NHL Power Rankings: Week 20 Injuries, Prospects, In-Depth Analysis

NHL Power Rankings (Heading Into Week 20) – Full 30-Team Analysis with Weekly Prospect Profiles, Injury Reports, Statistical Updates (Leaders, Special Teams, etc.), and More.

Welcome back to our weekly NHL power rankings here at Puck Prose. This is a collaboration between Matt Duscharme, Trin Potratz, and Ryan Ritchie this week, however, we will be releasing the rankings before Friday’s games. In addition to our top 30 rankings, we provide in-depth analysis and feature a weekly prospect profile to help fans get better acquainted with young talent in the system.

It was another interesting week of NHL action. We had a number of top performers over the last seven days. Penguins F Sidney Crosby, Blue Jackets D Zach Werenski, Flames F Johnny Gaudreau, Capitals F Nicklas Backstrom, Oilers F Connor McDavid, Hawks F Jonathan Toews, Red Wings F Henrik Zetterberg, Wild F Mikko Koivu, Preds F Filip Forsberg, Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk, and Lightning F Tyler Johnson all had significant weeks statistically.

*all stats in our week 20 NHL power rankings are heading into Friday (Feb.24) night’s action.

Top 5 Forwards

1. Connor McDavid, EDM (61gp, 20g, 48a, 68pts)
2. Sidney Crosby, PIT (53gp, 33g, 33a, 66pts)
3. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH (59gp, 18g, 45a, 63pts)
4. Mark Scheifele, WPG (60gp, 25g, 37a, 62pts)
5. Evgeni Malkin, PIT (52gp, 25g, 35a, 60pts)

Top 5 Defensemen

1. Brent Burns, SJ (60gp, 27g, 37a, 64pts)
2. Erik Karlsson, OTT (58gp, 10g, 42a, 52pts)
3. Victor Hedman, TB (56gp, 10g, 38a, 48pts)
4. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (60gp, 11g, 31a, 42pts)
5. Duncan Keith, CHI (60gp, 5g, 36a, 41pts)

Top 5 Rookies

1. Patrik Laine, WPG (55gp, 30g, 24a, 54pts)
2. Auston Matthews, TOR (59gp, 28g, 24a, 52pts)
3. Mitch Marner, TOR (56gp, 15g, 33a, 48pts)
4. William Nylander, TOR (58gp, 17g, 25a, 42pts)
5. Matthew Tkachuk, CGY (56gp, 11g, 28a, 39pts)

nhl power rankings

Jan 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (3) and center Devin Shore (17) and center Radek Faksa (12) and defenseman Esa Lindell (23) celebrate a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Maple Leafs 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

30

Dallas Stars

Previous Ranking: 26 (-4)

Team Record: (23-17-10)
Goals For:

165

Goals Against:

193

Special Teams

PP: (18.0 percent) (18th)
PK: (73.0 percent) (30th)

Injury List

Adam Cracknell – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Stephen Johns – Illness – Day-to-Day
Johnny Oduya – Ankle – Day-to-Day
Ales Hemsky – Hip – Indefinitely
Mattias Janmark – Knee – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Tyler Seguin (60gp 21g 38a 59pts)
Top Defenseman: John Klingberg (58gp 8g 24a 32pts)
Top Rookie: Devin Shore (60gp 9g 15a 24pts)
Top Goaltender: Kari Lehtonen (13 wins 2.88GAA .902 save percentage)

Player of the Week: RW Antoine Roussel (2gp 3g 1a 4pts)

The Stars are in the midst of their bye week, but their final game before the break gave them a glimmer of hope at making the playoffs with an overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They lost their previous game against the Minnesota Wild to finish out their week with an even 1-1-0 record.

Gritty French winger Antoine Roussel scored his first NHL hat trick against the Lightning, scoring all three of their goals in regulation before captain Jamie Benn iced it in overtime. Tyler Seguin added three assists during the week, and he leads the team in scoring with 59 points in 60 games.

The Stars may want to believe they can make a run at the playoffs, but they are eight points out of the race, and will likely be sellers on trade deadline day. Defenceman Johnny Oduya and Winger Patrick Sharp are two wily veterans with playoff experience and will likely draw a lot of attention on the open market. Ales Hemsky is close to returning and he could be sold at the deadline, as well as Jiri Hudler. The Stars know the year has been a huge disappointment, but they will be able to gain assets to strengthen their team next season.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Ludvig Bystrom, Texas (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 42gp 2g 12a 14pts

Not much is known about the Dallas Stars’ 2012 2nd round pick, but the Swede seems to be developing in a straight line. Now in his second full season in Texas, Bystrom may possibly be on the recall list. Bystrom plays a simple game and although he doesn’t necessarily have NHL size (6’0, 175 lbs), he is effective defensively due to his strong positioning. Sweden chimes out some very smart young defensemen, and Bystrom could be the next in line.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Vegas Golden Knights: Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) celebrates his goal against Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) (not pictured) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

29

Vancouver Canucks

Previous Ranking: 27 (-2)

Team Record: (26-28-6)
Goals For:

142

Goals Against:
172
Special Teams

PP: (14.5 percent) (28th)
PK: (78.3 percent) (25th)

Injury List

Sven Baertschi – Concussion – Day-to-Day
Anton Rodin – Knee – Day-to-Day
Erik Gudbranson – Wrist – Indefinitely
Derek Dorsett – Shoulder – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Bo Horvat (59gp 18g 22a 40pts)
Top Defenseman: Troy Stecher (51gp 2g 16a 18pts)
Top Rookie: Troy Stecher (51gp 2g 16a 18pts)
Top Goaltender: Ryan Miller (16 wins 2.61GAA .917 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Daniel Sedin (3gp 0g 3a 3pts)

Vancouver currently sits six points from the final wild card spot and last weeks performance didn’t help the team very much, they completed the week with a 1-2-0 record. Daniel Sedin was great though as well as Ryan Miller while Jacob Markstrom struggled.

Markstrom played in a single game last week and in doing so earned himself a loss along with a .810 save percentage and a 4.13 goals-against-average. Miller though was week’s, he put up a .500 week and on top of that had a goals-against-average of 2.03 and a save percentage of .938. Daniel Sedin had himself a three point week but to top it off he also finished as a plus three as well. Rising star Bo Horvat had two points as well as Henrik Sedin, Alexander Edler, Markus Granlund and rookie defenseman Troy Stecher who all combined for 10 points and a plus-seven rating. Since the Canucks are in the middle of the pact, they could potentially make a depth move to acquire some secondary scoring as well as solidifying their blueline to help them get over the hump. As for this week though the Canucks start off with a difficult challenge against San Jose but finish with a much easier game against Detroit.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Lukas Jasek, HC Frydek-Mistek (Czech2)

2016-17 stats: 30gp 9g 19a 28pts

Lukas Jasek is an incredibly skilled player, he’ll compete like no other due to the fact he always wants to be the best player on the ice cause of his incredible work ethic. As he transitions over to the North American game though he will need to get stronger in order to keep up with the physicality even though he’s not afraid of it. His best attributes have to be his athleticism and creativity.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Justin Faulk (27) watches the play against the Edmonton Oilers at PNC Arena. the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

28

Carolina Hurricanes

Previous Ranking: 28 (-)

Team Record: (24-24-8)
Goals For:

142

Goals Against:

165

Special Teams

PP: (16.8 percent) (24th)
PK: (86.3 percent) (1st)

Injury List

Bryan Bickell – Illness – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Skinner (55gp 20g 19a 39pts)
Top Defenseman: Justin Faulk (49gp 11g 14a 25pts)
Top Rookie: Sebastian Aho (56gp 17g 15a 32pts)
Top Goaltender: Cam Ward (21 wins 2.66GAA .904 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Lee Stempniak (3gp 0g 2a 2pts)

Carolina currently sits dead last in the Eastern conference, so a lot of changes may be on the horizon. But there has been a bright spot all season and that’s rookie Sebastian Aho who sits second in team scoring with 32 points in 56 games. And to further put the Hurricanes down the sink hole, they finished this week with a 0-2-1 record. Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak did okay as well as backup goalie Eddie Lack when in came in relief to Cam Ward who started all three games.

