KnupSports NHL Power Rankings: We’re down to the final Power Rankings ahead of the NHL trade deadline Monday, April 12 at 3:00 P.M. Eastern.
There was a massive shakeup in the Top 10 this week, and there will be plenty more movement next week too. It’s highly probably these rankings look entirely different after the trades go through and the dust settles, and I hope it’s every bit as chaotic as past deadlines have been.
Here are the Knup Sports NHL Power Rankings, as of 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
31. Buffalo Sabres (8-23-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 31
The streak is finally over! Buffalo ended their historic 18-game losing streak in convincing fashion with a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. Even better, they picked up a shootout win three days later over the New York Rangers.
They’re still stuck at the bottom of the standings and have already been eliminated from division title contention. Look for them to make a few moves at the deadline.
30. Anaheim Ducks (11-21-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 29
Anaheim’s season continues to be mired in misery. If there’s something to be optimistic about, Ryan Getzlaf is at 980 points this season and is eight points behind Teemu Selanne’s team record of 988. However, he’s scored four points in his last 12 games (all assists), and he hasn’t scored a goal in a month.
As his current pace (15 points in 36 games), there’s a chance he doesn’t break that milestone this season. They’re also sending Trevor Zegras down to transition him from wing to center at the AHL level before calling him back up.
29. Detroit Red Wings (13-22-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 30
Detroit is another team that should be active at the trade deadline, but they will likely be taking on a few bad contracts in exchange for draft capital.
Five of their top 12 forwards are on the wrong side of 30 and on an expiring contract. They’ll make a splash in free agency with a boatload of cap room, but for now, they’ll ride out the end of a rebuilding season.
Teams could come calling for alternate captain Luke Glendening, who has been one of the league’s best faceoff men this season. Glendening has won the eighth-most faceoffs in the league, and at 63.8%, his faceoff win percentage is higher than everyone ahead of him on the list.
28. Ottawa Senators (13-22-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 28
Following Monday night’s 4-3 loss to Winnipeg, the Senators relieved goaltending coach Pierre Groulx of his coaching duties.
Another team with a ton of cap room, don’t be surprised if the Senators make a few bad contract acquisitions to up their draft capital. They also may be calling up a few players from the college ranks now that the NCAA hockey season is almost over.
Hobey Baker finalist Shane Pinto (15 goals, 17 assists at the University of North Dakota this season) signed his three-year entry-level deal and may crack the NHL roster once his international travel quarantine ends.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-18-8), Last Week’s Ranking: 27
Columbus picked up a big win over the Tampa Bay Lightning last week, but that was their only win in their last eight games. I can’t imagine Patrik Laine is in any hurry to re-sign in Columbus at the end of the season, so the Blue Jackets may have traded Pierre-Luc Dubois for Jack Roslovic, which is brutal asset management.
26. Calgary Flames (16-21-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 22
The Calgary Flames look more like a dumpster fire with their recent play. With the trade deadline coming, the Flames may look to hit the reset button on the franchise, blow up the current core and start over.
Johnny Gaudreau (18 goals, 40 assists) and Sean Monahan (22 goals, 26 assists) have been discussed as trade candidates, and both have term left on their contracts, which could drive up the price. According to MoneyPuck.com, Calgary has a 2.8% chance of making the playoffs.
25. New Jersey Devils (13-17-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 26
Kyle Palmieri is almost guaranteed to be moved at the trade deadline. He has eight goals and nine assists this season but has scored 24 goals or more in each of the last five seasons. The Devils are still a young team, and the team struggles have led to the dip in production.
However, he would be an excellent deadline acquisition for a team looking to add a depth scorer. If I had to make a prediction, I’d bet he lands with the Islanders.
24. Los Angeles Kings (14-17-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 21
For a minute there, the Kings sure looked like a playoff team. That’s not the case anymore. Los Angeles is coming back down to earth and looking more like the draft lottery team we thought they’d be. Jonathan Quick’s name keeps coming up in trade circles, and teams like the Maple Leafs, Bruins, Flyers, and more could all be looking to add a netminder at the trade deadline.
However, the Kings would almost have to retain salary on any deal. Even with salary retained, that price may still be too rich for teams to pay.
23. Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 23
Vancouver is ineligible to move in the Power Rankings after a COVID-19 outbreak forced postponements of all four of their games last week.
According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, more than half the team has tested positive, including Adam Gaudette, Travis Hamonic, Alexander Edler, Braden Holtby, Quinn Hughes, Zack MacEwen, Antoine Roussel, Thatcher Demko, Jayce Hawryluk, Bo Horvat, Tyler Motte, Tyler Myers, Jalen Chatfield, Marc Michaelis, and Nils Höglander. Three coaches have also tested positive.
