NHL Energy Rankings: Spirit of ’96
The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers sit atop the leaderboard as we depend down all 31 NHL groups.USA TodayThere is a particular tinge of retro to the NHL – and it is not simply because preventing appears to be on the incline once more. As an alternative, we flip to the main contenders within the league proper now, the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. These two franchises have not had lots of playoff luck in recent times, however harken again to 1996 and people have been your Stanley Cup finalists, with Colorado sweeping the ‘Rat Trick’ Cats in 4 video games. Joe Sakic is now working the Avs and little question he’d like to earn one other ring as a builder. The highway to that championship sequence in 2021 will not be straightforward, however these two groups – and a handful of others – have put themselves in an excellent place. Let’s depend down all 31 franchises and the way they appear proper now.1. Colorado Avalanche: The Avs are flying round like Conor Garland’s helmet and having simply as a lot of a visceral affect. Nathan MacKinnon leads the cost and he is scorching with eight factors in his previous 5 outings.2. Florida Panthers: Even with out Aaron Ekblad, the Panthers proceed to hack a path by way of the Central and Sunday night time’s victory over Columbus gave them sole possession of first place within the division. Carter Verhaeghe continues to be probably the greatest tales of the 12 months.3. Tampa Bay Lightning: You do not need to get the Bolts riled up as a result of they’re nonetheless an extremely potent squad. However Florida and Carolina are difficult their proper to be known as the category of the division.4. Carolina Hurricanes: Petr Mrazek returns to the lineup and posts a shutout. Alex Nedeljkovic has a .924 save share on the season and performed superb when Mrazek was out. What else do the Canes want at this level?5. Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin is starting to warmth up just like the unstoppable Russian shark that he’s. Humorous sufficient, “Unstoppable Russian Shark” could be an unbelievable B-movie that I now must see occur.6. Toronto Maple Leafs: The goaltending depth chart now goes Campbell-Hutchinson-Andersen and Jason Spezza is placing up his finest numbers in 5 years, on the age of 37. Do not attempt to determine it out, simply benefit from the journey.7. Vegas Golden Knights: The Knights are scuffling oh-so-slightly, however the excellent news is they do not should play Minnesota once more for one more month. Getting Alex Pietrangelo again as much as full pace ought to assist, too.8. New York Islanders: You’ll be able to rag on the Isles for being a defensive workforce, however they’re now tied for third in objectives within the division and Matt Barzal was the NHL participant of the week due to his seven factors and a shootout winner in three video games.9. Pittsburgh Penguins: One of many groups forward of the Isles in East Division offense is Pittsburgh, the place the Penguins proceed to insert new gamers into the lineup as wanted. They’ve already used 31 completely different skaters this season.10. Minnesota Wild: That Minnesota has turn out to be one of the enjoyable groups within the NHL this season is really a beautiful storyline. From Kirill Kaprizov to Joel Eriksson Ek, the persistence is basically paying off for the Wild.11. Boston Bruins: Exterior of the Large Three, Nick Ritchie is the one member of the Bruins with no less than 10 objectives. That does not sound ultimate, and but Boston nonetheless seems like a scary workforce to fulfill within the playoffs. Possibly as a result of bears are scary.12. Edmonton Oilers: It is good to see Tyson Barrie again to his previous, productive self now that he is a member of the Oilers, however that low season pic of him barefoot within the woods remains to be bizarre. What in case you step on one thing Tyson? You want your wheels!13. Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Copp is placing up extra factors per recreation and logging extra ice time than Pierre-Luc Dubois proper now. I do not know if that is a superb factor for the Jets or a foul factor. Possibly it is only a factor.14. Arizona Coyotes: Defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored a hat trick the opposite night time, with the third objective coming because the extra time winner. He is now as much as 25 factors in 38 video games and I want I might provide you with a Pavel Datsyuk commerce joke nevertheless it’s simply not there.15. Nashville Predators: The Preds have climbed right into a playoff spot and gone 8-2-Zero of their previous 10 video games. That form of redemptive arc would make an excellent plot on the Grand Outdated Opera, besides it is not that sort of an opera home and it is not really known as the Grand Outdated Opera, is it?16. New York Rangers: Driving the likes of Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, the Rangers are actually within the combine for a playoff spot. Will they make it? Possibly not. Can they end forward of the Flyers and lord it over Philly followers? That is all the time the dream – and sure.17. San Jose Sharks: The “Indictment Crew of the Week,” the Sharks climb the rankings as a result of the Blues have utterly fallen aside. So congratulations, St. Louis – you are worse than one of many California groups proper now.18. Philadelphia Flyers: At this level, Philadelphia’s solely precedence is to assist Carter Hart discover his recreation once more. If it prices the Flyers a playoff spot this 12 months, so be it. The long-term takes precedent.19. Montreal Canadiens: After Shea Weber fought Brady Tkachuk, I actually wished to know if Weber had ever fought Keith Tkachuk. Alas, it seems he didn’t. He nonetheless might; nevertheless it must be in a parking zone and that is simply unlawful.20. St. Louis Blues: It has been a horrible struggling slide for the Blues, who’ve gained simply two of their previous 10 video games. Jordan Binnington is flailing and Ville Husso does not appear to be the reply both. 21. Dallas Stars: The Stars have nonetheless performed the fewest video games within the Central Division and are due to this fact nonetheless within the playoff image, however they should choose up some momentum. In any case, Jason Robertson has been an excellent rookie addition.22. Chicago Blackhawks: Will the return of Kirby Dach give the Hawks the increase they should bounce again right into a playoff spot? To this point, the reply is “no,” however you may’t blame the teenager for that. Maybe that early season rush was merely a mirage.23. Vancouver Canucks: Proper now, the primary and solely precedence in Vancouver is to get everybody suffering from Covid-19 wholesome. The Canucks have been hit laborious and it is a fairly scary time on the market.24. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are beginning to crater and so they’re not precisely out of the playoff race, however issues aren’t moving into the proper course, both. When it is all mentioned and executed, can we no less than get a Quinton Byfield look?25. Calgary Flames: After hitting the mark pretty constantly this season, Matthew Tkachuk hasn’t performed 20 minutes in a recreation since Darryl Sutter took over as coach. The Flames have additionally been in a tailspin, profitable simply two of their previous 10. Coincidence?26. New Jersey Devils: With 20 video games to go, the Devils are virtually locked into seventh place within the East Division. Within the short-term, dealing Kyle Palmieri is probably going the primary domino to fall, however what number of strikes come after that?27. Ottawa Senators: Simply as somewhat sneak peek, we closed Future Watch final week and I had an opportunity to do a deep dive on the Senators rebuild. For those who aren’t excited already about Ottawa’s future, I’d advise you get very excited now.28. Columbus Blue Jackets: Florida’s Alexander Wennberg scored extra objectives in opposition to Columbus on Saturday (three) than he tallied all season lengthy as a member of the Blue Jackets in 2018-19 (two). That is a particular sort of ouch.29. Detroit Pink Wings: The Pink Wings are on tempo to have extra factors on this 12 months’s 56-game season than they did in final 12 months’s 71-game marketing campaign. Shout-out to defenseman Filip Hronek, someway main the workforce in scoring.30. Anaheim Geese: It is laborious to burn Anaheim as a result of the franchise has a Stanley Cup, it is situated in sunny California and their AHL workforce is in San Diego. Plus, Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale are super-fun.31. Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have not misplaced a recreation in regulation in additional than per week. It’s, fairly presumably, the very best information surrounding the workforce all 12 months.