Since Lack came in as a backup he did make an appearance but he only faced seven shots. But he did manage to stop them all giving himself a 1.000 save percentage and 0.00 goals-against-average. Ward, on the other hand, wasn’t so fortunate, he had the official 0-2-1 record with a .892 save percentage and a 3.14 goals-against-average. Both forwards Lee Stempniak and Jeff Skinner tied on the week with two points a piece but while Skinner finished as a minus four, Stempniak was only a minus one. After those two only Brett Pesce and Phillip Di Giuseppe got on the score sheet and combined for two points and a minus-four on the week. So how will the Canes fair out this week? Only time will tell but it may be hard since they have games against Ottawa, Calgary, Florida, and Tampa Bay.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Janne Kuokkanen, London (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 48gp 21g 33a 54pts

Janne Kuokkanen has the potential to become an elite scorer in the pro game due to his excellent hockey I.Q, vision, and creativity. He can also pass the puck tremendously well and is a terrific puck handler in the tighter areas of the game. However, he does need to become a little bit stronger in order to handle the pro transition and get more physical in the game as well.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Members of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate the win over against the Montreal Canadiens at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Canadiens 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

27

Colorado Avalanche

Previous Ranking: 30 (+3)

Team Record: (16-40-3)
Goals For:

116

Goals Against:

196
PP: (14.0 percent) (29th)
PK: (78.6 percent) (24th)

Injury List

Nikita Zadorov – Ankle – Out-for-Season
Semyon Varlamov – Groin – Day-to-Day
Rene Bourque – Head – Day-to-Day
Erik Johnson – Leg – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nathan MacKinnon (59gp 12g 27a 39pts)
Top Defenseman: Tyson Barrie (51gp 4g 21a 25pts)
Top Rookie: Mikko Rantanen (54gp 14g 15a 29pts)
Top Goaltender: Calvin Pickard (10 wins 2.88GAA .909 save percentage)

Player of the Week: RW Mikko Rantanen (4gp 3g 0a 3pts)

While the Avalanche are just playing for pride, they managed a good week by their standards set so far this season. The Avalanche played four games and only managed one victory, but they also lost one in overtime to go 1-2-1. The team will undergo a facelift likely by the trade deadline, we could be watching Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla‘s final games in Denver.

Rookie Mikko Rantanen continues to impress scoring another three goals during the week. Rantanen now has 14 goals and 29 points on the season. His 29 points put him at third in team scoring trailing only Nate MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. Rantanen represents the future that the Avalanche fans will be hoping for.

The Avalanche will rip the team down in the next week. While GM Joe Sakic may wait until the offseason to trade Matt Duchene the Gabriel Landeskog, players like Jarome Iginla, Fedor Tyutin, and Blake Comeau could be moved for picks and prospects. For the first time in a long time, Avalanche fans will have something to be excited about.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Chris Bigras, San Antonio (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 30gp 3g 9a 12pts

What do the Avs have in Chris Bigras? The jury is still out. Bigras played in 31 NHL games last year and by all accounts was decently effective, but he took a step back this year. An offensive defenseman in his final junior season with the Owen Sound Attack, Bigras seems to have been unable to translate the offense to the big leagues. The Avs were impressed with his camp and maybe being away from the losing franchise is good for the young defender. Could see some time with the big club after the trade deadline.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth (30) and goalie Steve Mason (35) on the bench late in the third period against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Blues defeated the Flyers, 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

26

Philadelphia Flyers

Previous Ranking: 15 (-11)

Team Record: (28-25-7)
Goals For:

155

Goals Against:

183

Special Teams

PP: (21.1 percent) (9th)
PK: (81.0 percent) (15th)

Injury List

Jordan Weal – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Travis Konecny – Lower-Body – March

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jakub Voracek (60gp 15g 34a 49pts)
Top Defenseman: Shayne Gostisbehere (54gp 4g 21a 25pts)
Top Rookie: Ivan Provorov (60gp 5g 19a 24pts)
Top Goaltender: Steve Mason (16 wins 2.90GAA .900 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Brayden Schenn (3gp 3g 1a 4pts)

Philadelphia had a tough week as well only winning one game in their three contests. However, while goaltending was rather cold from Michal Neuvirth, the team’s offense was pretty decent. As of right now, the Flyers are only three points from the final wild card spot in the Eastern conference so will they make a couple moves to help them reach it? Only time will tell since the deadline is right around the corner.

Back to Neuvirth, he played in all three games last week and in doing so carried the losing record along with a terrible save percentage of .828, his goals-against-average wasn’t much better since it was only 4.00. So that is something that will need to improve in the coming weeks if the Flyers want to see some post-season play. But as stated above their offense was pretty good, Brayden Schenn carried the team offensively with four points in three games with an even rating and then defensive sensation Shayne Gostisbehere was right behind him with three points of his own. Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier all combined for six points and a minus-seven rating, though. This week, however, should by all rights be a 50/50 week for the Flyers as they start off against the Penguins but finish against the struggling Avalanche.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Samuel Morin, Lehigh Valley (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 50gp 3g 8a 11pts

Samuel Morin made his jump to professional hockey a season ago and has been solid ever since. While he may not put up crazy offensive numbers what he will do though is play very sound defensively giving his team a chance to win every night. And even though he’s rather big, he’s not overly physical making him more of an offense-first type of defenseman, which is fine cause he has no problem getting the job done, which is probably why he’s relied upon when it comes to the powerplay and penalty-kill.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Vegas Golden Knights: Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty (67) celebrates his goal against Buffalo Sabres with teammates during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

25

Montreal Canadiens

Previous Ranking: 25 (-)

Team Record: (32-21-8)
Goals For:

169

Goals Against:

158

Special Teams

PP: (21.0 percent) (10th)
PK: (80.3 percent) (22nd)

Injury List

N/A

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Max Pacioretty (61gp 28g 24a 52pts)
Top Defenseman: Shea Weber (61gp 14g 20a 34pts)
Top Rookie: Arttui Lehkonen (52gp 11g 5a 16pts)
Top Goaltender: Carey Price (25 wins 2.43GAA .918 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Andrei Markov (2gp 1g 1a 2pts)

The Montreal Canadiens have played two games with Claude Julien on the bench, and they went 1-1-0 with their victory coming in a shootout against the New York Rangers. The win was huge for the struggling Canadiens as it gives them something to build on. Some off-ice controversy has made some headlines in the news. Rumors abound that Price is in trouble with the law, Andrew Shaw was verbally abused by Therrien and Greg Pateryn‘s wife made some bigoted comments. That’s quite the week off the ice.

Andrei Markov had a strong couple of games, being one of the only Habs players to sport at least an even rating despite an even record. The Russian veteran continues to defy his age and plays a strong veteran game to this day. Shea Weber matched Markov’s points adding a goal and an assist as well in the two games.

The Habs will surely straighten out their issues under Claude Julien, and GM Marc Bergevin looks to be one of the more active GM’s when the deadline rolls around. The Habs have been linked to Martin Hanzal and Matt Duchene, and if the team strings a few wins together prior to the deadline, Bergevin may feel like it’s worth the risk to add a player.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Brett Lernout, St. John’s (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 54gp 1g 11a 12pts

Brett Lernout is tracking really well as a prospect. After being injured in his NHL debut last year, the 2014 3rd rounder has recovered very nicely and he’s putting up another solid defensive season for St. John’s. Lernout is a bog-bodied d-man with a mean streak. He models his game after Chris Pronger and if he becomes half the player Pronger was, the Habs will love him for a long, long time.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) celebrates with teammates after a win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Red Wings won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

24

Detroit Red Wings

Previous Ranking: 29 (+5)

Team Record: (24-26-10)
Goals For:

150

Goals Against:

178

Special Teams

PP: (12.3 percent) (30th)
PK: (81.0 percent) (16th)

Injury List

Gustav Nyquist – N/A – March
Jimmy Howard – Knee – Day-to-Day
Jonathan Ericsson – Wrist – Out-for-Season
Joe Vitale – Concussion – Indefinitely
Johan Franzen – Concussion – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Henrik Zetterberg (60gp 14g 32a 46pts)
Top Defenseman: Mike Green (50gp 10g 16a 26pts)
Top Rookie: Anthony Mantha (45gp 13g 18a 31pts)
Top Goaltender: Petr Mrazek (14 wins 2.98GAA .902 save percentage)

Player of the Week: LW Henrik Zetterberg (3gp 1g 4a 5pts)

The Red Wings went 2-1-0 prior to entering their bye week, and that has allowed them to stay in the playoff race, but the team still needs to jump over seven teams to make the playoffs for the 26th time in a row. Sorry to say, but that’s almost impossible. The loss against the New York Islanders likely ended that dream. Team owner Mike Ilitch passed away last week and he will leave a legacy with his franchise.

Team captain Henrik Zetterberg is seemingly ageless leading the way offensively once again with a five-point week. “Z” is on pace to pass his 50-point season last year with 46 already in 60 games. He has an eight-point lead on Thomas Vanek who stands second with 38 points.

