2021 Prezidential NHL Power Rankings: Week 15

NHL Power Ratings

The National Hockey League enters Week 15 of the 2021 NHL season, which means that most teams are quickly approaching the last week of their regular season. This week’s Prezidential Power Rankings offer a quick betting snippet on Prez’s top-15 teams, complete with a list of all NHL teams from No. 1 to 31.

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1. Colorado Avalanche
Previous ranking: 1

I know, they just lost 4-1 to St Louis, however this is still the best team in hockey. This team is so well-balanced, as they are the No. 1 scoring team in hockey and boast the No. 3 defense. They have an absolute superstar in McKinnon, a really good goalie and are very well coached. They can win low scoring games and if need be and can score more than any team on any day. They are also in the top-10 on their power play and their penalty kill. The difference between them and Carolina is that both teams can check and defend, but only one team has Nathan McKinnon. This is the front runner to win the Cup.

2. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous ranking: 5

This team made the second-biggest jump this week and it is deserved. They are impossible to play against and are a slightly-lesser version of the Avs, and a better version of the Islanders. They can check, play tight defensive hockey and can score goals. They have a three-headed monster in goal and it doesn’t matter who plays, they end up winning. They are the tenth-best scoring team, the fourth-best defensive team, with the No. 1 power play unit and the fourth-best penalty kill. I think this team is going to give Tampa Bay fits and I think they come out of that division.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous week: 2

Still sitting in the top-3 and perhaps the team to beat, given they are the current champs. They are, however, missing Stamkos and Kucherov and yet all they do is win. If those two players make it for the playoffs, this team is going to be one tough out. Even without Kucherov, they are the 6th-highest scoring team in hockey and the 7th-best at keeping pucks out of their net. They also are a veteran team with a monster in goal. Without Stamkos and Kucherov, they will not win the Cup, but there is a chance they get those two back and set themselves up for a long playoff run.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous ranking: 3

Yes, they lost five in a row before beating the Jets twice, but this is the best-built team the Leafs have iced in my 52 years and perhaps the best-built team (minus their goalie situation) in the league. They have two of the top-three young stars in all of hockey with Matthews and Mariner, and JT and Nylander are also scoring machines. They have a total shutdown 2nd and 3rd line as Conner would tell you, because he can’t score against this team. They also have veteran leadership like no other. They have four captains on this team in Spezza, Foligno, JT and Jumbo Joe. They have grit with Foligno, Hyman and Simmons. Their defense is looking much better. Bottom line: If Fleury was their goalie this would be the best team in hockey by far.

5. Las Vegas Golden Knights
Previous ranking: 4

I love this Knights team and think they could win it all this year. They roll out four lines with speed from every direction. There is not a faster team in hockey and in a seven-game series, they are going to tire the crap out of anyone. They also have an amazing goalie, a great coach, an excellent captain and are very well balanced. They are the 4th-highest scoring team in hockey and boast the No. 1 defense by far. Their penalty kill is also No. 1 in the league, but their weakness is their power play. You simply cannot win the Cup with a bottom-10 power play and that is also indictive of their lack of super star scoring. This team can score and score, but it comes from all four of their lines and that doesn’t help their power play. It is so hard to place these top-5 teams in order, but I have Vegas in the No. 5 spot.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous ranking: 9

I am floored by how good this Pittsburgh Penguins team is. I honestly didn’t even expect them to make the playoffs and now they sit at the top of a very competitive division and are peaking at the perfect time. Pittsburgh is the 3rd-highest scoring team in hockey, but it is their deefense that is keeping them out of the top 5. They are middle of the pack in defense and have goalie issues. Their power play is the 8th-best in hockey but their penalty kill is in the bottom-10. This division is insane, with Pittsburgh, Boston, NY Islanders and Washington all right around the same. I have Pittsburgh higher in the ranks this week, as they are rolling right now and playing the best hockey out of the four. I do not believe they are a Cup contender though, as their defense is just not good enough.

7. Florida Panthers
Previous ranking: 7

Their pickups at the trade deadline have really helped this team. Sam Bennet might be playing his best hockey of his career, their goalie is amazing and Barkov is one of the best players in hockey. He is so strong on the puck and creates lots of space for his line mates. He also always seems to be on the ice. Between them, the Hurricanes and the Lightning, wow what a division and what incredible hockey they seem to play against each other. Florida has kept pace all year with these two teams and there is no reason they can’t come out of their division. The problem with this team is they sit out of the top-10 in both scoring and defense and they just aren’t deep enough. But even with that said, how can you keep them out of the top-10 given they are beating Tampa Bay and the Hurricanes regularly and just look so good right now.

8. Washington Capitals
Previous ranking: 8

I moved this team above the Islanders and that is more of a reflection of the Islanders than the Caps. We will talk about that in the Islanders section of this power play. The bottom line is this team can score a ton and have veteran stars all over the ice. They are the No. 2 scoring team in the league, but unless they can fix their defense and goaltending, I think they could be out in the first round of the playoffs. Their defense literally sits in the bottom half of hockey and that is just no good. They also have goaltending issues galore and frankly, although I have them in the top-10 now, I do not see a long playoff run for them. They are going to struggle against tight checking teams like the Bruins and Islanders. They better hope they play Pittsburgh in the first round.

