NHL Midseason Power Rankings: Who’s leading the pack at the halfway point of the season

We are now roughly halfway through the 2021 NHL season and there have been plenty of surprises and disappointments up to this point. Now that we have a good sense of how each team is playing, let’s take a look at where each team stands in our midseason power rankings. (Click here to see our preseason power rankings.)

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Preseason Ranking: 1 (Same)

Record: 20-6-2

The Tampa Bay Lightning are tied for first place in the Central Division, which is even more impressive considering the Central Division has 3 of the top 4 teams in the league at this point. They have the best goal differential in the league and have been playing the entire season without their best player Nikita Kucherov, who could return for the playoffs. They still have the most talented and deep roster in the NHL so there is no doubt that they are the best team in the NHL

  1. New York Islanders

Preseason Ranking: 10 (up 8)

Record: 19-7-4

Now onto the hottest team in the NHL. The Islanders have won 8 of their last 10 games and are tied for the lead in the East Division, which is arguably the strongest division in the league. Mathew Barzal has blossomed into a full fledged star this season, as he leads the Isles with 24 points so far, and is a big reason for their successful season so far. The Isles are a sneaky good team, and have shown they can beat any team in the league.

  1. Vegas Golden Knights

Preseason Ranking: 4 (Up 1)

Record: 19-6-1

The Golden Knights have the second fewest regulation losses in the NHL and they are currently leading the West Division. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty have formed quite a dynamic duo in Nevada, and are leading the team offensively so far. Stone has 33 points in 25 games, good for 9th in the league, and a +17 plus/minus rating, 3rd best in the league. Pacioretty leads the team with 14 goals on the other hand, and has been the Golden Knights most consistent source of scoring.

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Preseason Ranking: 9 (Up 5)

Record: 19-9-2

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been reaping the benefits of not having to play teams like Tampa Bay and Boston all year long. Auston Matthews is having a breakout season with a league leading 21 goals so far. Mitch Marner is also having a standout year with 39 points, as Toronto’s young core looks to finally make the jump to superstardom. The Maple Leafs have cooled off as of late, but they have been far and away the best team in the North Division up to this point.

  1. Carolina Hurricanes

Preseason Ranking: 11 (Up 6)

Record: 20-7-1

Carolina is outperforming their expectations so far this season, currently sitting at third place in the central division. They are tied for most wins in the league with Tampa Bay, while also leading the league in power play percentage and point percentage. They have also won 8 of their last 9 games, which buys them a spot in the top 5 of the power rankings. 

  1. Florida Panthers (up 15)

Preseason Ranking: 21 (Up 15)

Record: 19-5-4

The Florida Panthers are tied for most points in the league and no one seems to notice. The Panthers have two of the most underrated players in the league in Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau who both have 34 points on the season, tied for 7th in the league. They’ve had a lot of games against non playoff teams however, which is why they sit just outside the top 5 in the rankings. 

  1. Washington Capitals

Preseason Ranking: 7 (Same)

Record: 19-6-4

The Caps are a solid all around team, which we all knew heading into the season. They are tied for first in the east division, and have gone 7-1 in the month of March so far. Nicklas Backstrom has led the way so far for the Caps with 33 points, while Alex Ovechkin just keeps scoring, as he’s already got 12 goals on the season, and you can bet he will add to that tally in the second half of the season.

  1. Boston Bruins

Preseason Ranking: 3 (Down 5)

Record: 15-8-4

The Boston Bruins have cooled off a ton after starting the season on fire. They have been hit hard with injuries of late, especially to the defense with Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller, and Jeremy Lauzon all currently watching from the sideline. They are 5-7-2 in their last 14 games and are sitting on the edge of the playoff line just three points ahead of Philadelphia. 

  1. Minnesota Wild

Preseason Ranking: 24 (Up 15)

Record: 18-8-1

Kirill Kaprizov has been the unanimous rookie of the year up to this point, leading the rookie ranks in goals (10), assists (14), points (24), and plus/minus (+10). The Wild as a team sit comfortably in the 2 spot in the West Division with 37 points, and look bound to be headed to the playoffs this season.

