That outdated adage — the one concerning the best-laid plans of mice and Power Rankers — is true. They typically go awry.

Most of the time, early within the course of, we are able to set the underside 5 and neglect about it. Not this week, people. Oh, not this week — as a result of front offices may tank, but players do not. And we bought a crash course in that over the previous few days. These groups stink! Someone inform them!

In any case, we’ve a brand new, outdated face within the prime 10 and a few shuffling within the mushy center. Let’s simply get to the All-Star break, OK?

Last Week: 1
Record: 38-6-4
Sean rank: 1
Dom rank: 1

If Thursday evening’s recreation in opposition to the Lightning was a possible second-round preview, we’re in for a deal with. That was one of many higher video games this season.

The Bruins did lose although for simply the tenth time this season which seems like an insane factor to jot down at practically the 50-game mark. We talked about this on “The Athletic Hockey Podcast: Bestie Edition,” however this workforce has an actual shot on the all-time win document of 62 and the all-time level document of 132. There’s nonetheless an extended highway forward, however this has all of the makings of a traditionally particular season and that must be celebrated greater than it has been to this point.

Last Week: 2
Record: 30-9-8
Sean rank: 2
Dom rank: 2

More than half of the Hurricanes’ 17 losses have are available two separate spells, due extra to poor goaltending than the rest. When they’re good, they’re good — and so they’re often good. That’s a part of what made Max Pacioretty’s damage so painful to observe; Carolina had themselves a tastefully adorned room, then went out and bought themselves a rug to tie the entire thing collectively. Unfortunately, that rug has been micturated upon. All that’s left to do is ring up Jim Rutherford and see if he has any curiosity in transferring Bo Horvat for a package deal constructed round a 22-year-old heart in his fifth NHL season. The man needs younger veterans, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi is definitely each of these issues. Canucks followers, plug your ears.

Last Week: 3
Record: 30-11-8
Sean rank: 3
Dom rank: 3

Over their final 25 video games, the Leafs are 16-6-3, a 115-point tempo. That would rank fifth in the East and third in the Atlantic. They’re enjoying some superb hockey and it barely even issues as a result of it solely means treading water fairly than making up floor. Not that there’s any actual floor to make up with how far forward Boston is, or wherever to fall with how low the remainder of the Atlantic is. Toronto at the moment has a 98 p.c likelihood of ending second or third within the Atlantic whereas the Lightning have a 95 p.c likelihood. That’s set. It’s been set for like a month. Start mentally making ready now.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week: 4
Record: 31-15-1
Sean rank: 5
Dom rank: 4

February is close to, which implies it’s time to start out questioning what deadline-day magic Julien BriseBois goes to conjure. He told Pierre LeBrun to, mainly, not anticipate something loopy. We’ll see how that performs out. It’s value reiterating simply how good Brandon Hagel, final season’s large addition, has been to this point in 2022-23.

Hagel’s uncommon contract — he’s signed for $1.5 million by 2024 and will probably be an RFA after that — is what made him a goal, and he’s delivered, driving excellent offensive impacts and manufacturing to greater than $6 million in surplus worth. Heading into Thursday’s video games, he had as many five-on-five factors as Filip Forsberg. Tampa paid a ton for him (two first-round picks), however he’s doing his half to make it depend.

Last Week: 5
Record: 31-13-4
Sean rank: 4
Dom rank: 5

From Jack Hughes taking the physique to make the play to Dougie Hamilton (who has 23 factors in his final 20 video games) completely wiring it prime nook for the winner — every thing about this purpose completely dominated.

Even with a loss to the Predators Thursday evening, the Devils are again to their profitable methods, nevertheless it’s not with out concern. Early within the season, the workforce’s epic win streak took place by way of a powerful underlying course of the place they have been completely dominating the scoring likelihood share each evening. Lately? Not a lot. Over the final month, New Jersey ranks twenty fifth with a 47 p.c anticipated objectives charge. Thursday evening’s effort was one other ugly one too. Missing John Marino from the backend is definitely an enormous deal, however to not this diploma.

Last Week: 6
Record: 28-13-9
Sean rank: 6
Dom rank: 6

It wouldn’t be a Stars common season with no deeply bizarre set of time beyond regulation and shootout outcomes. Last season, they have been 15-6. In 2020-21, they wanted further time in 20 of their 56 video games and misplaced 14 of them. So far in 2022-23, they’re 3-9 after regulation.

