can hold down the fort while Brayden Holtby recovers from the injury he suffered against Columbus.
8. Boston Bruins
9. Nashville Predators
The Predators were able to weather the storm. Now they are getting healthy, and that could spell trouble for the rest of the Central.
10. San Jose Sharks
Maybe some of the pundits were too quick to write off the Erik Karlsson trade. He has firmly cemented himself atop the Norris Ballot again.
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
Hopefully, they can put the Sergei Bobrovsky drama behind them. They are one of the most dynamic teams in the league, if they can avoid the usual playoff meltdown.
12. New York Islanders
Barry Trotz deserves to be in the Jack Adams conversation. This team is playing the best defensive hockey Long Islanders have ever seen.
13. Dallas Stars
Miro Heiskenen is a lowkey Calder candidate. The Stars have definitely responded to their CEO’s outburst and moved back into playoff contention.
14. Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel has returned from injury and provided a spark to the Sabres. They played the Lightning as tough as they could in a losing effort. Maybe a trip into Edmonton can cure what ails them.
15. Montreal Canadiens
The Habs continue to be the Cinderella story of the league this year. They currently hold the top Wild Card spot and are only 3 back of the Bruins in the Atlantic.
16. Colorado Avalanche
The Avs really need to get some things figured out. They may be the thinnest team behind their top unit. They still hold a playoff spot, but they do not look competitive.
17. Minnesota Wild
18. Carolina Hurricanes
Stop me if you heard this before, but the Canes are in the market for a scoring winger. As entertaining as they have been, they have not been able to piece together a win streak.
19. Vancouver Canucks
I have not seen a team that relies on a rookie as much as the Canucks. This is a completely different team with Elias Pettersson in the lineup. He is still sidelined with a lower body injury.
20. Florida Panthers
This is a team that can be in the conversation as most disappointing. Mike Hoffman has been a goal scoring machine. The Cats have had injury concerns in the net all year, as well. We may be seeing the final year of Roberto Luongo.
21. Anaheim Ducks
Carlyle watch is on. The Ducks just lost their 11th straight game. They have dropped from 2nd in the Pacific to outside the playoffs.
22. Chicago Blackhawks
As of late Chicago has had great special teams, Collin Delia has been superb in net, they are getting scoring from the bottom 6 and their 3rd pair of Connor Murphy and Carl Dahlstrom has been shutdown. Not to be forgotten, Patrick Kane, has 19 points in his last 10 and is on pace for 105 points.
— Wally Mazurek
23. New York Rangers
The blue shirts are staying the course. They are just outside the playoffs, but continue to market themselves as a rebuilding team. Time will tell if Henrik Lundqvist decides to accept a trade.
24. New Jersey Devils
Another team that has been inflicted with the Goalie injury bug. MacKenzie Blackwood has steadied the position, as of late. They are still waiting to get reigning Hart Trophy winner, Taylor Hall, back from a lower body injury.
25. St. Louis Blues
Is it too little too late for the Blue Notes? They are coming on hot as of late, but will they have enough time to get back in the playoffs?
26. Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid continues to be the heart that drives this team. Peter Chiarelli continues to devalue his career with bad trades. The most recent was Dylan Strome for Brandon Manning, who has been a healthy scratch most of the games, since he was acquired.
27. Arizona Coyotes
A darling pick in the preseason, the Yotes have not really met those expectations. They are playing well as of late, and could make a run at a wild card spot.
28. Los Angeles Kings
What a disaster of a season this has been for the Kings. Management is going to have a hard time rebuilding this roster. They have a bunch of older guys with steep cap hits. Maybe, they could just hire Snoop Dogg to call their games for the rest of the year.
29. Detroit Red Wings
No team in the league has played more game than the Red Wings. They are way out of a playoff spot and losing ground in a hurry. You have to respect the work that Ken Holland has done for the past two decades, but you have to assume the Red Wings will court Steve Yzerman when the season ends.
30. Philadelphia Flyers
Perhaps you have read recently that the Broad Street Bullies have goaltending issues. They have started 7 different netminders this season, and still have not found the solution. Carter Hart has shown promise in the early part of his career. Flyers fans are hoping that he lives up to the hype.
31. Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators have to make a substantial trade to recoup the lost pick in the Matt Duchesne trade. He may be on the move again, as the two sides have cooled the contract talks. Mark Stone poses another conundrum. He could put the team in a dire position with his contract demands.
Our rankings are an average of multiple contributors. Let us know in the comments what you think.