The dust has settled after the NHL trade deadline, and WOW did we have some big-time movers and shakers. I discussed the deadline on the Sports 2.0 Show, which you can view on YouTube any time. That segment goes much more in-depth than I’ll write about here, but the NHL power rankings will still reflect the deadline moves.
Here are the NHL Power Rankings as of 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, April 13
NHL Power Rankings: #31-21
31. Buffalo Sabres (10-25-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 31
I really hate kicking the Sabres and their fans when they’re down, but Buffalo really dropped the ball with the trade deadline. Over the past three weeks, the Sabres traded Eric Staal, Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour, and Curtis Lazar for Anders Bjork, a second round pick, two third round picks and a fifth round pick. It’s an underwhelming return, especially for a former Hart Trophy winner, and it destroys confidence that the Sabres’ front office will get a fair return on any potential Jack Eichel trade.
30. Anaheim Ducks (13-23-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 30
Anaheim goaltender Anthony Stolarz had quite possibly the best game of his career at any level, picking up a 46-save shutout against the San Jose Sharks Monday. The Ducks were quieter at the deadline than I expected, only moving out defensemen Jani Hakanpaa and Ben Hutton. Getting Haydn Fleury was a nice low-risk move that could pay off with a medium-reward as a capable offensive-minded defenseman.
29. Ottawa Senators (14-25-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 28
Ottawa made a couple of good moves at the trade deadline, claiming Victor Mete off waivers from Montreal and trading a few players who aren’t part of the long-term plan for draft picks (Braydon Coburn, Erik Gudbranson, Mike Reilly). They followed up the wheeling and dealing with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
28. Detroit Red Wings (15-23-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 29
I’m not sure what got into Detroit, but I’m here for it. The Red Wings won back-to-back games against the Carolina Hurricanes and got the biggest trade deadline haul, adding Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first and a 2022 second for Anthony Mantha. For a rebuilding club, it was exactly what they needed. In the upcoming draft, the Red Wings have two first rounders, three second rounders, two thirds, two fourths, two fifths, and a sixth. They’ll also have more than $50 million in cap space to play with, so Detroit’s rebuild is coming along nicely.
27. New Jersey Devils (14-20-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 25
The Kyle Palmieri move was a given, but I was a bit surprised to see Zajac thrown in on the trade as well. Still, the Devils made a great addition to their blue line with Jonas Siegenthaler. The 23-year-old defenseman played in seven games for the Capitals this season. With more ice time in New Jersey, he should be able to become a serviceable NHL defenseman. The Devils are likely a bottom-five team again this season, so we will have to wait and see what the lottery draft has in store.
26. Calgary Flames (17-21-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 26
The Sam Bennett era is officially over, as the Flames traded the 2014 first round pick to Florida for a second round pick. They held on to Johnny Gaudreau, but don’t be surprised if Calgary moves the star winger this offseason. The Flames’ playoff hopes are all but dead this year, so expect to see more ice time for prospects like Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, and possibly Connor Zary.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-20-9), Last Week’s Ranking: 27
The Blue Jackets were one of the biggest winners at the trade deadline, loading up on picks while moving out defenseman David Savard and captain Nick Foligno in separate deals. With three first round picks in the 2021 draft, Columbus can accelerate a rebuild and get back to the playoffs next season.
24. Los Angeles Kings (16-19-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 24
The Kings traded forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the deadline for two conditional draft picks. I was admittedly quite surprised, as I thought Carter was destined to retire in L.A., but with another year on his contract after this one, the Kings seemed content to let him walk. They also cleared $2.6 million in cap room, which was used to extend center Alex Iafallo for four more years at $4 million AAV.
23. Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 23
Vancouver is once again ineligible to move up due to COVID-19 rampaging through the locker room. At least 25 players, coaches, and team officials have tested positive, and the team won’t return to the ice until at least Friday. I’m genuinely concerned for the Canucks’ health and safety the rest of the season, and I’m disappointed but not surprised the NHL didn’t shut things down with Vancouver all but eliminated from playoff contention.
