This is the last NHL power rankings of the season, and it doubles as the final report card for these teams. The blurbs will be short and to the point. I don’t want to be too wordy since you are most likely going to be reading playoff previews starting tomorrow or Wednesday, so I want to make this quick for everyone to read. The grades are based partly off of performance and partly off of performance versus expectations.
So with that said let’s jump right in.
Final NHL Power Rankings and Team Grades
The Top Ten
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | (Grade) A+
62 wins is impressive, but can the Lightning get over the playoff hump?
2. Calgary Flames | A+
Great offense, solid defense, but can they get the goaltending they need?
3. Boston Bruins | A+
The Bruins need to cut down on the short-handed goals allowed in the playoffs if they want to win a Cup.
4. New York Islanders | A
The Islanders have been a nice surprise, their defense has been airtight to this point. They are going to need that against Pittsburgh in round 1.
5. Washington Capitals | A
The Capitals have started to come around recently. That is scary for the NHL.
6. San Jose Sharks | A
The Sharks have a great offense, a solid defense. But a goalie that scares me. It will be interesting to see how Martin Jones plays
7. Toronto Maple Leafs | A
The Maple Leafs might have issues with their size and defense. They had the same problems last season. Sure Jake Muzzin helps but not a lot.
8. Nashville Predators | A
The Predators are scary because they have such a talented defense and a world-class goalie. But what happens if Pekka Rinne can’t perform in the clutch again?
9. Winnipeg Jets | B+
The Jets have a really good roster but a goalie that is limited in playoff experience. That last part scares me for the Jets.
10. St. Louis Blues | B+
Jordan Binnington has been the biggest story for the Blues and deserves to be in the Rookie of the Year and MVP race for what he has done for the Blues.
The Middle 11
11. Vegas Golden Knights | B+
The Golden Knights started the season cold, but they have been great since around Thanksgiving time (US).
12. Columbus Blue Jackets | B
They loaded up for a long playoff run, let’s see if they can come through. They have the defensive depth and goaltending to be a scary opponent. Watch out Lightning.
13. Carolina Hurricanes | B
The Storm Surge celebration was talked about more than the teams’ success. And that is wrong because the Hurricanes had a fantastic season.
14. Montreal Canadiens | B
The Canadiens had an admirable season, I did not expect a lot out of them but they were pretty special this year. Something to build on for next season.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins | B-
Honestly, I am not impressed by the Penguins. The main reason they made the playoffs if because they know how to lose in extra time. That won’t help in the playoffs.
16. Dallas Stars | B-
Dallas has a good team top to bottom but they aren’t elite I don’t feel. So it will be interesting to see how they do against Nashville.
17. Colorado Avalanche | B-
The Av’s will need secondary scoring if they plan on competing in the series against the Flames because Calgary can light up the scoreboard seemingly at will.
18. Arizona Coyotes | B
The heroic effort fell short for Arizona but they had a really good season. I wonder what they can add to propel them into a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference.
19. Florida Panthers | C
The Panthers fell off big time. I don’t know what happened but now that they’ve locked up Joel Quenneville for next season they will have the coach they need to move forward.
20. Chicago Blackhawks | C+
I give Chicago credit, they at one point were the worst team in the NHL and they dang near made the playoffs. That is incredible.
21. Minnesota Wild | C
The Wild are a disappointment, they looked like a team that could have made the playoffs for fell flat late in the year.
Lastly, The Bottom 10
22. Vancouver Canucks | B-
A good young team primed to make a run sooner than I originally expected.
23. Philadelphia Flyers | C+
The Flyers biggest issue this season was goaltending. Carter Hart was their ace this season and even his numbers weren’t off the charts.
24. Anaheim Ducks | C-
The Ducks were underperformers, their offense was the biggest offender.
25. New York Rangers | B
The Rangers did well for a rebuilding team. Nothing to be ashamed of here.
26. Edmonton Oilers | D
The Oilers were underperformers all year long. I expected big things out of them and they failed to deliver.
27. Detroit Red Wings | D
The Red Wings were really good at the end of the season. They look like they have something that they can build off of.
28. Buffalo Sabres | C
The Sabres were awful down the stretch and ruined what good they did for three-quarters of the year.
29. New Jersey Devils | D
Injuries were the story here. Way too many to overcome.
30. Los Angeles Kings | D-
A lack of scoring killed whatever good defense the Kings played. Can’t blame the goalies they were okay most of the season.
31. Ottawa Senators | F
It isn’t a shock the Senators are last, their defense was a mess all year.
The Last Word
The last word on the NHL season is that is was exciting and full of high octane action just like any other season. There were surprise teams such as the Kings and Ducks who didn’t live up to the hype. But also teams that exceeded expectations such as Arizona, Vancouver, and the Rangers even though none of those three made the playoffs. They should be sniffing the playoffs soon. So it is onto the playoffs, where the true madness begins.
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