The excellent news for them is that it hasn’t mattered a lot; they’ve bought the very best factors proportion (.650) and playoff odds within the Western Conference, and time beyond regulation playoff hockey might as properly be a distinct sport than what we see within the common season. And hey, if these wasted factors come again to hang-out them, ending second or third within the Central would solely assure that they keep away from Colorado within the first spherical.

Last Week: 9
Record: 28-14-5
Sean rank: 7
Dom rank: 7

The hole between Seattle’s league-leading 10.8 p.c taking pictures proportion at five-on-five and second-place Boston’s 9.5 p.c is identical because the hole between Boston and the Rangers… in nineteenth place. There’s success, after which there’s that. Only one workforce since 2007-08 has completed the season over one proportion level above second in taking pictures proportion: The 2013-14 Ducks, who have been 1.03 proportion factors above the Avalanche.

Maybe that lasts somewhat longer for Seattle, nevertheless it’s one purpose we stay somewhat cautious and somewhat skeptical about simply how good they are surely. They’re enjoying very well and seem like the most effective groups within the West. There are loads of causes to imagine of their turnaround and that they’re for actual. But there’s a distinction between “good team” and “elite shooting juggernaut.” Seattle continues to be in all probability nearer to the previous.

Last Week: 8
Record: 31-18-1
Sean rank: 8
Dom rank: 9

Heading into Thursday evening in opposition to Buffalo, the Jets had gone 6-4-0 of their earlier 10 video games and managed anticipated objectives in eight of them. No downside. Then, in fact, they put collectively a dud in opposition to the Sabres and misplaced 3-2 in a recreation that wasn’t as shut because the rating implied.

And guess what? There nonetheless isn’t a lot of an issue. The Jets are good — each of us internalized that a while in November — and good groups have meh stretches. What’s most vital for the Jets, in fact, is that Josh Morrissey retains enjoying at a point-per-game tempo. He’s nonetheless there, even after three straight goose eggs.

9. Colorado Avalanche

Last Week: 12
Record: 26-18-3
Sean rank: 9
Dom rank: 8

Every Thursday, our editor Ian Denomme asks us which workforce we wish featured for the lead artwork. Usually, it’s earlier than we’ve even thought of which workforce is being ranked the place, however one workforce sprang to thoughts instantly: Colorado. Cale Makar was coming again and the Avalanche themselves seemed again after profitable six straight.

It was at that actual second that an Avalanche loss to the Ducks was not solely inevitable however a close to assure. And that’s precisely what occurred as Colorado squandered a 3-1 result in lose 5-3 to one of many league’s worst groups. The Power Rankings Curse may be very actual. Be very afraid.

Still, the Avalanche dominated that recreation (86.5 p.c on the Deserve To Win O’Meter child!) and arguably deserved a greater destiny. It occurs over an extended season and it’s not value stressing an excessive amount of even with a weak opponent. Combine that with the six straight wins and Colorado is again within the prime 10. We’re guessing that spot will probably be everlasting from right here on out.

Last Week: 10
Record: 26-14-8
Sean rank: 10
Dom rank: 10

It’s actually beginning to really feel like Adam Fox is greater than midway to a really informal second Norris Trophy. If Erik Karlsson’s level manufacturing falls off a bit, Charlie McAvoy/Hampus Lindholm keep on observe to steal votes from one another and Cale Makar doesn’t hit his fifth gear, it may not be all that shut. Fox’s recreation doesn’t have any holes; his impacts at each ends are outstanding, he’s scoring some extent per recreation and he’s pulling off stuff like this:

What a participant. When it comes time to solid votes, it’s going to be exhausting to look past him.

Last Week: 7
Record: 29-17-3
Sean rank: 11
Dom rank: 11

Jack Eichel began the season purple sizzling, garnering some potential MVP buzz, however he hasn’t been the identical since getting back from damage and seemed simply as unhealthy for somewhat bit earlier than that, too. In his final 15 video games, he has simply eight factors and is rocking a forty five.5 p.c anticipated objectives share. That’s removed from ok and it’s no coincidence that Vegas appears to be like about nearly as good as Eichel does.