Thomas Vanek may be moved at the trade deadline, but there’s also a chance the Red Wings offer Vanek a contract extension due to his resurgent offensive season. With the Red Wings playing the seller role for the first time in two and a half decades, it will be interesting to see what GM Ken Holland does. Brendan Smith and Steve Ott are pending unrestricted free agents who may warrant some interest around the league, but defenseman Mike Green has also drawn some interest despite having another year left on his contract.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Zack Nastasiuk, Toledo (ECHL)

2016-17 Stats: 32gp 8g 13a 21pts

Nastasiuk is being brought along slowly by the best developing team in the league, with his second straight season splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. Nastasiuk has a power forward potential and he plays a heavy game that suits his 6’2 202-pound frame. While the offense hasn’t followed him from junior, the Red Wings hope he can become a solid bottom, six contributor.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators players celebrate after a goal by defenseman Roman Josi (59) during the third period against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

23

Nashville Predators

Previous Ranking: 14 (-9)

Team Record: (29-22-9)
Goals For:

173

Goals Against:

167

Special Teams

PP: (18.8 percent) (16th)
PK: (82.2 percent) (11th)

Injury List

Cody McLeod – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Miikka Salomaki – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Ryan Johansen (60gp 9g 34a 43pts)
Top Defenseman: Roman Josi (51gp 9g 23a 32pts)
Top Rookie: Kevin Fiala (35gp 7g 3a 10pts)
Top Goaltender: Pekka Rinne (23 wins 2.48GAA .916 save percentage)

Player of the Week: RW Filip Forsberg (3gp 3g 1a 4pts)

The Predators find themselves in the first wild-card spot, but they are by no means a guarantee to make the playoffs. After being shelled by the Minnesota Wild in their first game following their bye week, the Preds beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 and then went to Calgary. After spotting the Flames a 4-1 lead, the Preds fought back to take a 5-4 lead, only to lose in overtime. They finished the week with a 1-1-1 record.

Filip Forsberg continues to be a second-half scoring machine as he scored a hat trick against the Flames to bring the club back from a bad lead. After a slow start, Forsberg now has 19 goals on the year. It’s unlikely he matches last season’s 33 goals, but with how hot he can get, anything is possible. PK Subban had his best week as a Predator scoring a goal and four assists in the three games.

The Preds would benefit from adding some help on the blueline for their playoff run, but don’t expect them to be big players on the deadline day. The Predators have games against the Avalanche, Capitals, and Sabres, but they also play the Oilers on Sunday the 26th and yours truly will be in attendance. My two favorite clubs. The first game outside of Canada!

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Rem PItlick, U. Of Minnesota (Big10)

2016-17 Stats: 28gp 10g 13a 23pts

Rem Pitlick is a very small hockey player, so taking the slow route to the NHL may be the best for him. He’s committed to a four-year stint with the Gophers. The son of former NHLer Lance Pitlick, Rem has the explosive offensive ability and his early returns in his college career are eye-popping for a 19-year old. The Predators are seeking offense, and if Pitlick can defeat the size odds, his skill will be valuable.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

February 22, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15), goalie Jonathan Bernier (1) and right wing Corey Perry (10) celebrate the 5-3 victory against the Boston Bruins at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

22

Anaheim Ducks

Previous Ranking: 21 (-1)

Team Record: (32-20-10)
Goals For:

161

Goals Against:

157

Special Teams

PP: (19.5 percent) (14th)
PK: (82.2 percent) (11th)

Injury List

Antoine Vermette – N/A – March
Clayton Stoner – Abdomen – Indefinitely
Simon Despres – Concussion – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Ryan Getzlaf (55gp 11g 35a 46pts)
Top Defenseman: Cam Fowler (62gp 11g 20a 31pts)
Top Rookie: Ondrej Kase (44gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Goaltender: John Gibson (23 wins 2.24GAA .922 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nick Ritchie (4gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Holding onto the third playoff spot in the Pacific the Ducks didn’t have the best week, they went back and forth all week long and ultimately ended up with a .500 record of 2-2-0. Given that they are in that third spot and want to make a cup run it’s very likely that the club will make a few moves between now and the deadline.

Other than that John Gibson was great last week while appearing in three games he only started two (which means he came in relief of Jonathan Bernier). But in doing so Gibson managed to bang out a record of 1-1-0 with a .956 save percentage along with a 1.14 goals-against-average which is incredibly decent. Bernier, on the other hand, started in two games also earning a 1-1-0 record but his numbers were not so great since his save percentage was only .829 and his goals-against-average was just 4.50. When it came to the offense though both Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie had four points weeks, the only difference is Ritchie finished as a plus two while Getzlaf finished as a minus one. The Ducks have a very short week as they only play one game and that’s against the Kings where they will need to desperately pull out a victory.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Steven Ruggiero, Youngstown (USHL)

2016-17 stats: 17gp 0g 4a 4pts

A towering defenseman with a lot of strength Steven Ruggiero has been playing for the USHL for quite some time now. He could very well make the jump to either the ECHL or the AHL next season. His skating is great for his size which often leaves him relied upon in all the key situations.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

21

Winnipeg Jets

Previous Ranking: 23 (+2)

Team Record: (28-29-6)
Goals For:

184

Goals Against:

199

Special Teams

PP: (17.7 percent) (20th)
PK: (76.7 percent) (27th)

Injury List

Jacob Trouba – N/A – March
Drew Stafford – Illness – Day-to-Day
Toby Enstrom – Lower-Body – Week-to-Week
Andrew Copp – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Ondrej Pavelec – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Marko Dano – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Tyler Myers – Lower-Body – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mark Scheifele (60gp 25g 37a 62pts)
Top Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien (63gp 9g 30a 39pts)
Top Rookie: Patrik Laine (55gp 30g 24a 54pts)
Top Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (20 wins 2.79GAA 910 save percentage)

Player of the Week: RW Patrik Laine (4gp 4g 3a 7pts)

The Jets keep on flirting with the idea of playoffs, but it seems once they take two steps forward, they find a way to take two steps back. The Jets got points in all four of their games this week, but the extra points would have them in a playoff spot right now. The Jets went 2-0-2 with wins over the Canadiens and Senators and overtime losses against the Penguins and Maple Leafs. The Jets sit two points back of the Calgary Flames for the final playoff spot, but the Flames have three games in hand.

Rookie Patrik Laine continues to give Teemu Selanne a run for his money as best Jets rookie (I’m sure Laine could score 76 in the Selanne era) and he continues to dazzle Manitoba with his explosive offensive game. Laine scored four goals, including two in the overtime loss to the Leafs. Mathieu Perreault found a new gear scoring two goals and four assists, while Mark Scheifele was his regular old self, adding six assists this week. Scheifele and Laine may be the most underrated scoring duo despite the buzz the pair has generated. With captain Blake Wheeler slumping, it’s refreshing to see the changing of the guard.

The Jets have an outside chance of making a playoff push but will need a lot of things to go right while they are on their bye week. If they stay within four points, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff may be tempted to go shopping on deadline day. The club needs a goalie in the worst way and could be in the market for Ben Bishop if the price is not ridiculously high. The Jets won’t return to action until the day before the trade deadline when they face the conference-leading Minnesota Wild.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Jan Kostalek, Manitoba (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 41gp 2g 2a 4pts

Kostalek was a decent scorer for the Rimouski Oceanic throughout his junior career which is why the Jets used a 4th round pick on the Czech defender. The offense hasn’t come in his tenure as a professional, but Kostalek has been, defender. While it’s a long shot for him to find a prolific NHL career, he’s worth keeping an eye one. Could become a solid bottom pairing defenceman.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Feb 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal in the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Previous Ranking: 13 (-7)

Team Record: (33-20-8)
Goals For:

176

Goals Against:

159

Special Teams

PP: (20.6 percent) (11th)
PK: (80.9 percent) (17th)

Injury List

Benoit Pouliot – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Tyler Pitlick – Leg – Out-for-Season
Darnell Nurse – Ankle – Day-to-Day
Andrew Ference – Hip – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Connor McDavid (61gp 20g 48a 68pts)
Top Defenseman: Oscar Klefbom (61gp 11g 15a 26pts)
Top Rookie: Matt Benning (47gp 3g 9a 12pts)
Top Goaltender: Cam Talbot (31 wins 2.36GAA .921 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Connor McDavid (4gp 2g 3a 5pts)

Even though the Oilers had a fairly long week where they played four games, they pulled out an impressive winning record of 3-1-0. Mostly due to the amazing play by Cam Talbot along with Connor McDavid and the rest of the Oilers offense.

