1. Boston Bruins (No Change)
Average Rank: 1 (Unanimous)
Boston has not only clinched the playoffs, but the Presidents trophy as well. If there’s any team in the NHL to beat, it’s Boston. But now the playoffs are in view. Can they break the Presidents Trophy that hasn’t been broken since 2013.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (No Change)
Average Rank: 2 (Unanimous)
Carolina has maintained their amazing success even with the loss of Andrei Svechnikov. The Canes are poised to go deep in the playoffs and could still hold First in the Metro. But with a couple games still to go and the Devils only three points behind, Carolina could face the Rangers who ousted them last year.
3. New Jersey Devils (No Change)
Average Rank: 3 (Unanimous)
The Devils through March haven’t had their best stretch. Despite having their ups and downs New Jersey has been able to handle being a top team in the Metropolitan Division. Whether they beat Carolina for first or stay put in second, the Devils will have a tough task in the First Round taking on either of the Rangers or Islanders.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (No Change)
Average Rank: 4 (Unanimous)
Vegas became the first team in the Western Conference to clinch the playoffs and have dominated of late. After dealing with a rough part of the season, the Golden Knights have bounced back big time. Not to mention, Jonathan Quick has been excellent and looks to have revived his career in current short stint with Vegas.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (No Change)
Average Rank: 5 (Unanimous)
Toronto has been stellar all season. Their hard work has paid off but now their final test is soon to present itself. They’re the first team to be locked into a playoff matchup as they are poised to play Tampa in the first round. Can they finally overcome the hurdle of being a first round exit?
6. New York Rangers (No Change)
Average Rank: 7 (6,7,8)
The star power of the Rangers has finally started to rear its head. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are ready to charge into the playoffs. The Devils or Carolina have been ahead of them all year and have the talent to stun them early and bounce them out. They were dominant enough to go all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season but can they get there again?
7. Colorado Avalanche(⬆4)
Average Rank: 7.33(6,7,9)
Colorado finally looks like the champions of last year. Going 8-2 in their last 10 they have climbed their way back to second place in the Central Division. Whoever counted them out was dead wrong and they have the potential to repeat if all goes right. The West is wide open and it’s theirs for the taking.
8. Los Angeles Kings (⬆1)
Average Rank: 8.67 (6,10,10)
The Kings are in the dead middle of the race in the Western Conference. For them it all depends on who they face in the first round. Vegas and Edmonton are on another level compared to everyone else in the Pacific/Wild Card. The Kings are talented, but the depth of the top teams might topple them. But you can’t count out this upgraded King’s team who pushed the Oilers to seven games last year.
9. Minnesota Wild (⬆1)
Average Rank: 8.67 (7,8,11)
The Wild looked almost dead in the water when the news of Kirill Kaprizov’s injury was announced. Since then they are 6–2-2 battling everyone in their path. Minnesota has proven they are tougher teams to beat even without their star player. And now that they sit atop the Central, they can make big strides heading into the playoffs.
10. Dallas Stars (⬇3)
Average Rank: 9.33 (9,9,10)
The Central in the second half of the season has proven to be much more of a bloodbath than anticipated. The Stars, who once sat atop the division now sit in third. Only one point separates them from the top of the division again but they need to find consistency in their game if they want to earn a favorable matchup in the first round. This Dallas team is preparing to go all the way again like they did in 2020.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning(⬇3)
Average Rank: 10 (8,11,11)
It would be dumb to count Tampa Bay out of anything. They are not the same team this year that was as strong in 2020 and 2021. The Lightning face a much better Toronto Maple Leafs squad then the one they ousted last year. This team has won championships for a reason, but father time is the winner amongst all. Is this the year they finally regress?
12. Edmonton Oilers (⬆1)
Average Rank: 12 (Unanimous)
Edmonton arguably has been the hottest team post All-Star. And now that they have climbed to the second spot in the Pacific and clinched the playoffs, they have much more to play for. McDavid has been the best player on Earth without question and now is the time for them to take advantage of that and make a statement in the playoffs.
13. Seattle Kraken (⬇1)
Average Rank: 13 (Unanimous)
The Kraken look to clinch their first playoff berth in franchise history. This team has made great strides from last season and have made magic. They possess great depth and can be a tough matchup for anyone as long as their goaltending holds up.
14. Winnipeg Jets (⬆1)
Average Rank: 14 (Unanimous)
The Jets need to get it together in this final stretch. Things look to be coming to an end with this current group in Winnipeg with how they haven’t succeeded in recent years. Hellebuyck has been their savior and the team in front is just not competitive enough to go far. They are in charge of their own destiny and now is the time to prove it.
15. New York Islanders (⬆1)
Average Rank: 15 (Unanimous)
The Islanders are a team that struggle in the regular season but are built to handle the rigors of the playoffs. Whoever they face will fear the might of Vezina candidate Ilya Sorokin between the pipes as his play will dictate the series. Otherwise, the Islanders with their suffocating structure and roster composition will bully and bore people in the playoffs.