NHL 2021-22 Power Rankings: Week 14

Welcome to the 13th edition of my weekly NHL Power Rankings for The Hockey Writers, where the league’s top half is evaluated. These rankings will focus on how the teams have performed in the past week of play and will significantly factor in their overall strength and where they are at the time in the standings. With that said, let’s take a look at the top 16 teams in the league at this moment.

16. Los Angeles Kings (21-16-5)

Last Week’s Rank: 14

It wasn’t a great start to the week for the Kings, who lost their first game against a divisional opponent in the San Jose Sharks and followed that up with losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche. However, the good news was that they were able to pick up a win in their final game of the week on Sunday versus the New Jersey Devils.

Related: NHL 2021-22 Power Rankings: Week 13

Despite the shaky week, the Kings are still sitting second in the Pacific Division, which nobody saw coming this season. While it remains to be seen whether or not they will remain in a playoff spot by the end of the season, it has been an impressive first half of the 2021-22 campaign for this squad.

15. Calgary Flames (18-12-6)

Last Week’s Rank: NA

Yes, the Flames did lose on Saturday night to an Edmonton Oilers team on a seven-game skid, but it was very apparent that they deserved a better fate. They outshot their provincial rival 47-31 and controlled play for the majority of the evening.

Calgary Flames Celebrate
Calgary Flames Celebrate (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Earlier in the week, they defeated one of the best teams in the league in the Florida Panthers by a final of 5-1. After going through some struggles in December and earlier this month, it appears they are righting the ship.

14. Anaheim Ducks (20-16-7)

Last Week’s Rank: NA

Though they still sit third in the Pacific Division, the Ducks have struggled recently, picking up just three wins in their past 10 games. However, a big 5-1 win over the Lightning on Friday may be just what they needed to turn things around.

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A big reason for the Ducks’ poor play as of late is that players like Ryan Getzlaf, Trevor Zegras, and Sonny Milano have struggled to put points on the board recently. If they can figure things out, they should remain in the playoff picture for the remainder of the season.

13. Vegas Golden Knights (24-15-2)

Last Week’s Rank: 12

The Golden Knights have appeared quite average as of late, and that trend continued this past week. They lost their first game of the week against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins and just barely squeaked by a struggling Montreal Canadiens squad, walking away with a 4-3 overtime win.

For whatever reason, this team hasn’t been able to perform all that well at home this season, with a 13-10-2 record at T-Mobile Arena. The good news is that they are expected to get both Max Pacioretty and Jack Eichel back at some point in February, which will likely put them back into the Stanley Cup contender’s conversation.

12. Washington Capitals (23-10-9)

Last Week’s Rank: 13

The Capitals have been in a rut as of late, and while they were able to win two of their three games this past week, they weren’t in convincing fashion. Both of their wins came in overtime, with the first over the Jets and the second against the Ottawa Senators. They also suffered a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins in between.

It continues to get mentioned, but this team needs goaltending help to have a chance at a Cup this season. Both Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov have been far too inconsistent and are the main reasons for the Capitals’ struggles as of late.

11. Nashville Predators (26-14-3)

Last Week’s Rank: 11

After a shaky start to the week with losses to both the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators rebounded with wins against the Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings. The final two games were an impressive showing from the NHL’s biggest surprise team.

Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Heading into the 2021-22 season, there were very few expectations for this team who seemed to lack offense. That hasn’t been the case this season, as many players are putting up big point totals. Leading the way is Roman Josi, who has 42 points in 41 games and is in the running for the Norris Trophy.

10. Boston Bruins (24-12-2)

Last Week’s Rank: 8

The Bruins are turning into a serious threat as of late, but a 7-1 blowout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday resulted in them slipping a bit in this week’s ranking. To their credit, however, they were able to regroup after that crushing defeat with wins over both the Capitals and Jets.

Related: NHL 2021-22 Power Rankings: Week 12

While Brad Marchand has been putting up huge points as of late, arguably the even bigger reason for the Bruins’ recent surge is thanks to the play of David Pastrnak. After a somewhat disappointing start to the season, he now has 19 goals and 35 points in 38 games, and those totals should continue to improve in the coming months.

9. St. Louis Blues (24-11-5)

Last Week’s Rank: 10

It was a solid week for the Blues, who won all three of their games against the Seattle Kraken, Predators, and Canucks. Many will argue they deserve to be higher on this list, but there remains one particular issue with this team right now and one that will need to improve for them to go on a deep playoff run.