Edmonton currently sits second in the Pacific division and are likely to make the playoffs for the first time in a long time. Connor has been on a roll all season long often leading the league in points going back and forth with the greatest player in the world in Sidney Crosby. And last week just continued that effort as he had himself a five point week finishing with a plus-two rating. Forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle combined for eight points on the week as well so the offense was definitely clicking. Talbot appeared in three games for the Oilers and in doing so earned himself a perfect record of 3-0-0 along with a .936 save percentage and a 2.33 goals-against-average. Laurent Brossoit, on the other hand, took home the only loss and in doing so wasn’t so hot since his goals-against-average was only 3.09 and his save percentage wasn’t much better since it was .889. Will the Oilers continue their hot play going into this week? They definitely have the chance to since but it won’t be easy as they play Washington, Nashville, and St. Louis.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Graham McPhee, Boston College (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 33gp 1g 7a 8pts

A product of the famous Boston College program in the NCAA, Graham McPhee has a work ethic that is rivaled by few in his age group. His work ethic is explosive often causing him to put everything he has into every single shift he plays. What else makes him valuable is his puck protection skills which he will use to help crash the net and get out of the trickier areas of the ice. He can also distribute very well making him a perfect playmaker that once adjusted to the pro game, will become a very valuable asset.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj (31) makes a save in the second period of a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

19

Los Angeles Kings

Previous Ranking: 10 (-9)

Team Record: (29-27-4)
Goals For:

146

Goals Against:

150

Special Teams

PP: (17.1 percent) (23rd)
PK: (84.2 percent) (7th)

Injury List

Paul LaDue – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Jordan Nolan – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Matt Greene – Back – Day-to-Day
Jonathan Quick – Groin – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Carter (59gp 29g 24a 53pts)
Top Defenseman: Drew Doughty (59gp 8g 25a 33pts)
Top Rookie: Derek Forbort (59gp 2g 12a 14pts)
Top Goaltender: Peter Budaj (27 wins 2.12GAA .917 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Tanner Pearson (4gp 3g 2a 5pts)

The Kings had a fairly long week and it showed when they put up a record of 1-3-0, losing their first three games before ending the week on a winning note. However, despite the losses Tanner Pearson was awesome as well as goalie Peter Budaj who still continues to impress us all.

Budaj played in all four games last week for the Kings and even though he carried the 1-3-0 record his numbers were much better. Budaj still managed to post a .910 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against-average. The Kings offense was also great but the real standout was forward Tanner Pearson who had himself a five point week while the rest of Los Angeles put up two points of less. However, even though Pearson had a five-point week he only finished as a plus one which means the team’s defense was not quite at their best. This will have to change if the Kings want to return to the postseason since they currently sit two points from the final wild card spot. And they may have a chance to do so as they have games against Boston, Anaheim, Minnesota, and Calgary. But the team will need to be at their best cause these fellow teams are no pushovers.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Chaz Reddekopp, Victora (WHL)

2016-17 stats: 51gp 10g 33a 43pts

Chaz Reddekopp has spent the last four and a half years in the WHL’s Victoria Royals. Which means he’s a very solid player if he’s managed to stick his entire junior career out with just one team. A strong and big defenseman, Chaz plays a very solid two-way game but also has great offensive talents while his skating still needs to be worked on.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Arizona Coyotes center Ryan White (25) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

18

Arizona Coyotes

Previous Ranking: 8 (-10)

Team Record: (21-31-7)
Goals For:

143

Goals Against:

189

Special Teams

PP: (15.3 percent) (27th)
PK: (77.3 percent) (26th)

Injury List

Lawson Crouse – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Louis Domingue – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Brad Richardson – Leg – March
Dave Bolland – Lower-Body – Indefinitely
Chris Pronger – Concussion – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Radim Vrbata (58gp 12g 29a 41pts)
Top Defenseman: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (58gp 10g 23a 33pts)
Top Rookie: Christian Dvorak (54gp 10g 12a 22pts)
Top Goaltender: Mike Smith (16 wins 2.84GAA .918 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Alex Goligoski (3gp 0g 3a 3pts)

Even though Arizona sits second last in the league this team is extremely exciting to watch. They are in the full youth swing, with the majority of their roster being first-year players who have so far, played very well. Mike Smith has been excellent since returning from the all-star break despite losing games. And rookie goalie Marek Langhamer made an appearance in a single game. What’s even better is despite the average age and experience level of this team they still put up a winning record of 2-1-0 last week.

The Coyotes sit in a perfect position for a great lottery pick to further help this team in the youth movement, next season should be very exciting if you’re a Coyotes fan, cause these kids are going to build together and win together. Their hottest player over the week was defenseman Alex Goligoski who had himself three points in three games while finishing with a plus-four rating. He wasn’t the only player to have a three point week, though, Brendan Perlini, Jordan Martinook, and Radim Vrbata all had three points as well but finished with a rating of plus-one. Since Mike Smith started in all three games, Marek Langhamer had to replace him in one and in doing so posted a well below save percentage of .875 and a goals-against-average of 3.87. Smith, on the other hand, was fairly decent, he had a .924 goals-against-average and a 2.92 save percentage. This week isn’t going to be easy for the young Yotes but at this time in the season, it’s all about the excitement of watching these young studs carry an NHL team. Arizona has games against Chicago, Dallas, Buffalo, and Boston.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Brendan Warren, Univ. Of Michigan (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 28gp 2g 7a 9pts

Brendan Warren has the chance to crack the Coyotes roster next season, he’s a very skilled two-way player who relies heavily on his on-ice vision to anticipate plays and cut off passing lanes. Since he tends to thrive more in the offensive zone, he’s also very dependable defensively which often finds him in the most important part of the game, and that’s the penalty kill.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing PA Parenteau (11) celebrates his goal during the first period of their game against the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

17

New Jersey Devils

Previous Ranking: 16 (-1)

Team Record: (25-25-10)
Goals For:

139

Goals Against:

172

Special Teams

PP: (17.8 percent) (19th)
PK: (80.8 percent) (19th)

Injury List

Marc Savard – Concussion – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Taylor Hall (50gp 14g 26a 40pts)
Top Defenseman: Damon Severson (60gp 3g 23a 26pts)
Top Rookie: Pavel Zacha (52gp 8g 8a 16pts)
Top Goaltender: Cory Schneider (19 wins 2.61GAA .914 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Travis Zajac (4gp 2g 2a 4pts)

Currently sitting outside the playoff picture by a large margin, the Devils had a week to forget since they only managed one win in four contests finishing the week with a 1-3-0 record. And they will most likely be a selling team as we get closer to the deadline. Other than that, though, Travis Zajac had himself a solid outing this week as well as goaltenders Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid despite the losing record.

Schneider played in three of the games last week earning himself a losing record of 1-2-0, however, he did put up some respectable numbers. He had a .939 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against-average. Kinkaid, on the other hand, wasn’t so fortunate, he earned the other loss with a terrible 6.16 goals-against-average and a .813 save percentage. Zajac carried the Devils offensively though with four points in four games (two goals and two assists), he also finished as a plus two player. Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall were next in line putting up three point weeks each but combined for only a plus one rating. The Devils had a lot of selling pieces they could use come to the trade deadline to get them some draft picks and prospects who can fill a smaller role, they could always pitch Mike Cammalleri and Kyle Palmieri to teams and see who kicks the tires who some second line scoring, which shouldn’t be hard to achieve. But this week, the Devils have two tough games in hand as they play the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Jesper Bratt, AIK (Allsvenskan)

2016-17 stats: 42gp 6g 13a 19pts

Drafted in 2016, Jesper Bratt has a wicked shot with a very heavy release, he can also transition his play on a dime due to being a light skater which makes him very capable of stealing pucks at will. However, when it comes to the physical side of the game Bratt will not get himself involved and isn’t too responsible defensively, but these are all things that can be fixed the more he develops into a pro player.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) celebrates scoring a goal with teammates during the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

16

Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous Ranking: 20 (+4)

Team Record: (37-16-5)
Goals For:

187

Goals Against:

143

Special Teams

PP: (22.2 percent) (4th)
PK: (82.2 percent) (12th)

Injury List

Lukas Sedlak – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
David Clarkson – Back – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Cam Atkinson (58gp 27g 23a 50pts)
Top Defenseman: Zach Werenski (58gp 9g 27a 36pts)
Top Rookie: Zach Werenski (58gp 9g 27a 36pts)
Top Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky (31 wins 2.21GAA .925 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Zach Werenski (2gp 1g 2a 3pts)

The Blue Jackets had themselves a fairly short week, just two games played, however, they only managed a .500 record of 1-1-0. They started the week off with an overtime win over the Penguins but fell to Nashville two days later by a score of 4-3. Two defensemen carried the team offensively over the week while Sergei Bobrovsky appeared in both games.