When he was placing up MVP-calibre numbers the workforce seemed like an actual contender once more. Since then (and with out Eichel within the lineup) Vegas appears to be like like the identical misguided workforce that missed the playoffs final season. Since beginning 15-4-1 over its first 20 video games Vegas is 14-13-2. The Golden Knights seemed like that they had a stranglehold for the Pacific crown by the primary quarter of the season, however have fully misplaced grip of the division lead.

Last Week: 13
Record: 27-17-6
Sean rank: 12
Dom rank: 13

Bit of a nothing week for the Kings; they beat two smelly groups (Philadelphia and Chicago) and misplaced a coin-flip recreation to a half-decent one (Nashville). Kevin Fiala continues to do precisely what the Kings acquired him to do; in 10 video games since Jan. 1, he’s bought 14 factors — seven objectives and 7 main assists, together with the game-winner over the aforementioned Flyers.

Also, control Pheonix Copley’s workload. He’s began 18 video games since Dec. 6, which is six lower than his profession NHL whole beforehand.

Last Week: 14
Record: 27-18-4
Sean rank: 13
Dom rank: 12

Six straight wins solely to lose in time beyond regulation to the league’s worst workforce. Sigh. If not for that, the Oilers may need been capable of push for a spot near the highest 10, nevertheless it’ll take a bit extra from them to get there.

Really, it’ll take a bit extra from anybody not named Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for this workforce to actually contend. That quartet makes up 72 p.c of the workforce’s whole worth this season. They’ve been improbable, however final we checked there are 16 different guys. Edmonton is the definition of prime heavy.

Last Week: 15
Record: 24-15-9
Sean rank: 14
Dom rank: 14

Bryan Rust’s purpose in a 3-2 shootout loss to Washington was his three hundredth profession level, making him the twentieth participant from the 2010 draft to hit that mark and fourth drafted exterior the primary two rounds. Mark Stone (514, No. 178 total), Brendan Gallagher ( 390, No. 147 total) and John Klingberg (389, No. 131 total) are the others. He’s an vital participant for the Penguins; given the period of time he spends on the highest six, something lower than a 20-goal tempo from him is a nasty signal … and he’s projected to land there, nearly on the dot.

15. Buffalo Sabres

Last Week: 18
Record: 26-19-3
Sean rank: 15
Dom rank: 16

Five straight wins and the vibes are as soon as once more immaculate in Buffalo. The Sabres have had a really lengthy playoff drought and whereas the chances nonetheless aren’t of their favor, the potential of the drought ending appears to be like increasingly actual by the day.

More video games like Thursday evening’s effort in opposition to the Jets could be a significant plus towards attaining that purpose. The Sabres haven’t been a dominant scoring likelihood workforce this season, however they completely crushed the Jets profitable the xG battle 3.2 to 1.1 at five-on-five, a 74 p.c share. According to Evolving Hockey, it’s the workforce’s tenth most dominant efficiency by anticipated objectives since 2007. That recreation and this streak are the sort of efficiency {that a} younger workforce can actually construct upon. This Sabres workforce seems like a workforce of future proper now.

Last Week: 11
Record: 26-17-4
Sean rank: 17
Dom rank: 15

We talked about Kevin Fiala within the Kings blurb. Think the Wild wouldn’t thoughts having that manufacturing again within the fold? Minnesota’s five-on-five objectives per/60 have gone from second within the league in 2021-22 (3.22) to twenty sixth (2.33). Fiala’s cap-forced exit is a part of that, however so, too, are steep declines for Ryan Hartman, Matt Boldy and most of Minnesota’s different prime forwards. Even Kirill Kaprizov is down from 1.3 to 0.84. More dependable output there would agency up the Wild’s maintain on a playoff spot, which is dodgier than it must be given the groups which can be chasing them.

17. Washington Capitals

Last Week: 16
Record: 26-19-6
Sean rank: 16
Dom rank: 17

Everyone: We desire a Weagle jersey!

The Capitals:

Everyone: Not like that!

Last Week: 17
Record: 23-17-9
Sean rank: 19
Dom rank: 18

Four-goal losses to the Blackhawks have a manner of bringing issues into focus — and now, greater than every other level this season, it’s time for the Flames to marvel if they’ve a Jacob Markstrom downside. Any loss to Chicago seemingly represents a full-squad meltdown, however Markstrom is now carrying round an .893 save proportion and -0.52 objectives saved above anticipated, which is 54th within the league. He’s been underwater in that stat in seven of his final 9 begins. Nothing Calgary can do will matter if he doesn’t enhance. Quite a bit. Quickly.

