- It’s a league of hot streaks amongst the top contenders right now, most notably in the Pacific Division, where the Flames, Sharks and Golden Knights are all climbing the rankings.
It's a league of hot streaks. Nine teams have won seven or more games in their last 10. Surely, that won't last. All those teams are contenders. But it's not all rosy. Save for Tampa Bay, which doesn't seem to lose, a hot streak doesn't necessarily mean anything in this league. Remember when the Sabres had a 10-game winning streak? Well, they are 3–6–1 in their last 10 now.
31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 17–24–5 | Previous Ranking: 31
It seems like the Sens are throwing goalies against the wall and seeing what sticks. Nothing has, thus far for the team
30. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 16–23–6 | Previous Ranking: 28
It seems fitting that Philly, which has one win in its last 10 games, would tie the record for most goaltenders used in a season—and it's only January.
29. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 18–25–3 | Previous Ranking: 30
Ilya Kovalchuck has been fair, at best. He’s become a defensive liability at -16 and hasn’t really been productive on the power play.
28. St. Louis Blues | Record: 19–20–4 | Previous Ranking: 29
The big trio last season—Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz—has been disappointing this year. Is it time to break it up?
27. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 17–23–7 | Previous Ranking: 25
If the Wings don't trade Jimmy Howard, who's playing well, that would be a big mistake. He could go for a premium.
26. New Jersey Devils | Record: 17–20–7 | Previous Ranking: 23
As long as he isn't banged up, the rest of the season should be focused on getting as much playing time for Mackenzie Blackwood as possible. The goaltender is boasting a .947 save percentage and a 1.85 GAA in his nine games played.
25. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 16–22–9 | Previous Ranking: 27
Chicago is finally showing signs of life in the New Year. Even the Blackhawks’ losses are more competitive, with three of their last five games being overtime losses.
24. New York Rangers | Record: 18–20–7 | Previous Ranking: 19
It’s become pretty clear that unless Henrik Lundqvist plays out of his mind, the Rangers’ defense is non-existent.
23. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 20–22–3 | Previous Ranking: 26
Goalie Adin Hill, just 22, has shown promise as a long-term back up in Arizona . Paired with Anttii Raanta, that's a good combo for the Coyotes.
22. Florida Panthers | Record: 17–19–8 | Previous Ranking: 20
The Panthers face a dilemma with the trade deadline approaching. They're not going anywhere this year, but most of their players are young and have tons of potential. Not too much to offload.
21. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 21–21–3 | Previous Ranking: 22
The Oilers are 12–11–0 since their coaching change, with nine of those wins coming in the first few weeks. Honest question: Does Ken Hitchcock return next season?
20. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 21–21–5 | Previous Ranking: 15
The Canucks have to ensure that, going forward, they don't become solely reliant on Elias Pettersson. He's showing he can be injury-prone.
19. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 19–18–9 | Previous Ranking: 17
Nothing is going right in Anaheim. The Ducks’ sell-off starts with veteran Andrew Cogliano, who was traded to the Stars on Monday.
18. Minnesota Wild | Record: 22–19–3 | Previous Ranking: 21
17. Dallas Stars | Record: 23–19–4 | Previous Ranking: 18
Cogliano isn't necessarily a game changer for the Stars. But he's a solid contributor who should provide stability and reliability to the lineup.
16. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 22–18–5 | Previous Ranking: 24
The Hurricanes are 7–3–0 in their last 10 and have hit a hot streak at the right time, since there could be a big sell off in the next few weeks.
15. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 20–17–8 | Previous Ranking: 16
The Avalanche have an untenable defense, and a one-line team. That can only go so far, which they are discovering on their Canadian road trip, on which they’ve dropped the first three games.
14. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 24–17–5 | Previous Ranking: 14
The Habs are led in scoring by three buy-low acquisitions: Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar. Nice work, Marc Bergevin.
13. New York Islanders | Record: 25–15–5 | Previous Ranking: 13
Barry Trotz is a magician. Lose your best player, and perform better? Not bad. The Islanders’ fourth line especially showed up against the Lightning on Sunday.
12. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 23–16–6 | Previous Ranking: 12
The Sabres are not the same team since their hot streak ended. Did they just put it all together for a few weeks? Or is this downslide temporary?
11. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 27–15–3 | Previous Ranking: 9
Getting shutout by Tampa Bay is fine. Wins against Nashville and Washington are impressive, though.
10. Nashville Predators | Record: 27–16–4 | Previous Ranking: 7
A win against Toronto last Monday was a good way to assuage concerns that there was a big-time slide in Nashville, but things won’t get easier this week with visits from the Capitals and Jets.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 25–14–6 | Previous Ranking: 8
Jake Guentzel is on pace for career highs in every category, with 10 points in his last six games. It helps to play with Sidney Crosby, but he's also good in his own right.
8. Boston Bruins | Record: 26–15–4 | Previous Ranking: 11
After starting the year on a hot streak, Boston did had a respectable split against Washington and Toronto.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 28–14–2 | Previous Ranking: 2
Down two goaltenders might qualify as a crisis in Toronto. Is it time to swing a trade for a goalie?
6. Washington Capitals | Record: 27–12–5 | Previous Ranking: 5
The goal scoring is curiously down, but Evgeny Kuznetsov is still averaging nearly a point per game. That shows his evolution as a player.
5. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 29–14–2 | Previous Ranking: 3
Winnipeg is flirting with 30% on the power play. No team has done that this century.
4. San Jose Sharks | Record: 27–13–7 | Previous Ranking: 10
Oh, so this is the team we expected in the offseason! Yeah, that Erik Karlsson fellow is pretty good.
3. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 28–16–4 | Previous Ranking: 6
Sometimes, it's best not to read into slow starts. Maybe there was a bit of a playoff hangover. But outside of Tampa Bay, no other team is hotter than Vegas right now.
2. Calgary Flames | Record: 30–13–4 | Previous Ranking: 4
Johnny Gaudreau, Johnny MVP? It's not so far-fetched with 18 points in an eight-game point streak.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 35–9–2 | Previous Ranking: 1
Not to be outdone by the Jets, the Lightning are also approaching 30% on the power play. Could you imagine a playoff series between the Jets and Bolts?