This is the home of the NHL Power Rankings on The Bracket Yard, and you’re a few lines of text away.
From here, the rankings will see weekly updates over the course of the 2017-18 NHL regular season. There are 31 teams (now), and we won’t hold back on any of them.
Your defending Stanley Cup champions are the Pittsburgh Penguins. We bracketed their course through the whole NHL postseason in 2017. To see how the teams shape up now, visit our NHL Playoff Picture page.
NHL Power Rankings: Important Links
For more information on the league and up-to-the-minute standings, check out the NHL.com website.
In case you were blinded by our flashy graphics and intended to see college hockey bracketology, go here. Hey, college hockey is where most of these guys came from, anyway.
NHL Power Rankings Last Updated March 7, 2018
NHL Power Rankings: Elite
|1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic)
|2. Nashville Predators (Central)
|3. Boston Bruins (Atlantic)
NHL Power Rankings: Excellent
|4. Winnipeg Jets (Central)
|5. Vegas Golden Knights (Pacific)
|6. Pittsburgh Penguins (Metro)
NHL Power Rankings: Very Good
|7. Minnesota Wild (Central)
|8. Anaheim Ducks (Pacific)
|9. Dallas Stars (Central)
NHL Power Rankings: Good
|10. Toronto Maple Leafs (Atlantic)
|11. Washington Capitals (Metro)
|12. Los Angeles Kings (Pacific)
NHL Power Rankings: Decent
|13. Philadelphia Flyers (Metro)
|14. San Jose Sharks (Pacific)
|15. New Jersey Devils (Metro)
NHL Power Rankings: Average
|16. Colorado Avalanche (Central)
|17. St. Louis Blues (Central)
|18. Columbus Blue Jackets (Metro)
NHL Power Rankings: Lacking
|19. Florida Panthers (Atlantic)
|20. Calgary Flames (Pacific)
|21. Chicago Blackhawks (Central)
NHL Power Rankings: Full of Holes
|22. New York Rangers (Metro)
|23. Carolina Hurricanes (Metro)
|24. Detroit Red Wings (Atlantic)
NHL Power Rankings: Miserable
|23. New York Islanders (Metro)
|26. Edmonton Oilers (Pacific)
|27. Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic)
NHL Power Rankings: Horrific
|28. Vancouver Canucks (Pacific)
|29. Ottawa Senators (Atlantic)
|30. Buffalo Sabres (Atlantic)
NHL Power Rankings: Unholy
|31. Arizona Coyotes (Pacific)
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, March 7, 2018
Nashville damn near took over the number one spot in the power rankings with their nine-game win streak, but for now, number two is not a bad haul. The Preds remain one of the most likely Western Conference teams to get to the Cup finals. Been there, done that.
As for the East, will it be Tampa Bay? Maybe Boston? At one point in the season, it seemed the Metro would be the dominant division, but that isn’t panning out quite as planned. The Atlantic’s top three is better than the Metro’s top three at this stage, and it’s getting late.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, February 28, 2018
It could be that Canada’s best hope for a Stanley Cup this season rests on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Be very afraid, my Canadian friends to the north. However, the Winnipeg Jets are having a great year. Where do the Jets fit in to the West? Even though Vegas is doing extraordinarily well, people expect their bubble to burst as a first-year franchise. Nashville just got there last season and they have the coaching. The others have their moments but are not as good as Winnipeg. Make no mistake: the Jets are a contender.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, February 8, 2018
It appears that the New York Rangers’ seven-year streak of making the playoffs is about to end. Three years in a row with over 100 points, and just three seasons removed from winning the President’s Trophy, it’s all going up in smoke. Rangers management basically just admitted that they are going to strap around the dynamite and blow the roster to smithereens very soon. Does that mean Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, or even, gasp, Henrik Lundqvist? If I were head coach Alain Vigneault, I wouldn’t wait too long to have my agent touch up my resume, either.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, February 1, 2018
You knew you weren’t going to keep the Pittsburgh Penguins down forever. They are the biggest mover in this two-week look at the power rankings. Take note of the fact that they now have the best power play in the NHL, scoring 26.7 percent of the time. In the month of January, the Pens potted 12 power play goals, and had five games in which they scored more than one. They also managed to go 9-3-0 in January with three different goalies.
Oh, and Canada’s best hockey team right now? The Winnipeg Jets! Could this be the year Manitoba finally gets a Stanley Cup? Even a Stanley Cup finals would be a new experience.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, January 18, 2018
The Calgary Flames didn’t come out of nowhere, because we knew they were on the way up last week. How about the Colorado Avalanche? Of all the teams you’d expect to win seven in a row, this is a surprise. Sell those tickets!
