Beware of Predators

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After a couple weeks away, the Power Rankings are back. The time after the NHL All-Star break is commonly referred to by hockey insiders as when the "big boy" hockey is played. The pace picks up, and there is a tangible uptick in the sense of urgency around NHL dressing rooms.More than one Hall of Fame player I've talked to over the years has essentially put it this way: "The good teams don't really start playing until after the break."

A DISCLAIMER (of sorts): These rankings are based not just on each team's record, but an empirically tested formula that includes a) realistic near-term future expectations; b) consensus talent level and payroll considerations and; c) whatever the Magic 8-Ball I've had since I was seven years old tells me will happen. One more thing: Rest assured that I don't have it in for your team. OK, so I once hated the Philadelphia Flyers with a passion bordering on the psychotic, but that was 30-something years ago and Dave Schultz has long since retired. I welcome your emails to the link attached to my name above, and I always respond -- even to the ones that start with "Dear Idiot."

With that sentiment in mind, let's move on with our new rankings:

NHL Power Rankings