2021 NHL Power Rankings
Lisa Donovan Last Updated: May 14, 2021.
Buffalo Sabres 15-34-7
- A team that appeared to be Buffalo's most promising team in a while tied the Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest losing streak in NHL history, lost Jack Eichel to a season ending injury, and traded Taylor Hall. The Sabres got one appearance on NBC this season where they lost 5-0 to the New York Islanders. Also defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen both sucked this year. Ristolainen is open to a trade in the offseason. If the Seattle Kraken do not get the number one pick in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery as an expansion team, then the Sabres would be the next team that needs the top pick the most.
Previous Rank 19th
Anaheim Ducks 17-30-9
- Anaheim went from a team that may have had a shot at the 4 seed in their division to the NHL's worst Western Conference team in 2020-2021. Anaheim will have the second best odds at the first pick in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 2, 2021.
Previous Rank 16th
New Jersey Devils 19-30-7
- New Jersey promoted Nico Hischier, the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft to team captain. The bad news is Hischier missed half of the season due to injuries.
Previous Rank 24th
Vancouver Canucks 21-28-3
- Vancouver missed time due to their players and coaching staff having 20 members on the roster with Covid-19. Vancouver regressed after showing so much promise a year ago when the knocked off the St. Louis Blues before pushing the Vegas Golden Knights to seven games in the second round.
Previous Rank 4th
Columbus Blue Jackets 18-26-12
- Columbus traded Pierre-Luc Dubois their first line center to Winnipeg. The Blue Jackets also fired head coach John Tortorella. Unless Columbus gets Matthew Beniers, Shane Wright, or Connor Bedard in one of the next three NHL Drafts, Columbus will be one of the NHL's bottom feeders after previously making the playoffs the last two seasons.
Previous Rank 15th
Detroit Red Wings 19-26-12
- Detroit finally made Dylan Larkin the team captain and Steve Yzerman had his second good draft in a row with Detroit. Filip Zadina got more experience. Joe Veleno Detroit's second 2018 first round pick at center got called up to the NHL. Lucas Raymond finally signed his rookie deal and the goaltending led by Jonathan Bernier was strong down the stretch. Detroit is a team that finally escaped the bottom five in the NHL standings. Now they have a chance to maybe position themselves as a dark horse contender with a strong offseason.
Previous Rank 31st
San Jose Sharks 21-28-7
- San Jose has a good duo of Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on their blue line. Patrick Marleau breaking Gordie Howe's record for most games played was probably the most impressive feat by the San Jose Sharks this year on a team that appears to be a rebuild on paper.
Previous Rank 29th
Los Angeles Kings 21-28-7
- If the Kings can keep what they have and get Quinton Byfield and Helge Grans in the NHL, then this team can compete down the road. It won't be easy, but the Los Angeles Kings will have one of the leagues best center lines next season which is why they could be a playoff team in a year from now. Byfield made his NHL debut near the end of the season so I expect the Los Angeles Kings to make some moves this offseason after getting humiliated by the Colorado Avalanche in their final two regular season games. Especially if they get another defender to compliment Doughty or a winger in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Previous Rank 26th
Ottawa Senators 23-28-5
- Ottawa has Tim Stuzle to compliment Brady Tkachuk. Ottawa loaded up at left wing. Ottawa will be one of the deepest NHL teams at left wing in a few years. This team needed at least 2-5 center prospects and they didn't get anyone center worth a damn in Free Agency or the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The 2021 NHL Entry Draft is looking like a weak center group so Ottawa may stuck in a rebuild for quite some time unless Matt Murray carries this franchise by playing better than he did when he won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. I still stand by these same comments I made four months ago in January. The crazy thing though is Ottawa ended their year with 51 points.
Previous Rank 30th
Calgary Flames 24-26-3
- Calgary traded Sam Bennett to the Florida Panthers. This is one team that may be entering a rebuild.
Previous Rank 14th
Arizona Coyotes 24-26-6
- Arizona does not have a 2021 first round pick due to breaking rules by interviewing prospects before the 2020 NHL Combine. This is also the same team who drafted Mitchell Miller with their top draft pick in the 2020 NHL Draft who got blacklisted by both the NHL and NCAA for bullying a minority. Arizona's draft record is horrendous. Dylan Larkin, Mitch Marner, Ivan Provorov, Zach Werenski, Filip Zadina, Quinn Hughes, and Thomas Harley. Those are all players in the first round of the NHL Draft that Arizona passed on that play in the NHL. Harley is making his NHL debut with Dallas tonight and Arizona passed on him in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That may be one reason why they went out on a limb and traded for Taylor Hall. Arizona is basically Disney Presents The New York Jets on ice.
Previous Rank 27th
Chicago Blackhawks 24-25-7
- Chicago lost Jonathan Toews for both injuries and illnesses. Chicago is also moving Adam Boqvist their 2018 first round pick to the top of the blue line where Brent Seabrook used to play with Duncan Keith before his injury. Chicago also decided that we'll start Malcolm Subban at goalie until Drew Comesso develops. Chicago has drafted well the last three years, and at some point, that will pay off. This team upset the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifier round a year ago before getting embarassed against the Vegas Golden Knights. This year they traded Brandon Saad to Colorado for peanuts. Chicago needs a better short-term goalie option than Malcolm Subban, but they could be in the hunt next season if they address that position of need or if Comesso develops.
