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  • At this point, the Lightning are running away with the Presidents' Trophy, but there are plenty of teams aiming to close the gap at the top.
By Jeremy Fuchs
March 04, 2019

No one will catch Tampa Bay—it's just too late. But there are a lot of teams that are starting to establish themselves as potential challengers. Boston had a really impressive win over Tampa Bay, and that came after a good win against San Jose. Washington is streaking; and, of course, Calgary and San Jose are still playing well of late. On the face, there was no reason for the Lightning to do anything to drastic at the deadline. But though the lead is large, it'll all even back in the playoffs.

31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 23–38–5 | Previous Ranking: 31

The Sens probably had more assets to try and trade—JG Pageau, Cody Ceci, Magnus Pajaarvi, Mikkel Boedekker. Guess you can't trade everyone, but you can fire your coach.

30. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 24–33–8 | Previous Ranking: 30

That Ilya Kovalchuk contract could come back to bite them.

29. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 23–33–9 | Previous Ranking: 29

The blowout loss to Montreal makes everything else from this season look worse, doesn't it?

28. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 25–32–9 | Previous Ranking: 27

Wondering if it's time to think about moving on from Ryan Getzlaf.

27. New Jersey Devils | Record: 25–33–8 | Previous Ranking: 28

The Devils did well to move the pieces they had at the deadline. Now it's about getting Taylor Hall back for next year.

26. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 28–30–7 | Previous Ranking: 25

Obviously, Mikko Koskinen is not working out. Should the Oilers take a run at Sergei Bobrovsky?

25. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 27–30–9 | Previous Ranking: 26

Tanner Pearson could be a sneaky good acquisition. Put him in good situations, and a lot of time with Elias Pettersson and he could find his game back.

24. New York Rangers | Record: 27–27–11 | Previous Ranking: 22

Rangers have competed admirably despite losing many of their best players. Speaks to David Quinn's coaching style.

23. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 32–28–5 | Previous Ranking: 20

Look at the streaking 'Yotes! Six straight wins has the just outside a wild-card spot. In total, it's been a much-improved season.

22. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 27–30–9 | Previous Ranking: 23

Maybe the playoffs are out of the question, but certainly good to see Corey Crawford back.

21. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 30–27–8 | Previous Ranking: 18

Seems like we were all fooled, this page included, by that win streak. Maybe it's a glimpse into the future. But it is certainly not the present.

20. Florida Panthers | Record: 28–26–11 | Previous Ranking: 24

Florida has been pretty decent of late, and the overtime win over Colorado was a nice cap to that.

19. Dallas Stars | Record: 33–27–5 | Previous Ranking: 16

Such an unlucky break with losing Mats Zuccarello in his first game. Can they ride the wave until he comes back?

18. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 32–26–8 | Previous Ranking: 19

Playoffs might be tough, but this run in the second half has been great. Carter Hart is for real. Have to keep Ryan Hartman to make the Wayne Simmonds deal worth it.

17. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 28–26–12 | Previous Ranking: 21

Even if Colorado holds on to the final playoff spot, can you really trust its defense? Thought the Derick Brassard trade was misguided.

16. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 34–22–9 | Previous Ranking: 14

Still surprised that nothing huge was done. Nick Bjugstad, thus far, has been fine. Is he going to move the needle? Not sure.

15. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 36–26–5 | Previous Ranking: 15

Mark Stone's biggest benefit might be to Max Pacioretty, as we saw in his debut.

14. Minnesota Wild | Record: 32–27–7 | Previous Ranking: 17

Getting Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala—two very skilled, young players—was very smart and will help as much this year as it will next year.

13. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 36–26–3 | Previous Ranking: 9

It'll take some time for all the new parts to jell. But having Ryan Dzingel play with Matt Duchene, at least to start, was smart.

12. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 35–24–7 | Previous Ranking: 11

The 8–1 victory probably says more about Detroit than it does about Montreal. But man, did the Habs look good.

11. St. Louis Blues | Record: 34–25–6 | Previous Ranking: 13

How is it that, in the last two years, the Blues have relied on two out-of-nowhere goaltenders to boost them?

10. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 36–23–6 | Previous Ranking: 12

Carolina will be players in the offseason. Maybe the Canes should have entered the deadline a bit more aggressively, but they do have a chemistry that's worth keeping, and that showed after having the best February in franchise history.

9. Nashville Predators | Record: 38–25–5 | Previous Ranking: 10

Simmonds on the second line could work wonders, bu it might take some time. It was a tough loss after having the lead against the Jets.

8. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 39–22–4 | Previous Ranking: 6

The loss against Minnesota, particularly giving up the lead in the last few minutes, was dispiriting. But the come from behind win over Nashville was a good rebound. And four goals from Blake Wheeler on Sunday wasn’t bad either.

7. Washington Capitals | Record: 38–21–7 | Previous Ranking: 8

It's early, but both Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen look like really smart pickups. Remember, last season, Washington might have made the best deadline move with Michal Kempny.

6. New York Islanders | Record: 37–21–7 | Previous Ranking: 5

The Islanders kept it close against the Flames, which is a good sign. The question, as it was at the deadline: Is there enough offense?

5. San Jose Sharks | Record: 39–19–8 | Previous Ranking: 3

Gustav Nyquist, although it's early, is already being inserted into major minutes and situations. Playing with Joe Thornton could be a nice combination.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 40–21–4 | Previous Ranking: 7

Jake Muzzin, in terms of minutes, is playing as a third-pair defenseman. Is that what the Leafs had in mind?

3. Boston Bruins | Record: 39–17–9 | Previous Ranking: 4

Boston is streaking quietly. The Bruins opted to make tweaks to the edges, not a major move. But with Tampa Bay so far ahead of them, did the B's need a major impact player to compete in the postseason? After the beatdown on Thursday, maybe not.

2. Calgary Flames | Record: 41–17–7 | Previous Ranking: 2

It'll take until playoff time until we know if not making a deadline deal was the right choice.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 50–12–4 | Previous Ranking: 1

That same thing might be said for the Lightning, too. Sometimes the best move is no move.

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