NHL Power Rankings: Predicting Where Each Team Will Be at the End of the Year
As the regular season comes to a close, Bleacher Report will take a look at where each team will be when all is said and done in this version of the power rankings.
Will your team make the postseason this year? Stay tuned.
All scores are accurate as of Sunday.
30. Florida Panthers
Last Week: 30
Record: 13-20-6 (6-4-0)
The Cats have won three of four, but at this point, Florida just has to hope for the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s NHL draft.
Predicted Finish: No. 15 in East, No. 5 in Southeast
29. Calgary Flames
Last Week: 29
Record: 13-20-4 (2-8-0)
It’s all over for the Flames.
Rival Edmonton drove the stake in with back-to-back wins by a combined score of 12-3.
Predicted Finish: No. 15 in West, No. 5 Northwest
28. Colorado Avalanche
Last Week: 28
Record: 12-21-5 (2-7-1)
It’s surprising that a team as talented as the Avalanche have only one win in their last nine games. It doesn’t matter who they play—Vancouver and Detroit will make the playoffs, Nashville, Dallas, Calgary and Phoenix probably won’t—they can’t win.
Better luck next year.
Predicted Finish: No. 14 in West, No. 4 in Northwest
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Week: 27
Record: 16-20-2 (4-5-1)
The Lightning squandered the talent they had on their team this year. Take Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Victor Hedman, add the surprise emergence of Cory Conacher (before he was traded), and you should have a playoff team.
There’s still hope, especially in a weak division, but by losing three of their last four, this team is doing itself no favors.
Predicted Finish: No. 14 in East, No. 4 in Southeast
26. Buffalo Sabres
Last Week: 26
Record: 16-17-6 (6-2-2)
The Sabres just ruined Pittsburgh’s night on Tuesday. That’s kind of their role right now: the spoiler.
Job well done, I guess.
Predicted Finish: No. 13 in East, No. 5 in Northeast
25. Phoenix Coyotes
Last Week: 25
Record: 17-15-6 (4-4-2)
The Coyotes have put forth a valiant effort, beating L.A., Detroit and Colorado in recent games, but they have a tough schedule ahead of them and do not have a complete enough team to get the wins they need to make the postseason this year.
Predicted Finish: No. 13 West, No. 5 Pacific
24. Carolina Hurricanes
Last Week: 24
Record: 16-19-2 (1-8-1)
No fan wants to see his team lose eight of its last 10 games, but it’s got to be really hard for hockey nuts in Carolina who know their team still has a chance to win the division.
The Hurricanes need to turn it around right now if they want to make the playoffs.
Predicted Finish: No. 12 in East, No. 3 in Southeast
23. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last Week: 19
Record: 16-16-7 (5-4-1)
The bottom line with the Blue Jackets is that they can beat non-playoff teams in the West, but can’t win against clubs that will be around after 48 games.
That’s not a good recipe to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Predicted Finish: No. 12 in West, No. 5 in Central
22. Winnipeg Jets
Last Week: 17
Record: 19-19-2 (3-7-0)
The playoffs? Ask your parents about it, Winnipeg.
It’s fun to entertain the thought of the Jets in the playoffs, but they are still a little young yet, and that recent five-game losing streak appears to have put delusions of grandeur to rest in the ‘Peg.
Predicted Finish: No. 11 in East, No. 2 in Southeast
21. Philadelphia Flyers
Last Week: 23
Record: 17-18-3 (5-3-2)
They are making a valiant effort by beating Boston, Washington, Montreal and Toronto, four potential playoff teams, but it seems like it’s too little, too late for the Flyers.
With a few changes, Philadelphia has enough talent there to reverse its fortunes next year.
Predicted Finish: No. 10 in East, No. 5 in Atlantic
20. Nashville Predators
Last Week: 18
Record: 15-17-8 (4-4-2)
Chicago essentially knocked the Predators out of the playoffs by handing them three of the last six losses they have sustained in their last seven games.
It’s tough to lose a player like Ryan Suter, especially in a small, Southern market like Nashville.
Predicted finish: No. 11 in West, No. 4 in Central
19. New Jersey Devils
Last Week: 16
Record: 15-14-10 (2-4-4)
I hate to do this because I know never to count out the Devils, but by losing seven straight games New Jersey has dug too big of a hole to climb out of.
Predicated Finish: No. 9 in East, No. 4 in Atlantic
18. Edmonton Oilers
Last Week: 20
Record: 16-15-7 (5-4-1)
Big losses in Vancouver and Los Angeles by a combined score of 8-1 didn’t help Edmonton’s playoff chances.
Predicted Finish: No. 10 in West, No. 3 in Northwest
17. Dallas Stars
Last Week: 22
Record: 18-17-3 (5-5-0)
Just when you think it’s safe to play in the Pacific Division: dun, dun, dun, dun—the Stars are going to get ya!
That’s right, people thought this team was done for after dealing away Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy. Then they go and beat the Ducks and Sharks.
Can they keep it up? I’m not so sure of that.
Predicted Finish: No. 9 in West, No. 4 in Pacific
16. New York Islanders
Last Week: 15
Record: 19-16-4 (6-3-1)
By beating New Jersey, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay recently, the Islanders have done enough to convince me they are a playoff team.
Predicated Finish: No. 8 in East, No. 3 in Atlantic
15. Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 12
Record: 19-15-5 (5-5-0)
The Red Wings aren’t going to miss the playoffs, we all know that, but they’re going to cut it close. This team has lost to San Jose, Chicago and St. Louis, but also beat Colorado twice and split with Phoenix.
