Chase’s NHL Power Rankings: Top 10
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs nearing, it’s time to start looking at the contenders for the Cup. Here is a rundown of what I believe to be the ten best teams in the NHL right now.
#1. Boston Bruins
The Bruins have been atop the NHL for a majority of this season. They are led by what is arguably the best first line in hockey with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak wreaking havoc on opposing defenses nightly. With a phenomenal defense and an electric power play, Boston will be extremely tough to defeat come playoff time.
#2. St. Louis Blues
The Blues have been a model of consistency this year. They are as balanced as a team can be, sporting a combination of good offense, great goaltending, and an elite defensive unit. Sitting atop the Western Conference, the defending champions will surely be in the mix in April.
#3. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning took a big hit recently, losing captain Steven Stamkos for 6-8 weeks due to a core muscle surgery. However, I still believe that they will be a serious contender going forward. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov still present many challenges for the opposition without Stamkos in the fold. With a fairly soft schedule coming up, look for Tampa Bay to gather wins and make a push to win the Atlantic Division.
#4. Colorado Avalanche
Colorado is going all in this year and they are a very dangerous team. With Mikko Rantanen out of action for the last few weeks, Nathan MacKinnon has been on a tear, carrying this team to the playoffs. While MacKinnon recently went down with an injury, it does not appear serious. They are also only 2 points out of first place in the Central Division and they will be a strong bet to make a Cup run.
#5. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are the hottest team in hockey as they are currently riding a nine-game winning streak. Having Carter Hart between the pipes along with a strong offensive unit make the Flyers a tough team to beat. Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes have blossomed into a wonderful duo for Philly. With the leadership of Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, the Flyers are in prime position for a strong Cup run.
#6. Washington Capitals
The Capitals have been on a bit of a skid as of late, however, they will obviously still be a very dangerous team come playoff time. Goaltending has been a major issue, yet their dominant offensive unit led by Alexander Ovechkin makes them capable of winning any game on any night. The 2018 Champions will be in the mix.
#7. Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas is another team that has been on fire, winning 11 of their last 13 games. The Golden Knights are an extremely balanced team led by great a offensive unit and great goaltending. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty have been having a fantastic season together and I expect them to keep things going and win the Pacific division.
#8. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are finally back to being somewhat healthy, currently sitting at second place in the Pacific division. Edmonton features the top duo in the league, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, who have been an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses. Draisaitl is having a career year and will likely be rewarded with both the Hart and Art Ross when this season comes to a close. If these two can keep making magic together, the Oilers can surely make some noise in the playoffs.
#9. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins currently sit in third place in the Metro division after holding onto the number two spot for a majority of the year. This is a result of a recent rough stretch of games, as the Pens have dropped 8 of their last 10 games. This is certainly not the time of the year to fall into a skid, but with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the charge, they can right the ship very quickly. With loads of playoff experience, the Penguins are always a threat to make a run.
#10. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes made three deadline deals, gearing up to make a serious run come playoff time. However, they have recently been plagued by goaltending issues as they are currently without their top two goalies in James Reimer and Petr Mrazek. Yet, the offense has stepped up as of late and Carolina has the talent to make a run at the Cup.