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NHL Power Rankings: Upward Trend for Every Team

Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
 2021-12-01

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Team trajectories can be shaken up in a number of ways, like Roope Hintz catching fire in Dallas, or big changes at the top in Montreal.

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Six weeks into the NHL season, some teams have shaken off their early jitters (see: Maple Leafs), others have crashed down to earth (see: Sabres).

However, team trajectories can be shaken up when a player catches fire. Look no further than Roope Hintz, who has seven goals during the Stars’ current five-game winning streak. This week’s power rankings shine a light on one thing trending upward for each team.

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

32. Ottawa Senators

Last week: 32
Record: 4-14-1

Dylan Gambrell. The forward has played in just eight games this season, but he’s winning 58.8% of his face-offs, which would rank among the best in the league in that category if not for his limited sample size.

31. Arizona Coyotes

Last Week: 31
Record: 5-16-2

Clayton Keller . The 23-year-old center had at least one point in five of his last seven games, and had multiple points in three of those, including a goal and an assist in Arizona’s most recent game against the Wild.

30. Montreal Canadiens

Last week: 29
Record: 6-16-2

Change . The Canadiens fired general manager Marc Bergevin and assistant general manager Trevor Timmins, the team announced Sunday. Former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has been hired as executive vice president of hockey operations.

29. Vancouver Canucks

Last week: 30
Record: 7-14-2

Quinn Hughes . The 22-year-old defenseman recorded his 100th career assist on the first goal of Monday’s 2–1 win against the Canadiens.

28. Buffalo Sabres

Last week: 28
Record: 8-11-3

Alex Tuch. The forward is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery but skated with the team Monday for the first time since being traded to the Sabres from the Golden Knights in early November.

27. New York Islanders

Last week: 22
Record: 5-10-2

Health . Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Ross Johnston are out of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, the Islanders announced Wednesday, clearing the way for the team to play the Sharks on Thursday after having two games postponed due to the outbreak.

26. Philadelphia Flyers

Last week: 21
Record: 8-8-4

The hot seat . Flyers coach Alain Vigneault made the playoffs in his first season with the Flyers, but the team missed the postseason last year and is in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

25. Chicago Blackhawks

Last week: 24
Record: 7-12-2

Alex DeBrincat . Blackhawks interim coach Derek King elevated the 23-year-old winger to the first line alongside Kirby Dach and Patrick Kane, and the move has paid dividends. DeBrincat leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals this season.

24. Detroit Red Wings

Last week: 27
Record: 11-9-3

Lucas Raymond . The winger was named the NHL Rookie of the Month after racking up five goals, seven assists and 12 points in 14 games in November. He leads all rookies in goals (9) and points (21) on the season.

23. Los Angeles Kings

Last week: 23
Record: 9-8-4

Department of Player Safety . Kings forward Brendan Lemieux has been suspended for five games after he bit the left hand of Senators forward Brady Tkachuk during a scuffle in Saturday’s game, which Los Angeles won 4–2.

22. Seattle Kraken

Last week: 26
Record: 8-13-1

Philipp Grubauer . A Vezina Trophy finalist last season with the Avalanche, Grubauer struggled mightily with the Kraken to start the season, but is 2–1 in his last three starts with a .941 save percentage.

21. San Jose Sharks

Last week: 25
Record: 12-9-1

Noah Gregor . The 23-year-old center was called up from the AHL on Nov. 20 and has played limited minutes in the six games since, but he made the most of them in Tuesday’s 5–2 win against the Devils, with the first goal of the game plus an assist.

20. Columbus Blue Jackets

Last week: 20
Record: 12-8-0

Adam Boqvist . After posting one point in his first nine games of the season, the 21-year-old defenseman has five points in his last four, including two goals in Saturday’s loss to the Blues.

19. New Jersey Devils

Last week: 19
Record: 9-7-4

Jack Hughes . The 20-year-old center didn’t record a point Tuesday in his first game back on the ice since dislocating his shoulder two games into the season, but earlier that day, he did sign an eight-year, $64 million extension , cementing his status as a franchise player for the Devils.

18. Anaheim Ducks

Last week: 15
Record: 12-8-3

Jamie Drysdale . The rookie defenseman has 10 points and eight assists through 23 games, already surpassing last season’s total.

