NHL Power Rankings: Which Team Had the Best 2012 Overall?

Tom SchreierCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

NHL Power Rankings: Which Team Had the Best 2012 Overall?

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    In case you forgot how each team finished in the standings last season, you can always check the standings at NHL.com.

    This slideshow goes a little more in-depth, examining the overall impact of the season’s results on each club. While every team wants to finish with the best record and win the Stanley Cup, for some teams just making the playoffs is an accomplishment, while others entered the season with a cup-or-bust mentality.

    The following is a look at which teams had the best 2012 overall.

30. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Final record: 29-46-7 (65 points, 15th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    This team is in trouble—there’s no way around it.

    It’s not even like the situation with the Islanders or Oilers where an optimistic fan can look and say, “Well, we’re pretty damn talented—we’ve just got to be patient.”

    This team needs a big-time makeover.

29. Montreal Canadiens

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    Final record: 31-35-16 (78 points, 15th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Any time the Canadiens don’t make the playoffs, it’s a disappointment in Montreal.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Final record: 35-37-10 (80 points, 13th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Another season, another disappointment for the Leafs.

27. Calgary Flames

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    Final record: 37-29-16 (90 points, ninth in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    The Flames have an aging, but talented core that both management and fans believe in.

    Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay and Co. failed to deliver once again last season, however, and until this team makes the playoffs, it will be considered a disappointment in hockey-mad Calgary. 

26. Carolina Hurricanes

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    Final record: 33-33-16 (82 points, 12th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    With yet another season that the team misses the playoffs, the Hurricanes didn’t necessarily disappoint, but just became increasingly overlooked in the Carolinas.

    Fortunately, prescient management kept the core together and added a major piece, Jordan Staal, to generate interest in their hockey club.

25. Anaheim Ducks

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    Final record: 34-36-12 (80 points, 13th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Despite all the talent this team had last season, the Ducks couldn’t get out of the Pacific Division cellar. Younger players like Bobby Ryan and Cam Fowler should have complemented established veterans in Anaheim like Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but the team missed the playoffs in one of the league’s easiest divisions.

    In short, last season was a disappointment for the Ducks.

24. Buffalo Sabres

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    Final record: 39-32-11 (89 points, ninth in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Buffalo had a change in management that brought in owners willing to spend on the team. The Sabres added the players they thought they needed in the offseason and entered 2012 with the expectation that they would be a playoff team.

    Safe to say, this team fell short of expectations last season.

23. Dallas Stars

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    Final record: 42-35-5 (89 points, 10th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Dallas almost broke through last season.

    For some teams, almost making the playoffs can be kind of encouraging, but this team needs to have success now. The Tom Hicks fiasco left this team in financial dire straits, and unless the Stars can put a competitive team on the ice, they are going to find themselves in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of.

22. Minnesota Wild

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    Final record: 35-36-11 (81 points, 12th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    By not bringing the Stanley Cup Playoffs to hockey-mad Minnesota after a strong start, the Wild fell further out of favor with the locals.

    A recent spending spree generated a lot of interest in the offseason. Of course, this was before the lockout…that came as a result of owners giving out contracts like the ones Zach Parise and Ryan Suter got.

21. Colorado Avalanche

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    Final record: 41-35-6 (88 points, 11th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    At this point I think it’s fair to say that Avalanche fans expect their team to make the playoffs. Management has assembled a nice core of talented young players in hopes of generating interested the team once had in the state of Colorado.

    That means that missing the playoffs had to be disappointing last season, even if the team showed flashes of what it could become in the future.

20. Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Final record: 38-36-8 (84 points, 10th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    A year after getting to the Eastern Conference Championship, the Lightning’s trap scheme got undermined and the team could not follow up on its previous successes.

    In short, this season was much more devastating than the team’s record suggests.

19. New York Islanders

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    Final record: 34-37-11 (79 points, 14th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    There is reason to believe the Islanders will be good once again. Even though this team sat in the Eastern Conference cellar for yet another season, there is a lot of talent on the Island, and the fact that this team will be moving to Brooklyn means they can reassure their fans that they will remain in the New York market for years to come.

18. Edmonton Oilers

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    Final record: 32-40-10 (74 points, 14th in West)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Things may be looking bleak in Edmonton, but with all the talented players they’ve assembled over the years out there, you’ve gotta think they are slowly getting closer to building a winner with every year that passes.

17. Winnipeg Jets

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    Final record: 37-35-10 (84 points, 11th in East)

    Playoffs: Did not play

    Hockey fans in Winnipeg can see that their team has assembled a roster of young players with a lot of upside. There has to be a feeling that good things are in store for this club.

16. Washington Capitals

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    Final record: 42-32-8 (92 points, seventh in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in second round to New York (4-3)

    Although the Capitals upset the Bruins in the first round and nearly nipped the Rangers in the second, it’s hard to say this was a good year in Washington.

    The team saw Alexander Ovechkin’s production decline while their team coughed up their chokehold over the Southeast Division and barely made the postseason.

15. San Jose Sharks

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    Final record: 43-29-10 (96 points, seventh in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to St. Louis (4-1)

    After dominating the regular season year after year, the Sharks, a team that looked like they were on the brink of winning it all recently, dropped back to Earth last season.

