Welcome to the 14th and final edition of theScore’s 2018-19 regular season NHL Power Rankings. Below, we assess how each team wrapped up their recent campaigns.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (62-16-4)
What a run for the, who matched an NHL record with 62 wins. They’re the runaway favorites to win the Stanley Cup for good reason, but the health of blue-line stalwart is imperative for the club’s title aspirations.
2. Calgary Flames (50-25-7) ▲
Theimproved 23 points in the standings this season and earned home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs. It’s unclear who will start Game 1 in goal for Calgary but the good news is both and were capable of winning games down the stretch.
3. Boston Bruins (49-24-9) ▲
From Jan. 1 onward, thewent 28-10-5 while ranking sixth in goals for (148) and seventh in goals against (109). They face a daunting Atlantic Division draw again this spring, but Boston is a legitimate Cup threat.
4. Washington Capitals (48-26-8)
The title defense is officially on for the, who pulled away from the pack in the Metropolitan and earned their fourth consecutive division title.
5. Nashville Predators (47-29-6) ▲
The Central Division crown was ripe for the taking throughout March and April, and the seasonedwon seven of their last 10 games to capture it. Now, Nashville has home ice and gets an easier opponent in Round 1 to get its playoff run started.
6. New York Islanders (48-27-7) ▲
Theshattered expectations to finish fifth in the entire league, and it will be fascinating to see if head coach Barry Trotz can get his troops to make some noise in the playoffs – perhaps enough to set up a second-round match up with his former Capitals squad.
7. St. Louis Blues (45-28-9) ▲
was tied for 29th place at Christmas. It ended up missing the division title by a single point. Watch out for the Blues.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (46-28-8) ▼
An inconsistentand a swath of injuries led to some shaky play from the to close out the regular season. Still, the 2018-19 campaign was about playoff progress from the get-go, and Toronto earned its chance at redemption versus the Bruins.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (44-26-12)
Not to say seeding doesn’t matter, but for a team as experienced as the, full health is more important than first-round opponents. It goes without saying that Pittsburgh getting and back into the lineup prior to the playoffs makes this club as dangerous as any.
10. Carolina Hurricanes (46-29-7) ▼
The‘ playoff push enthralled the hockey world, and it’s safe to say the hype train will go off the rails if Carolina puts a scare into, or beats the Capitals. Let’s see what this can do.
11. San Jose Sharks (46-27-9) ▼
Thestumbled into the playoffs with a 3-8-1 record in their last 12 games to claim their lowest spot on our power rankings since Dec. 10. The team’s biggest question mark all season has been between the pipes with . The netminder is coming off his worst season but does boast a stellar playoff resume.
12. Winnipeg Jets (47-30-5) ▼
Thealso dragged their way into the postseason, but injuries were certainly a contributing factor – specifically on the blue line. , who skated in just 42 contests this season, returned for a five-game tuneup before the playoffs. Meanwhile, hasn’t played since Feb. 24 and his status for Game 1 is uncertain.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (47-31-4) ▲
Thewon seven of their final eight games to punch their postseason ticket. was spectacular down the stretch, going 10-3 with a .946 save percentage and four shutouts. He’ll need to be just as sharp in the playoffs for Columbus to upset Tampa Bay.
14. Vegas Golden Knights (43-32-7) ▼
Themustered together just one win in their last eight games to cap the worst season in franchise history. was absent for most of those contests, though. He returned for the last two games after missing nearly a month, but is that enough to get ready for a playoff run?
15. Dallas Stars (43-32-7) ▼
Thesqueaked into the playoffs despite owning the third-worst offense in the entire league. Simply put, ‘s brilliance will have to continue for Dallas to stand a chance.
16. Colorado Avalanche (38-30-14) ▲
In addition to a well-earned playoff berth,could net the first overall pick courtesy of the Senators’ incompetence. The Avs’ top-end talent makes them a dangerous team to face, but a lack of scoring depth could lead to an early exit.
17. Montreal Canadiens (44-30-8) ▲
Thewere simply in the wrong conference. They finished with more points than the Stars, Golden Knights, and Avalanche, but won’t be heading to the postseason. Nonetheless, this season should be viewed as a positive, as many projected them as a lottery team in October.
18. Arizona Coyotes (39-35-8) ▼
If the league handed out a team award for perseverance, thewould be this year’s winners. Arizona suffered an unimaginable amount of injuries but remained in the thick of the playoff hunt until the final few games. However, it’s clear this team needs an injection of offense if it wants to take the next step.
19. Florida Panthers (36-32-14)
Thecould be in for a busy offseason. They’ve already Joel Quenneville as their next head coach and have been linked to pending free agents and . With plenty of high-end talent already on the roster, a couple of key additions could finally get Florida over the hump.
20. Minnesota Wild (37-36-9)
Paul Fenton’s first year asgeneral manager didn’t go as planned. Their six-year postseason streak was snapped, and the midseason -for- trade looks horrendous. More moves are surely on the way in Minny.
21. Chicago Blackhawks (36-34-12)
Thewill obviously be disappointed to have missed the playoffs, but they should take some solace in how well they played down the stretch to vault back into the hunt. Despite some lingering issues, Chicago should enter next season with a positive outlook.
22. Vancouver Canucks (35-36-11) ▲
Speaking of an encouraging outlook, thecertainly have one despite how their season concluded. Vancouver gave prized defensive prospect a handful of games before wrapping things up, and the club has reason for optimism going forward with Hughes, , and anchoring a promising core.
23. Detroit Red Wings (32-40-10) ▲
Winning seven out of 10 is a nice way to end the regular season, but the‘ roster still has plenty of holes heading into 2019-20.
24. Philadelphia Flyers (37-37-8) ▼
Despite‘s emergence, this season was unquestionably a failure for the , who learned they’ll need more than the talented, young goaltender and two good lines to become a truly competitive club again.
25. Edmonton Oilers (35-38-9) ▼
‘s frustration boiled over a bit down the stretch, and then he got hurt in the ‘ regular-season finale. Needless to say, he and the rest of the club would clearly like to put this campaign behind them.
26. Anaheim Ducks (35-37-10)
The lesson for thethis season is that needs a lot more help. The Ducks have to improve the NHL’s worst offense and get better at limiting shots and scoring chances. They’re unlikely to do that if they continue to be one of the league’s oldest teams.
27. New York Rangers (32-36-14)
has proven capable of being the heir apparent to whenever King Henrik decides to call it a career, but it’s going to be a while before the are real contenders again.
28. Buffalo Sabres (33-39-10) ▼
A second-half nosedive doomed Phil Housley, as the now-formerhead coach got the ax Sunday. Buffalo clearly has plenty of room to grow, but expectations will always be high with and in the fold. still needs a new contract, too.
29. New Jersey Devils (31-41-10) ▼
Gettingsigned long term will be priority No. 1 for the this summer. New Jersey will also have a shot at a very high pick in the upcoming draft, so general manager Ray Shero has an important offseason ahead.
30. Los Angeles Kings (31-42-9) ▼
Thewill have the second-best odds at winning the first overall pick, but not even Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko can fix Los Angeles’ problems on their own.
31. Ottawa Senators (29-47-6) ▼
A nightmare of a season on and off the ice is finally, mercifully over for the, but hey, at least they have the lottery to look forward to. Oh, wait …
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