22. San Jose Sharks (18-19-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 21
San Jose moved goaltender Devan Dubnyk to Colorado for a fifth round pick and defenseman Greg Pateryn, who should crack the lineup right away as a third pairing d-man. In a few other moves, San Jose acquired three draft picks and prospect Alexander Barabonov. But getting shut out Monday night against Anaheim despite putting 46 shots on goal is a true indicator of where this Sharks team is right now.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (19-16-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 19
The Flyers are 2-3-2 in their last seven games and the playoff picture is growing dimmer. Two losses to the last-place Sabres in that span, both in regulation, are particularly damning. This team will go as far as Carter Hart can carry them, which this season isn’t very far.
Check out today’s Free Daily Picks for an NHL betting edge.
NHL Power Rankings: #20-11
20. Arizona Coyotes (19-19-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 17
Not good enough to be any sort of serious playoff threat, but not bad enough to become mega-sellers, the Coyotes seem stuck as a franchise. Without a first round pick this season, it could well be more of the same this offseason. Throwing rookie goaltender Ivan Prosvetov to his first career start against the Colorado Avalanche may not have been the best idea, as the Yotes lost 4-2 Monday night. Even worse, Arizona outshot Colorado 37-20 and couldn’t get it done.
19. Chicago Blackhawks (20-18-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 22
Stan Bowman worked some magic at the trade deadline, shuffling prospects and reacquiring draft capital to restock the cupboards. The Blackhawks are a playoff bubble team, but with the injuries and inexperience, this wasn’t the year to make an all-in push. Instead, Chicago added four picks, four prospects, and three bottom-six forwards to re-tool the roster.
18. New York Rangers (19-16-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 16
The Rangers came into this season with no expectations of returning to the playoffs, yet they’re four points out of a playoff spot in mid-April. Artemi Panarin is doing what he does best, ranking third in the league in points per game (1.40) behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. With 12 goals and 30 assists this season, he’s near single-handedly kept the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive.
17. Dallas Stars (15-14-11), Last Week’s Ranking: 20
Six of Dallas’ 11 overtime losses are in the shootout. It’s entirely possible those shootout losses keep the Stars from the playoffs this season, but they’re still within striking distance. While unrelated to the shootout woes, adding Sami Vatanen from waivers should tighten things up defensively. University of North Dakota stars Jordan Kawaguchi (forward) and Adam Scheel (goaltender) are playing with the AHL club and could make an NHL debut soon. Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop are about two weeks away from a return.
16. Nashville Predators (23-19-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 15
In the past month, Nashville has gone 12-3-0, including wins over Tampa Bay and Florida. They’ve got a two point lead on the fourth spot in the Central Division, and unless Dallas or Chicago turns things around in a hurry, the Predators will likely hold that spot til the end of the season. The second-half Preds are dangerous right now.
15. St. Louis Blues (19-6-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 18
Just when we thought the Blues might be dead in the water, they sprang back to life, exploding to a 9-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Friday night, then winning the next night after tying the game in the final minute and winning with two seconds left in overtime. The Blues are going to be a playoff team this season, and we’ve seen how dangerous a team they can be once they get there. The grind is real, but St. Louis is ready.
14. Montreal Canadiens (18-12-9), Last Week’s Ranking: 13
Three straight losses last week sounded the alarm in Montreal. After trading Mike Reilly to Boston and losing Victor Mete to waivers, the Canadiens acquired Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson to add to their defensive ranks. Merrill is a shutdown defenseman who was the only blueliner with a positive +/- rating for Detroit this season while Gustafsson is two seasons removed from a 60 point season for Chicago.
13. Boston Bruins (21-12-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Boston may have made one of the biggest trade robberies of all-time with the Taylor Hall deal. If the former Hart Trophy winner returns to form with a Cup Contender, the Bruins offense should explode the rest of the season. I’m a little surprised Boston didn’t bring in a goaltender with Tuukka Rask out with an upper body injury and Jaroslav Halak in COVID-19 protocol. But if Daniel Vladar and Jeremy Swayman can hold the fort until those two return, Boston is in business.
12. Minnesota Wild (24-13-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 10
Two ugly losses last week means Minnesota slides down the rankings. The 9-1 drubbing against St. Louis was the worst loss in the Wild’s franchise history. Making no moves at the deadline was probably the best move for a club doing an on-the-fly rebuild. Minnesota is still in third in the West Division standings, for now.