17. Nashville Predators

Last week: 17
Record: 12-9-1

Filip Forsberg . Since his Nov. 24 return from an upper body injury, Forsberg has eight points in four games, including four goals in the Predators’ 6–0 domination of the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

16. Winnipeg Jets

Last week: 14
Record: 10-8-4

Their opponents . The Jets have dropped six of their last seven games, and have been shut out twice in that span, including in a 1–0 loss to the Coyotes in which Winnipeg outshot Arizona, 46–15.

15. Pittsburgh Penguins

Last week: 16
Record: 10-7-5

Tristan Jarry. The 26-year-old goalie has not allowed more than one goal in any of his last six starts; in that span, he has five wins, three by shutout, and just one loss, in a shootout that went seven rounds.

14. Dallas Stars

Last week: 18
Record: 11-7-2

Roope Hintz . In his last five games, the 25-year-old winger has seven goals, including his first career hat trick in a 4–1 victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

13. Vegas Golden Knights

Last week: 9
Record: 12-9-0

Max Pacioretty . Pacioretty has played in two games since returning from a lower body injury, and he has an assist in each. He also added six shots on goal in Saturday’s 3–2 loss to the Oilers.

12. St. Louis Blues

Last week: 13
Record: 12-7-3

Ivan Barbashev . With four goals in his last three games, including two in Saturday’s 6–3 win against the Blue Jackets, Barbashev is providing the Blues with much-needed scoring depth from the third line.

11. New York Rangers

Last week: 11
Record: 13-4-3

Chris Kreider . Kreider has racked up 15 goals (including nine power-play goals) in 20 games this season. No other Rangers player has more than five.

10. Minnesota Wild

Last week: 12
Record: 15-6-1

Jordan Greenway . While the 24-year-old winger is third on the team in hits, he had lacked a scoring touch—until Tuesday’s game against the Coyotes, in which he recorded his first goal and his first multi-point game of the season in the Wild’s 5–2 win.

9. Boston Bruins

Last week: 8
Record: 11-8-0

Jakub Zboril . The 24-year-old defenseman has cracked the lineup for the Bruins’ last eight games, and has looked strong beside Mike Reilly on the blue line despite limited time on ice.

8. Calgary Flames

Last week: 10
Record: 13-4-5

Darryl Sutter . Led by the veteran coach, who joined the Flames in the middle of last season, Calgary boasts dominant puck possession stats and sits in first in the Pacific Division.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last week: 5
Record: 12-5-4

Erik Cernak . In the defenseman’s return from an upper body injury Tuesday, he dumped the puck into the Blues’ zone, then watched it bounce off the boards, past St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington and into the net for his first goal of the season.

6. Colorado Avalanche

Last week: 6
Record: 11-6-1

Nazem Kadri . Kadri is tied for fourth in the league in points with 27—behind just Leon Draisaitl, Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid—and has 16 in his last seven games.

5. Carolina Hurricanes

Last week: 1
Record: 15-5-1

Jesperi Kotkaniemi . The 21-year-old center went eight consecutive games without recording a point earlier this season but now has goals in his last three, including the game-winner against the Flyers last Friday.

4. Washington Capitals

Last week: 7
Record: 14-4-5

Ilya Samsonov . The 24-year-old netminder took his first regulation loss of the season Tuesday against the Panthers, but not for lack of effort on his part: Samsonov made 46 saves in the game, and 23 in the third period alone, in the 5–4 loss.

3. Florida Panthers

Last week: 3
Record: 15-4-5

Jonathan Huberdeau . The Panthers’ points leader notched three assists Tuesday in his team’s comeback win against the Capitals, in which Florida scored four unanswered goals in the third period.

2. Edmonton Oilers

Last week: 2
Record: 15-5-0

Evan Bouchard . The 22-year-old defenseman has 11 points and 47 shots on goal so far this season, and his role could increase in upcoming games after Cody Ceci entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Tuesday.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last week: 4
Record: 16-6-1

Auston Matthews . The reigning Rocket Richard winner and his team got off to slow starts this season, but as the Leafs have surged, so has Matthews. Toronto has won nine of its past 10 games, and Matthews has five goals and 11 points in that span.

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