With Bobrovsky appearing in both games means he obviously earned the one win along with the only loss. But he did play fairly well, in fact, putting up a very respectable .930 save percentage along with a 2.51 goals-against-average. Star defenseman Seth Jones and rookie defenseman Zach Werenski had the most points on the week with three a piece. But where as Jones finished with a plus one and had three assists, Werenski finished as a plus two and had himself a goal with two helpers. Currently sitting third in the Metro, Columbus is going to have to pick up their play if they wish to hold that spot down in the very tough Eastern conference. And this they could very well do that since they play the Islanders, Rangers, and Canadiens.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Daniel Zaar, Cleveland (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 39gp 8g 15a 23pts

Possessing a solid shot, Daniel Zaar is also a very talented two-way player. Everything about him currently though is pure offense, he could work on his strength and speed if he wishes to become a full-time NHL player.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) after defeating the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated New York 7-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

15

Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous Ranking: 24 (+11)

Team Record: (28-20-12)
Goals For:

187

Goals Against:

179

Special Teams

PP: (23.1 percent) (1st)
PK: (83.5 percent) (8th)

Injury List

Connor Carrick – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Mitch Marner – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Joffrey Lupul – Abdomen – Indefinitely
Stephane Robidas – Knee – Day-to-Day
Nathan Horton – Back – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Auston Matthews (60gp 28g 24a 52pts)
Top Defenseman: Jake Gardiner (60gp 9g 22a 31pts)
Top Rookie: Auston Matthews (60gp 28g 24a 52pts)
Top Goaltender: Frederik Andersen (24 wins 2.76GAA .915 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Auston Matthews (3gp 1g 5a 6pts)

The Maple Leafs may be the most exciting team to watch in the NHL. That doesn’t mean they’re the best team, but boy can they score. The trouble is keeping the pucks out. The Leafs began their week with a 6-3 loss to provincial rivals Ottawa Senators and then bounced back a 4-0 shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes and 5-4 overtime thriller over the Winnipeg Jets. The Leafs hopped over the Panthers and moved into third in the Atlantic Division, and they are only five points back of the division lead.

Auston Matthews had another strong week, scoring a goal and adding five assists in the three highly-offensive games. The rookie-of-the-year candidate now has 52 points in 59 games and has a very good chance of beginning his NHL career with a 70-point season. D-man Jake Gardiner also hit the scoreboard frequently by adding two goals and three assists, while Uncle Leo Komarov matched Gardiner’s production.

The Leafs obviously have an issue keeping the puck out of the net, and Fredrik Andersen has been inconsistent of late (McElhinney had the shutout over Carolina)defenseman the Leafs would benefit from adding a defenceman at the deadline. The Leafs have plenty of assets to move out to bring in experience and they may be players in the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes. The playoffs are a priority for the long-suffering franchise.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Andrew Nielsen, Toronto (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 51gp 10g 20a 30pts

The Leafs have a plethora of exciting prospects, and that’s why Nielsen may fly under the radar. Nielsen has not missed a beat in offensive production since turning pro. The former Lethbridge Hurricane is scoring at an outrageous rate in his first pro season, with 30 points in 51 games. TSN”s Bob McKenzie mentioned Nielsen by name when discussing which Toronto defense prospect has the most upside.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: The Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal scored by right wing Justin Bailey (56) in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Sabres defeated the Senators 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

14

Buffalo Sabres

Previous Ranking: 22 (+8)

Team Record: (26-24-10)
Goals For:

147

Goals Against:

168

Special Teams

PP: (22.5 percent) (3rd)
PK: (75.1 percent) (29th)

Injury List

Sam Reinhart – Flu – Day-to-Day
Derek Grant – Shoulder – Day-to-Day
Zemgus Girgensons – Middle-Body – Week-to-Week
William Carrier – Knee – Day-to-Day
Johan Larsson – Wrist – Out-for-Season
Cody McCormick – Leg – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Kyle Okposo (59gp 18g 21a 39pts)
Top Defenseman: Rasmus Ristolainen (60gp 4g 32a 36pts)
Top Rookie: William Carrier (35gp 4g 2a 6pts)
Top Goaltender: Robin Lehner (17 wins 2.54GAA .925 save percentage)

Player of the Week: LW Evander Kane (3gp 3g 1a 4pts)

The Buffalo Sabres have been staying in the playoff race, and their newfound success led them to a 2-1-0 week. The only loss came against perennial Stanley Cup contender Chicago Blackhawks. Robin Lehner was solid in the team’s two wins, making 23 saves for the shutout in Colorado and 37 saves in the win over the St.Louis Blues.

Evander Kane‘s strong play of late has him in GM Tim Murray’s good books and if he continues this strong play off the ice, maybe the club will take the good with bad due to Kane’s off-ice issues. There was a time when Evander was on the trade block, but he’s having his best offensive stretch since he scored 30 back when he was with the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers.

Rasmus Ristolainen and Jack Eichel put up three assists over the week, as they continue to provide the club with strong play. Both players are important parts of the Sabres’ core. The Sabres are only four points back of the final wild-card playoff spot, but they have to jump over four teams. It will be a dogfight down the stretch, and with the trade deadline approaching fast, the team will need to decide if they want to make a run or to sell off the likes of Dmitry Kulikov, Cody Franson, and Brian Gionta.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Will Borgen, St.Cloud (NCHC)

2016-17 Stats: 29gp 2g 9a 11pts

A 2015 4th round pick, Will Borgen will be taking the slow route to the NHL. The Minnesota native is in his sophomore season at St.Cloud state, and he’s played a real steady game. Borgen is known as a strong skater, but his skating abilities don’t translate to a lot of offense. He’s more of a defensive defenseman and he has a nastiness to his game.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Feb 9, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates his goal in the third period against the Dallas Stars at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

13

Ottawa Senators

Previous Ranking: 18 (+5)

Team Record: (32-20-6)
Goals For:

158

Goals Against:

153

Special Teams

PP: (17.5 percent) (21st)
PK: (83.3 percent) (9th)

Injury List

Mike Hoffman – Groin – Day-to-Day
Mark Stone – Neck – Day-to-Day
Bobby Ryan – Finger – Indefinitely
Clarke MacArthur – Concussion – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mark Stone (56gp 22g 25a 47pts)
Top Defenseman: Erik Karlsson (58gp 10g 42a 52pts)
Top Rookie: Fredrik Claesson (19gp 0g 5a 5pts)
Top Goaltender: Mike Condon (17 wins 2.49GAA .913 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Derick Brassard (4gp 2g 4a 6pts)

The Senators continue to defeat the odds and climb the standings despite being dealt devastating injuries to their top players. The Sens won three out of four games, with their wins coming against the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New Jersey Devils. Their only loss was to the Winnipeg Jets. Injuries to Mike Hoffman, Bobby Ryan, and Mark Stone will play a factor, but under Guy Boucher’s tight defensive style, they have a chance in every game.

One player who upped his game was Derick Brassard. Brassard has been an offensive disappointment in his first season with the Senators, but in the absence of Stone, Hoffman, and Ryan, Brassard will need to have more weeks like this past one. Brassard scored six points in four games. Mark Stone equaled Brassard’s production in one less game. Erik Karlsson also added six points to his point total from the blueline.

