This has been a very entertaining first half of the NHL season. There was an outdoor NHL hockey game in the United States for the first time ever, and people actually went to it. Now all the league has to do is find a way to put games on a television channel that we can find.
Here are my mid-season rankings and second half outlooks for all 30 teams:
#1 Detroit Red Wings (36-10-4)
With the best record in the league, the Wings look ready to make another run at the Cup behind their two great goaltenders.
#2 San Jose Sharks (26-15-7)
Joe Thornton is having a great season with his 42 helpers and 15 goals; look for the Sharks to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.
#3 Ottawa Senators (30-15-4)
With Heatley out, Alfredsson and Spezza should look to pick up the slack if they want to hold on to their best record in the East and go far in the playoffs.
#4 New Jersey Devils (28-17-3)
After a shaky start to the season, the Devils have turned it around and lead the best division in the NHL. With Brodeur this team always has a chance to go all the way.
#5 Anahiem Ducks (27-18-6)
The defending champs are having a good season and with their defense and Giguere in goal, they will have a chance to repeat.
#6 Dallas Stars (28-19-5)
Ribeiro leads the team in goals, assists, and plus/minus and gets a new contract. But do they have enough to make a deep run in the playoffs?
#7 Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-4)
What else is there to say? Being in the toughest division in hockey without Sid the Kid—they need Malkin, Malone, and Sykora to steer the ship until Crosby comes back. And then they can make a run for the Cup.
#8 Calgary Flames (25-17-8)
Jarome Iginla is having an MVP-type season and is the captain of the Western All-Star team. But do the Flames have enough depth for the playoffs?
#9 Colorado Avalanche (26-19-4)
With key injuries to Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, and now Paul Stastny—the Avs need to get healthy fast if they want to go deep into the playoffs.
#10 Minnesota Wild (27-19-3)
The Wild could be a team to look out for come playoff time with Gaborik looking good so far this season with 51 points.
#11 Philadelphia Flyers (26-16-5)
With 55 points, Mike Richards is headed to Atlanta. But before they can make a run in the playoffs, they need to sure-up their goaltender situation.
#12 Montreal Canadiens (25-15-8)
With Kovalev and Koivu playing well and Huet having a good year with a GAA of 2.31, this could be a team to look out for later in the year.
#13 Vancouver Canucks (25-19-5)
Henrik and Daniel Sedin are having good years and Luongo is having another All-Star year. Look for the Canucks to surprise a team in the playoffs.
#14 Phoenix Coyotes (25-21-2)
Having somewhat of a surprising year, the Coyotes with Doan and Vrbata will look to try to fight for one of those last seeds in the playoffs.
#15 New York Islanders (24-19-6)
DiPietro hasn't really lived up to that 30 year contract he signed with a GAA of 2.54. I don't think the Islanders have enough to last in their division.
#16 New York Rangers (23-21-6)
Somewhat of a disappointment. With the signing of Gomez and Hossa along with Jagr you would think they wouldn't finish the first half of the season at the bottom of their division.
#17 Carolina Hurricanes (24-24-4)
With a .500 record and still leading their division, the Hurricanes along with Staal will likely find their way in and then quickly out of the playoffs.
#18 Columbus Blue Jackets (24-20-6)
After that unbelievable goal by Rick Nash last week, the Jackets could look to contend in the playoffs with help from Zherdev and Hejda.
#19 St. Louis Blues (22-18-6)
Manny Lagace will make his first trip to the All-Star game in his nine years. Using Lagace and Kariya, the Blues could finally do something in the playoffs. Maybe.
#20 Nashville Predators (25-20-4)
The Preds need someone else to step up and help Jason Arnott in order for them to stay with Detroit and Columbus in the Central division.
#21 Boston Bruins (24-19-5)
Sorry Boston you can't have all the fun in the sports world. You get baseball, basketball, and football—you can let someone else have hockey. Thanks.
#22 Chicago Blackhawks (23-22-4)
With young talent in Patrick Kane, the Hawks could look to build on a decent year and look to making a real run next year.
#23 Washington Capitals (22-21-5)
They're going to need more than just the $100 man in Ovechkin if they want to contend in the years to come.
#24 Florida Panthers (22-24-4)
Well at least baseball season is coming soon, maybe that will cheer up the Floridians.
#25 Edmonton Oilers (22-24-5)
I was expecting a little more from the Oilers this season. It's going to be hard for them to rise up from the bottom of the Northwest Division.
#26 Atlanta Thrashers (23-25-3)
At least Kovalchuk doesn't have to travel far for the All-Star game.
#27 Buffalo Sabres (20-21-6)
I would have thought the Sabres would have been better then a game under .500 with their young talent.
#28 Tampa Bay Lightning (20-24-5)
They need to find more depth behind Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Richards if they want to make the playoffs.
#29 Los Angeles Kings (19-29-2)
The future could be bright with young talent led by Anze Kopitar.
#30 Toronto Maple Leafs (19-22-8)
Since firing GM John Ferguson they should be able to get something done. And a lot of teams are looking at Sundin.
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