Detroit is a borderline playoff team that is going to get in by the hair on its chinny, chin, chin.
Predicted Finish: No. 8 in West, No. 3 in Central
14. New York Rangers
Last Week: 14
Record: 19-15-4 (5-3-2)
A 6-1 win over Pittsburgh? It’s all Ryane Clowe! Just kidding, but that was a nice addition.
The Rangers are going to get in, but it’s didn’t come as easily as people thought at the beginning of the year.
Predicted Finish: No. 7 in East, No. 2 in Atlantic
13. Ottawa Senators
Last Week: 11
Record: 19-13-6 (5-5-0)
The Senators are mired in a losing streak, but if they can rally and beat Tampa Bay, Philly and New Jersey next week—which they are completely capable of—there is no reason they can’t get the Southeast matchup in the playoffs.
Predicted Finish: No. 6 in East, No. 4 in Northeast
12. Washington Capitals
Last Week: 21
Record: 20-17-2 (8-1-1)
Washington has taken care of business recently and become the front-runners to win the weak Southeast Division this year.
Even though they have struggled this season, the Capitals have plenty of talent on the roster and could be a sleeper (if that’s possible as a No. 3 seed) come playoff time.
Predicted Finish: No. 3 in East, No. 1 in Southeast
11. San Jose Sharks
Last Week: 9
Record: 20-11-7 (8-1-1)
After some uncertainty whether the Sharks would make the playoffs this year, San Jose reeled off seven straight wins and has pretty much secured itself a place in this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
Predicted Finish: No. 7 in West, No. 3 in Pacific
10. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last Week: 10
Record: 21-13-4 (6-1-3)
What a year for the Leafs.
Everyone outside of Toronto wondered how long it would last, but this team has put itself in the playoff picture and never relinquished its position despite playing in the toughest division out East.
They’ve got a difficult schedule ahead of them, but the Leafs should be more than capable of making the Stanley Cup playoffs this year.
Predicted Finish: No. 5 in East, No. 3 in Northeast
9. St. Louis Blues
Last Week: 13
Record: 21-14-2 (6-4-0)
After losing three in a row, including games against Calgary and Edmonton, the Blues knew they had to step their game up or risk missing out on the playoffs.
They did just that, beating Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit on the road.
Predicted Finish: No. 6 in West, No. 2 in Central
8. Vancouver Canucks
Last Week: 8
Record: 21-11-6 (8-2-0)
The Canucks have played well recently, but they’ve also played a pretty soft schedule and were blanked in Edmonton.
Things get a little tougher from here on out, but as long as Vancouver plays .500 hockey, it should be in.
Predicted Finish: No. 5 in West, No. 2 in Northwest
7. Los Angeles Kings
Last Week: 7
Record: 22-13-4 (5-3-2)
The Kings recovered quickly after losing in Phoenix by blanking Minnesota, 3-0.
As long as Los Angeles doesn’t stumble down the stretch, it's capable of playing in the No. 4-5 seed game.
Predicted Finish: No. 4 in West, No. 2 in Pacific
6. Minnesota Wild
Last Week: 6
Record: 22-14-2 (6-4-0)
After winning eight of their last nine, the Wild dropped three straight to St. Louis, San Jose and Anaheim before blanking Columbus.
Next week’s contests against Chicago and St. Louis are statement games for Minnesota, which has high expectations for the playoffs this year.
Predicted Finish: No. 3 in West, No. 1 in Northwest
5. Boston Bruins
Last Week: 4
Record: 24-9-4 (5-4-1)
Boston was on a bit of a roll until it had to go play in Montreal.
It is the second time in six games that the Bruins have lost to the rival Canadiens.
Predicted Finish: No. 4 in East, No. 2 in Northeast
4. Montreal Canadiens
Last Week: 5
Record: 25-8-5 (6-3-1)
There was a little slip-up with that loss in Philadelphia, but the Canadiens established themselves as a force in the East by winning five of their last six, including two contests against Boston.
It’s crazy to think that this team was in the cellar last season...what a turnaround.
Predicted Finish: No. 2 in East, No. 1 in Northeast
3. Anaheim Ducks
Last Week: 3
Record: 26-8-5 (4-5-1)
Ducks fans would have liked to see a sweep of the Stars, but Anaheim at least took two of three from Dallas.
Their contests against SoCal rival Los Angeles, a team they recently beat at home and will play on Saturday, will be a good indication of where the Ducks sit in the hockey hierarchy. For right now, it looks like they’ve got their division locked down.
Predicted Finish: No. 2 in West, No. 1 in Pacific
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
Last Week: 2
Record: 29-10-0 (8-2-0)
Things didn’t really start out the way Pittsburgh wanted them to in April, as the Penguins had Buffalo snap their win streak and the Rangers manhandle them in Manhattan.
Penguins fans hope that the 2-1 shootout win at the CONSOL Energy Center is enough to get their team back on track. Either way, this club has plenty of cushion following its impressive effort in March.
Predicted Finish: No. 1 East, No. 1 Atlantic
1. Chicago Blackhawks
Last Week: 1
Record: 29-5-4 (6-3-1)
St. Louis got them in a shootout, but otherwise Chicago has had pretty good success lately.
Next week’s contests against the Wild, Wings and, yep, the Blues are all on national television and a good opportunity for everyone to see the Blackhawks play a team they will potentially face in the postseason.
Predicted Finish: No. 1 in West, No. 1 in Central
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