GM Pierre Dorion has been given the go-ahead from team owner Eugene Melnyk to make a move to improve his team’s chances of making the playoffs. Dorion already acquired Tommy Wingels this season but will look to the likes of Thomas Vanek, PA Parenteau or Radim Vrbata for an added offensive punch. The Senators are only two points back of the Montreal Canadiens, so the division title is within reach. Oh yeah, and they have two games in hand.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Max Lajoie, Swift Current (WHL)

2016-17 Stats: 56gp 7g 27a 34pts

Max Lajoie has seen his plus/minus boom right up to a +19 compared to his -21 last season. Lajoie has stepped his game up and is now the leader on his WHL team. His offense was his calling card in his draft year, but his defensive game has grown leaps and bounds. The Senators selected him in the 5th round, so he’s already on track to defy his draft position.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) and San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) celebrate their 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

12

San Jose Sharks

Previous Ranking: 12 (-)

Team Record: (35-18-7)
Goals For:

166

Goals Against:

144

Special Teams

PP: (17.1 percent) (22nd)
PK: (81.6 percent) (14th)

Injury List

Dylan Demelo – Wrist – March
Joonas Donskoi – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Joe Pavelski (60gp 20g 32a 52pts)
Top Defenseman: Brent Burns (60gp 27g 37a 64pts)
Top Rookie: Kevin Labanc (45gp 7g 11a 18pts)
Top Goaltender: Martin Jones (28 wins 2.34GAA .913 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Melker Karlsson (2gp 1g 2a 3pts)

Sitting first in the Pacific division, the Sharks are poised to make another serious run for the cup and when the trade deadline approaches, a few more depth players could very well help them win it all. And even though the Sharks had only two games on deck last week they only managed a 1-0-1 record, it’s still a winning one but not as good as 2-0-0. Both Melker Karlsson and Brent Burns carried the Sharks in scoring while goaltenders Aaron Dell and Martin Jones both played a game each.

Jones brought home the overtime loss but in doing so was still pretty great, he had a very respectable 1.92 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .929. Dell, on the other hand, was sharp as well in the teams only win earning a goals-against-average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .973. Brent Burns leads the league for a defenseman in points and the Sharks as well, and he also helped lead the team in points last week with three in two games with a plus-two rating. Karlsson, on the other hand, had himself a three point week as well but finished as a plus three. So could the Sharks make a move for more depth at the deadline, it’s quite possible, someone like Mike Cammalleri on the second line would really boost the team’s already solid offense. This week though the Sharks play some fairly easy games against Vancouver and Toronto.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Marcus Vela, Univ. Of New Hampshire (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 26gp 2g 5a 7pts

Marcus Vela is a very gifted offensive forward, he has amazing hockey sense as well as some great versatility that can have him play anywhere in the team’s lineup. His skating isn’t the greatest though but he can drive play, make super smart decisions to help his team thrive since he’s a very well-rounded player.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Vegas Golden Knights: Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

11

Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous Ranking: 19 (+8)

Team Record: (27-25-8)
Goals For:

166

Goals Against:

170

Special Teams

PP: (21.6 percent) (7th)
PK: (80.9 percent) (18th)

Injury List

Jonathan Drouin – Flu – Day-to-Day
Ryan Callahan – Hip – Indefinitely
Steven Stamkos – Knee – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nikita Kucherov (53gp 23g 31a 54pts)
Top Defenseman: Victor Hedman (57gp 10g 39a 49pts)
Top Rookie: Brayden Point (46gp 8g 15a 23pts)
Top Goaltender: Ben Bishop (16 wins 2.55GAA .911 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Tyler Johnson (3gp 1g 3a 4pts)

Lightning struck, and it has started a fire. Well, at least a hot streak. Many had the Lightning missing the playoffs in a very disappointing season, but the Lightning has won five of eight games this month, including an almost perfect week. The Lightning nabbed five of six points this week with wins against the Avalanche and Oilers following an overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. Just like that, the Lightning is only four points back of the Florida Panthers for the final playoff spot in the East.

The triplet line of Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson led the way offensively, with Johnson and Kucherov contributing a goal and three assists each, while Palat had two goals and an assist. Victor Hedman continues to drive the play from the blueline, notching a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Hedman now has 48 points in 56 games and is on pace to best his career high of 55 points set in the 2013-14 season.

The Lightning will have some big decision to make with the deadline approaching, and I’m one to believe Yzerman hasn’t closed the book on making a playoff run. Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson, and Valtteri Filppula‘s names have been thrown around the rumor mill, but Yzerman maintains a very high asking price. The interesting thing will be watching what Yzerman does with Ben Bishop. Bishop is as good as gone in the offseason, so maybe he is moved to bring in an asset to aid their playoff chances.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Adam Erne, Syracuse (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 36gp 13g 12a 25pts

Adam Erne plays a power-forward type of game contributor and even though it takes a lot of those guys time to find their offensive game at the pro level, Erne has made the transition seamless. Erne had 29 points as a rookie in Syracuse last year and is already at 25 this year. He saw action in four NHL games this year. Expect Erne to challenge for full-time NHL employment next season.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) celebrates with right wing Michael Frolik (67) and center Mikael Backlund (11) after scoring a goal in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

10

Calgary Flames

Previous Ranking: 17 (+7)

Team Record: (31-26-4)
Goals For:

162

Goals Against:

174

Special Teams

PP: (19.9 percent) (12th)
PK: (80.8 percent) (20th)

Injury List

Ladislav Smid – Neck – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mikael Backlund (60gp 17g 24a 41pts)
Top Defenseman: Dougie Hamilton (59gp 9g 27a 36pts)
Top Rookie: Matthew Tkachuk (56gp 11g 28a 39pts)
Top Goaltender: Chad Johnson (17 wins 2.55GAA .912 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Johnny Gaudreau (2gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Even though the Flames only played two games last week, they still managed to pull off a winning record of 1-0-1. They also hold the second wild-card spot in the Western conference so a potential depth deal could be coming to help them keep that position in the standings. In those two games though star forward Johnny Gaudreau was on fire while goaltender Brian Elliott continues to struggle with his new team.

Elliott appeared in both games for the Flames last week and despite the winning record of 1-0-1, Elliott wasn’t too solid statistically. He only had a save percentage of .851 and a goals-against-average of 3.49. He definitely needs to improve if they Flames want to carry him into the playoffs if not a potential move for someone like Jaroslav Halak or Ben Bishop could be a possibility. Gaudreau was on fire, though, in just two games he had himself a four-point week (all assists). Mark Giordano, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan all had three-point weeks and combined for a plus-six rating so the offense was definitely there for the squad. The Flames have a chance to continue their hot play this week as they have games against Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, and Los Angeles. The Kings game will undoubtedly be the toughest of them all, though.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Mitchell Mattson, Bloomington (USHL)

2016-17 stats: 41gp 11g 12a 23pts

Mitchell Mattson is a huge player for his age, and what’s great about that is he will use his size to his advantage to impose his will on the opposition. His puck skills are okay as well as his skating so those are two attributes that can be heavily worked on in order to thrive in the pro game.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

9

New York Islanders

Previous Ranking: 7 (-2)

Team Record: (29-21-10)
Goals For:

180

Goals Against:

175

Special Teams

PP: (16.1 percent) (25th)
PK: (79.9 percent) (23rd)

Injury List

Shane Prince – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Travis Hamonic – Knee – Week-to-Week
Mikhail Grabovski – Concussion – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: John Tavares (59gp 22g 28a 50pts)
Top Defenseman: Nick Leddy (58gp 9g 22a 31pts)
Top Rookie: Alan Quine (48gp 5g 10a 15pts)
Top Goaltender: Thomas Greiss (19 wins 2.50GAA .918 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Andrew Ladd (4gp 4g 0a 4pts)

Currently sitting outside the playoff picture the Islanders earned some much-needed victories finishing the week off with a 3-1-0 record. And on top of that, Andrew Ladd finally got into the scoring groove as he put up a decent statistical week for himself, and John Tavares was right beside him the whole way. With Jaroslav Halak very much out of the picture now, goaltending has fallen to Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube, who have been great as of late.

Many are lead to assume that Halak may be on his way out of Long Island which isn’t a long shot, he’s had a terrible season and with the expansion draft getting closer and closer the Islanders could move their old starter for some much-needed depth in order to help them reach the playoffs. In the meantime, though Greiss has been great and was again last week playing in three of the games for the Isles earning himself a 2-1-0 record and a .920 save percentage with a 2.02 goals-against-average. Berube also earned himself a victory but surprisingly his numbers would have you think otherwise, he only had a save percentage of .867 and a goals-against-average of 4.00, but the victory is the most important factor. Ladd has struggled all season to find his groove in his new home but last week something in him sparked as he scored four goals in four games and finished with a plus-four rating. Tavares tied Ladd in scoring with four points of his own and a plus-four rating as well, however, Tavares only had two goals to go along with two assists. So what will the Isles do at the deadline? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, Halak is gone. But as for now, they need to focus on this week even though it’s rather quite short since they only play Montreal and Columbus.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Andong Song, Madison (USHL)

2016-17 stats: 37gp 0g 0a 0pts

Andong Song is the first Chinese player ever drafted by an NHL team, he’s currently playing in the United States Hockey League as a defenseman where unfortunately he’s yet to score a single point. But he’s still a solid prospect since Song has the size and athleticism to eventually be a great defenseman in the professional game.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter (22) celebrates his goal with defenseman Nate Prosser (39) during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

8

Minnesota Wild

Previous Ranking: 3 (-5)

Team Record: (39-14-6)
Goals For:

198

Goals Against:

138

Special Teams

PP: (22.8 percent) (2nd)
PK: (83.1 percent) (10th)

Injury List

Zack Mitchell – N/A – N/A
Victor Bartley – Triceps – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mikael Granlund (59gp 19g 36a 55pts)
Top Defenseman: Ryan Suter (59gp 8g 25a 33pts)
Top Rookie: Tyler Graovac (46gp 6g 0a 6pts)
Top Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk (32 wins 2.01GAA .933 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Mikko Koivu (3gp 1g 5a 6pts)

The Minnesota Wild keep on keeping on, and they still find themselves at the top of the Western Conference. The Wild defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1, and the Nashville Predators 5-2 before falling to division rival Chicago Blackhawks 5-3. The Wild went 2-1-0 heading into their bye week which will end when they welcome the Los Angeles Kings on the 27th.

