31) Arizona Coyotes – The Coyotes have been in some close games, but they’re well on track to add another top pick to their ranks.
30) Florida Panthers – A questionable off-season is only looking worse for the Panthers, who haven’t really shone in any department.
29) Buffalo Sabres – The talent is there in Buffalo, but it may be already too see that talent partake in meaningful games in 2017-18.
28) Minnesota Wild – What’s up with Minnesota this season? Mediocre special teams, and a drop off in five-on-five play.
27) Colorado Avalanche – General manager Joe Sakic got all he could for Matt Duchene in the way of future assets– which probably reveals how he feels about this current iteration of the Avalanche.
26) Anaheim Ducks – With Ryan Getzlaf now out for at least the next month or two, and John Gibson possibly concussed – times could get very tough in Anaheim.
25) Edmonton Oilers – The Oilers sure look like they could use a Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle type player, eh?
24) Washington Capitals – Another team with a disastrous off-season, the Capitals don’t look like the same machine of the past. We’ll see how they look come spring time.
23) Ottawa Senators – With Matt Duchene now in tow, the Senators are signaling to franchise player Erike Karlsson that they’re serious about winning a Cup.
22) Chicago Blackhawks – The Hawks are still dotted with talent, and with Corey Crawford dominating in net, they’ll remain in the playoff hunt.
21) New York Rangers – Alain Vigneault is in the hot seat, but is he actually the problem?
20) Detroit Red Wings – A pride-filled organization isn’t ready to wave the white flag yet.
19) Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers continue to be an exciting team, but is that their ceiling?
18) Calgary Flames – The fact that the much-heralded Flames aren’t more impressive in a diminished Pacific Division is quite concerning.
17) Carolina Hurricanes – The ‘Canes are playing some solid hockey, but once again, we’re just waiting for the results to come in.
16) New Jersey Devils – The Devils haven’t come back down to Earth…yet.
15) Winnipeg Jets – Patrick Laine’s shot continues to be absolutely fearsome, while goaltending surprisingly plays as a strength for the Jets.
14) Nashville Predators – Kyle Turris’s arrival gives Nashville true center depth – something they’ve lacked in recent years. They’ll rise up these rankings quickly.
13) Boston Bruins – The Bruins just won’t go away, will they?
12) New York Islanders – John Tavares is an MVP candidate, while Jordan Eberle is making Edmonton look quite foolish.
11) Dallas Stars – The Stars can seem like a threat from just about anywhere on the ice, and they now have the goaltending to back it up.
10) Vegas Golden Knights –Vegas just keeps getting it done, even with fourth string Manny Lagace in net.
9) Montreal Canadiens – Do not sleep on the Habs, who are now finally putting pucks in the net while getting solid goaltending from Charlie Lindgren.
8) Vancouver Canucks – Head coach Travis Green has found ways to get the most out of a group that many wrote off before the season.
7) San Jose Sharks – The Sharks look dominant at even strength, while Martin Jones has delivered in net.
6) Toronto Maple Leafs – For all their deficiencies, the Leafs’ raw talent simply can’t be ignored.
5) Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins probably don’t deserve to be this high given the way they’ve played, but two consecutive Stanley Cups earns you quite some rope.
4) Columbus Blue Jackets – Artemi Panarin may be struggling to score goals as of late, but that shouldn’t diminish Columbus’ place as a truly elite team.
3) Los Angeles Kings – The Kings might seem a little disorganized in their zone at times this season, but they’ll gladly take that in exchange for their heightened goal-scoring and goaltending.
2) St. Louis Blues – Maybe people forgot about the Blues over the summer, but they’re still an extremely dangerous team.
1) Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning are the best team in the NHL right now. Plain and simple.
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