That issue is the play of Jordan Binnington, who sat on the bench in all three games this past week after being lit up for six goals at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs a week prior. While backup Ville Husso has been fantastic when called upon this season, he is extremely inexperienced and shouldn’t be relied upon as their number one once the playoffs roll around.

8. Minnesota Wild (24-10-3)

Last Week’s Rank: 9

Over the years, the Wild have been one of the league’s most average teams, one that seemed always to be a borderline playoff team but was never considered Cup contenders. However, that is not the case this season, thanks mainly to Kirill Kaprizov, who has 47 points through 36 games.

Wild fans have voiced that they feel their team is underappreciated this season, and rightfully so. Given their reputation in past years, it seems many aren’t fully bought in on this team just yet, but that should change if they can keep rolling.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (25-10-3)

Last Week’s Rank: 6

While they remain one of the best teams in the league, the Maple Leafs suffered a tough loss to the Arizona Coyotes back on Jan. 12 and lost 6-3 to the New York Rangers this past week. They were able to get a win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, however, and should be able to climb their way back up these rankings in a hurry.

Mitch Marner Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One very positive sign for this team is that Mitch Marner appears to be getting back on track after a disappointing start to the season. The 24-year-old has scored in three straight games and can be counted on to produce elite-level numbers for the remainder of 2021-22.

6. New York Rangers (27-11-4)

Last Week’s Rank: 7

Despite a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday, it was a solid week for the Rangers, who scored 16 goals in a three-game span. They deserve to be in the conversation of a Stanley Cup contender with how good they have been this season.

While they possess a ton of offensive power thanks to players like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider, their biggest offensive threat may truly be defenceman Adam Fox. The 23-year-old leads his team in scoring with 45 points and could very well win his second Norris Trophy this season.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (27-9-2)

Last Week’s Rank: 3

Though they won big in their first two games of the week over the Bruins and the Rangers, the Hurricanes were defeated 7-4 by the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, which is why they have slipped in these rankings for the second straight week.

Despite their outstanding play this season, the Hurricanes still tend to get overlooked when discussing the NHL’s elite teams. If players like Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Tony DeAngelo can continue their play in the postseason, many will take notice and give this team the respect they deserve.

4. Florida Panthers (28-8-5)

Last Week’s Rank: 1

It was an interesting week for the Panthers. First came a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Flames. However, they then defeated the Oilers 6-0 just two nights later. They followed that up with a win over the Canucks the next night, only to lose to the struggling Kraken on Sunday.

Florida Panthers Celebrate
Florida Panthers Celebrate (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As everyone knows, this team is as dangerous as anyone in terms of their offense, but their defensive play leaves plenty to be desired at times. While they will continue to be successful for the remainder of the season, they could be in trouble in the playoffs if they cannot tighten things up.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (28-10-5)

Last Week’s Rank: 2

While they did put up 13 goals in wins over the Kings and Sharks, the Lightning also dropped a 5-1 contest against a Ducks team who hasn’t been particularly great as of late. Despite that loss, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to the back-to-back Cup champions, and they will get a big boost moving forward as Ondrej Palat is expected to return to the lineup soon.

As good as both Josi and Fox have been, Victor Hedman is right with them regarding Norris Trophy favorites, as the 30-year-old has 44 points in 43 games. Thanks largely to his play, this team will continue to be one of the league’s most dangerous for the remainder of the season.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (26-10-5)

Last Week’s Rank: 5

What a turnaround it has been for the Penguins. After a shaky start to the season, they have been arguably the league’s best team over the past month.

Related: NHL 2021-22 Power Rankings: Week 11

Plenty of their turnaround has to do with the returns of both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, however, others deserve plenty of credit as well. Both Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang have been incredible, as has Bryan Rust when healthy. This team looks as good as they have in a long time, which is saying something given that they have made the playoffs in 15 straight seasons.

1. Colorado Avalanche (28-8-3)

Last Week’s Rank: 4

The Avalanche, who won all four of their games this week, are now on a league-best six-game winning streak. They have as much skill on their roster as anyone in the league and seem destined to go on a lengthy playoff run this year.

Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche
Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

While their top offensive players continue to impress, the most exciting thing regarding them right now is that after a slow start, Darcy Kuemper has been red hot as of late. Given his play in recent seasons, it is reasonable to expect him to be rock solid for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.

Changes to Come

These rankings will continue to change each week throughout the season, as all teams go through highs and lows. Of course, the true contenders will like always remain on the list, but where they are ranked could change each and every week. Tune in at this time next week to see the changes.

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