Captain Mikko Koivu led the way offensively, scoring one goal and adding five helpers to score at two points per game this week. Koivu, like many of his teammates, is having a huge bounce-back season offensively under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Mikael Granlund leads the team in scoring with 55 points and he had another five-point week to bring him to that total. The Wild don’t have any holes in their lineup and may be quiet at the deadline.

The Wild have a nice five point cushion on the Chicago Blackhawks for the division lead, and will likely have the least competition in the first round of the playoffs. While the club is stacked and everything is going their way, it’s never a bad idea to add depth for a long playoff run.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Teemu Pulkkinen, Iowa (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 45gp 18g 17a 35pts

The Minnesota Wild thought they caught gold when they claimed former Red Wing prospect Teemu Pulkkinen off waivers. Pulkkinen seemed to have incredible potential after dominating the AHL with 34 goals in 46 games in 2014-15 before injuries derailed his NHL chances. Pulkkinen wasn’t able to keep up in the big leagues and found himself back in the AHL after a nine-game trial. Pulkkinen has found his scoring again in the minor offense and the Wild are hoping that helps him find his game in the NHL.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) congratulate teammates after their 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

7

Boston Bruins

Previous Ranking: 9 (+2)

Team Record: (31-24-6)
Goals For:

166

Goals Against:

162

Special Teams

PP: (19.9 percent) (13th)
PK: (86.3 percent) (2nd)

Injury List

Brian Ferlin – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Brad Marchand (60gp 25g 34a 59pts)
Top Defenseman: Torey Krug (60gp 5g 32a 37pts)
Top Rookie: Brandon Carlo (60gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (28 wins 2.28GAA .912 save percentage)

Player of the Week: LW Frank Vatrano (2gp 1g 1a 2pts)

The Bruins came out of their bye week with an overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks to keep their record perfect under new head coach Bruce Cassidy. They lost their first game under Cassidy with a 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Luckily the Florida Panthers also lost so the Bruins maintained their playoff push. The Bruins are tied with the Islanders and Panthers for the final playoff spot.

Frank Vatrano had a goal and an assist in the loss against the Ducks as he continues to build on his rookie season despite missing the first half of the season with an injury. Vatrano is an important secondary scorer on a club that needs it after Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

The Bruins have been in the rumor mill tied to Gabriel Landeskog, but they will likely not go that route as the Avalanche seem to want a young defenseman like Brandon Carlo. The Bruins could be in the Shattenkirk sweepstakes but may look elsewhere for defensive depth with a lower price tag. The Bruins have matchups against non-playoff teams in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Arizona, so they will have a solid chance to keep their playoff push alive.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Danton Heinen, Providence (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 41gp 10g 18a 28pts

Danton Heinen made the Bruins out of camp this season, following a two-year stint at the University of Denver. Heinen went scoreless in eight NHL games and was assigned to Providence. Heinen has faired well in his rookie professional year. He is a scoring forward with tremendous vision and a penchant for playmaking. He needs to likely add some bulk to his 6’0 frame to be effective in the NHL.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: St. Louis Blues left wing Kenny Agostino (73) celebrates his goal with left wing Kenny Agostino (73) and center Jori Lehtera (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Blues defeated the Flyers, 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

6

St. Louis Blues

Previous Ranking: 5 (-1)

Team Record: (31-24-5)
Goals For:

170

Goals Against:

173

Special Teams

PP: (21.3 percent) (8th)
PK: (84.7 percent) (5th)

Injury List

Robby Fabbri – Knee – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Vladimir Tarasenko (60gp 28g 28a 56pts)
Top Defenseman: Kevin Shattenkirk (60gp 11g 31a 42pts)
Top Rookie: Ivan Barbashev (12gp 2g 1a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Jake Allen (22 wins 2.67GAA .903 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Kevin Shattenkirk (3gp 0g 3a 3pts)

The St. Louis Blues have been a much better team under new head coach Mike Yeo than former coach Ken Hitchcock, but their most recent week saw the team take a slight step back. The Blues started the week off with a narrow 4-3 win against the Canucks before losing narrowly to the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers. They finished the week 1-2-0.

The Blues best player on the week was a player who may not be in wearing their colors once the trade deadline rolls through. Kevin Shattenkirk added three assists on the week to bring his total up to 42 points. To put it into perspective, Shattenkirk’s career high is 45. He picked a good time to have a career year because he’s going to get paid and likely has checked out of St. Louis in his mind. With the Blues in their bye week, it’s likely GM Doug Armstrong will be working the phones trying to move Shattenkirk for a return to help them in the playoffs.

The Blues only have a two-point lead on the Nashville Predators, and they could fall down to a wild card spot. Due to the team’s recent success, it will be hard for them to move their power play quarterback, but if they can add a decent young defenseman and roster forward in return, it could ease the pain a little better. They take on the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers in their last two games before the trade deadline.

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Evan Fitzpatrick, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)

2016-17 Stats: 14 wins, 3.47, .900

Evan Fitzpatrick was dubbed the best goalie in the QMJHL, despite the underwhelming numbers. The Blues saw enough in his game to make him a second-round draft choice in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. This year hasn’t been all that great either, but with Martin Brodeur in the organization, Fitzpatrick will have a solid role model to speak with.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Dec 15, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders with Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

5

Chicago Blackhawks

Previous Ranking: 4 (-1)

Team Record: (38-18-5)
Goals For:

183

Goals Against:

157

Special Teams

PP: (18.5 percent) (17th)
PK: (76.7 percent) (28th)

Injury List

N/A

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Patrick Kane (61gp 23g 40a 63pts)
Top Defenseman: Duncan Keith (61gp 5g 36a 41pts)
Top Rookie: Ryan Hartman (56gp 15g 11a 26pts)
Top Goaltender: Corey Crawford (24 wins 2.58GAA .917 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Jonathan Toews (3gp 3g 4a 7pts)

The Blackhawks returned from their bye week like a bat out of hell. Although they lost 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers, they controlled the play and dominated the shot clock 39-22. That momentum carried over, and the Hawks took the next two games, scoring five in each, against in the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild.

Captain serious was serious about getting on the scoresheet. Toews assisted on Chicago’s only goal against Edmonton, which got him his 600th point in his career. Toews exploded against the Minnesota Wild, scoring a hat trick and adding a pair of assists. Like his linemate, Nick Schmaltz said, it was time for Toews to explode offensively. Toews’ linemates Richard Panik and Schmaltz each produced four points in the week.

The Blackhawks will head into the deadline as buyers, although they aren’t expected to add any big name players. They could look at cheaper rental options like New Jersey’s PA Parenteau or Colorado’s Blake Comeau. Either way, the club won’t be mortgaging their future for the now. The team is good enough as is.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Erik Gustafsson‘>Erik Gustafsson, Rockford (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 47gp 4g 17a 21pts

After playing 41 games with the Blackhawks last season, it was expected that Gustafsson would stick with the club and take on a greater role next season. Gustafsson beat out by Gustav Forsling and Michal Kempny for an NHL job, but Gustafsson has played well for the IceHogs in Rockford. The former Edmonton Oilers draft pick is producing decent offense and continues to use his safe, smart play to hone his craft. Gustafsson will be one to watch for next season and could be the next recall on the Hawks list.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) congratulates center Jake Guentzel (59) on his goal against the Calgary Flames during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. Calgary won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4

Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous Ranking: 6 (+2)

Team Record: (37-14-8)
Goals For:

207

Goals Against:

166

Special Teams

PP: (21.7 percent) (6th)
PK: (80.3 percent) (21st)

Injury List

Nick Bonino – Illness – Day-to-Day
Justin Schultz – Concussion – Day-to-Day
Olli Maatta – Hand – Day-to-Day
Bryan Rust – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Conor Sheary – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Sidney Crosby (53gp 33g 33a 66pts)
Top Defenseman: Justin Schultz (56gp 9g 30a 39pts)
Top Rookie: Scott Wilson (56gp 6g 12a 18pts)
Top Goaltender: Matt Murray (22 wins 2.27GAA .926 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Sidney Crosby (4gp 3g 2a 5pts)

Despite having a very long week in which the Penguins played four games, they did put up a winning record of 2-1-1. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury appeared in only one game but was quite solid as well as Matt Murray who appeared in three. Both Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang carried the Pens offensively all week too.

