With the NHL’s holiday break off to an early start, let’s also get a head start on naughty and nice lists for Santa Claus. Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell can expect to find a nicely wrapped gift under the tree, but Kings forward Brendan Lemieux should look for coal in his stocking.
With no new games on the schedule until Monday, Dec. 27, our power rankings will take a break next week and return in the new year. Until then, here’s where every team stands:
32. Arizona Coyotes
Last Week: 32
Naughty: Liam O’Brien. The forward has two points in 21 games played, but he is tied for the league high with 57 penalty minutes.
31. Montreal Canadiens
Last week: 31
Nice: Jesse Ylönen. The rookie forward scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 14. Though the game ended in a 5–2 loss to the Penguins, it’ll stand out in Ylönen’s memory.
30. Buffalo Sabres
Last week: 30
Naughty: center depth. With Casey Mittelstadt on injured reserve (again), the Sabres are lean down the middle, with 24-year-old Tage Thompson and 20-year-old Dylan Cozens as the team’s top two options at center.
29. New Jersey Devils
Last week: 24
Nice: Mason Geertsen. The defenseman seemingly told Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, the NHL’s lone unvaccinated player, to “go get vaccinated” during the Dec. 18 game between their teams—a nice reminder for everyone amid the current COVID-19 surge.
28. Seattle Kraken
Last week: 27
Naughty: Philipp Grubauer. After allowing just 1.95 goals per game last season with a .922 save percentage, Grubauer is allowing 3.29 goals per game on an .882 save percentage, the lowest mark among goalies who have played at least 10 games.
27. Ottawa Senators
Last week: 29
Nice: Jake Sanderson. The No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft, Sanderson has not yet reached the NHL (he currently plays for North Dakota), but he has been named captain of the U.S. junior national team ahead of the World Junior Championship, which begins Sunday.
26. New York Islanders
Last week: 28
Naughty: Anthony Beauvillier. The 24-year-old forward was a healthy scratch on Dec. 11 after his pointless streak reached 13 games. He returned for the next game and snapped the streak with a goal the game after that, but he still has just eight points on the season.
25. Philadelphia Flyers
Last week: 26
Nice: Derick Brassard. The 34-year-old winger has missed 11 of his team’s last 12 games with a hip strain, but he is back at practice and could return after the holiday break.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week: 22
Naughty: Yegor Chinakhov. Chinakhov scored his first NHL goal last month, but he’s been stuck since then, still sitting at just one goal on the season.
23. San Jose Sharks
Last week: 19
Nice: Erik Karlsson. The defenseman has 11 points in his last 12 games for the Sharks, helping to buoy the team during a down stretch.
22. Chicago Blackhawks
Last week: 25
Naughty: Brett Connolly. The forward was suspended four games for his hit on Stars forward Tanner Kero last Saturday; Chicago hasn’t played since then, so he’ll serve the suspension after the holiday break.
21. Detroit Red Wings
Last week: 23
Nice: Dylan Larkin. The Red Wings captain banged against the glass before a home game against the Islanders on Dec. 14 and knocked over a fan’s beer in the process. He ended up recruiting his team’s locker room attendant to deliver $20 to the fan to pay for the spilled drink.
20. Vancouver Canucks
Last week: 21
Naughty: penalty kill. The Canucks stop their opponents on just 67.02% of penalty kills, the worst mark in the league.
19. Dallas Stars
Last week: 18
Nice: American Airlines Center. The Stars have won 10 of their last 11 games at home, including a 7–4 win Monday against the Wild to head into the break on a high note.
18. Los Angeles Kings
Last week: 20
Naughty: Brendan Lemieux. The 25-year-old forward has just six points in 19 games this season. He also was suspended five games at the end of November for biting Senators forward Brady Tkachuk.
17. Edmonton Oilers
Last week: 16
Nice: Tyson Barrie. The defenseman has nine power play points, and he is also picking up his play on the defensive end.
16. Winnipeg Jets
Last week: 17
Naughty: long-term injured reserve. Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored his first goal of the season in his team’s Dec. 10 game against the Canucks, but he left later in the contest with a lower-body injury. He was placed on long-term IR Sunday, so he will be out until at least Jan. 10.
15. Anaheim Ducks
Last week: 15
Nice: social media team. Who do we need to thank for the Ducks’ holiday prank video?
14. Boston Bruins
Last week: 12
Naughty: Jake DeBrusk. The 25-year-old winger requested a trade, and, while he’s still playing for the Bruins, he has just one point in his last six games.
13. St. Louis Blues
Last week: 14
Nice: Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko, on the other hand, is lighting up the scoreboard for the Blues despite his offseason trade request, with 29 points through 31 games. If he stays, he can continue to star for the team, but if he goes, he should pull in a tidy haul on the trade market.
12. Calgary Flames
Last week: 11
Naughty: three-on-three. The Flames have won just one of their seven overtime games this season, though they do have two shootout victories.
11. New York Rangers
Last week: 8
Nice: Special teams. Both their power play and penalty kill rank sixth-best in the league, the PP with a 25.58% success rate and the PK with an 84.27% success rate.
10. Nashville Predators
Last week: 13
Naughty: puck luck. Well, the luck has been nice so far, with high shooting and save percentages powering their seven-game winning streak.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
Last week: 10
Nice: Tristan Jarry. In 24 starts, Jarry has a 1.93 goals-against average, best in the league among goalies who have played at least 10 games, and a .932 save percentage.
8. Minnesota Wild
Last week: 6
Naughty: Joel Eriksson Ek injury. The center left Monday’s contest with an upper-body injury, and, after the game, coach Dean Evason said the injury “doesn’t look good.”
7. Vegas Golden Knights
Last week: 9
Nice: Brett Howden. After being traded away by the Rangers in the offseason, the 23-year-old center notched a goal and an assist in his return to Madison Square Garden last Friday, which ended in a 3–2 shootout win for the Golden Knights.
6. Washington Capitals
Last week: 7
Naughty: power play. The Capitals’ power play has just a 15.56% success rate, fifth-worst in the league, and has scored on just one of their last 21 opportunities.
5. Florida Panthers
Last week: 1
Nice: Chase Priskie. Priskie was named the AHL Player of the Week on Monday after leading all defensemen with six points in four games. In between those games with the Checkers, he played for the Panthers in their 4–1 loss to the Kings last Thursday, recording a shot on goal, a blocked shot and three hits.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week: 5
Naughty: NHL’s Olympic decision. Lightning star Steven Stamkos missed the 2014 Olympics with a broken leg and then the 2018 Games when the NHL chose not to allow players to participate; 2022 represented his best chance at appearing in the international competition.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last week: 3
Nice: Jack Campbell. The 29-year-old goalie has a .932 save percentage this season, which is best in the league among netminders with more than 10 games played.
2. Colorado Avalanche
Last week: 2
Naughty: Nathan MacKinnon’s shooting percentage. The 26-year-old center is scoring on just 4.5% of his shots, less than half his career average of 9.8%. MacKinnon has just three goals this season, though he does have 21 assists.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
Last week: 4
Nice: defense. The Hurricanes have allowed just 62 goals to their opponents this season, tied with the Flames for the league low.
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