22. Chicago Blackhawks (17-17-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 17
The Blackhawks are 0-3-2 against the Nashville Predators this season, and Saturday’s shutout was the latest headache.
General manager Stan Bowman said while the Blackhawks may be good enough to make it to the playoffs, he is “not changing (the team’s) approach that we had when we went into the season.” Unfortunately for Hawks fans, the Patrick Kane Hart Trophy argument is probably dead, too.
21. San Jose Sharks (17-16-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 25
Don’t look now, but the Sharks have won four straight games, sweeping the Wild and Kings, and they’re hanging around in the NHL playoff picture.
The star power from Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, and Erik Karlsson is enough to steal wins from time to time, but this team is still several years away from being capable of winning a playoff series.
20. Dallas Stars (13-13-10), Last Week’s Ranking: 24
Another team hoping to get an impact from their college signings in the near future, the Dallas Stars signed 2020 Hobey Baker Finalist Jordan Kawaguchi to a one-year entry-level contract. Kawaguchi is reporting to the club’s AHL affiliate and will play on an amateur tryout contract until the end of the year. If the injuries keep piling up, he may be pressed into duty sooner rather than later.
19. Philadelphia Flyers (18-14-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 18
In brutal honesty, the Flyers probably should be out of the Top 20. Luckily for the Flyers, there are enough other bad teams beneath them that 19 is as low as I could go this week. Losing to Buffalo was bad enough, but losing 6-1 after needing to rally from down 3-0 in the third period the game before was pathetic.
Monday’s 3-2 overtime win over Boston looked much more inspired, but they’ve got a long way to go to convince me they’re a playoff team. The Flyers are looking more like frauds these days.
18. St. Louis Blues (16-16-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Another team going through the injury ringer, the Blues haven’t looked the same since their seven-game series with the Arizona Coyotes. Many thought St. Louis would finish third in the division behind the Avalanche and Golden Knights, but the Blues practically need a miracle to make the playoffs.
The Mike Hoffman signing hasn’t worked out well, but with nine goals and 12 assists this season, St. Louis could look to flip him at the deadline if they think they’re out of it.
17. Arizona Coyotes (19-15-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 19
Jakob Chychrun scored his first career hat trick during Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks. The Coyotes are up to fourth in the West Division, but things in the desert are still precarious.
With no first round pick this year after draft combine testing violations in 2020, Arizona may look to move a player or two to reacquire draft capital and restock the prospect pool.
16. New York Rangers (17-15-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 16
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 but then needed overtime in back-to-back games against the Sabres, losing in a shootout on Saturday. Artemi Panarin has three goals and four assists in his last three games, but the Rangers need others to step up if they’re going to return to the playoffs this year.
15. Nashville Predators (20-18-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 20
Where has this Nashville club been all season?? The Predators have won nine of their last 11 games and are fourth in the Central Division. The Filip Forsberg trade talk has almost entirely been eliminated now that the Preds are back in the playoff mix.
Juuse Saros ranks second in the NHL in save percentage above expected (+1.5). When Nashville plays to the level they’ve been playing lately, they’re still the fourth-best team in the division, but they’re well ahead of Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, and Detroit at this point.
14. Boston Bruins (19-10-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 13
The Bruins are slipping in the standings as injuries and illnesses invade the team. Tuukka Rask hasn’t played since March 25 after an upper body injury. Jaroslav Halak is in COVID-19 protocol. Third-stringer Daniel Vladar has played about as well as he could in their absence, but can he get Boston to the playoffs, let alone win if they get there? Boston could look to acquire a goaltender at the trade deadline if Rask’s injury is more serious than the front office is telling us.
13. Montreal Canadiens (17-9-9), Last Week’s Ranking: 15
Eric Staal made his Canadiens debut Monday night, and he made the most of it. Staal scored the overtime winner to take down the Oilers 3-2.
Their showdown with Toronto on Wednesday could be a playoff preview. However, they lost Brendan Gallagher to a fractured thumb during Monday’s game, so he’ll miss a few weeks.
12. Winnipeg Jets (23-13-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 11
A pair of losses against Toronto moves Winnipeg down the power rankings this week. They score the third-most goals per game in the division while allowing the third-fewest.
Their special teams (25.9% power play, 80.0% penalty kill) are both tops in the North Division, and the Jets have one of the deepest forward lineups in the league. However, the defensive corps needs work.
11. Edmonton Oilers (23-14-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 12
The Oilers have picked up points in seven of their last eight games. I expect them to go on a run over the next two weeks with games against Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver.
