NHL Power Rankings 2023-24: New York Rangers back on top, more surprises for Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Power Rankings 2023-24: New York Rangers back on top, more surprises for Philadelphia Flyers
NHL Power Rankings 2023-24: New York Rangers back on top, more surprises for Philadelphia Flyers

nhl power rankings

The NHL returned from their three-day Christmas break with 14 games on Tuesday night. As most of the league prepares to finish 2023 on a high note, some teams continue to conduct business in their usual ways.

Whether your favorite team is riding a hot streak or can’t catch a break with lucky puck bounces, we have to roll through another edition of NHL power rankings, which, of course, features the good, the bad, and the ugly.

32. San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are right back where they started, owning the NHL’s longest losing streak (again), which just reached six games on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, they continue to have the worst goal differential at minus-71.

31. Chicago Blackhawks

Christmas came early for Chicago Blackhawks fans when Connor Bedard scored a Michigan Goal. Then, upon returning from his first-holiday break as a professional, the former top pick netted his first overtime winner.

30. Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks lost Leo Carlsson for at least a month and a half as the former second-overall pick joins a long list of young players who missed significant time for a franchise that can’t get the rebuild moving forward this year.

29. Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators secured an upset win on Tuesday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs, but even with a coaching change, it may be a little too late for the Eastern Conference’s basement team, which is 3-7-0 in its last ten games.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

With a record like 11-18-7, the Columbus Blue Jackets round out the five worst teams in the NHL standings. Despite employing talented scorers like Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine, defenseman Zach Werenski leads the team in scoring.

27. Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers were lucky to compile an eight-game winning streak to give fans hope of a playoff push, then lost a handful before bouncing back again. This team feels hot and cold and continues to hang out with the bottom dwellers in a year they were projected to win the Stanley Cup.

26. Buffalo Sabres

Heading into the Christmas break, the Buffalo Sabres had to have the wildest back-to-back games in team history, first losing 9-4 to Columbus and then steamrolling the Maple Leafs 9-3. It’s some whiplash for a fan base just hoping to see a playoff game this century.

25. Calgary Flames

Although not everyone wants to admit it publicly, Jacob Markstrom is the only reason the Calgary Flames are within striking distance of a wild card spot. If the team relied upon Jonathan Huberdeau to get them there, it probably wouldn’t happen in any of the final eight years left on his mega deal.

24. Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken will become the quickest team in NHL history to host the Winter Classic when they welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to T-Mobile Park on New Year’s Day. Considering they are on a mini-winning streak and the reigning champs are struggling, it should turn out to be an exciting contest to watch.

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23. Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are one of 23 teams with a winning record after the Christmas break, a spot many in the industry did not predict. Considering the abundance of goalies on the payroll, they will be entrenched in the rumor mill for the next two months.

22. Detroit Red Wings

Since Patrick Kane (ten points) joined the lineup, the Detroit Red Wings are 2-8-1, including a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Sure, many people will point to the loss of Alex Lyon as a critical factor for the slide, but there appears to be a lot going wrong in the Motor City these days.

21. Minnesota Wild

Karma got the Minnesota Wild for not playing Marc-Andre Fleury in his final game in Pittsburgh, but he overcame the adversity and recorded consecutive wins over the Boston Bruins. If those victories are not confident boosters to the entire lineup, the Minnesota Wild would be in a lot of trouble down the stretch.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

It was tough times in the Burgh before the break when the Maple Leafs blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-0, but the team responded with their own 7-0 over the New York Islanders on Tuesday. At this point, that’s a sign of consistency, something the team has lacked all season.

19. St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues fired their coach and continued to tread water despite a recent three-game winning streak. It’s tough to qualify for the playoffs with a netminder who is barely above .500 and allows more than three goals a game.

18. Nashville Predators

Statistically, the Nashville Predators should be a top team with Juuse Saros and Filip Forsberg. Still, they find themselves fighting to qualify for a wild card playoff spot while scoring 109 goals and surrendering the same amount. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard in Tennessee this season.

17. Arizona Coyotes

For hockey fans living on the East Coast who go to bed when the Arizona Coyotes usually play, don’t be surprised when their team pops up on the Stanley Cup playoff schedule. Something pretty special is happening in the desert, which includes a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche after falling behind 4-0 on Tuesday night.

