NHL Power Rankings Part 1: The Bottom Half

And now, Part 1 of our Northwood Mirror NHL Start to Season Power Rankings! Click here for part 2.

Our beloved school is known for a large number of things, from skiing to soccer and from robotics to lacrosse, Northwood has a lot to offer. The undisputed champion of attention at our school is, of course, ice hockey. With such fanaticism for playing the sport comes the inevitable fanaticism for the National Hockey League. With the season just starting up, we here at The Mirror have created our own Power Ranking. In this issue we look at the bottom half of the league, the sixteen teams ranked from 31 to 16.

thCP535ZYY31 The Buffalo Sabres. Where do we even start with this team? Worst record in the league last year. Third-worst record in the league the year before. Multiple first round draft busts. From an on-ice success standpoint, this organization could really not be in a worse place. Their only real hope this year lies in their first overall pick, 18-year-old Swedish Defensemen Rasmus Dahlin. It is a new season, and that means a fresh start, but with an organization as messed up as this one, it’s hard to foresee this team making any strong statements in the league this year.

drtjg30 The Ottawa Senators, a team pegged for success, fell well short of any real success this past year. When your only consolation is not being worse than the Buffalo Sabres, it might be about time to go into a rebuild. On a high note for them, their fourth overall pick in the draft from the BostonUniversity, LW Braeden Tkachuk, appears to have some serious potential. It will be fun to see how this young man matures and develops as the year progresses.

hbhulji29  Finishing with the third-least points in the league for the second year straight and not reaching the playoffs since the 2011-2012 season, it’s hard to see the Arizona Coyotes making any real noise this season. However, if the ‘Yotes can have a strong rebuild this year, the possibility of long-term success for the ‘Yotes, beginning as soon as next year, is a tangible goal.

thUQYT36TX28 The Vancouver Canucks are a team that hasn’t made the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past three seasons, and they’re stuck in a division with four teams that all reached 98+ points last year. The Vancouver Canucks just don’t have enough quality players within their roster this year to compete within a stronger-than-average Pacific Division.

th5KWDPL5827 It’s crazy to think that only as recently as the 2015-16 season, the Detroit Red Wings set a team landmark, making the postseason for the 25th year in a row. And now, the past two seasons they’ve finished in the bottom fifth of the league. Yet, this offseason, in one of the organization’s most important rebuilds in its history, the organization was fairly quiet, and when you look at their roster now, nobody really sticks out as team-altering material. It is for this reason that I really don’t see the Wings returning to the playoff this year, or even realistically next year as well.

thYZTAUFU426 Like the Canadian Dollar as of late, the Montreal Canadiens went down considerably last year, going from first in the Atlantic Division in the 2016-17 season to third-worst in the Eastern Conference last year. But luckily for the Habs, this year they still have Carey Price, and when you have a goalie like that in net for you, anything and everything becomes possible.

hgvsghdd25 The Chicago Blackhawks are entering this year coming off one of their worst seasons in recent history, finishing third from the bottom in the Western Conference. Much of this, however, was caused by the loss of starting goalie Corey Crawford about midway through the season, due to what the team described as “vertigo-like symptoms and he hasn’t been back in net for an NHL game since.” Lucky for this team, however, they were able to acquire veteran goalie Cam Ward in the offseason, and are now off to a strong start this year. When exactly Crawford will return remains uncertain, but even without him in net, this team could still surprise some teams this year.

tyiuu24 The Calgary Flames are the best of the league’s mediocre teams. They aren’t quite in the dumpster like Arizona or Buffalo, but with a lackluster roster and only 2 postseason appearances the past 9 years, the Calgary Flames, once again, don’t look like they’ll be much of a factor as we get later into this season.

uyujk23 The Dallas Stars are a team that really doesn’t look all that different from last year’s mediocre team. The only real significant move that the Stars made in the offseason was drafting a 17-year-old center who posted 59 points in 67 games in the Ontario Hockey League. Defensively, a strong center was a huge area of concern for them last year, but with the lack of improvement overall as a team from last year to this year, I don’t foresee the Stars becoming any sort of real threat this year.

th2DCGLIOH22 In the Big Apple, a city known for glitz and glamour, The New York Rangers had a lackluster season in 2017018, compared to their playoff reaching run just a year before. Still, with powerhouse goalie Lundquist in the net, a trip back to the playoffs this year is not completely out of the question.

 

thCP535ZYY21 Well, if the Islanders goal was to top the New York Rangers last year, then they succeeded. But honestly, they still left so much on the table last year, and now that their star player has left to join the Maple Leafs, the Islanders look like a season of failure is headed for them this year. On a positive note for this team, however, is confirmation that construction on their new arena in Belmont will begin in May, and should open in October of 2021, so I guess that that’s something for this fanbase to look forward toward.

th4Y7K2VXQ20 Connor McDavid. Connor McDavid. And Connor McDavid. These are the Oilers three keys to every game. But jokes aside, This Edmonton Oilers team is built around Connor McDavid, and his success as an individual will likely determine if the Oilers make the playoff this year. His rookie year, he did amazing, and the Oilers made it to the NHL Playoffs comfortably. Last year, however, he sort of got into a lull, and thus, the Oilers finished as the fourth worst in the Western Conference. Now it’s McDavid’s third year in the league. If he wants this team to succeed, he better get back into his rookie year form.

thHY7B40OP19 The only New York City-based team to make the playoffs last year, the Devils went into the offseason draft this past summer with an already strong roster, and the NHL draft only improved this roster even further. This year is the Devils year. Their players aren’t getting any younger, so they need to put some weight on the shoulders of their NHL veterans and make a statement this year.

thI2GFISA718 The Colorado Avalanche were quite the story last year. Two years ago, they were the worst team in the NHL, finishing the 2016-17 NHL season with a jaw-dropping record of 22-56-4 – just 48 points. To put that into perspective, the second-worst point total in the league that year belonged to The Vancouver Canucks, who finished with 69 points. But then this past year, the Aves stepped up their game considerably and even made the Stanley Cup playoff. So while this team might not have the big name guys of other teams in this league, their year-to-year momentum is in that of a positive direction, and for some teams, that can be the most important factor needed for success.

thS2ZH6UMX17 Make no mistake, the San Jose Sharks are a very good hockey team, but they are also in the most difficult division in the NHL. And with divisional opponents like the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, and the standout star, the Vegas Golden Knights, it’s hard to imagine that even if the Sharks do make the playoffs this year, that they will be able to make it past the Western Conference Finals. Off-season moves, including the acquisition of free agent defenseman Erik Karlsson, will give opponents reason to “fear the fin.”

thO9EH5KZ816 One more point. That’s all that the Panthers needed last year to make the playoffs. The Panthers roster from last season returns nearly intact, which is good because the Panthers excel through working well as a team, not just by relying on one or two superstars. If the Panthers can build off of what they went through last year, then that they will reach the playoffs this year as at least a wildcard team.

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