31) Buffalo Sabres – Even Jack Eichel, for all his gifts, can’t elevate a moribund group around him.
30) Los Angeles Kings – The Kings’ overally play has dipped as of late, with only 7 points in their last 10 games. They should be fine.
29) Ottawa Senators – With only 8 points in their last 10 games, the picture is becoming bleak for the Senators, who aren’t particularly impressive statistically.
28) Arizona Coyotes – The Coyotes are still terrible, but they’ve at least hung around recently.
27) Philadelphia Flyers – Philly plays a solid game, and could be a move or two away from being even better. However, they’ve really struggled lately.
26) Anaheim Ducks – Anaheim’s injuries are finally starting to catch up to them, getting absolutely shelled by the opposition in the process.
25) New Jersey Devils – The Devils are coming back to earth after a fast start.
24) Florida Panthers – Florida is perfectly mediocre, which is about what should be expected after the off-season they had.
23) Dallas Stars – The Stars are certainly a fearsome team, they’re just not getting the results at the moment.
22) Vancouver Canucks – Congratulations to the Canucks, they’re achieving perfect mediocrity.
21) Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins will be fine.
20) Edmonton Oilers – Edmonton plays such a strong team game, and although they do possess some deficiencies like any other team, they’re bound to rebound eventually.
19) Washington Capitals – Underlying numbers don’t paint the Capitals as a surefire Cup contender anymore. Their talent still matters a whole lot, however.
18) Colorado Avalanche – The Avs are probably really, really bad, but they’re managing to plug along in the standings.
17) Minnesota Wild – Everyone seems to be piling on the Wild right now, but they’re still capable of getting great looks like few other teams can.
16) Detroit Red Wings – If the Red Wings’ goal this season was to spin the hamster wheel of mediocrity, they sure are doing a great job of it.
15) Chicago Blackhawks – The Hawks look good, but these November days are presumably not their highest priority.
14) Vegas Golden Knights – For all the talk of the Knights falling off eventually, their underlying numbers indicate they might be better than we thought.
13) Montreal Canadiens – For all the drama in Montreal, the Canadiens are still out-shooting and out-chancing their opposition on a regular basis. That has to matter at some point, right?
12) Boston Bruins – Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy ought to be in the Jack Adams conversation.
11) New York Islanders – Speaking od Adams’ nominees, it’s time to start mentioning Doug Weight in that light.
10) Winnipeg Jets – The Jets are still red hot, although they might be due for some negative regression at some point.
9) Toronto Maple Leafs – Toronto is still the real deal.
8) Carolina Hurricanes – Carolina is loaded with talent, buoyed by a dominant even strength game, although their special teams leave a little to be desired.
7) Columbus Blue Jackets – I’ll keep banging this drum for the rest of the season: the Blue Jackets are Stanley Cup contenders.
6) Nashville Predators – Nashville’s hot right now, and although their underlying numbers may be a bit down, they remain in the league’s upper echelon thanks to their impressive collection of talent.
5) New York Rangers – The Rangers get a bump for some recent hot play, thanks in part to a very good penalty kill. It feels unlikely that they remain this high.
4) San Jose Sharks – Outside of a lackluster power play, the Sharks are basically great at every facet of the game. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the West.
3) Calgary Flames – It took a while for Calgary to come on, but they look excellent as of late. We’ll see if that continues.
2) Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning continue to dominate, but they’re slowly being passed over by another team in this ranking.
1) St. Louis Blues – St. Louis has just about everything going for it right now: star talent, stellar underlying numbers, and superiority in the standings. They’re the best team in the NHL as of today.
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