  1. Colorado Avalanche

Preseason Ranking: 2 (Down 8)

Record: 17-8-2

Colorado is another talented team that has been attempting to manage a bunch of injuries. They have had to handle time without Nathan MacKinnon, J.T. Compher, Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, Erik Johnson, and Conor Timmins. All in all, it’s been a relatively disappointing season for the Av’s, but there is absolutely potential for them to light up the league in the second half of the season with all the talent they have. 

  1. Winnipeg Jets

Preseason Ranking: 18 (Up 7)

Record: 17-9-2

Mark Scheifele is having a sneaky good season with 37 points, 5th best in the NHL. The Jets have 5 guys with over 20 points, as their offense hasn’t had too much trouble finding the back of the net in a high scoring North Division. Look for the Jets to continue to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.

  1. St. Louis Blues

Preseason Ranking: 6 (Down 6)

Record: 14-9-5

The Blues just got Vladimir Tarasenko back after he only played 10 games last season. The perennial 30+ goal scorer will provide a major boost to the offense and should help them increase their goals per game. Not that the Blues have had a ton of trouble scoring this year without him, as they are currently in 13th in goals per game, but Tarasenko’s presence in the lineup has certainly been missed. 

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins

Preseason Ranking: 15 (Up 2)

Record: 18-10-1

Pittsburgh is led in scoring by none other than Sidney Crosby, who has been the main catalyst to the Penguins success this year, as he usually is. Evgeni Malkin is also heating up as he has 4 goals in his last 7 games. This duo should help the Penguins try to hold onto a playoff spot in a crowded East Division.

  1. Philadelphia Flyers

Preseason Ranking: 5 (Down 9)

Record: 14-9-3

The Flyers likely didn’t expect to be sitting on the outside of the playoff picture 26 games into the season. Despite that, they are only 3 points behind the Bruins for the fourth playoff spot in the East Division. A bright spot for Philly has been the play of James Van Riemsdyk who leads the team in points and is on pace for roughly 60 points, more than he has had in his previous 3 seasons. 

  1. Edmonton Oilers

Preseason Ranking: 14 (Down 1)

Record: 18-13-0

The Oilers are kind of figuring things out. Obviously they have 2 of the best players in the NHL in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but that hasn’t been enough in recent years. Through their first 31 games though, the Oilers are under 3 goals against per game which puts them at a respectable 15th in the league in that category. This improvement has allowed them to rise in the standings, where they are currently in 3rd place in the North Division.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks

Preseason Ranking: 27 (Up 11)

Record: 14-11-5

Patrick Kane is having yet another All-Star caliber season for the Blackhawks. He is third in the league with 43 points, and similar to Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, Kane has been the main reason for the Blackhawks success, as they are currently fourth in the Central Division, even though many thought they weren’t a playoff team going into the season. The Blackhawks have also gotten 15 goals out of Alex DeBrincat who is showing that he possesses elite scoring capabilities. Rookies Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev have also made a significant impact on the team this year with 13 and 11 points respectively.

  1. Montreal Canadiens

Preseason Ranking: 18 (Up 1)

Record: 13-8-7

The Canadiens started the season playing really good hockey, but they have regressed significantly since starting the season 7-1-2. They are still in a playoff spot, but not by much as they are just 2 points ahead of Calgary and 3 ahead of Vancouver. They’ll have to rediscover their early season form if they want to guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason.

  1. Calgary Flames

Preseason Ranking: 14

Record: 14-12-3

Calgary has had a disappointing season up to this point, as they currently sit 2 points out of a playoff spot. There aren’t a ton of things that really say “that’s the reason they’ve struggled”, but they did fire Head Coach Geoff Ward on March 5th and brought in Darryl Sutter to replace him. Sometimes it takes a new voice to shake things up in a locker room, and the Flames are 3-1-1 since his hiring.

  1. Los Angeles Kings

Preseason Ranking: 28 (Up 9)

Record: 11-10-6

There is a lot of young talent in LA, but the Kings have had success this year due to above average play from veterans Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown. They aren’t making the playoffs unless they play extremely well in the back half of the season, but the old dogs have shown that they still have some tricks up their sleeves.

  1. Dallas Stars

Preseason Ranking: 8 (Down 12)

Record: 9-9-7

The Stars have been highly disappointing this season. After making a run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, Dallas is currently 9 points out of a playoff spot. There weren’t expectations for them to make a similar run to last year, but to be this far down after 24 games is not what the Stars had in their sights when the season kicked off.

