NHL Power Rankings 2023-24: Dallas Stars skating into playoffs on top

NHL Power Rankings
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 NHL regular season ends in seven days. Several Stanley Cup contenders are vying for top seeds and favorable playoff matches, while other teams are looking to head into the postseason with a couple of extra wins.

In the regular season’s second-to-last power rankings, let’s see how the NHL landscape has changed in a week, with so many teams playing meaningful games in the final days of their campaigns.

Related: NHL Award Predictions 2024: Picks for Presidents Trophy, Hart Trophy, Rookie of the Year, and more

NHL Power Rankings: Draft Lottery Front Runners

Syndication: The Burlington Free Press
Credit: AL FREY/for the Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to his Eliteprospects.com profile, Macklin Celebrini is the No. 1 prospect ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft by 18 scouting experts. As a Hobey Backer nominee, he has led Boston University into the semi-finals of the NCAA Frozen Four.

Tankathon.com provides NHL Draft Lottery odds.

San Jose Sharks (25.5%)

Chicago Blackhawks (13.5%)

Anaheim Ducks (11.5%)

Columbus Blue Jackets (9.5%)

Montreal Canadiens (8.5%)

Ottawa Senators (7.5%)

Arizona Coyotes (6.5%)

Calgary Flames (6.0%)

Buffalo Sabres (5.0%)

New Jersey Devils (3.5%)

Seattle Kraken (3.0%)

Philadelphia Flyers (N/A)

Minnesota Wild (N/A)

Related: Hall of Famer says NHL teams ‘baby’ their goalies

NHL Power Rankings: Playoff Longshots

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Although the following teams are not mathematically eliminated from the qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, many dominos have to fall in their favor to punch their postseason tickets.

Moneypuck.com provides NHL playoff odds.

St. Louis Blues – 89 points (0.3%)

Philadelphia Flyers – 83 points (6.4%)

Detroit Red Wings – 84 points (24.3%)

Pittsburgh Penguins – 84 points (42.4%)

NHL Power Rankings: Top 16

There’s only one week left in the NHL season, and only four playoff spots are available to clinch. Additionally, not a single postseason seed has been confirmed, with nine teams within four points of one another to determine final seedings. With 58 games left, hockey fans will be in for a wild ride in the next seven days.

The statistics for the last ten games were obtained from NHL.com.

Florida Panthers (4-4-2)

The Florida Panthers are still in contention for the Atlantic Division title despite going 9-8-2 since the beginning of March, which included a four-game losing streak. Last season’s Eastern Conference champions have a much more favorable playoff position this season and will be a tough team to play in the postseason as they want to finish the story in 2024.

Washington Capitals (4-4-2)

Many felt the Washington Capitals had no chance a couple of months ago until Alex Ovechkin regained his scoring touch, collecting 30 goals for the 18th time to set a new NHL record. After beginning March with a 9-4-0 record, they went on an untimely six-game losing streak, which kept them stuck in an intense wildcard race with four other teams.

Winnipeg Jets (4-5-1)

The Winnipeg Jets were once the top team in the NHL. They’ve stumbled to third place in the Central Division, yet they remain only two points back of the Colorado Avalanche. Right now, the Jets are on a four-game win streak after dropping six straight to end March. Unfortunately, their final four games, with matchups against three of the top teams in the Western Conference, will not do them any favors.

Nashville Predators (5-4-1)

The Nashville Predators have been entrenched in the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference for quite some time now, meaning the franchise will be heading to the postseason for the first time since 2021-22. One of the most exciting things to watch in their final three games will be whether Filip Forsberg breaks the team record for most goals in a season, a milestone he currently shares with 43.

Vancouver Canucks (5-4-1)

The Vancouver Canucks have sat atop of the Pacific Division for most of the regular season. However, their top spot is in jeopardy, with the Edmonton Oilers pressing and sitting four points behind with two games in hand. Interestingly, these two clubs meet on Saturday night in one of the must-watch final games of the season.

