- The Lightning further proved their in another league when they took on the Flames in a potential Stanley Cup preview. Who else are real players as the trade deadline approaches?
We’re in the final week leading up to the trade deadline and there seem to be plenty of big moves left out there. What will happen with Mark Stone and Matt Duchene? Will Artemi Panarin actually get traded? And with the Flyers’ recent hot streak, will they be willing to give up Wayne Simmonds?
Meanwhile, we got a potential Stanley Cup preview between the Lightning and Flames…and it was a bit of a nothing burger. Tampa Bay provides another piece of evidence to place it in another league. And while the Lightning will walk away with the Presidents' Trophy, let's not assume the Cup is theirs. Playoffs will always be wacky and there are plenty of contenders this season.
31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 22–31–5 | Previous Ranking: 31
Until the Stone/Duchene trades happen (or don't), it's hard to get a read on what the heck is going on there.
30. New Jersey Devils | Record: 23–28–8 | Previous Ranking: 30
It was good to see Cory Schneider finally get a couple wins this weekend. The Devils have consistently been at the bottom this season, but that won’t stop Ray Shero from making a key move or two before the deadline.
29. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 23–29–8 | Previous Ranking: 27
Gustav Nyquist would be a really good piece for a number of contenders.
28. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 23–29–6 | Previous Ranking: 29
Would anyone take Ilya Kovalchuk? The Kings aren’t done making moves yet.
27. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 23–27–9 | Previous Ranking: 26
How much did waiting to realize they weren't contenders cost the Ducks? Bob Murray seems to be a fine temporary fix, but it’s a move that happened way too late.
26. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 24–29–5 | Previous Ranking: 23
Maybe this recent stretch—they have just one win in their last 11 games—will finally convince the Oilers to be sellers. There are some good parts to be had.
25. Florida Panthers | Record: 25–24–8 | Previous Ranking: 28
Everyone's on Florida as the team to watch, but the Panthers have to be careful not to give up good assets like Jonathan Huberdeau.
24. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 23–24–11 | Previous Ranking: 25
You have the best first line in hockey. How can everything else be so bad? The Avs finally got a win last week, but it’s their only one in the last 10 games.
23. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 26–27–5 | Previous Ranking: 22
Darcy Kuemper isn't necessarily the long-term option in Arizona, but he's played pretty well since Antti Raanta got hurt.
22. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 24–26–9 | Previous Ranking: 24
This recent run is more of a sign for next year’s potential, and that Jeremy Colliton was a good hire.
21. New York Rangers | Record: 25–25–8 | Previous Ranking: 19
There will be trades, but the Rangers have had competitive showings against good teams recently.
20. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 26–27–7 | Previous Ranking: 21
Vancouver’s biggest offseason focus has to be defense.
19. Minnesota Wild | Record: 27–26–6 | Previous Ranking: 17
That Victor Rask trade hasn't really worked out, has it?
18. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 28–24–7 | Previous Ranking: 18
Does the emergence of Carter Hart make it more or less likely the Flyers trade Simmonds? Also will be interesting to see how Cam Talbot fits into the never-ending goalie carousel.
17. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 28–23–7 | Previous Ranking: 15
Buffalo hasn't really come close to capturing the magic from the end of 2018.
16. Dallas Stars | Record: 29–24–5 | Previous Ranking: 14
So maybe berating Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn worked?
15. St. Louis Blues | Record: 31–22–5 | Previous Ranking: 20
Have a few weeks, Jordan Binnington! Can he keep this up? More importantly, can the Blues keep up this crazy streak?
14. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 32–24–4 | Previous Ranking: 10
It's been a real struggle in Vegas of late. Not sure there is a remedy outside the organization.
13. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 31–22–6 | Previous Ranking: 16
Carolina is a player at the deadline. Playing well, a new owner looking for a splash and some spicy new T-shirts to add to it all.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 31–21–7 | Previous Ranking: 12
Pittsburgh had a tough loss to the Flames, followed by a shaky win against the Rangers. The clock is ticking and this team needs to find consistency. Fast.
11. Washington Capitals | Record: 32–20–7 | Previous Ranking: 11
It won't happen. But could you imagine Panarin on a power play with Alex Ovechkin? The Caps slowly seem to be getting their stride back.
10. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 33–21–3 | Previous Ranking: 13
We wait for the Panarin shoe to drop, but in the meantime, the Blue Jackets keep winning (with a little dose of reality against the Islanders).
9. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 31–21–7 | Previous Ranking: 8
The Habs just went through a ridiculous tough stretch that included Winnipeg, Toronto, Nashville and Tampa Bay. They went 1-3-1.
8. Nashville Predators | Record: 34–22–5 | Previous Ranking: 6
The Predators have been tinkering around the edges when they probably need something substantial before the deadline.
7. Boston Bruins | Record: 34–17–8 | Previous Ranking: 9
The David Pastrnak injury is potentially huge, but if he's back by the playoffs, it should be OK.
6. New York Islanders | Record: 35–17–6 | Previous Ranking: 7
Waiting for the Islanders to make a big swing. Yes, they're behind Tampa Bay. But everyone is. This is a chance to make a huge run heading into the playoffs.
5. Calgary Flames | Record: 35–16–7 | Previous Ranking: 2
Should we read a lot into the loss to the Lightning? Unclear. But it's not the most comforting thing.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 36–19–3 | Previous Ranking: 5
Right now, Mitch Marner might be the best player on this team loaded with stars.
3. San Jose Sharks | Record: 35–17–7 | Previous Ranking: 4
Brent Burns is having an MVP–type season. His production might be the biggest beneficiary of the Erik Karlsson trade.
2. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 36–19–4 | Previous Ranking: 3
The Jets really need to get Patrik Laine scoring, but Mark Scheifele seems capable of carrying them.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 44–11–4 | Previous Ranking: 1
A 6–3 beatdown of Calgary kind of says it all, no?