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets

Preseason Ranking: 20 (Down 1)

Record: 11-12-7

After the Pierre-Luc Dubious debacle, the Blue Jackets were hoping for some serious production from Patrik Laine, but they have received mediocre play from the former 40 goal scorer. The Blue Jackets are only 4 points out of a playoff spot, but will need to really step it up over the second half of the season if they are to make it back to the playoffs.

  1. New York Rangers

Preseason Ranking: 16 (Down 6)

Record: 11-12-4

The Rangers haven’t been able to recognize a lot of their potential this year, which isn’t too surprising considering the age of a lot of their most prized assets. They are quickly losing grasp of a potential playoff spot in a difficult east division. Rookie D-man K’Andre Miller has been impressive in his debut season, while number 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere hasn’t been as advertised just yet. Kaapo Kakko’s NHL struggles have also continued, as he has just 4 points in 20 games this season. 

  1. Arizona Coyotes

Preseason Ranking: 26 (Up 3)

Record: 12-13-4

The Yotes are 5 points out of a playoff spot, which is about as much as could be expected for this team. A fringe playoff team heading into the season, the Coyotes are living up to their expectations. Conor Garland has been the leading scorer this season with 22 points, and will look to build off a solid first half of the season.

  1. Vancouver Canucks

Preseason Ranking: 12 (Down 12)

Record: 14-16-2

Vancouver has not been able to build off the progress they made last year. Elias Pettersson has underperformed up to this point, as he is only 5th on the team in scoring. Their defense has been lackluster as well, as they have given up 97 goals, second most in the NHL behind only the lowly Ottawa Senators.

  1. San Jose Sharks

Preseason Ranking: 25 (Same)

Record: 11-12-3

Barring a miraculous recovery, the Sharks are essentially out of a playoff spot for what will be the second year in a row. They have the second worst goals against per game in the NHL at 3.46. Evander Kane and Logan Couture both have over 20 points on the season, but there just hasn’t been enough consistency from the Sharks in order for them to end up in the win column more often.

  1. New Jersey Devils

Preseason Ranking: 23 (Down 3)

Record: 9-13-4

The New Jersey Devils simply lack the firepower to hang with the heavy hitters in the East Division. Jack Hughes isn’t developing as quickly as other number 1 overall picks have, but he has definitely looked more confident in his game this season. His production has increased, and he is on pace to improve upon his rookie season numbers, which is a positive takeaway for the Devils in a lost season.

  1. Nashville Predators

Preseason Ranking: 22 (Down 5)

Record: 12-16-1

Filip Forsberg has been the team’s only real consistent performer this season. The Predators have faced the Lightning 6 times already which hasn’t been good for their record, but they still just lack the talent to compete for a playoff spot this year. They will eventually have to look to get Forsberg some help in order to take advantage of his prime years.

  1. Anaheim Ducks

Preseason Ranking: 29 (Up 1)

Record: 8-16-6

The rebuild is in full effect in Anaheim. The Ducks don’t have anyone over 20 points and they have the second fewest goals per game, with just over 2. The Ducks will continue to struggle throughout the rest of the season, as they look to pick up a high draft pick to help out their rebuild.

  1. Detroit Red Wings

Preseason Ranking: 31 (Up 2)

Record: 9-17-4

The Red Wings are basically just waiting for Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond to make their ways to the NHL. Captain Dylan Larkin has been disappointing this year with just 15 points in 26 games. Despite their lack of success, the future looks bright for the Red Wings, but they’ll have to get through rough stretches like these in order to make it there.

  1. Ottawa Senators

Preseason Ranking: 30 (Same)

Record: 10-20-2

The Ottawa Senators have given up a staggering 127 goals this season, which is 25 more than the next closest team. Their main purpose the rest of the season will be spoiling games for playoff hopeful teams. If you want to look for a positive in a lost season, Thomas Chabot has 20 points so far as a defenseman, which is tied for seventh among defenders so far.

  1. Buffalo Sabres

Preseason Ranking: 19 (Down 12)

Record: 6-18-4

Things have never been uglier in Buffalo as they have now lost 11 games in a row. To make things worse, Jack Eichel is out for the foreseeable future with an injury after there were rumors that he would be traded away. Just when things can’t seem to get much worse for the Sabres, they have, and there’s a good chance it will continue throughout the rest of the season.

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