Previous Rank 23rd
Philadelphia Flyers 25-23-8
- Philadelphia was my preseason pick to win the Eastern Conference because they looked so complete heading into the season. Once starting goalie Carter Hart got sent down to the AHL for poor play, this Philadelphia Flyers team imploded. As a New York Islanders fan I should be happy that we avoided the Broad Street Bullies from Philly.
Previous Rank 3rd
Dallas Stars 23-19-14
- First line center Tyler Seguin and goalie Ben Bishop missed the entire season which is the biggest reason the 2020 Western Conference Champions missed the playoffs. Jake Oettinger the Dallas Stars 2017 first round pick at goalie from Boston University looked great complimenting Anton Khudobin. Ben Bishop will probably get traded this offseason to a team that is looking to give Dallas more draft capital for a goalie. Head coach Rick Bowness will have to rally this team next season once his roster is fully healthy.
Previous Rank 8th
New York Rangers 27-23-6
- New York has depth at left winger, Adam Fox as a building block for the blue line, goaltender Igor Shesterkin who went 10-2 in relief of Henrik Lundqvist. He did good enough to earn an audition as the starting goalie on the New York Rangers. New York has enough pieces to get back to the playoffs at left wing, defense, and goalie moving forward in 2022 despite failing to make the playoffs this season. They need a first line center, and they should be calling the Buffalo Sabres about their captain and first line center Jack Eichel because Eichel would allow the Rangers to be contenders next season.
Previous Rank 25th
Winnipeg Jets 29-23-3
- Winnipeg is playing in a division where all the Canadian teams are competing against each other. Also Cole Perfetti, their 2020 first round pick failed to make the team due to Covid-19. Patrik Laine got traded for Pierre Luc-Dubois. Winnipeg should be getting Nikolaj Ehlers back. Bryan Little is out for the year so Winnipeg will not be at full health for the start of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This makes them the weakest team in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Montreal getting their roster back at full health. Also Edmonton is 6-0 against Winnipeg in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Previous Rank 21st
Montreal Canadiens 24-21-11
- The Canadiens are getting winger Brendan Gallagher, goalie Carey Price, and team captain Shea Weber who were all injured back for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cole Caufield the fifteenth overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft made his NHL debut earlier this season and has done well playing on the first line in relief of Gallagher. Montreal may not defeat Toronto in the playoffs, but they will win a game or two and make this a series.
Previous Rank 12th
St. Louis Blues 27-20-9
- St. Louis defeated Colorado 4-1 winning pretty convincingly in Ryan O'Reilly's first game as team captain with the St. Louis Blues to open the season. Colorado crushed the Blues 6-0 in the next game. St. Louis gave up 3 goals to Minnesota in the regular season finale only to score 7 unanswered without first line right winger Vladimir Tarasenko, defenseman Kevin Dunn, and defenseman Carl Gunnarson. This team also led the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 without these star players before losing to Vegas in overtime. St. Louis is hot, but their also plagued by injuries. Colorado is 16-0-1 at home in their last 17 games making the Blues an early exit as this team has a -1 +/- ratio meaning they've given up more goals than they have scored.
Previous Rank 6th
Nashville Predators 31-23-2
- Nashville played an Arizona Coyotes team in a qualifier round game where two of the NHL's worst line 1 centers competed against each other for a face off. Arizona just embarassed Nashville in that series. Nashville also has two goalies with Jusse Saros and Pekka Rinne. They drafted Yaroslav Askarov who compares to Patrick Roy in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Nashville hasa good first line with Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Matt Duchene. The rest of their offense is filled with role players. Dante Fabbro Nashville's first round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft anchors the blue line. Carolina should handle Nashville quite efficiently.
Previous Rank 22nd
New York Islanders 32-17-7
- The New York Islanders exceeded my expectations as a fan when they made the Eastern Conference Finals last year. I predicted the New York Islanders would get the 4 seed in the East Division four months ago back in January. What I did not anticipate is that first line left winger Anders Lee would be on the injured reserve list. New Yrk swept the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs two years ago. That will not happen again with the Penguins being the healthier team as well as the team with home ice.
Previous Rank 13th
Minnesota Wild 35-16-5
- Minnesota has two good lines of defense and added goalie Cam Talbot. Until Marco Rossi gets to play in the NHL, the Wild, will not have any offensive identity since they lost Eric Staal, Miiko Koivu, and traded Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh. The Wild traded for Ian Cole with Colorado and they won the season series against the Vegas Golden Knights. This team blew a 3-0 lead to an injury riddled St. Louis Blues team that scored 7 goals on Minnesota. The bottom line is Minnesota is not disciplined enough to beat a team like the Vegas Golden Knights or the Colorado Avalanche.
