One NHL coaching casualty, which I discussed briefly last week in the other rankings. But otherwise, here are the rankings . . .
#31 Chicago Blackhawks (6-6-3, -10, LW: 20)
#30 Ottawa Senators (5-6-3, -14, LW: 25)
#29 Carolina Hurricanes (6-6-2, -2, LW: 23)
#28 Anaheim Ducks (6-6-3, -5, LW: 29)
#27 Los Angeles Kings (4-8-1, -17, LW: 31)
#26 Florida Panthers (3-5-3, -7, LW: 27)
#25 New Jersey Devils (6-5-1, +3, LW: 14)
#24 New York Rangers (6-7-1, -6, LW: 28)
Weren’t they just in the Cup Finals? Well, yes, it was four years ago, but still. One would think that one of the Original Six in the biggest city would be better more often. But from 1940 to the present they have just two Stanley Cups. They’ve got some young players, but it looks like an uphill climb for the guys in blue.
#23 Detroit Red Wings (4-8-2, -16, LW: 30)
#22 Vegas Golden Knights (6-7-1, -6, LW: 21)
#21 Columbus Blue Jackets (7-6-1, -5, LW: 15)
#20 St. Louis Blues (4-5-3, -5, LW: 24)
#19 Buffalo Sabres (7-6-2, -1, LW: 12)
#18 Pittsburgh Penguins (6-4-3, +1, LW: 1)
#17 Philadelphia Flyers (7-7-1, -8, LW: 26)
#16 Washington Capitals (6-4-3, +1, LW: 19)
#15 Colorado Avalanche (7-4-3, +12, LW: 4)
#14 Boston Bruins (8-4-2, +8, LW: 13)
#13 Montreal Canadiens (8-4-2, +5, LW: 8)
#12 Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-0, +9, LW: 7)
#11 Winnipeg Jets (8-5-1, +3, LW: 11)
#10 Vancouver Canucks (9-6-0, -3, LW: 16)
Has it really been eight seasons since the Canucks played in the Cup Finals? Well, they’re off to a good start this season, partly because they’re undefeated after regulation. Five of their six losses have been by more than two goals and their goal differential is -4. Still, they have to feel better about their postseason chances than the reigning conference champs (more on that in a bit).
#9 San Jose Sharks (7-4-3, +3, LW: 5)
#8 Edmonton Oilers (8-5-1, +1, LW: 9)
#7 Dallas Stars (8-5-1, +5, LW: 18)
#6 Arizona Coyotes (7-6-0, +8, LW: 10)
In the late 90’s the Coyotes were competitive following their move from Winnipeg, but financial woes, gambling scandals, and all around ineptitude has made things really bleak for the team in the desert. This year they are trying to get by with defense. They have allowed 23 goals in 12 games, but while 90’s TV kid Clayton Keller may be coming into his own, the team could use some more goals to get them back into the playoffs.
#5 Calgary Flames (9-5-1, +2, LW: 22)
#4 New York Islanders (8-4-2, +11, LW: 17)
From 1979 through 1984 the Islanders were the class of the NHL, going 233-114-53, winning four straight Stanley Cups and 19 consecutive playoff series (72-27 during that time) Since then they are 1096-1353-190 and have won five playoff series in 34 seasons. This season they are off to decent start, currently in first in the Metro. One big reason is that Brock Nelson has picked up some of the scoring slack left by John Tavares’ move to Toronto. Nelson has never had more than 26 goals in a season, so his seven early tallies are a welcome addition to a team still trying to find the glory of years past.
#3 Minnesota Wild (8-3-2, +4, LW: 6)
#2 Tampa Bay Lightning (10-3-1, +12, LW: 3)
#1 Nashville Predators (11-3-0, +17, LW: 2)
November 1st marks a remarkable landmark day in the NHL. Since the league completely abolished the tie after losing an entire season, only 47 of 58 teams who were four or more points out of a playoff spot by that date. This actually deserves some legitimate explanation. I mean, it’s two wins!!! How is that a seemingly improbable mountain to climb?
The biggest reason is the addition that was actually made in 1999: the loser point. For those too young to remember before that season the standings were simple; your team got two points for a win and one point for a tie. But then in 1999 if your team lost in overtime they received a point as well. Then starting in 2005 they added the shootout, a truly ridiculous way to determine a game. But as a result you now have two point games and three point games. Also, part of the complaints was that teams would get into overtime and just sit back to earn the point for a tie. Now, teams still sit back, it’s just that they now do it in the third period instead of overtime.
So now teams are only picking up one point instead of two, which is terrible, especially in head-to-head matchups. I have proposed before that if they are going to go with the shootout then make every game worth three points – three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win, and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. Instead they seem happy with the current formula.
The biggest problem I have with it is that it at times makes a playoff race that isn’t really one. Yes, teams still seem to be in the race because of the three point games, but they don’t make up any ground because of the three point games.
In any event, if your team is in a spot like St. Louis or New Jersey, good luck.