The 2013 lockout-shortened regular season is approaching the halfway mark, and the talk about where every team stands on the power rankings board so far is on the lips of hockey fans everywhere.
This much NHL in such a short period of time is very exciting, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with every team in the league. Here is the complete rundown of how every team has played thus far.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (19-0-3)
The Chicago Blackhawks are playing amazing hockey right now, starting the season with 22 straight games without a regulation loss. Led by the stellar defensive play of captain Jonathan Toews, everyone on the team is playing responsible, and the Blackhawks are built for the long haul of postseason play.
2. Anaheim Ducks (15-3-2)
There weren’t many NHL insiders that dubbed the Anaheim Ducks as the second-best team in the NHL this season, but the lockout-shortened schedule has thrown a wrench in the works. Anaheim leads the Pacific Division, and as long as they continue to play solid fundamental hockey, they will be a force all season.
3. Montreal Canadiens (14-4-4)
The Montreal Canadiens are on top of the Northeast Division for now, but the team’s ability to play as a cohesive unit has been the real key to their success. The Canadiens are not the most talent team in the league, but the willingness from the entire roster to work hard in all three zones is paying major dividends.
4. Boston Bruins (14-3-2)
Hot on Montreal’s heels is the Boston Bruins, a team that spent the offseason reworking their roster and replacing their starting goaltender (h/t Boston Globe). With Tuukka Rask in net as the new No. 1 goalie, the Bruins continue to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-0)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are perennial powerhouses because of All-Star center Sidney Crosby, but it is the supporting cast that has stepped up through the first half of the season and made the team so dangerous. The inability to force overtime games is a concern, but something the team must conscientiously work on for the remainder of the schedule.
6. Vancouver Canucks (11-6-4)
The NHL has not seen the best of the Vancouver Canucks yet in 2013, and they are still one of the most potent offensive teams in the Western Conference. The Canucks also lead the Northwest Division, setting the stage for the re-emergence of the Sedin twins as offensive juggernauts and another deep postseason run for Vancouver.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (13-9-0)
One of the biggest enigmas in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs look awful at times, and will come back the next night with a playoff-caliber performance. If Toronto could find any kind of offensive consistency, the team would be a serious contender.
8. Ottawa Senators (12-7-4)
While many NHL experts thought that the Achilles injury to defender Erik Karlsson (h/t Yahoo! Sports) would be the end of the road for the Ottawa Senators, the toughness throughout the lineup and stellar goaltending have kept the team close enough in games to steal several wins.
9. San Jose Sharks (10-6-4)
The San Jose Sharks started the season on fire, but have slowed considerably over the last two weeks. The notoriously streaky offensive unit has once again gone cold, and the depth scoring must step up when veterans like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren’t playing well.
10. New Jersey Devils (10-6-5)
The New Jersey Devils play a tough-style of hockey that wears their competitors down with physical play, but it also takes a toll on the team playing that way every night as well. Let’s see if the team can keep it up for the remainder of the season, or if they start showing signs of wearing down.
11. St. Louis Blues (11-8-2)
Just like the Devils, the St. Louis Blues play a very fundamental style of hockey predicated on physical play and defensive prowess. The problem for the Blues is the streaky scoring of the supporting cast, but as long as star forward T.J. Oshie is on the ice, St. Louis has a chance to win every game.
12. Detroit Red Wings (10-8-4)
This is not a Detroit Red Wings team the NHL is accustomed to seeing, and the lack of elite defensive play is stunning. The Red Wings are still a very dangerous team, but without the veteran leadership of retired Nicklas Lidstrom on the blue line, they can lose their direction at times.
13. Dallas Stars (11-9-2)
There is no question that the Dallas Stars have the raw talent to be a force in the NHL, but the inability to get all the pieces playing well at the same time has marred the team’s performance so far in 2013. If the Stars can get forward Loui Eriksson and the rest of the offense playing consistently, Dallas will be a threat in the Western Conference.
14. Carolina Hurricanes (12-8-1)
The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the more pleasant surprises of the lockout-shortened season, but a devastating knee injury to Cam Ward (h/t Hurricanes.com) will have the team reeling. This injury will either prove how good the team is or how bad they are without Ward.
15. Phoenix Coyotes (10-8-3)
Everything about the Phoenix Coyotes screams middle-of-the-pack, and that’s exactly where the lack of depth at forward and on defense will get the team this regular season. Someone needs to buy this team (h/t Sporting News) and make them a contender because the Coyotes could be great with the right personnel moves.
