NHL Power Rankings Part 2: The Top Half

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

hjj15 The Philadelphia Flyers surprised much of the hockey world last year, jumping both the Devils and the Blue Jackets to make it into the playoffs as a non-wildcard team. This also set them up for a showdown with their arch-rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the first round of the playoffs, which they (not surprisingly) lost. But if this team can overlook that one series last year and draw positives from their success last year, then they could easily be back in the playoffs again this year.

jhgh14 Just like the Panthers, all that the St. Louis Blues needed last year was one more point to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When you have a team that gets that close to the playoffs, but falls just short, it’s important for that team to start off the next season on a high note, and the mediocre start that this team has had this year is not a good sign. They need to start righting this ship soon, or they could be left singing the Blues early this year.

th43ZXVF5Y13 The Los Angeles Kings  made the playoffs last year, only to then be crushed in the first round by the Vegas Golden Knights in four games. The Kings still do have much of the same roster strength from last year, but until they find a way to match the offensive firepower of their divisional rival’s in Las Vegas, I don’t foresee this team making it past the first or second round of the playoffs.

th8HOVRBY012 The Minnesota Wild are the dark horse of the NHL. Yes, they’ve come out of the gate a little bit slow, but they have a very strong defensive core, highlighted by their star goaltender Devan Dubnyk, and with some strong offense pickups in the draft this past offseason, I could see them surprising a lot of people this year.

thY5RHHHZR11 The Carolina Hurricanes are an organization that has not made the playoffs since the 2008-2009 season. And yet, despite not many noticeable roster changes made since last year, the Canes currently have one of the best records in the NHL. Now, of course, it’s still very early, but if the Canes can somehow find a way to ride this wave in and throughout the remainder of the season, then we could be looking at the next underdog to challenge for the Cup.

thKY1Q5WD510 The Boston Bruins, after bowing out last year in the second round of the playoffs to their divisional rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning, have won 2 of their first 3 games played, and look like they could become a real contender for the Cup come playoff time. One interesting thing to watch for in this team this year is their goalie situation, and whether it will be Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak that wins the starting job in net.

thQX4YIO2009 The Columbus Blue Jackets the past two years have actually done fairly well, all things considered, but have still yet to advance past the first round of the playoffs. In their defense, however, the past two years, they’ve gone out in the first round to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions. Based on the strong group of guys that this team has this year, I predict that they will once again make the playoffs, and once there, another strong first round opponent will greet them. But if the Blue Jackets could then pull that series out and advance to the next round of the playoffs, they would instantly become a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

thM46P11IO08 Coming off of a season filled with trimmings and firsts for this still-young Winnipeg Jets organization, one would think that if they could right the few wrongs that they had last year, they could easily be back in the conference finals again, and if not swept away in another Vegas Miracle, could very likely reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their history.

thOQSUWFOR07 The Toronto Maple Leafs finally got back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs!!!……..and……..they bowed out in the first round to the Boston Bruins. But teasing aside, the squad looked very good last year, and Auston Matthews first year in the league was a booming success. Look for the Maple Leafs to be a real threat again this year, especially considering that the Leafs finished the regular season last year with the same amount of points as the eventual Stanley Cup winning team, The Washington Capitals.

thZHCH7UDD06 What a regular season for the Predators last year. Winning the presidents trophy for the first time in their history was quite the accomplishment for them. Almost as much as making the Stanley Cup finals the year before. But yet, despite two extremely promising seasons the past two years, the ultimate goal has escaped them. Will they do it this year, only they will decide that, but I definitely foresee this team having another strong year this year.

thYNM3IBK005 The Pittsburgh Penguins, like them or not, have been one of the best NHL teams in recent years. Back to back Stanley Cup Champions, and then losing to the Capitals last year in the Eastern Conference finals, who of course went on to win the cup. Realistically, the Penguins will probably have another great year this year, and with stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Matt Murray, another Stanley Cup this year would not be overly surprising.

thVISBU0DV04 Captained by NHL veteran center Ryan Getzlaf, the Anaheim Ducks have shown no signs of rust to start off the new year, as they currently sit near the top of the league. It will be fun this year to see just how high this team can fly “pun intended”, and how they will respond to last year’s 4-0 series shucking against their arch rival, the San Jose Sharks, in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

th6LDOL6NV03 Oh my, what an inaugural year for the Vegas Golden Knights! But was last year just a fluke? There are still so many unanswered questions about this young club, but with Marc-Andre Fleury in the net and William Karlsson at center, they do have a solid foundation for the team this year, making another deep run in the playoffs by no means out of the question.

thIXK3XULR02 The Tampa Bay Lightning last year advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years, yet once again fell short of their ultimate goal. Will Andrei Vasilevskiy in the pipes, another deep run in the playoffs this year seems almost imminent.

th2YM4EUL301 The Washington Capitals season kicked off with the lifting of their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship banner before picking up where they left off, beating up on the Boston Bruins by a score of 7-0. It will be very interesting to see if they can keep this kind of momentum going throughout the year, and maybe even win another Stanley Cup.


And finally, just for fun, here are a few of The Mirror’s predictions for the 2018-19 NHL season.

Stanley Cup Champion – Tampa Bay Lightning

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Stanley Cup Runner-Up – Chicago Blackhawks

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Conn Smythe Trophy Winner (Stanley Cup MVP) – Patrick Kane

Regular Season Most Valuable Player – William Karlsson

And Additionally…..

Seattle’s NHL Expansion Team Future Name – The Seattle Totems:

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