Related: 10 must-watch NHL games in final weeks of 2023-24 season

Colorado Avalanche (5-4-1)

The Colorado Avalanche have a comfortable spot as the second seed in the Central Division and will only repeat as divisional champions if they win their remaining games and the Dallas Stars lose three straight. As Nathan MacKinnon continues his quest to win the Art Ross, the Avalanche can’t take a night off with the Jets nipping at their heels.

Boston Bruins (6-4-0)

The Boston Bruins would love to win the Atlantic Division, holding a slim lead over the Panthers. They must win their final three games to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The fanbase would push for them to win the Presidents’ Trophy. However, it was a short first-round playoff exit when they won last season, so the burden of being the NHL’s best team may not be worth it in the long run.

Los Angeles Kings (6-4-0)

The Los Angeles Kings keep hanging around and are winning just enough games to keep themselves out of the wildcard race. As the current third seed in the Pacific Division, they are on a collision course to meet the Oilers for the third straight postseason. Based on their recent history, the Kings have won five games in the past two meetings.

Vegas Golden Knights (6-3-1)

The Vegas Golden Knights may have gone 6-3-1 in their past 10 games, but they are reeling in an ugly three-game losing streak, getting doubled-up by opponents 16-8 on the scoreboard. They had a chance to scare the Oilers, a potential first-round opponent, but posed no threat on Wednesday night. As the defending champions limp into the playoffs, it could be an early offseason unless the reinforcements come.

Edmonton Oilers (6-3-1)

The Oilers dismantled the Golden Knights on Wednesday night without Connor McDavid, sitting out with a lower-body injury. Unfortunately, missing time prevents him from continuing his quest to win his fourth Art Ross Trophy. But, as great as it would be to win individual awards, the goal for the Oilers is to win the Stanley Cup, so keeping McDavid healthy should be the priority.

Toronto Maple Leafs (7-3-0)

The Toronto Maple Leafs could catch the Panthers in the Atlantic Division and secure home ice in their upcoming playoff series. However, all eyes will be on Auston Matthews, who is just four goals away from scoring 70, becoming the first skater since 1992-93 to reach the milestone. Like the Oilers, the goal is the Stanley Cup, which means remaining healthy and not developing bad habits, so chasing records is crucial in the final games.

Related: 7 NHL players who could retire after 2023-24 season

New York Islanders (7-3-0)

Last week, the New York Islanders were not in the top 16, sitting outside the playoff picture. But they are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now with a five-game win streak, including an intense victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday. These two rivals meet again on Saturday in what could be one of the most anticipated games left on the schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning (7-2-1)

The Tampa Bay Lightning, led by Nikita Kucherov, continues to pace the scoring race and is one point shy of 140. Considering he’s had 12 points in the last four games, it’s not impossible to think he could become only the 7th player in NHL history to reach 150 points. Meanwhile, loaded with veterans, the Lightning are one of the most feared teams heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Carolina Hurricanes (7-2-1)

Last week, the Carolina Hurricanes had a clunker against the Bruins but kept pace with the Rangers by getting their revenge on Boston this past Tuesday. As one of the deepest teams in the league, the Hurricanes have yet to get past the Eastern Conference Final, but 2023-24 feels different, as they are one of the first teams with 50 wins.

New York Rangers (8-2-0)

The Rangers tied a franchise record for wins (53) and remain the favorites to win the Presidents’ Trophy for the fourth time. Interestingly, the last time New York was the NHL’s top team, 2014-15, they lost in the Eastern Conference Final. No Presidents’ Trophy winner has captured the Stanley Cup in the same season since the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13.

Related: Breaking down Chris Kreider’s 302 goals with Rangers

Dallas Stars (9-1-0)

It may have taken all season, but now everyone talks about the Dallas Stars as the team to beat. Even though they are one point behind the Rangers for the top spot in the NHL, their lineup is one of the most balanced, making them one of the toughest outs every night. Despite not boasting any true superstars like McDavid or Kucherov, this veteran team will look to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, last advancing to the championship series in 2020.

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