11. Winnipeg Jets ((25-14-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 12
I was convinced the Jets were going to make more of a splash to bolster their defense corps at the trade deadline. While bringing in Jordie Benn does give them a little more depth, Winnipeg is still thin defensively. Connor Hellebuyck is a good goaltender, and there are no questions about the scoring capabilities of the forwards. A 4-2 loss to Ottawa Monday has me wondering how high Winnipeg’s ceiling really is.
NHL Power Rankings: The Top 10
10. Edmonton Oilers (25-15-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 11
Edmonton has some roster flaws, in particular their lack of scoring depth, but with their top-line talent, the Oilers can absolutely advance past the first round. However, the losses to Montreal last week and Monday night are a bit concerning, especially as the Canadiens could be a first-round opponent. The Oilers added defenseman Dmitry Kulikov at the deadline but didn’t have cap room to make many moves.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-13-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 9
I’m excited to see what Jeff Carter can do with the Penguins, especially once Evgeni Malkin returns to the lineup. Pittsburgh’s defense is still a little concerning, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pittsburgh advance to at least the second round of the playoffs. Sidney Crosby is quietly having another top 10 scoring season with 16 goals and 32 assists.
8. Florida Panthers (26-12-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Last week was not kind to the Panthers. They lost three straight, including two games to Carolina, and neither of those losses was particularly close. Still, they made a solid blue-line depth acquisition in Brandon Montour (who should help replace some of the scoring lost when Aaron Ekblad was injured, ending his season). They also took a gamble on Sam Bennett, hoping the 2014 First Round pick will thrive with a change of scenery. He’ll have to for the Panthers to keep up with Tampa Bay and Carolina.
7. New York Islanders (27-11-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Landing Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac was a massive win for the Islanders (which I called in last week’s NHL Power Rankings, just saying). Getting both scoring touch in Palmieri and physical presence in Zajac is just what the forward group needed. I still have a few concerns about their goal scoring abilities as a team, but they’ve shown they can win low-scoring games. The Islanders have won seven times this year when they’ve scored two goals or fewer. If Varlamov continues to shine in net, the Islanders will be in great shape.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs (28-11-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 8
Toronto made a splash at the deadline, bringing in Nick Foligno and David Rittich to bolster their roster and Riley Nash as a depth center. After four straight first round playoff exits, it’s put up or shut up time for the Maple Leafs. Goaltender Jack Campbell sent an NHL record with 11 consecutive wins to open his season before losing to the Canadiens Monday night.
5. Carolina Hurricanes (27-10-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Who would have thought the Hurricanes’ kryptonite was playing the Detroit Red Wings? Carolina lost to Detroit 5-4 in the shootout on Saturday and 3-1 on Monday, firing 38 shots on Jonathan Bernier but only finding the back of the net once. Three of the Hurricanes’ 10 regulation losses have come against Detroit.
4. Washington Capitals (27-11-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Boy, I hope the Caps know what they’re doing bringing in Anthony Mantha. At face value, sending Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first rounder and a 2022 second rounder seems like a massive overpayment. However, Washington may have felt they needed to make a move after the Islanders, Penguins, and Bruins all made deadline moves as well. Either way, Washington is poised for a deep playoff run.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (28-11-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 5
The Lightning made a quality pickup at the deadline, getting David Savard from Columbus in a three-team trade. Even better for Tampa Bay, they’re only paying 25% of Savard’s salary. It was absolute salary cap wizardry from GM Julien BriseBois. With Kucherov still on the mend, the Lightning bolstered their blue line and should still be deadly come playoff time.
2. Vegas Golden Knights (28-11-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Max Pacioretty scored his 300th career goal in Vegas’ 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night. The Golden Knights are the biggest threat to Colorado before reaching the playoff semifinals, and they sit four points back with a game in hand and two head-to-head meetings remaining.
1. Colorado Avalanche (29-9-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 1
In Colorado’s last 20 games, they’ve gone 16-2-2. Despite that, they went out and acquired Devan Dubnyk at the trade deadline to provide some goaltending insurance for Philipp Grubauer. Since March 1, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon are first, second, and third in the league in points. The Avalanche are the team to beat in the NHL right now.
How do your rankings stack up? Which trade deadline moves were the most beneficial? Let me know on Twitter @MulletsVoxDB. I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for reading, and see you next week!