|NHL Power Rankings: Remembering which teams are good||01.02.13 at 11:59 am ET|
With hockey back, we present WEEI.com’s Power Rankings …
1. Rangers — They were two wins away from the Stanley Cup finals before they added Rick Nash, and it wasn’t like they were offensively starved anyway (11th in the league in goals last season). Then there’s the defense and that Henrik Lundqvist guy.
2. Penguins — Marc-Andre Fleury had some disappointing performances as Pitttsburgh was eliminated by the Flyers in the first round, but with Evgeni Malkin coming off a Hart-winning season and Sidney Crosby hopefully healthy the whole way, the Penguins should be able to challenge the Rangers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
3. Bruins — They won’t be able to learn whether Tuukka Rask can be the No. 1 guy for a full season because of the whole “full season” thing. Will he top his 39 starts from three seasons ago? Probably not.
4. Kings — Offense is the question, but it’s hard to nitpick when it comes to the defending Cup champions. Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe, but he also should have gotten more consideration for the Hart trophy after starting 69 games in the regular season.
5. Canucks — Local product Cory Schneider is the No. 1 guy after getting a new deal with an average annual value of $4 million, but there’s another goalie with a bigger contract for whom the Canucks need to find a taker.
7. Blackhawks – Jonathan Toews can do a lot, but he can’t play goalie. Chicago’s offense can barely make up for what it lacks between the pipes, as the Blackhawks’ plus-10 goal differential was the worst of Western Conference playoff teams.
8. Predators — The blue line took a hit with the loss of Ryan Suter, but the Predators still have a perennial Norris candidate in Shea Weber as well as a horse in goal in Pekka Rinne (72 starts last season).
9. Coyotes — They’ll miss Ray Whitney, who left for the Stars in free agency, but they’re still young and talented. Don’t bet on them on winning the division again, though, as that should belong to the Kings for a while.
10. Hurricanes – Jordan Staal was Carolina’s prize of the offseason, as the Hurricanes gave up the eighth overall pick amongst other pieces to unite the former second overall pick with his brother, Eric. Carolina also brought in Alexander Semin on a one-year deal.
11. Red Wings — It’s going to be weird watching the Red Wings without Nicklas Lidstrom, but remember that the team also lost Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler. This roster is definitely worse, but the Red Wings are always competitive.
12. Flyers — Not crazy about trading James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn, and definitely not crazy about the team’s netminding situation with Ilya Bryzgalov. Remember, he’s entering the second year of a nine-year deal.
13. Devils — What are the Devils without Zach Parise? Considerably worse, but they were very good before. They weren’t just a No. 6 seed that overachieved, as they finished the regular season with as many points as the Bruins (102).
14. Wild — Adding Parise and Suter is significant, but they finished 14 points short of a playoff spot last season. Still, with lots of young talent coming up, the Wild have a chance to become very good for a long time.
15. Panthers — If they end up swinging a deal with the Canucks for for Roberto Luongo, it should make them the favorites in the Southeast. Then again, they stand a strong enough chance of winning the division as is.
16. Capitals — Washington’s most notable move wasn’t on the roster, but behind the bench. Losing Dale Hunter was a tough blow, but Adam Oates should be up to the challenge. The Caps also traded for Mike Ribeiro.
17. Sharks — So, they ended up getting Brad Stuart back in San Jose. It took eight years, but the Sharks now have truly gotten everything they wanted out of the Joe Thornton trade, with the exception of that shiny thing.
18. Sabres — Buffalo toughened up over the offseason by adding Steve Ott and John Scott so they can hang with the Bruins physically. Those games should be good based last year’s Ryan Miller-Milan Lucic drama.
19. Stars – In a shuffling of veterans, the Stars traded Ribeiro and Ott while signing Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. Michael Ryder was a 35-goal-scorer last season, but keep an eye on how he fares without Ribeiro.
21. Canadiens – The Habs were a disaster last year, but at the end of the day they still have one of the league’s best goaltenders in Carey Price. Good point by the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs: A short training camp will mean new coach Michel Therrien basically would have a week to implement a new system.
22. Lightning – After making it to the conference finals a year before, the Lightning were sellers at last season’s trade deadline. They still have their big pieces in Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, and they think have a goalie in Anders Lindback, for whom they traded before the draft.
23. Ducks – Jonas Hiller might not have the flashiest numbers — he’ll always have something in the neighborhood of a 2.50 goals-against average –but here’s one: He started 73 games last season. Talk about a goalie being the backbone of a team.
24. Avalanche – They’re still young and still waiting to see whether Semyon Varlamov will be worth the first-rounder they gave up to get him. Gabriel Landeskog had an impressive 22-goal rookie season.
25. Jets — They brought in Olli Jokinen in the offseason and gave goalie Ondrej Pavalec a new deal. After falling out of contention down the stretch, they could be competitive in a not-so-tough division.
26. Oilers – In a year or two these guys will be at the top of power rankings and standings alike. The Oilers have all the talent in the world but still are too young. They’ll be good enough to not pick first overall for a fourth straight year, but they still need help on the blue line and in goal.
27. Maple Leafs – The Leafs won the JVR trade and have some big names offensively in him, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, but the blue line obviously suffered in the process with the loss of Luke Schenn. That’s not awesome for a team with no goaltending.
28. Flames – After missing the playoffs for the third straight year, the Flames could have traded Jarome Iginla and tried to rebuild. Instead, they signed Dennis Wideman to a massive contract. Par for the course for the Flames.
30. Blue Jackets — Not a great situation in Columbus, as the team isn’t competitive and now has zero star power. The Rick Nash trade didn’t net them a ton, so they’ll have to hope defenseman Tim Erixon pans out.
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