Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Singin' The Blues

Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Singin' The Blues
January 7, 2014, 1:45 am
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The majority of NHL teams hit the midway point in the regular season over the last week, and that meant it was time for most of them to take stock of where they’re at. For some it was time to give up on players that weren’t producing or search for a different solution at a problem position, and for others it was identifying what’s been missing from the first three months of the season.

In the case of the Maple Leafs it means adding another rugged defenseman like Tim Gleason, and for the Buffalo Sabres it means naming Tyler Myers as an alternate captain in a leadership role for a team slowly gaining some of their self-respect back. For the Blue Jackets it means welcoming Nathan Horton into the fold with a power play game-winning goal, and for the Devils it means bouncing standout defenseman Eric Gelinas back and forth between the AHL and NHL.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.  

Clearly it’s still early in the power rankings season and time will tell with a lot of these teams, but here are the rankings:  

30. Edmonton Oilers (14-26-5, last week: 29) – The Oil have lost four of their last five games, but at least they’ve found their goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov.

29. Buffalo Sabres (12-26-4, last week: 30) – The Sabres are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, and have started gaining back some measure of respect with Pat Lafontaine and Ted Nolan in charge. At least they’re starting to turn the wreckage into the right direction.

28. Calgary Flames (14-21-6, last week: 27) – The Flames finally beat the Colorado Avalanche, but they’d lost four in a row previous to that while only scoring one goal in the four games. That’s just brutal.  

27. Florida Panthers (16-21-6, last week: 25) – The Florida Cats are 2-4-1 in their last seven games, and now they’ve got a grumpy Tim Thomas after getting snubbed for Team USA. Tough times ahead.

26. New York Islanders (15-22-7, last week: 28) – Four wins in their last five games, including victories against the Bruins and Blackhawks. What the heck has gotten into the Islanders?

25. Nashville Predators (18-19-6, last week: 21) – The Predators have lost three in a row, and Barry Trotz is starting to get impatient with the Pekka Rinne replacement crew. It seems like it’s too late for the Preds this season.

24. Winnipeg Jets (19-21-5, last week: 23) – Three losses in a row for a Jets team that’s fading off into the Western Conference sunset.

23. New Jersey Devils (17-18-8, last week: 18) – Win two in a row. Lose two in a row. The Devils define the term treading water, but still sit just four points out of a playoff spot.  

22. Columbus Blue Jackets (19-20-4, last week: 22) – Nathan Horton came back with a bang for the Blue Jackets, and now they can see if he’ll be a difference-maker for them once the novelty of being back in the NHL wears off.

21. Dallas Stars (20-15-7, last week: 13) – The Stars have lost three in a row while getting outscored 18-8 during that span. There is absolutely no defense being played in Dallas for a team that won’t be making the playoffs. 

20. New York Rangers (21-20-3, last week: 20) – The Rangers have taken points in six-of-eight games, and it seems like half of their team qualified for the US Olympic squad. Maybe there is some talent here.

19. Washington Capitals (20-16-6, last week: 14) – The Washington Capitals: top 10 in goals scored and power play success rate, and bottom 10 in goals allowed and penalty kill percentage. It’s reassuring when the Capitals actually play like the Capitals.

18. Carolina Hurricanes (18-16-9, last week: 26) – The Canes traded Tim Gleason and start ripping off wins like it’s going out of style. Perhaps Carolina just needed a bit of a wakeup call before it was too late.

17. Ottawa Senators (19-18-7, last week: 24) – The Senators have won four games in a row, and seem to finally be making their move in the Atlantic Division. Craig Anderson is starting to find his game after manning the pipes in all four wins.  

16. Minnesota Wild (22-17-5, last week: 19) – A couple of wins in a row might have saved Mike Yeo’s job for the time being, but things still don’t feel quite right in Minnesota.

15. Toronto Maple Leafs (21-17-5, last week: 11) – The Leafs won the emotional Winter Classic tilt, but showed they still have plenty to learn this season in getting spanked 7-1 by the Rangers in their next game.  

14. Phoenix Coyotes (20-12-9, last week: 15) – The Coyotes have lost two in a row, but at least Shane Doan has returned to the fold for the Desert Dogs.

13. Philadelphia Flyers (21-17-4, last week: 17) – The Flyers romped through a Western road trip and sit just behind the Penguins in the putrid Metro Division. The Flyboys have really turned things around.

12. Detroit Red Wings (19-14-10, last week 11) – They might be a boring hockey team when it comes to the HBO cameras, but the Wings know how to hang around in the playoff picture.

11. Vancouver Canucks (23-13-8, last week 7) – The Canucks have lost four in a row with Eddie Lack as the goalie of record in three of those games. Meanwhile Roberto Luongo gets an MRI done. Not good times in Vancouver.

10. Colorado Avalanche (26-11-4, last week: 12) – The streaky Avs had won three in a row and continued to show plenty of promise as a playoff team. Then they lost to the Calgary Flames. Nobody’s perfect.

9. Los Angeles Kings (26-13-4, last week: 8) – The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over the Canucks, but there is still some offensive issues with this team.

8. Montreal Canadiens (25-14-5, last week: 10) – First Daniel Briere is a healthy scratch on his way out, and then P.K. Subban is in danger of being criminally snubbed for Team Canada. It’s never boring in Montreal.    

7. Tampa Bay Lightning (25-13-4, last week: 9) – The Bolts appear to have dodged another injury bullet when big time Ben Bishop indicated his injury wasn’t all that serious.

6. Boston Bruins (28-12-2, last week: 6) – The Bruins beat up on softies in Nashville and Winnipeg to close out a very easy nine game stretch, but now face the big challenge in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose this week.

5. San Jose Sharks (27-10-6, last week: 5) – It will be a test with both Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture lost for a long period of time due to injury.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (31-12-1, last week: 3) – The Penguins have lost only three times in a span that dates back to Nov. 27 despite a bevy of injuries. That’s impressive and speaks to the depth of the organization.

3. Chicago Blackhawks (29-7-9, last week: 2) – Extra session losses to the Blues and Sharks have dropped them down a spot, but they’re still a beast of a hockey club.

2. Anaheim Ducks (31-8-5, last week: 1) – Jonas Hiller has won a team-record 11 consecutive games, and it’s virtually impossible to defeat the Ducks at the Honda Center.

1. St. Louis Blues (29-7-5, last week: 4) – Five wins in a row for the Blues including outscoring the Kings and Blue Jackets by an 11-2 margin in their last two wins. They’re just crushing people right now, and they’re doing it without Alex Steen.