1. Boston Bruins (No Change)
Average Rank: 1 (Unanimous)
The Bruins continue making history as they became the fastest team to reach 50 wins in NHL history. A President’s Trophy for the Bruins is in the cards, but what’s next? The crew they’ve assimilated this season has a ton of expectations going into the playoffs. Can they reach their ultimate goal of winning it all?
2. Carolina Hurricanes (No Change)
Average Rank: 2.33 (2,2,3)
The Hurricanes had some great momentum of late but had that all go away with the news that Andrei Svechnikov would be done for the year. Losing Max Pacioretty earlier this year and now Svechnikov greatly impacts how far they’ll be able to go in the playoffs. To lose major scoring depth at the wing position puts Carolina in a precarious situation as we draw close to the playoffs.
3. New Jersey Devils (No Change)
Average Rank: 2.67 (2,3,3)
With Timo Meier slowly settling in with the Devils, New Jersey has finally gotten within an arm’s length of Carolina for 1st place in the Metropolitan Division. Recently the Devils have struggled to close games and truly shut opponents down the stretch late in games. The Devils have managed to carve themselves a lot of wins as the comeback kids, but can they maintain some consistency in their return to the playoffs?
4. Vegas Golden Knights (⬆3)
Average Rank: 4.67 (4,5,5)
Vegas, after struggling through much of the winter, has finally started to bounce back strong. Jonathan Quick has looked stellar as he is now 4-0 with his new club. This addition was a sneaky one with all the injuries the Golden Knights had between the pipes, but can Quick keep this up in the playoffs like the man who won two Stanley Cups for L.A.?
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (⬇1)
Average Rank: 5 (4,5,6)
The Leafs meant business this trade deadline and they have proven themselves worthy. They’ve already locked in the 2nd spot in the division for the playoffs. Now it’s time for Toronto to finally show the world that they’re ready to go far in the playoffs this year.
6. New York Rangers (No Change)
Average Rank: 6.67 (6,6,8)
Even with the acquisitions of Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, the Rangers’ offense has not been as potent as they would have liked. New York is going to have to step up their scoring and generation at the five vs five to compete with the big dogs come playoff time. The Rangers have shown how far they can go riding on the back of Shesterkin, but can they really afford to do it again? Shesterkin hasn’t been as invincible this year, and the Rangers will need a lot to go right if they plan to go all the way.
7. Dallas Stars (⬆2)
Average Rank: 6.67 (4,7,9)
Dallas has proven they are playoff built. Many had questioned how serious of a contender Dallas was especially after their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. They have serious offensive depth and a strong goaltender in Jake Oettinger to take it all the way. The West is wide open and has shown it with their dominance in the Central Division this year.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (⬇3)
Average Rank: 7.67 (7,7,8)
Tampa earned some much-needed wins off the backs of New Jersey, but that doesn’t excuse how poor they’ve been beforehand. Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked off and the team around him has failed to show up and show out. It would be very dumb to count the Lightning out now. They’ve been one of the most competitive contenders of the past decade and have two Stanley Cups because of it. But the question arises, will time finally catch up to Tampa?
9. Los Angeles Kings (⬇1)
Average Rank: 8.33 (7,9,9)
The Kings have started to get the reliable goaltending they so desired. They combine all the other characteristics they’ve needed to be a solid contender. But now it all has to come together, heading into the playoffs. The kings have a serious shot out west, but how far can this goaltending tandem of Joonas Korpisalo and Pheonix Copley go?
10. Minnesota Wild (⬆2)
Average Rank: 10.33 (10,10,11)
Minnesota losing Kirill Kaprizov is a major blow. The Wild are going to have to figure out how to step up their already mediocre offense without him in the lineup. Especially with how tough the Central division is, it’s only going to get more difficult for them as they head to the playoffs.
11. Colorado Avalanche (⬇2)
Average Rank: 10.66 (10,11,11)
Colorado despite all their injuries this year has managed to come back from their absolutely terrible start. They’ve had some of the worst injury luck. in the league this year and still look like one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. Last year’s Stanley Cup winner has a serious chance to repeat again if they maintain this form.
12. Seattle Kraken (⬆2)
Average Rank: 12.33 (12,12,13)
After their hot start to the year, Kraken have cooled down. They still have had a major jump from last season and without a doubt, they are going to the playoffs. Seattle’s mix of overall depth and solid scoring has them in a prime position to make a decent run in this postseason.
13. Edmonton Oilers (No Change)
Average Rank: 12.67 (12,13,13)
The Oilers, after the trade deadline, have made some serious strides. McDavid has already reached an insane high of 130 points. Mattias Ekholm has already paid dividends as an addition on the defensive end. And they truly have a shot to fight for the top three spots in the division until the very last game of the regular season. They’ve shown us time and time again that they have the talent, but for them, it’s a Western Conference Finals appearance at minimum or bust.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (⬆2)
Average Rank: 14.67 (14,15,16)
It’s insane to think that after the trade deadline, the Penguins had that they would still be in a good position to make the playoffs. They are the oldest team in the NHL but still look like they can take on any of the youngest teams in the league. With Sidney Crosby and Evgenii Malkin firing on all cylinders, the Penguins are never out of the fight.
15. Winnipeg Jets (⬇4)
Average Rank: 15 (14,15,16)
The high-flying Jets have slowly started to crash. Their inconsistencies have been the death of them. And with Colorado and Dallas only getting stronger it really brings the question, how serious are the Jets going to be as a playoff opponent?