Edmonton will likely add a depth defenseman or middle-six forward at the trade deadline (or better yet – both). However, with no cap space to work with, the Oilers may be stuck.
10. Minnesota Wild (23-12-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 10
Minnesota followed up an ugly pair of losses against the Sharks with a two-game sweep of the Vegas Golden Knights, then got outplayed for most of Monday’s game against the Avalanche. While they likely won’t bring anyone in at the trade deadline, the Wild might still get a significant roster addition from the college ranks.
Matthew Boldy scored 11 goals with 20 assists in 22 games for Boston College this year. The Wild signed him to his entry-level contract last week. He’ll start in Iowa with the AHL team, but he could be called up before the year is over.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (24-12-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Do I sound like a broken record writing about injuries yet? The Penguins are down Evgeni Malkin, Teddy Blueger, Kasperi Kapanen, Brandon Tanev, and Mark Friedman, and their five-game winning streak came to an end Saturday in a 7-5 loss to the Bruins.
Pittsburgh may look to bring in a depth center at the deadline, and a reunion with Minnesota’s Nick Bonino makes a ton of sense.
Pittsburgh and Minnesota have been frequent trade partners over the last few years, so don’t be surprised if they kick the tires on an old favorite. However, Minnesota may not be willing to part with Bonino if the Wild is serious about a playoff run.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (26-10-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 9
Toronto has won seven of its last eight games, but they’ve given fans heart attacks with four one-goal games in that span. They’ve also allowed three shorthanded goals in their past 11 games. On a positive note, John Tavares recorded his 800th NHL point with an assist in Monday’s 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
7. Washington Capitals (25-9-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 4
I was surprised to see Jakub Vrana scratched against the New Jersey Devils this weekend, but for whatever reason, it worked. Tuesday night’s showdown with the Islanders will have major playoff implications and power rankings weight for next week, as the Capitals’ 8-4 loss to New York last Thursday was Washington’s worst defeat in weeks.
6. New York Islanders (24-10-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Semyon Varlamov is quietly putting together a remarkable season. His steady play in net has kept the Islanders in the race for the top of the East Division standings, and Ilya Sorokin has emerged as a capable backup. I think the Islanders are brewing something in the trade department ahead of Monday’s deadline and will add a scoring winger to fill injured captain Anders Lee’s roster spot.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-10-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Tampa Bay’s 4-1 loss on Tuesday against Columbus gave the Bolts their first three-game losing streak of the season. Their last three-game losing streak came in February of 2020, which seems like years ago.
Curtis McElhinney didn’t play during Sunday’s loss to the Red Wings, with head coach Jon Cooper saying McElhinney “tweaked something.” Christopher Gibson is the backup if McElhinney is out long term, so Tampa could be in the goaltender market at the deadline if McElhinney is unavailable.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (25-10-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Few teams have held the top spot in these power rankings in back-to-back weeks, and Vegas fell victim to the Number 1 curse yet again.
The Golden Knights lost three games at home last week before winning 6-1 over the St. Louis Blues. Expect more of a goaltending tandem between Marc-André Fleury and Robin Lehner over the next few weeks.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (25-9-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Petr Mrazek returned to the lineup Sunday after he was sidelined for several weeks while recovering from thumb surgery, and in spectacular fashion, he posted a 1-0 shutout. It was Mrazek’s third shutout in five games this season.
He now has more shutouts than 16 teams. With Alex Nedeljkovic playing well lately, James Reimer could be on the move at the trade deadline. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches in the Canes’ net.
2. Florida Panthers (26-9-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 8
The Panthers continue to prove the doubters, including myself, to be wrong. Even without defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and for a short time Patric Hörnqvist, Florida keeps rolling on, winning their last six games.
Will they make a trade deadline move to bring in another defenseman or a depth center? I wouldn’t be surprised. They play every game with a chip on their shoulder and have shown they can hang with the Lightning and Hurricanes. Why not go all in to win this year? There may be no better time than now.
1. Colorado Avalanche (26-8-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 5
The Avalanche are rolling, and the rest of the NHL is getting out of the way. Colorado has won five straight, leads the league in point percentage, and are top five in nearly every meaningful category.
Ten different Avs skaters have at least 20 points; no other team has more than eight such skaters. Perhaps most impressively, three defensemen have hit the 20-point mark (Samuel Girard – 28, Cale Makar – 24, Devon Toews – 21).
Do you agree or disagree with the power rankings? Let me know on Twitter @MulletsVoxDB. Thank you for reading, and see you next week!