19. Nashville Predators

Last Week: 21
Record: 24-18-6
Sean rank: 18
Dom rank: 20

The Predators have received 5 of six and at the moment are within the midst of doing that factor they all the time do: Waltzing into the playoffs on the again of a scorching second half that undoes a mediocre first half.

Nashville nonetheless has a little bit of a hill to climb within the West, however a formidable win over the Devils has put the workforce again on the cusp of the race. The Predators are ninth within the West by factors proportion and have the star energy to go for an actual run right here. Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi and Juuse Saros can completely be these guys. Over their final 15 video games, Josi and Forsberg each have 15 factors apiece and have began to actually dominate at five-on-five once more. That was sorely lacking from them to start out the season. Next step: Getting their groove again on the ability play.

Last Week: 22
Record: 23-21-6
Sean rank: 20
Dom rank: 19

On some ranges, it’s straightforward to really feel unhealthy for the Panthers. Example A: Their projected purpose differential is plus-24, which in apply would put them on the sting of the highest 10. In actuality, they’re at minus-5, which is extra befitting of a workforce that’ll need assistance and a sizzling streak to make any sort of actual playoff push.

Bad luck? Certainly a part of it … although failing to top-three shield their draft choose looks like an enforced error. As does hiring Paul Maurice. So actually, how unhealthy are you imagined to really feel?

Last Week: 20
Record: 23-23-3
Sean rank: 22
Dom rank: 21

Ryan O’Reilly needs to be a Blue. In a super world, the Blues in all probability need him to be a Blue perpetually. But the Blues don’t dwell there and the thought of extending O’Reilly instead of trading him could be a baffling resolution. The Blues are in no man’s land the place they’re too good to tank and too unhealthy to make the playoffs. It’s time to go all-in on the latter path and that begins with an O’Reilly deal. As painful as it might be, it’s a needed step for the place this franchise at the moment stands.

Our unique concept for this week’s rankings was “one player from each team that should be traded” in honor of O’Reilly possibly not being traded. Turns out that’s actually exhausting for 90 p.c of the league. For the Blues, it must be a straightforward name. Should. Do the appropriate factor, St. Louis.

Last Week: 23
Record: 21-18-8
Sean rank: 21
Dom rank: 23

We’re all higher off with the Red Wings as a major potential player on the commerce deadline. They’re at the moment on the heart of the Bo Horvat hypothesis, with the pondering being that heart prospect Marco Kasper and/or 25-year-old defenseman Flip Hronek would head again to Vancouver. Max Bultman and Harman Dayal broke that down intimately a pair days again.

Now, Steve Yzerman in all probability doesn’t think about that price ticket with out some kind of assured extension with Horvat — but when that piece fell into place, the Wings would get actually fascinating actually shortly. Neither Horvat nor Dylan Larkin are very best top-line facilities on contenders, however as a pair? Hmm.

Last Week: 19
Record: 23-22-5
Sean rank: 22
Dom rank: 23

Add three extra losses to the pile and the Islanders have now dropped six straight. No one is scoring, Ilya Sorokin is coming again right down to Earth and the Islanders at the moment are on tempo for 83-to-84 factors — not far off the place they have been final season. The early season run is wanting like a mirage and it feels prefer it’ll take a small miracle for this workforce to make it to the playoffs at this level. Miracles can occur, however this workforce simply doesn’t have it anymore.

24. Philadelphia Flyers

Last Week: 24
Record: 20-21-9
Sean rank: 24
Dom rank: 24

Charlie O’Connor has been beating this drum for many of the season, nevertheless it’s value saying right here: Rasmus Ristolain has been superb, with numbers befitting a dependable third-pair defenseman for a pleasant chunk of video games.

For the season, his common recreation rating is within the black (0.119) for the primary time since 2019-20. In his final 10 video games, he’s averaging 0.77, largely due to good work in his personal finish. Call it the Tortorella impact. The unhealthy information is that the coach can’t assist that wage ($5.1 million AAV by 2027), and Ristolainen has a historical past of enjoying his manner up a lineup after which falling to items. Let’s see the way it goes.

Last Week: 25
Record: 21-23-3
Sean rank: 25
Dom rank: 25

Josh Norris was again for all of three video games earlier than re-injuring his shoulder and being sidelined for the season. It actually seems like a case the place Norris got here again too early which begs the query: Why? For what function? For this workforce? What’s the purpose?

