Ranking all 31 NHL organizations – right now

How do you measure success? A Stanley Cup would be nice, but there are other factors, too. We look at how every NHL franchise is faring at this point in the season at varying levels and futures.
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How’s your favorite franchise doing right now? No, no – how’s it really doing right now? If your team is still alive in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you’re probably feeling pretty good. But what if you team was rebuilding this season? The mission was never NHL playoff success, but getting prospects in good positions to grow. And maybe this summer’s draft is pivotal for your organization.

To get a snapshot of how all 31 organizations are doing right now, I decided to do a little number-crunching. I’ve put together five categories and awarded points for success, based on right now. The four teams in the NHL conference finals get 15 points – the ultimate goal is the Cup, right? The four teams that won regular-season division titles also get 10 points. But let’s drill down to the AHL, too. Teams through to the conference finals already get 10 points, while those still battling in the second round get five (like I said, this is a snapshot in time). Also, teams get points for how many of their prospects are still alive in the CHL playoffs, plus any draft pick who played for the NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (and one quick note: role is not important. I see value in simply being on the team for this exercise). Finally, franchises got five points for each first-round draft pick they currently own for 2019. There was also a bonus for picking in the top-five. Here’s how it all shook out:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are alive in the East, while their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, are through to the conference final. Their ECHL team in Florida is still playing too, though I didn’t award points for that.
  2. Boston Bruins: Great balance for the Bruins, as they have a solid shot at winning the Cup, while also keeping their first-rounder and watching Jakub Lauko go for a QMJHL title with Rouyn-Noranda.
  3. San Jose Sharks: Still alive in the Cup race, the Sharks also have some top prospects humming. Sasha Chmelevski has been dynamite for OHL Ottawa, Noah Gregor is chasing a WHL title with Prince Albert and Zachary Emond is the backup for Rouyn-Noranda.
  4. Anaheim Ducks: Sure, it didn’t seem like a great year for the Ducks, but the AHL’s San Diego Gulls are still kicking, while the Ducks have two first-rounders this summer and two prospects guaranteed to play in the Memorial Cup tournament: Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Antoine Morand of the host Halifax Mooseheads.
  5. Washington Capitals: The division title meant the Caps still have a ton of talent, even if their hearts got broken by Carolina in the first round. Ottawa’s Kody Clark is still vying for an OHL title, while Alex Kannok Leipert is playing for a WHL crown with Vancouver.
  6. St. Louis Blues: It’s all about the Cup run for the Blues, who don’t have a 2019 first-rounder. They do have a national champion in Scott Perunovich and Guelph’s Alexey Toropchenko going for an OHL title, however.
  7. Calgary Flames: The Flames snagged a division title, kept their first-rounder and have Milos Roman alive in the WHL playoffs with Vancouver.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning: Coming off a dominating regular season, the Lightning may be disappointed now, but they still have a loaded roster and the chance to add to it in the future with Duluth’s Cole Koepke and a 2019 first-round selection.
  9. Nashville Predators: They won the toughest division in the NHL and hung onto their first-rounder in the process. Seems like a down year, but the Preds are still very good.
  10. Los Angeles Kings: It’s all about the future with the Kings, who have two first-rounders in 2019, plus Sean Durzi and Markus Phillips patrolling Guelph’s back end in the OHL final and Mikey Anderson winning a national title with Duluth.
  11. New York Rangers: It’s all about the draft for New York. Not only do the Rangers have two first-rounders, but most crucially they’re picking second overall. That means it’s almost Kaapo Kakko time on Broadway.
  12. Edmonton Oilers: The Bakersfield Condors are still alive in the AHL playoffs, while Dmitri Samorukov has been huge for OHL Guelph in the post-season. Ostap Safin will play for a Memorial Cup with Halifax, too.
  13. Toronto Maple Leafs: The AHL’s Marlies are through to the conference final after winning it all last year. Elsewhere, Ian Scott has been a wall in net for WHL Prince Albert, while Fedor Gordeev mans the back end with OHL Guelph.
  14. Colorado Avalanche: Two first-rounders, including the fourth overall selection, make for a sunny future in Denver.
  15. New Jersey Devils: Who’s ready for Jack Hughes? The Devils pick first overall this summer, while Jocktan Chainey (Halifax) and Mitchell Hoelscher (Ottawa) are still alive in the CHL.
  16. Minnesota Wild: Minor good news across the board for the Wild. Iowa is still kicking in the AHL playoffs, Nick Swaney won the Frozen Four with Duluth and Minny has its 2019 first-rounder.
  17. Chicago Blackhawks: Another franchise that’s all about the future right now, the Blackhawks pick third this summer and also have MacKenzie Entwistle doing big things for OHL Guelph. Jake Ryczek and goalie Alexis Gravel play for Memorial Cup host Halifax, too.
  18. Buffalo Sabres: Two first-round picks in 2019 will make this a fun draft for Sabres fans.
  19. Vegas Golden Knights: The Golden Knights kept their 2019 first-rounder, while the AHL’s Chicago Wolves continue the playoff fight.
  20. Arizona Coyotes: It’s a big prospect year for the Coyotes. Kevin Bahl and Noel Hoefenmeyer are key blueliners for OHL Ottawa, who are doing battle with Guelph’s Nate Schnarr. David Tendeck is WHL Vancouver’s starting netminder.
  21. Montreal Canadiens: Another strong prospect crop, the Habs boast Guelph star Nick Suzuki, Prince Albert’s Cole Fonstad and Rouyn-Noranda’s Joel Teasdale. Guelph’s Cam Hillis is hurt.
  22. Dallas Stars: Tye Felhaber is a key offensive driver for OHL Ottawa, while Liam Hawel brings heavy play to Guelph. Riley Tufte won the NCAA title with Duluth.
  23. New York Islanders: Noah Dobson is a major factor in Rouyn-Noranda’s success and he’s facing off against Halifax’s Arnaud Durandeau right now.
  24. Philadelphia Flyers: Isaac Ratcliffe is a big part of OHL Guelph’s top line, while Noah Cates won the NCAA championship with Duluth.
  25. Detroit Red Wings: Halifax defenseman Jared McIsaac is the last Red Wings-affiliated player standing this year.
  26. Ottawa Senators: Similarly, Parker Kelly of Prince Albert is the only player for Sens fans to watch now.
  27. Vancouver Canucks: Mikey DiPietro is a junior superstar for OHL Ottawa, but an ankle injury took him out of the past two games of the championship series.
  28. Florida Panthers: The Panthers pick 13th overall this summer. That’s pretty much the news.
  29. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins have a first-rounder! It feels like it’s been awhile.
  30. Winnipeg Jets: Rough endings for Winnipeg this year, but at least Dylan Samberg won another national championship with Duluth.
  31. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets went all-in and came up short. It was a noble effort, but now they only have two picks in 2019: a third-rounder and a seventh-rounder.

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