2015 NHL Power Rankings
Posted By: Taz Jones Last Updated: January, 18, 2015
- Columbus Blue Jackets: Columbus has 38 points. Even with Seth Jones from Nashville, he needs some time to get used to the top line. He will reach his potential as the Blue Jackets line 1 defender next season and will have Zach Werenski as a line mate. For now, the Blue Jackets need to relish the chance to draft Auston Matthews.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto got Mike Babcock which will make them improve. At the same time this team is in a rebuilding mode after dealing Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh. Right now every forward on this roster looks like a line 3 player at best. This year the Maple Leafs are in year 1 of the 5 year rebuilding plan with this weak roster.
- Buffalo Sabres: Buffalo has some bright spots with Ryan O'Reilly as a line 1 center, Rasmus Ristolainen as the #1 defender on the Sabres top line, Jack Eichel a line 2 center with potential to be a top line center, Jamie McGinn as a line 1 left winger, and line 3 center Sam Reinhardt. Outside of those centers, McGinn, and Ristolainen, everyone else needs to be upgraded. Guys like Evander Kane, Brian Gionta, and Matt Moulson are trade bait at the wing position when the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline occurs.
- Edmonton Oilers: Edmonton won the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. McDavid got off to such a hot start, but the Oilers have done squat since Connor McDavid got injured.
- Calgary Flames: The Calgary Flames got off to a bad start. Then they had a winning streak in the middle of the season and now they are terrible again.
- Anaheim Ducks: Anaheim has a league worst 88 goals scored in 2015-2016. That's why the Ducks came in at 25.
- Winnipeg Jets: I cannot believe I had Winnipeg 9th in my last power rankings. The Jets defense is awful this year despite some solid draft picks in previous years.
- Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina lost defensemen James Wisniewksi for six months. This defense and the Hurricanes chances of making the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in shambles.
- Colorado Avalanche: Colorado was the tenth worst team in the NHL last year. I think the Avalanche are better on offense and defense then they were last year. Despite this the Avalanche are in the toughest division in the NHL and things aren't looking up for them. Maybe this team will be good if they get rid of Patrick Roy and hire another NHL head coach.
- Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia has already traded Vincent LeCavalier and Luke Schenn to the Los Angeles Kings. It looks like another year of rebuilding for the Flyers. Come 2016-2017, this will be a playoff team.
- Ottawa Senators: The Ottawa Senators got off to a good start. The Senators have not been the same team they were at the beginning of the season. Right now the Senators barely escape the bottom 10.
- Nashville Predators: Nashville is right on the bubble in the Western Conference. Right now I have the Predators on the outside looking in.
- Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted an AHL head coach to NHL head coach 20 games into that coaches career. The Penguins interim head coach was the assistant head coach on Wilkes-Barre last season. Poor coaching is why the Penguins are barely on the outside looking in.
- New Jersey Devils: The New Jersey Devils were smart for bringing in the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins head coach up to New Jersey. This forced the Pittsburgh Penguins to promote an assistant coach with 20 games of AHL experience to head coach after Mike Johnstone got fired.
- Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens have 50 points and currently hold the final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Carey Price has missed some games which is why Montreal drops from 1 to 15.
- Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks barely make the Western Conference Playoffs at this point. Vancouver will get swept by the Kings even with their improvements.
- San Jose Sharks: Neither San Jose or Arizona deserves to be in the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but with the way things are going one of those teams will advance. San Jose is the weaker team at the moment so they get this spot for now.
- Boston Bruins: Boston got humiliated in the Winter Classic. This is a one and done team if they make the 2016 NHL Playoffs.
- Detroit Red Wings: Detroit is second in their division, but if the season ended today they would be facing Tampa Bay, the defending Eastern Conference Champions who beat them in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay gets ranked higher than the Red Wings for that reason alone.
- Minnesota Wild: Minnesota has a lot of talent on their defense which makes Devan Dubynk look like a franchise goalie. Also, if the season ended today Minnesota would face the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round, and the Wild have never beaten the Blackhawks in a playoff series.
- St. Louis Blues: St. Louis wins in the regular season. They don't do squat in the playoffs though. Watching Ken Hitchcock, the guy who brought the only Stanley Cup to Dallas as the Stars head coach lose to his former team in the NHL playoffs will be entertaining though.
- New York Rangers: The Rangers are a top 3 team in their division right now. They will make the playoffs, but they will also be one-and-done after losing to the New York Islanders in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- Arizona Coyotes: Arizona is the weakest of the 8 teams that would win a playoff series if the season ended today. In no way are they a top 10 team, but they would be one of the final 8 strictly by drawing San Jose.
- Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay began the year on a very high note. They lost to an undefeated Red Wings team and then lost to Dallas with Victor Hedman injured in the game. Tampa Bay has a really tough schedule in 2015-2016. I think they will beat the Red Wings in the playoffs setting up a second round matchup against the Florida Panthers.
- New York Islanders: The Islanders win a playoff series against the Rangers. Unfortunately for them they will lose to the Washington Capitals in the playoffs once again.
- Dallas Stars: Dallas has an awesome offense and you can argue their the second best team in the West after Chicago. Dallas has to go through Chicago to get Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals. Dallas is losing to teams like Calgary and San Jose that they are supposed to beat. The Stars deserve to be in the top 5 this year, but lack the experience to get to the Western Conference Finals in 2016.
- Los Angeles Kings: Los Angeles is in such a weak division, they are practically guaranteed a spot in the Western Conference Finals because of the fact that Arizona, San Jose, and Vancouver are the top 3 teams in their division after them. Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick continue to carry this team at defense and goalie. Anze Kopitar is a quality line 1 center.
- Florida Panthers: Florida took a 12 game winning streak into Vancouver. On defense they got Brian Campbell, Dimitri Kulikov, Aaron Ekblad, and Willie Mitchell on their top 2 lines with Erik Gudbranson as their line 3 defenseman. You also got Roberto Luongo putting together a strong season and Jaromir Jagr carrying this team. The Panthers have the tools to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. I just don't see them beating the Washington Capitals to win the Eastern Conference, especially if Washington gets home ice at the Verizon Center.
- Washington Capitals: Washington has 71 points and the best record in the NHL. The problem is Ovechkin never wins in the playoffs. With the Penguins down for the count, and the Florida Panthers as the only formidable opponent in the East, the Eastern Conference finally appears like it could be Ovechkin's year. The Capitals led the Rangers 3-1 in the series and led 1-0 with 90 seconds left in game 5 before the Rangers tied it and won in overtime. Washington wants to finally silence their doubters, but even if they get to the Cup, they will probably lose to Chicago, Los Angeles, or Dallas.
- Chicago Blackhawks The Blackhawks are a talented bunch. They lost a lot of players though. Ever since Duncan Keith returned, the defending Stanley Cup Champions are on an 11 game winning streak and have the best record in the Western Conference. You have to think the Blackhawks beat the Capitals to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions at this point.
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