9. Boston Bruins
Previous ranking: 15

From 15th to 9th in my power poll in 2 weeks and ahead of the Islanders – WHY? The bottom line is this team was struggling to score and that was keeping them down in my poll. Now finally they are putting the puck in the net. They are so talented and still could have the best line in hockey. Bergeron is maybe the best face off guy in the history of hockey, Marchant the most skilled rat ever and Pasternak finally doing stuff. Plus, they just added Taylor Hall to give them some secondary scoring. Also, Rask is back in goal and playing really good hockey. The difference between them and the Islanders is they can play just as good on defense, but they can score more goals than New York. Fear the Bruins when the playoff starts and I actually think they could get out of that division.

10. New York Islanders
Previous ranking: 6

No one fell more in the polls than the Islanders and although I think they are a very good hockey team, I just don’t think they have enough scoring power to do damage. Can they beat the Caps or Pittsburgh in a seven-game series? Only if they can keep those two teams from scoring three goals a game and that is a big ask. They do match up much better against Boston, but still the Bruins have more bullets in their gun. The longer the season goes, the less impressed I am with them. Their captain is gone for the year, their point scorer is Barzal and that should tell you everything. Sure, he is good but Austin Matthews has almost as many goals as he has points. There is just no scoring on this team period and that is going to bite them when the playoffs start.

11. Edmonton Oilers
Previous ranking: 11

Fresh off another beat down of the Jets, this Oiler team is deadly. I actually think at +2000 to win the Cup, they are the best value bet on the board. The league has Crosby, Ovi, Nate, Austin and other superstars but they all look up at the person that has redefined the game in McDavid. Conner is like no player we have ever seen with the puck on his stick. Where Crosby, Ovi and Matthews shoot goals from the slot and barely have the puck on their stick, Conner can take the puck from behind his net and simply skate past everyone and roof it top corner. And he isn’t even their No. 1 scorer. With that said, this team is too top heavy and we have seen JT and the Leafs’ 2nd line shut him and Leon down game after game. I think Edmonton can win it all and I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets beat them in the first round. When you have Conner you can beat anyone, but he is not the whole team. Shame on the Oilers for not going after Hall or some other scorers at the deadline. This team is going as far as Conner and Mike Smith take them and it could be all the way to the cup or a golf course.

12. New York Rangers
Previous ranking: 16

The 12th-best team right now will not make the playoffs. They are simply too far behind Boston with less games in hand, but man are they ever playing incredible hockey right now. This team is all healed and healthy and we are seeing them at their best.

13. Winnipeg Jets
Previous ranking: 10

They can’t beat the Leafs and they can’t beat Edmonton, but with that goaltender and maybe the best front-6 in hockey (behind the Leafs), this team has it all set up for a big playoff run. However, they sit outside the top-10 in scoring and in the bottom half on defense. Their issue is their defense and lack of experience and depth in this position.

14. Nashville Predators
Previous ranking: 13

Hard not to have this team in our top-15 given the last month of hockey they have played. This might be the hottest team in the league right now and we saw it last night with their 4-1 win against the Panthers. They have good goaltending and maybe the best defenseman in hockey in Jossi (hot wife alert). They also are laden with veteran talent and have had long playoff runs for the last five years or so. I think this team is going to be scary and while I think the Wild will lose easy in the 1st round, I think the Preds might be the 4th place team that pulls the upset. However, that assumes they make the playoffs and they have the Dallas Stars right on their heels. They are only two points ahead of Dallas but the Stars have two games in hand. I think they are better than the Stars, but the math favors Dallas.

15. Minnesota Wild
Previous ranking: 12

Who knows: This team can look so good on any given night and not only do I think they lose in the 1st round, but I think they lose 4-1 or 4-2 in that round. They are a year or two away from being a cup contender. They simply just lack depth at scoring and leadership. I do love what this team has done this year and how they have set themselves up to be competitive for years.

16. Dallas Stars
Previous ranking: 18

17. St. Louis Blues
Previous ranking: 17

18. Arizona Coyotes
Previous ranking: 14

19. Montreal Canadiens
Previous ranking: 19

20. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous ranking: 20

21. San Jose Sharks
Previous ranking: 21

22. Philadelphia Flyers
Previous ranking: 22

23. Calgary Flames
Previous ranking: 26

24. Vancouver Canucks
Previous ranking: 24

25. Los Angeles Kings
Previous ranking: 25

26. Ottawa Senators
Previous ranking: 28

27. Anaheim Ducks
Previous ranking: 29

28. Detroit Red Wings
Previous ranking: 30

29. Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous ranking: 23

30. New Jersey Devils
Previous ranking: 27

31. Buffalo Sabres
Previous ranking: 31

Puck Time

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