It’s exhausting to imagine individuals tried to speak themselves into “Ottawa Senators: Playoff Team.” It felt ridiculous in the summertime and appears downright hilarious now. Norris’ well being alone wouldn’t have modified that. This workforce simply can’t rating.

Last Week: 26
Record: 20-25-3
Sean rank: 26
Dom rank: 26

What’s gotten into Kirby Dach? Scoring objectives, making quick work of Andrew Copp … sheesh.

Arpon Basu took a deeper look at Dach’s development this season. He was all the time going to be well worth the worth Montreal paid for him, whether or not he panned out or not — and for the time being, he’s a huge, expert heart enjoying large minutes at a 50-point tempo a number of days after his twenty second birthday. Not unhealthy.

Last Week: 27
Sean rank: 27
Dom rank: 27

The Sharks have performed 3 times during the last week: loss, loss, time beyond regulation loss.

Dear Columbus, Chicago, Anaheim and Arizona: Take notes. That’s the way you tank.

Fun reality: It’s not any of these 4 groups with the fewest wins this season. It’s San Jose with 14. Blame the loser level for the workforce “only” being fifth final within the league.

28. Vancouver Canucks

Last Week: 28
Record: 19-26-3
Sean rank: 28
Dom rank: 28

This workforce shouldn’t be within the enterprise of signing any 26-year-old wingers to $5.5 million AAV offers, however they in all probability might’ve completed worse than Andrei Kuzmenko. In a vacuum, or on a distinct roster, or on a distinct planet, that’s a pleasant little bit of labor. Instead, it’s a missed alternative so as to add belongings for a rebuild that’ll apparently by no means really start. He turns 27 in a pair days, by the best way. The chance that they’re making an attempt to maneuver Horvat for a participant in that age vary ought to make Canucks followers bodily ailing.

29. Arizona Coyotes

Last Week: 29
Record: 16-28-5
Sean rank: 30
Dom rank: 29

Shayne Gostisbehere is out 4-6 weeks, which is unhealthy timing with the commerce deadline rolling round. All issues thought of, he’s had an honest season on a very unhealthy workforce and may warrant some actual curiosity for groups shoring up their blue line. It’ll be actually fascinating to see what Arizona can fetch for his companies given the Coyotes obtained a second simply to tackle his contract. That appears to be like like a present that may carry on giving as Gostisbehere has recuperated a whole lot of his worth since. He’s clearly no defensive stalwart, however his 81 factors during the last two seasons rank 18th amongst all defensemen. He’s value a win of worth and is usually a good offensive add for a playoff workforce’s third pair.

30. Chicago Blackhawks

Last Week: 30
Record: 15-28-4
Sean rank: 29
Dom rank: 30

Mere hours in the past, the Blackhawks rolled out their fourth-string goalie, a younger fella by the identify of Jaxson Stauber who promptly stopped 34 of the Flames’ 35 photographs. Stauber, who’s 23, has now received his first two NHL begins. Mix that in with Petr Mrazek’s .931 save proportion since Alex Stalock’s Jan. 14 concussion, and also you’ve bought the distinct sense that one thing unplanned and ugly is going on to the Blackhawks’ entrance workplace.

31. Columbus Blue Jackets

Last Week: 32
Record: 15-30-3
Sean rank: 32
Dom rank: 32

Wednesday’s OT win over the Oilers gave the Blue Jackets 5 factors out of a potential six. On Friday evening, they play Vancouver; after that, it’s Kraken-Caps-Leafs-Leafs-Devils-Jets-Stars, so issues ought to get again on observe, so to talk, in a rush. They’re tops on the Tankathon big board for a purpose, people,

32. Anaheim Ducks

Last Week: 31
Record: 15-29-5
Sean rank: 32
Dom rank: 32

The Ducks earned a gutsy comeback win in opposition to the Avalanche Thursday getting back from a 3-1 deficit, one thing that was really troublesome to imagine. On every other day that win could be precisely what followers don’t need — a disaster for the workforce’s tank (not that groups tank in fact, in keeping with the commissioner). You simply must lose the loseable video games. With Chicago and Arizona profitable, Montreal getting some extent and Columbus profitable the evening earlier than it may not be the worst end result in spite of everything. Cherish that victory over the defending Stanley Cup champs, it might be some time earlier than the subsequent one.

(Top picture: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

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