If you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Kings, you don’t have the Rams or Chargers upon which to latch, and the Clippers and Lakers? Meh. Time for Angelenos to hope the Kings get hot again, because they’re definitely not now. The team that gives up the fewest goals in hockey shouldn’t be in fourth place, but that is where you’ll find them in the Pacific standings. At least they aren’t the Arizona Coyotes, a squad at ten wins through 46 games. Horrifying does not begin to describe it.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, January 12, 2018
Aside from Vegas, the team that continues astounding hockey fans and pundits, the second-hottest team in hockey right now? Your Calgary Flames, winners of six straight. This Albertan team was one of the big jumps of the week, with Johnny Gaudreau zipping his way to 51 points so far. Throw in Colorado surprisingly winning five straight, and all of a sudden, the Western Conference has big new movers.
When we talk about the success stories of the week, we always follow it with the greatest tragedies and/or catastrophes. The New Jersey Devils, ice cold as the Yukon River or your ex-wife, flopped hard to the tune of five straight losses. Those “loser points” are helping, but a few more defeats and they could plummet in the standings. New Jersey has allowed 3.8 goals per game in those five losses (excluding the “goal” given to the shootout winner).
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, January 4, 2018
If you had told me the best team in the Eastern Conference in January would be the Tampa Bay Lightning, I might have believed you. If you then said it would be Vegas in the West, I’d want to know how much they paid you to say that (and then ask how I can get some). It’s the truth: the Vegas Golden Knights ARE the best team in the Western Conference.
Now, are they planning the Stanley Cup parade for June in Sin City? Probably not, but if they continue like this, printing up the playoff tickets isn’t far off.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, December 31, 2017
Here come the Boston Bruins. They started the season poorly, opening at 28th in our first power rankings of the year. Now look at them, up there in the top ten. On December 30, they blanked the Ottawa Senators to jump to 21-10-6, winning six of their last seven with points in eight straight. Their offense has come to life, but they own the third-lowest GAA in hockey. Consider the bear poked.
Vegas’s rise in the power rankings continues to astound and confound sports talking heads. Were I a talking head, you could count me in that discussion. The Golden Knights are a good team, and if you can’t admit that to yourself at this point, then as Dr. Phil would say, get real.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, December 21, 2017
Yes, Tampa Bay is still the best team in the National Hockey League. Let’s talk about the Vegas Golden Knights for a moment. This is one of the best teams in hockey at almost the half-way point of the regular season. Keep in mind that this is an expansion team that didn’t even have a roster one year ago. Gerard Gallant better at least get some votes for the Jack Adams. People thought the Golden Knights would be a pushover, but they have one of the hottest offenses in the NHL. The expectation was for a team that would dwell near the bottom of the Pacific Division. Instead, it’s teams like Anaheim, San Jose, and Edmonton that are underperforming, while Vegas is soaring. It’s still too early to talk playoffs, but just imagine.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to see a big dud, I give you the Ottawa Senators. The Sens streaked to the Eastern Conference final last season. At worst, they were to be a wild card contender this year, and at best, a team that wins a playoff series or two. Yet, the Senators aren’t particularly good at anything but keeping their wins streaks short. Just 10 ROW through 32 games is an embarrassment for a team that had much higher hopes.
NHL Power Rankings: Weekly Analysis, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay remains the best team in the National Hockey League at the midpoint of December. At 22-6-2 with five straight wins, it’s hard to argue against it. Everything about them looks different, and not insignificant is the fact that Steven Stamkos isn’t out for the season. He’s the team’s difference-maker and as long as he’s taking his shifts, the Lightning are a strong contender in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles and St. Louis are the West’s hottest teams, with the Kings boasting the best goaltending in hockey at this time. Their only flaw is their lack of a power play, but great goal prevention has masked whatever offensive inconsistency they see. This, of course, is notwithstanding their 5-1 loss to the Devils, which was a streak-breaker defeat. Meanwhile, if you take a snapshot of the Blues, Brayden Schenn leads the team in goals, assists, points (obviously), penalty minutes, and plus-minus. You can’t say he isn’t in the middle of everything.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s the poor, hapless Coyotes. At least they’ve scored more goals than the equally hapless Sabres. On paper, Buffalo shouldn’t be as bad as they are, and yet, they are.