    San Jose has to be disappointed in the fact that it relinquished its Pacific Division crown and were ousted in the first round last year.

14. Vancouver Canucks

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    Final record: 51-22-9 (111 points, first in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to Los Angeles (4-1)

    Another strong regular season, another premature playoff exit.

    A year after coming within a game of winning it all, the Canucks dominated the regular season only be golfing after the first round this season.

13. Detroit Red Wings

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    Final record: 48-28-6 (102 points, fifth in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to Nashville (4-1)

    The Red Wings are currently in a tailspin.

    Right now they look like a perennial one-and-done team in the postseason, only a few years from being considered a surefire contender every season.

12. Chicago Blackhawks

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    Final record: 45-26-11 (101 points, sixth in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to Phoenix (4-2)

    Chicago was a team that was entirely capable of winning the Stanley Cup last season.

    They fell victim to playing in a division with a scrappy team (Nashville), an established winner (Detroit) and an up-and-coming team that has suddenly hit its stride (St. Louis).

    Despite playing in the hardest division in the West, the Hawks still made the postseason, but again they had some tough luck. They were run over by a team that got unexpectedly hot in the postseason, Phoenix, and were sent home earlier than most people thought they would.

11. Ottawa Senators

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    Final record: 41-31-10 (92 points, eighth in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to New York (4-3)

    Rebuilding year? What are you talking about?

    The Senators were one of the most unexpectedly successful teams in the league last season. Considered a project in the beginning of the season, they snuck into the playoffs and took the mighty Rangers to Game 7 last year.

    Puckheads in Canada’s capital have to be happy with that.

10. Nashville Predators

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    Final record: 48-26-8 (104 points, fourth in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in second round to Phoenix (4-1)

    Nashville had an outstanding regular season last year. Despite playing in one of the league’s toughest divisions, the team finished ahead of two established clubs, Detroit and Chicago, and looked poised to make it past the second round for the first time in franchise history.

    Then they ran into a red-hot Phoenix club…

9. Phoenix Coyotes

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    Final record: 42-27-13 (97 points, third in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in third round to Los Angeles (3-1)

    The Coyotes may have been the best team in a division that played poorly in the regular season, but once they got in the playoffs, they were one of the most exciting teams in the league.

    With the team’s first Pacific Division championship since its inception and a deep playoff run, the Coyotes have their fans believing that the best has yet to come for this embattled franchise.

8. Florida Panthers

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    Final record: 38-26-18 (94 points, third in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to New Jersey (4-3)

    Florida may have backed into its playoff spot with so many ties that the Navy issued them a marlinspike, but their near upset of the Devils in the first round of the playoffs got hockey fans in South Florida juiced for the upcoming season.

    And then the league locked their players out…

7. Boston Bruins

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    Final record: 49-29-4 (102 points, second in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to Washington (4-3)

    Last season was disappointing for the Bruins because of their early exit in the postseason.

    After putting together a strong regular season in which they controlled the Northeast Division all season long, the team earned a No. 2 seed and looked poised to defend their title as Stanley Cup Champions.

    Unfortunately for fans in Boston, a Washington team that had just undergone a makeover undid the team.

    The positive for the Bruins is that they have much of the talent that won it all in 2011 and they should be considered contenders whenever the NHL resumes play.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Final record: 51-25-6 (108 points, fourth in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in first round to Philadelphia (4-2)

    The fact that the Flyers sent this team home early last year has to make it hard to see this season as a success, even if they did accrue 108 points during the regular season.

5. Philadelphia Flyers

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    Final record: 47-26-9 (103 points, fifth in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in the second round to New Jersey (4-1)

    Even though Flyers fans saw their team eliminated from the playoffs unceremoniously and then witnessed a couple of their former players win it all in Los Angeles, the general feeling in Philadelphia is that the future is bright.

    Many of the team’s current players got a taste of the postseason last year and, hey, if nothing else, they beat their cross-state rivals in Pittsburgh.

4. St. Louis Blues

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    Final record: 49-22-11 (109 points, second in West)

    Playoffs: Lost in second round to Los Angeles (4-0)

    Getting swept in the second round has to be painful, especially after throttling San Jose in their first postseason matchup, but the Blues know they have a lot going for them.

    Their young core is coming together, and they have one of the league’s greatest coaches to help make the playoffs a regular thing in St. Louis for the first time since the lockout.

3. New York Rangers

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    Final record: 51-24-7 (109 points, first in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in third round to New Jersey (4-2)

    This team was capable of winning it all last year, so losing to a division rival in the Eastern Conference Finals is tough to swallow, but longtime Blueshirt fans have to think that their team is going to do big things in the future after last year’s results.

2. New Jersey Devils

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    Final record: 48-26-6 (102 points, sixth in East)

    Playoffs: Lost in Finals to Los Angeles (4-2)

    New Jersey got a little lost during the regular season due to the success of its Atlantic Division brethren, but the Devils passed up the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Safe to say, last season was really successful for the Diablos.

1. Los Angeles Kings

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    Final record: 40-27-15 (95 points, eighth in West)

    Playoffs: Won the Stanley Cup

    They may have snuck into the playoffs, but the Kings had the best season over all because they, well, won the Stanley Cup for the first time in team history.

     

    Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com and contributes to Hockey’s Future and Stadium Journey.