Previous Rank 28th
Edmonton Oilers 35-18-2
- Edmonton has lots of talent at both forward and defense. They don't have the goalie. Once they get their keeper, this team will have all the pieces to contend for a Stanley Cup. Edmonton will get to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because they play in the NHL's weakest division this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to coast their way to the Conference Finals despite the fact that Connor McDavid led the NHL with over 100 points in 53 games which is insane. Connor McDavid versus Auston Matthews who led the NHL in goals this year will be a lot of fun to watch.
Previous Rank 17th
Boston Bruins 33-16-7
- Boston lost Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug in one offseason. Boston traded for Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar. This team is deeper offensively and the guys they have on the blue line have stepped up. It also helps that they are healthier than Washington at the moment.
Previous Rank 18th
Washington Capitals 36-15-5
- Washington added Zdeno Chara the long-time Boston Bruins captain to their roster. Washington was the team that I expected to push the Penguins for this division. They get John Carlsson back from injuries to pair with Zdeno Chara. T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Ilya Samsonov are all inactive. Oshie is dealing with injuries while Washington's second line center and starting goalie are both on the Covid list.
Previous Rank 10th
Florida Panthers 37-14-5
- Florida has a lot of talent. They also have the right coach in place and drafted well the last two years. Florida managed to get the two seed. The bad news is that Aaron Ekblad is on injured reserve. The good news is that the Florida Panthers won the season series. Even if the Panthers dethrone the Lightning, I cannot see them getting past the Carolina Hurricanes.
Previous Rank 20th
Carolina Hurricanes 36-12-8
- Carolina poses the biggest threat to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars last years two Stanley Cup finalists in the Central Division for this season with the shake up due to Covid-19. The Hurricanes and Lightning split the season series. Jaccob Slavin should be back for Carolina and the Hurricanes have home ice. I'm picking Tampa Bay to get back to the Conference Finals because I have more faith in Andrei Vasilevskiy than I do in Peter Mrazek.
Previous Rank 7th
Vegas Golden Knights 40-14-2
- The Vegas Golden Knights have two of the top ten goalies. How many NHL teams can ever say they had two of the top ten goalies in the league at one point? That alone makes the Vegas Golden Knights a contender for the 2021 Stanley Cup. Vegas does not have Max Pacioretty and Colorado does not have Brandon Saad. Vegas has a healthier blue line than Colorado right now with both Bowen Byram and Erik Johnson out. Cale Makar is still healthy for Colorado which is why the Avalanche should win this series being 16-0-1 at home in their last seventeen games. Vegas allowed the fewest goals and had the top ranked penalty killing unit in the NHL. Whoever wins the Vegas VS Colorado series will have home ice in the Conference Finals.
Previous Rank 5th
Tampa Bay Lightning 36-17-3
- Tampa Bay can repeat. They have the leagues best right winger if Kucherov comes back for the playoffs. The leagues best defenseman in Victor Hedman who won his first Conn Smythe Trophy. They also have the leagues best goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy. I picked them to win the 2020 Stanley Cup last year along with Chris Ransom, our companys founder. The Tampa Bay Lightning are at full health and that may allow them to get to the Conference Finals once again. By this point, they will be worn out having a road series against Vegas or Colorado. It won't matter who wins the Colorado VS Vegas series since that team will have home ice against the Lighnting meaning the Colorado Avalanche will be representing the Western Conference in my Stanley Cup bracket.
Previous Rank 2nd
Pittsburgh Penguins 37-16-3
- Pittsburgh only had one player with a positive +/- ratio. Pittsburgh traded for third line center Jeff Carter. They also have Evgeni Malkin back. Pittsburgh may have their deepest offensive team among any of their previous Stanley Cup winning teams. I don't think Pittsbrugh is as deep as Toronto in terms of their blue line or goaltending. Casey DeSmith is injured too while Toronto has a healthy Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. However both teams are tied in points
Previous Rank 9th
Toronto Maple Leafs 35-13-7
- Toronto has a shot to get to the 2021 Stanley Cup because the second and third line guys on their blue line such as Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, and Ben Hutton have stepped up to compliment Morgan Reilly, T.J. Brodie, and Jake Muzzin. I thought Toronto would regress after losing both Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci. This team has been able to hold their own regardless of who is at goalie whether it is Frederik Andersen or Jack Campbell. They also got the easiest road to the Conference Finals as well as the healthiest team as every other team ranked ahead of Toronto has some sort of injury. Auston Matthews led the NHL in goals scored.
Previous Rank 11th
Colorado Avalanche 39-13-4
- Colorado has two fantastic lines of forwards. They have six of the top sixty defensemen in Fantasy Hockey. Colorado went 16-0-1 in their last 17 home games for a reason. They have a top 5 power play and top 5 penalty killing unit. Last year the Tampa Bay Lightning were that complete team. This year I believe Colorado, Vegas, and Toronto are the three most complete teams in the NHL this season. I'm going with Colorado over Toronto as my winner for the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. If Colorado doesn't get to the cup the injuries of Brandon Saad, Erik Johnson, and Bowen Byram will be the reason why they don't get there.