16. New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are one of the NHL’s youngest and most skilled teams, but goaltending will be their downfall this season. Either this team needs to play better defense without Dougie Hamilton or hope he comes back to save the season because, with their current tandem, there will be no deep playoff run.

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15. Tampa Bay Lightning

Even though the Tampa Bay Lightning employ the NHL’s leading scorer, Nikita Kucherov, he’s not a single-man wrecking crew, which explains why the team is in the middle of the pack with flaws up and down the lineup. Either they get creative at the trade deadline, or this could be a short season for the former champions.

14. Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin finally scored a goal, but these are not the same Washington Capitals fans have known and loved for the past decade. Although they don’t make a lot of headlines (outside Ovechkin), this team keeps plugging away and collecting wins despite a goal differential of minus-13.

13. Carolina Hurricanes

Although many people across the hockey community can sense it, Rod Brind’Amour’s time with the Carolina Hurricanes may end. This season has had more ups and downs than the Appalachian Trail, especially for a team projected to be Stanley Cup finalists.

12. Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers continue to be a surprise team this season, which proves that John Tortorella is a good coach. Furthermore, young players are finally coming into their own, and after many struggles, Carter Hart is proving he’s worthy of being a starter in the NHL.

11. Toronto Maple Leafs

Any team that gets blown out by the Sabres on home ice should be ashamed of themselves, but the Maple Leafs are used to failure and continue to skate through the pressure of playing in Canada’s most prominent hockey market. Although this team isn’t going to break a 56-year championship drought, it will be fun watching Auston Matthews aim for 60 goals again.

10. New York Islanders

The fan base in Long Island is pretty ruthless, especially after a blowout loss (7-0) to a rival on home ice. Even though the New York Islanders have the 10th most points in the NHL, this team is far from elite, with flaws in every corner, including the goal crease.

9. Florida Panthers

As mentioned in previous rankings, Matthew Tkachuk isn’t even the Florida Panthers’ best player this season, with just 24 points. However, can anyone imagine how deadly they’d be if he regained the scoring touch that led the team to the Stanley Cup Final last year?

8. Dallas Stars

Without any offense to Scott Wedgewood, who was thrust into the starting role when Jake Oettinger got injured, the career backup is now responsible for carrying the Stanley Cup contenders for the foreseeable future. The season’s fate rests on his shoulders, which means other players must step up.

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7. Winnipeg Jets

Although no one saw them coming, the Winnipeg Jets are quietly one of the dark horses to win the Western Conference and are legit contenders to break Canada’s Stanley Cup drought of 30 years. Even though this is all premature talk, the Jets are for real, which is a pleasant surprise.

6. Los Angeles Kings

After losing out on a chance at NHL history, the Los Angeles Kings continue to go about their business and remain a top team in the West despite some hiccups here and there. Whether outscoring, out-defending, or out-goaltending their opponents, the Kings have all the tools to go on a deep run.

NHL Power Rankings: The Elite Five

5. Colorado Avalanche

Even though they blew a 4-0 lead to the Phoenix Coyotes and lost in overtime on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche remains an elite team in the NHL and will not always roll over for opponents. As the playoffs get closer, this team will become even more challenging to beat as they cling to the top spot in the Central Division.

4. Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are not robots and would have never gone 82-0-0. They didn’t do it last year and won’t achieve it this year. Of course, this team has some flaws, just like everyone else. However, everyone is panicking over a losing streak in December when the big picture is all about results in April.

3. Vegas Golden Knights

The reigning Stanley Cup champions face serious adversity and are stuck in a four-game losing streak. But, just like the Bruins, this stretch isn’t the end of the world. There will be big wins in the future and some minor losses, but the goal is to repeat as champions, which is why losing to the Ducks on a Tuesday night in late December is okay. It builds character.

2. Vancouver Canucks

After a hot start, the Vancouver Canucks dominated opponents and the NHL scoring charts. Then, the team cooled off but found a new gear heading into Christmas with a 7-1-2 stretch to overtake the Golden Knights as the top team in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, three players from this team continue to rank amongst the top 10 in scoring.

1. New York Rangers

This may be the best New York Rangers team in a generation, and the Blueshirts continue to collect wins as a team thanks to great performances by Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick. Although the offense continues to run through the same three guys, other skaters have picked up the pace, and New York can compete with any team in the league with four solid lines.

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