1. Tampa Bay Lightning
This one is pretty simple. With 60 wins the Tampa Bay Lightning are by far the best team in the league record wise and have a chance to break the all-time wins record set by the Detroit Red Wings. Boasting next level talent with Andrei Vasilevskiy proving himself worthy of the Vezina Trophy, Nikita Kucherov who is up for MVP of the season, Steven Stamkos nearing 100 points, and Branden Point having a career year with 40 goals so far. The Lightning’s defence is another great part of this team. They are proving to be a stellar group as one of the best penalty killers in the league, with players like Victor Hedman, as well. On the other end of their special teams their power play is the best in the league, packing a powerful one-two punch. Overall, they are easily the best team in the league and at this rate will become the greatest team of all time.
2. San Jose Sharks
This team beats every other team in one of the most important categories, depth. It is their greatest aspect. This team can roll four lines on you and those teams are the ones that go the furthest come playoff time. Continuing this theme of depth by adding forward Gustav Nyquist at the trade deadline solidifies the third line. In addition, a top defense led by Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson gives the Sharks a chance against any offense. My only concern is goaltending. Martin Jones is having a good year wins wise however, but his save percentage is lacking. I am unsure how he will do in the playoffs.
3. Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals are once again a Stanley Cup contender with Alex Ovechkin leading the league in goals nearing the fifty goal mark yet again, proving he is still one of the best and that this team is primed for another cup run. The offense in general is loaded, with Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Jakub Vrana and Brett Connolly. They are a consistent top five group. Backed up by the Vezina winning Braden Holtby, a reliable goaltender who just reached 250 wins on his career this season. Another factor going for them is they got the monkey off their back last year by winning the Stanley Cup. They seem more relaxed and less paranoid when they play. Come playoff time that will help them significantly.
4. Boston Bruins
The Bruins are an elite team led by an incredible first offensive line with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. They have a solid and experienced goaltender in Tukka Rask as well. Overall the team’s record reflects their skill. They will be a tough team to beat when the playoffs start. I only have one big problem with this team and it’s the reason they are not higher on this list, depth. They have once again, turned into a one line team. This will prevent them from winning a cup but they should win the first round with their current group.
5. Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames easily have the best top six in all of the NHL. Their offense is led by one of the best scorers in the league, Johnny Gaudreau, who is nearing one hundred points on the season. They have great scoring support from the defense as well with Mark Giordano having 71 points so far, more than many offensive players. The only problem is goaltending. Their goaltending is very inconsistent and they haven’t decided who the starter is going to be yet. With this uncertainty in both who will play and how they will play between the crease this will be their biggest problem and why they are not higher on the list.
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