Crosby has been dynamite ever since he’s returned and he hasn’t missed a single beat, he’s in second place in league scoring and he also put up a very respectable five points in four games last week. Star defenseman Kris Letang was the highest scoring coming from the backend tying Crosby with five points of his own but all five of his were assists. Fleury only played in one game which wasn’t too surprising, but his statistical output was given his current play, he put up a win, a respectable .936 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against-average. Murray, on the other hand, was decent as well, he put up a .500 record of 1-1-1 along with a .924 save percentage with a 2.33 goals-against-average. The Penguins have a chance to tighten their grip on second place in the Metro division this week as they play Philadelphia, Dallas, and Chicago.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Thomas Di Pauli, Wilkes-Barre (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 8gp 1g 0a 1pt

At first, Thomas Di Pauli was a limited scorer who many though wouldn’t reach a higher offensive plateau, well he’s proven them wrong and has become more than just a solid two-way player. He’s amazing at faceoffs and due to his incredible skating, he’s rarely caught out of position as well as being responsible in his own end.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

3

New York Rangers

Previous Ranking: 2 (-1)

Team Record: (39-19-2)
Goals For:

200

Goals Against:

156

Special Teams

PP: (19.2 percent) (15th)
PK: (82.0 percent) (13th)

Injury List

N/A

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: J.T. Miller (59gp 18g 28a 46pts)
Top Defenseman: Ryan McDonagh (58gp 3g 31a 34pts)
Top Rookie: Brady Skjei (58gp 2g 26a 28pts)
Top Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (27 wins 2.63GAA .912 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Brady Skjei (3gp 0g 3a 3pts)

The Rangers started their week off with a surprising regulation loss to the Islanders, however, they did bounce back and manage to beat the Capitals is regulation but then fell once again in overtime to the Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist has been on top of his game as of late and for his efforts recently he played in all three games last week. Veteran star Rick Nash along with rookie defenseman Brady Skjei carried the team in offense.

Both Skjei and Nash put up three points a piece over the stretch of the three games, however, Nash finished with an even rating while Brady was a plus one. The King returned to the throne on a regular basis last week, and despite the 1-1-1 record, Henrik was as solid as ever. He managed to bring with him a goals-against-average of 1.96 and a save percentage of .927. With the Rangers currently holding the first wild-card spot in the East, they will be looking to add a piece or two for a playoff run come this trade deadline. But who they will give up in order to do so is a mystery, but a deal is looming for the Blue Shirts. This week though the Rangers have games against Toronto, New Jersey, Columbus, and Washington.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Malte Stromwall, Hartford (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 25gp 1g 4a 5pts

In order for Malte Stromwall to become better in the North American game, he needs to add some much-needed weight and strength to his game. Other than though his offensive abilities are pretty great, he has a great shot and is often a sneaky player who can blow past defenders with his speed since he’s very light on his skates.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Feb 7, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2

Washington Capitals

Previous Ranking: 1 (-1)

Team Record: (40-12-7)
Goals For:

199

Goals Against:

127

Special Teams

PP: (22.1 percent) (5th)
PK: (84.5 percent) (6th)

Injury List

Andre Burakovsky – Hand – March

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nicklas Backstrom (59gp 18g 45a 63pts)
Top Defenseman: Matt Niskanen (58gp 4g 28a 32pts)
Top Rookie: Zach Sanford (24gp 2g 1a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Braden Holtby (30 wins 1.99GAA .927 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nicklas Backstrom (3gp 1g 2a 3pts)

Even though the Capitals sits atop the overall standings by three points, they, unfortunately, had themselves a down week finishing with a 1-1-1 record. But on a bright note, both Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer were exceptionally well. While four Caps registered three points in the week.

Nicklas Backstrom easily had the best week, even though he put up three points he still finished with a plus-one rating. Evgeny Kuznetsov had three points as well but finished with as an even player while Alex Ovechkin and T.J Oshie had three points each as well but combined as a plus one. Holtby played in two games last week for the Capitals and in doing so had a great week he finished with a winning record of 1-0-1 and a goals-against-average of 1.45 and a .947 save percentage. And this means Grubauer earned the loss but that didn’t effect his play he still had a very respectable .933 save percentage along with a 2.05 goals-against-average. Since the Caps sit first in the league they are most likely going to make a depth move or two so they can finally make a serious run for the cup before it’s too late. But this week will test the Caps since they have games against Edmonton, Nashville, and the New York Rangers.

Weekly Prospect Profile: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)

2016-17 stats: 30gp 17g 19a 36pts

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby loves the physical side of the game, he’s not afraid at all to take the game into the dirty areas of the ice in order to help his team and help crunch some bodies. But with everything good there is also something bad, he’s not the best finisher when it comes to analyzing how he would play in North America, but a few years down in the AHL should fix that.

– Matthew Duscharme

nhl power rankings

NHL Power Rankings: Florida Panthers center Michael Sgarbossa (48) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

1

Florida Panthers

Previous Ranking: 11 (+10)

Team Record: (28-21-10)
Goals For:

152

Goals Against:

166

Special Teams

PP: (15.8 percent) (26th)
PK: (85.2 percent) (3rd)

Injury List

N/A

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Vincent Trocheck (59gp 21g 21a 42pts)
Top Defenseman: Keith Yandle (59gp 3g 28a 31pts)
Top Rookie: Michael Matheson (58gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (16 wins 2.69GAA .915 save percentage)

Player of the Week: C Vincent Trocheck (4gp 1g 2a 3pts)

The Panthers have been on a roll and could be considered the hottest team in the league right now. The return of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov has shot the Panthers back into a playoff spot. The Cats had a five-game win streak ended with a loss against the Edmonton Oilers yesterday, but they can take solace in the fact that they swept their five-game road swing. The Panthers had wins against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues this week to finish 3-1-0.

While Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov get a lot of credit for the team’s turnaround, Vincent Trocheck has been Mr. Clutch. Trocheck scored a buzzer beater against the St. Louis Blues and added two assists in the week. The Cats were a score-by-committee team with Marchessault, Barkov, Jokinen, Trocheck and Ekblad each chipping in three points on the week. The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr is still playing at an outstanding elite level, adding a goal and assist as well. It looks as though James Reimer is taking the starter job from Roberto Luongo with Reimer starting three of the teams four games over the week.

All of a sudden, the Panthers are in the playoff hunt, and even have a chance to compete for the wide-open Atlantic Division title. With the team playing this hot at this point in the season, the Cats will likely stay the course and have a quiet deadline. Last year they added Teddy Purcell, Jakub Kindl and Jiri Hudler for draft picks, and it messed with the team’s chemistry. They learned their lesson hopefully.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Kyle Rau, Springfield (AHL)

2016-17 Stats: 24gp 8g 6a 14pts

Rau is an older prospect at 24 years of age, and it looks like his small frame will prohibit a legitimate NHL career. Rau was able to get into 24 NHL game earlier this year with the Panthers, but his scoring was salty. The former University of Minnesota superstar only managed two goals and an assist in his NHL audition and he now finds himself back in Springfield. He’s a typical small player that can produce offense in the right scenario but will likely have issues scoring in the big leagues. He stands 5’7.

– Trin Potratz

nhl power rankings

Vegas Golden Knights: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) talk prior to a face-off against the Nashville Predators during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Games of the Week (Feb. 24 – Mar. 1)

Friday, February 24th

Edmonton vs. Washington

Saturday, February 25th

Montreal vs. Toronto

Anaheim vs. Los Angeles

Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh (Stadium Series)

Sunday, February 26th

St. Louis vs. Chicago

Monday, February 27th

Ottawa vs. Tampa Bay

Tuesday, February 28th

Toronto vs. San Jose

Washington vs. New York Rangers

Wednesday, March 1st

Pittsburgh vs. Chicago

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