If you can believe it, we are basically at the midway point of the 2020-21 NHL season. Time flies, doesn't it? Or does time mean anything anymore? If you're the Buffalo Sabres, time is a flat circle that ends in a loss to the Islanders, but that's not important right now. What is important is that enough games have been played that certain things have clearly become reality: Chicago is a potential playoff team while Nashville is not. Think about that for a second.
And while we all ponder the magnificence of Kirill Kaprizov in Minnesota, let's get to some NHL power rankings, shall we?
1. Vegas Golden Knights: Mark Stone started off March with 10 points in his first four games and Marc-Andre Fleury has the best save percentage (.942) of any regular goalie in the NHL. So yeah, things are going pretty well in Vegas.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: We stan a Vasilevskiy king. Did I do that right? Probably not, but that's OK. The Bolts are cruising thanks to their Vezina goalie, while Brayden Point fought Andrew Cogliano and looked like a beast in the process.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs: Never mind the Canucks losses, the Leafs blanked Connor McDavid in a three-game showdown with Edmonton while using three different netminders. This team can rise to the occasion when it needs to.
4. Carolina Hurricanes: Hey, remember when Vince Trocheck was healthy and piling up points a few years ago? Well, so does Vince Trocheck, because he's healthy and doing it again (but in Carolina now instead of Florida).
5. New York Islanders: The Islanders' past three games have all been 5-2 victories over the corpse of the Sabres. But to be fair, you can only play the games on your schedule - so full points to the Islanders!
6. Washington Capitals: Tom Wilson is heading up north again, this time on a seven-game bid. The Caps have won seven of their past 10; can they keep that momentum going with the big guy out of the lineup?
7. Winnipeg Jets: Mark Scheifele has quietly entered the NHL's top five for scoring and only four of his 33 points have come on empty-net goals - so take that, Scheifele haters (hold up, I am just checking annnnddd - four points ties him for first in the NHL).
8. Florida Panthers: We all know Jonathan Huberdeau has been on fire this year, but how about defenseman Aaron Ekblad racking up 17 points through 24 games while also playing more than 25 minutes a night? He's playing like a first overall pick or something.
9. St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko is back and you're gonna be in trouble (hey na, hey - ah, forget it). The Blues have pushed through a lot of injuries already this season and they're still one of the best in the West.
10. Colorado Avalanche: Speaking of injuries, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are on the mend and that's great news for everyone except Colorado's opponents - we didn't sign up for half an Avalanche, after all.
11. Boston Bruins: No Brandon Carlo for awhile and that's tough for the B's, as defensive depth is no longer a strength. On the positive side, Trent Frederic is quickly becoming a folk hero in town.
12. Minnesota Wild: Yes, Kirill Kaprizov is everything we hoped he would be as an NHLer and the Calder Trophy favorite. And yes, those ReverseRetro jerseys look as awesome as we thought they would - maybe even more so.
13. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games, pumping them back into the "good" half of the East Division, though Philly has games in hand. Sidney Crosby once again leads the charge.
14. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers are doing just enough to stay in the upper tier of the East, but nothing above that. They are basically Jennifer Aniston working at Chotchkie's in "Office Space."
15. Edmonton Oilers: Getting swept by Toronto notwithstanding, the Oilers are ascending the North and have three straight games against the Senators which cannot all be trap games.
16. Chicago Blackhawks: Were it not for Kirill Kaprizov, Chicago goalie Kevin Lankinen would likely be your Calder Trophy favorite. Heck, he might still be your favorite if you put only mustard on your hot dog and really enjoy improv comedy.
17. Los Angeles Kings: The NHL is considering a change to the draft where a team can't be in the lottery more than twice in a five-year span. The Kings, who got Quinton Byfield second overall in 2020, are helping by not being terrible again.
18. Montreal Canadiens: Dominique Ducharme was the right man for the job and the Habs are putting a little distance between themselves and Calgary. Now, can Sean Burke fix the goaltending situation?
19. Arizona Coyotes: Big defenseman Jakob Chychrun is having his best season yet, piling up points and playing solid minutes. He's like Arizona's Aaron Ekblad (so Ekblad, but with less humidity).
20. New York Rangers: Rookie Alexis Lafreniere just had a four-game point streak snapped and the teen now has seven points in 23 games. He's gonna be fine (as long as he's eating well. Is he eating well?).
21. Columbus Blue Jackets: Max Domi has one point in his past 10 games and played only seven minutes on Saturday night. At this rate, his career arc is gonna be Arizona-Montreal-Columbus-Kunlun Red Star.
22. Calgary Flames: Darryl Sutter is back behind the bench and if the remainder of Calgary's season isn't sponsored by John Deere, why even have a marketing department?
23. Dallas Stars: The Stars are still behind on games played, but they're not winning the ones they have played, so that's a problem. Jake Oettinger got his first NHL shutout, though, so that's positive.
24. Nashville Predators: The Preds are beginning to right the ship, but is it too little too late already? Filip Forsberg is the only player in town who has scored more than 20 points through the team's first 25 games.
25. San Jose Sharks: San Jose currently has the same negative goal differential as Buffalo (minus-23) and when that happens, you really have to evaluate your life decisions.
26. New Jersey Devils: Things are not going well in New Jersey, where the Devils have won just two of their past 10. On the other hand, there's another Hughes brother up for the draft and Luke plays defense.
27. Vancouver Canucks: Thatcher Demko is turning back into scary Demko and that's great news for a Canucks squad that can only look to the future at this point.
28. Anaheim Ducks: Max Comtois is your surprise points and goals leader for the Ducks through 25 games. That probably wasn't the plan, but it's not a bad thing, either.
29. Ottawa Senators: Ottawa's scoring leaders are Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot and Josh Norris. That definitely was the plan, so that's good.
30. Detroit Red Wings: Evgeny Svechnikov has been a point-per-game player since coming up from the AHL. Also, I miss going to Slow's BBQ in Corktown.
31. Buffalo Sabres: I'm beginning to think that Ralph Krueger wasn't the tactical and motivational genius he was made out to be.