16. Los Angeles Kings (10-7-2)
The defending Stanley Cup Champions have not looked great this season, and if the Los Angeles Kings want a chance to defend their title in the postseason, they must start playing more consistently at both ends of the ice. The championship party is over, boys.
17. Philadelphia Flyers (11-11-1)
The Philadelphia Flyers were vaunted as one of the better teams in the NHL coming into the lockout-shortened season, but injuries and a lack of elite play from the defensive unit has resulted in goalie Ilya Bryzgalov being hung out to dry too often. The veteran goalie is performing well this season, but the Flyers must find a rhythm at both ends of the ice before they’re considered a real threat.
18. Minnesota Wild (11-8-2)
The offseason signings of forward Zach Parise and defender Ryan Suter shook the hockey world to its core (h/t ESPN), but the results have not been showed on the ice for the Wild. With so much money wrapped up in those two star players, the ability for Minnesota to surround them with more talent is a task proving too tough to handle.
19. New York Rangers (10-8-2)
The acquisition of a huge star like Rick Nash brought sky-high expectations for the New York Rangers this season, and they have flat-out not lived up to the hype. The lack of depth behind the top scorers has killed the team’s offensive momentum, and there is nothing Henrik Lundqvist can do if the players in front of him can’t put the puck in the net consistently.
20. Nashville Predators (9-8-5)
While the Nashville Predators were able to retain star defender Shea Weber this offseason (h/t USA Today), the move hasn’t helped the team as much as anticipated. Weber is only one man, and the lack of depth throughout the roster has resulted in a mediocre season to this point. With all of that said, the Predators are still talented enough to sneak into the playoffs.
21. Winnipeg Jets (10-10-1)
One of the most unpredictable teams so far this season has been the Winnipeg Jets. The team has beaten solid teams and lost to the worst in the league, but they always find a way to keep the games interesting. The Jets likely won’t make the playoffs, but they are just unpredictable enough to make them must-watch TV.
22. Edmonton Oilers (8-9-4)
There weren’t too many experts that expected the Edmonton Oilers to contend this season, but the development of the younger stars and the experience of a tough season statistically will be the best medicine for a future top player in the league like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
23. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-11-1)
Led by Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning offensive unit is one of the most dangerous in the NHL. The problem is the lack of elite defensive play and consistent goaltending. If Tampa Bay ever wants to be a real contender for a Stanley Cup, they must find a goalie the franchise can hang its hat on.
24. Colorado Avalanche (8-8-4)
The Colorado Avalanche are building for the future, and while the franchise expected growing pains, injuries have played a huge role in the team’s lack of success so far in 2013. The organization is hoping for a better second half from a plethora of fresh faces that should be blossoming at any moment.
25. New York Islanders (9-11-2)
The New York Islanders are incredibly young and talented at the forward positions, but the lack of elite goaltending and almost no defensive unit at all has made the team look foolish at times. As talented as offensive defenders Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky are, the Islanders just need a few top-notch stay-home defensemen.
26. Washington Capitals (8-11-1)
What happened to the Washington Capitals? Led by Alex Ovechkin’s lackluster season, the entire Capitals’ team has underperformed and underwhelmed at every turn. While there is still time to turn the ship around, what appears to be a lack of effort at times is the most damning weakness with this team.
27. Buffalo Sabres (9-12-2)
With Ryan Miller in net and Thomas Vanek lighting it up offensively, most NHL experts had the Buffalo Sabres as one of the teams to beat in the shortened regular season. Now the Sabres sit in last in the Northeast Division and are a shell of the team they were supposed to be. Didn’t see that coming.
28. Calgary Flames (8-8-4)
The Calgary Flames have been nothing but average over the last three seasons, and the lockout hasn’t changed much for the team. Despite a recent surge of offense from veteran forward Jarome Iginla, the Flames continue to struggle.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-12-4)
There was no doubt that the Columbus Blue Jackets would have trouble in 2013 after trading away veteran winger Rick Nash, but the team has been awful so far this season. Inconsistency in every facet of the game has doomed the Blue Jackets from day one, and it will not cease anytime soon.
30. Florida Panthers (6-11-5)
A playoff team last season, the Florida Panthers have struggled to find any rhythm offensively or defensively, and the mediocre goaltending has the team doomed to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.