The NHL is closing in on the March 8 trade deadline, and unlike previous seasons, there haven’t been many early deals and no blockbusters to report. Expect that to change closer to the deadline as teams decide if they’re buyers or sellers.
In this week’s NHL power rankings, we continue to monitor which teams have the best odds to land the top pick at the 2024 Entry Draft while catching up with the teams who are on the bubble but have dwindling odds. Finally, we discuss how the top 16 teams have performed in their past 10 games.
NHL Power Rankings: Draft Lottery Front Runners
The consensus is that Boston University center Macklin Celebrini will be the top pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. So, after 50 games, which team has the best chance of landing the coveted No. 1 selection?
Tankathon.com provides NHL Draft Lottery odds.
Chicago Blackhawks (25.5%)
San Jose Sharks (13.5%)
Anaheim Ducks (11.5%)
Columbus Blue Jackets (9.5%)
Arizona Coyotes (8.5%)
Montreal Canadiens (7.5%)
Ottawa Senators (6.5%)
Buffalo Sabres (6.0%)
NHL Power Rankings: Playoff Longshots
Last time we discussed the playoff longshots, a few of these teams had better odds of moving on to the postseason. However, as the contenders begin to separate themselves, a handful of these teams lost their footing and now have found themselves in a deeper hole.
Moneypuck.com provides NHL playoff odds.
Washington Capitals – 63 points (5.9%)
St. Louis Blues – 62 points (6.5%)
New York Islanders – 62 points (6.9%)
Calgary Flames – 61 points (13.2%)
Minnesota Wild – 62 points (14%)
Seattle Kraken – 61 points (17.1%)
New Jersey Devils – 62 points (18.6%)
Pittsburgh Penguins – 60 points (46.6%)
NHL Power Rankings: Top 16
As some teams hit their stride, others are stumbling through rough patches, leading to significant changes at the top of this week’s power rankings.
The statistics for the last ten games were obtained from NHL.com.
Boston Bruins (3-2-5)
The Boston Bruins are stuck in a rut. However, they are finding ways to earn points and still maintain their status as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference because they keep losing games in overtime or the shootout, including four of their past six games. Additionally, the Bruins can not hang onto leads in the third period, indicating that changes are afoot or it could be an early spring.
Colorado Avalanche (4-5-1)
Since returning from the All-Star break, the Colorado Avalanche have struggled, compiling a 4-5-1 record, with Nathan MacKinnon collecting 14 points. Although he is on the cusp of reaching 100 points, and the team remains in the hunt for the Central Division title, the difference between Colorado’s top scores indicates they will only go as far as MacKinnon can carry them.
Vegas Golden Knights (4-5-1)
The Vegas Golden Knights will be without captain Mark Stone for a extended stretch. His $9.5 million contract is on LTIR, meaning the reigning champions can shop at the NHL trade deadline. It’s been a struggle all season for the beat-up Golden Knights, making it all the more complicated to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
Vancouver Canucks (4-4-2)
The League’s top team has been in a slump for over a month and a half, recently defeating the Bruins in overtime to snap a season-long four-game losing streak. Surprisingly, after acquiring Elias Lindholm, who only has six points, there are rumors the front office isn’t done wheeling and dealing and could pull off a shocker at the deadline.
Dallas Stars (4-3-3)
Despite some uneven play, the Dallas Stars are tied for the top spot in the Central Division. Some nights, they are an elite team that beats up on opponents, like the Nashville Predators (9-2), but then loses to other contending teams in tight contests, like the Bruins, 4-3 in a shootout. One of the most curious things about their season is no one is talking about them being the team to beat in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning (5-5-0)
Nikita Kucherov became the first player to reach 100 points this season but even his heroics can’t help goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is just 4-5-0 since the All-Star Game with a miserable .890 save percentage. Of course, this team has the experience to turn it up in the playoffs, but they might not have a favorable matchup out of the gate, making their journey harder.
Edmonton Oilers (5-4-1)
Since their 16-game win streak ended, the Edmonton Oilers are just 5-5-1, outscored 44-41, leaving many to wonder if goalie Stuart Skinner is indeed the man to lead Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to the Stanley Cup in the spring. Although they haven’t made a move yet, the Oilers need to make a deal at the deadline or risk this season crashing and burning.
Los Angeles Kings (6-4-0)
The Los Angeles Kings had a chance to move up the standings in the Pacific Division but dropped their first back-to-back games under new head coach Jim Hiller when they were swept by the Calgary Flames and Oilers. However, a minor setback, these two games could be a sign they have returned to their old ways.
Philadelphia Flyers (6-3-1)
Since losing their Stadium Series matchup to the New Jersey Devils, the Philadelphia Flyers are 2-2-0, which gives them a 6-3-1 record since the All-Star break. Philly has been resilient all season, allowing them to be a top-three team in the Metropolitan Division. However, the question is, will it be enough for a competitive playoff run?
Winnipeg Jets (7-3-0)
The Winnipeg Jets are back in the top spot (tied) in the Central Division, but off-ice, distractions are bound to haunt them for the remainder of the regular season. Despite the success on the ice, ownership just met with the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as attendance has dropped significantly since the pandemic, and rumors of the team’s future in Manitoba are now headline news.
Nashville Predators (7-3-0)
If anyone had to guess who is one of the hottest teams in the NHL, no one would pick the Nashville Predators, who have won six straight. Although there are a lot of rumors about his future in the crease, Juuse Saros is 5-2-0 in his past seven games with a .919 save percentage, meaning the team wouldn’t want to move him for anything less than aa massive haul. They’re more likely to be buyers than sellers, the way they’re going.
Carolina Hurricanes (7-2-1)
Although the Carolina Hurricanes have been chasing the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division all season t hey have amassed the fourth-most points in the Eastern Conference and have the right pieces to make a deep run, which could result in an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
Detroit Red Wings (7-2-1)
The Detroit Red Wings are playing their best hockey of 2023-24, riding a six-game winning streak. Interestingly, it’s the second time they have won five or more games, which is why they are only two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for an Atlantic Division playoff spot.
Toronto Maple Leafs (8-2-0)
The Maple Leafs just won a season-high seven games, and Auston Matthews netted his 50th goal in 54 games. However, he didn’t score in the streak-ender against the Golden Knights. Not surprisingly, the Maple Leafs are 12-12-2 when he doesn’t score, compared to 21-5-6 when he does. As another top contender, they need to make adjustments at the trade deadline or risk extending their NHL record championship drought to 58 years.
Florida Panthers (8-2-0)
The Florida Panthers will not be a Cinderella team this postseason; instead, they will run into the playoffs as one of the best teams in the NHL. Since Dec. 23, they have compiled one of the best records, 21-4-2, giving them a chance to win home ice in the Eastern Conference and maybe even capture the Presidents’ Trophy. Florida is winning, while Sergei Bobrovsky vaults himself into the conversation as the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy for a third time.
New York Rangers (9-1-0)
The New York Rangers tied a franchise record with 10 consecutive victories, losing their streak to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. The addition of rookie Matt Rempe has been making headlines since the 6-foot-8 forward had a rousing fight in three of his five games so far. Igor Shesterkin is back in Vezina Trophy form, meaning the Rangers have a great chance of running through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. The question is, what will the Rangers do ahead of the trade deadline?