Rich 10 NHL Rankings (Nov. 23-29, 2021)
Kristen Chancellor ranks her best 10 teams in the National Hockey League entering the week of Thanksgiving.
Outside the Crease: St. Louis Blues (10-6-2, 22 pts)
The Blues find themselves as the outlier this week not far behind Anaheim as they sit one point behind the last three teams in the top 10. The Blues have not had much success since their Stanley Cup victory, but are looking to fight their way back to the Cup.
One big strength of the Blues is the goal of starting the game early and running with it. They find themselves scoring early and bringing energy into the first and second period.
The team statistics don’t show very high numbers but that should not worry Blues fans. This team is inching closer and closer to the teams ahead of it and should be able to find their way to being versatile on all aspects of the ice.
10. Anaheim Ducks (10-6-3, 23 pts)
Previous rank: 9
The Ducks are having a surprisingly good season after a dull last few with top players in Ryan Getzlaf and Troy Terry who are dominating this team on the offense and helping lead this team to victory.
Anaheim has surprised most this season but is still moving their way in and out of the top 10 with inconsistency as they had their eight-game win streak, they have now begun a losing streak. With this losing streak starting to form, the Ducks will need to find the areas of weakness and grow on them to push past opponents.
9. Minnesota Wild (11-6-1, 23 pts)
Previous rank: 7
Minnesota has been a force to be reckoned with in the Central Division this season. Being a strong competitor on the ice and attacking opponents on the offense has created great scoring opportunities for the Wild. However, they have landed themselves in the middle of other divisions. They seem upbeat in their own division but they struggle with being outplayed by opponents in the stronger division.
Minnesota needs to tighten on the defense and in goaltending to help eliminate the scoring holes they have let opponents take.
Minnesota fans should not be concerned though as they remain a tough contender on the ice especially in the offense in scoring goals. The Wild need to stay alive during games and find something to give them an edge in the fight for playoffs.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-3, 23 pts)
Previous rank: NR
The Lighting are looking to find their way into the position for a third cup title in three seasons. However, they don’t seem to be doing enough to produce that type of energy once again.
Tampa Bay is not doing well in scoring and has the highest person in points on the team leading with only 19. If a team that is normally a big threat on the ice is, underperforming it is no surprise that opponents are maximizing on these weaknesses.
Luckily, the Lightning are improving once again and are continuing to fight well on the defense to stay alive during games. Once the team moves beyond their slump, they should get into a scoring groove and build their way back to the top.
Until then though, this team is not a threat to their top opponents.
7. New York Rangers (11-4-3, 25 pts)
Previous rank: 5
A bit of a fall in the standings but nothing of concern for Rangers fans.
Defensively this team is strong and the strongest it has been in a few seasons. Putting up a strong force in the net has helped carry this Rangers team this season.
With strong guys in the defensive zone helping push opponents out of scoring opportunities has been crucial for this New York team. The biggest weakness, for now, has been the offense. With players dominating in the past season to being subpar now it is unclear why the Rangers have not stopped and tried to readjust or switch out players.
However, this team is doing something right to maintain any type of playoff potential. Once a control on the offense starts to take place this could be a strong force on the ice.
6. Calgary Flames (11-3-5, 27 pts)
Previous rank: 8
The Flames started off on a high note this season but have been falling to mediocre behavior ever since, but still maintaining enough momentum to keep themselves in the top ten. Fans should not be concerned as they are still a momentous team on the ice especially in goaltending.
The offense has key players such as Johnny Gaudreau who leads the team with 22 points and 14 assists. A player like this helps see key plays and rolls with them to score.
Not much to say for this team as they are cruising their way through the standings being a strong opponent, but not one that is unbeatable.
5. Washington Capitals: (11-3-5, 27 pts)
Previous rank: 6
The Capitals have been the team that has fluctuated all season from top to bottom and vice versa. However at some point, you have to see where you can find the end to that and stick at the top.
This team has veteran talent such as Alex Ovechkin who leads the team helping bring them to be a contender each season. I think if you take a look at this team it has countless scoring opportunities and the right mindset to where they can take these chances and hit the right spots to score goals. Big players with bright eyes on the Cup help this team make it steadily into the playoffs year after year.
But to find themselves in the Stanley Cup celebration they will need to really push hard the rest of the season to get to the top.
4. Edmonton Oilers (13-4-0, 26 pts)
Previous rank: 2
The Edmonton Oilers have been one to watch all season. A team most expect to be good every season. This team focuses all its efforts on two players; Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl who is becoming the most important player on their team.
The Oilers have been a dominant force on the ice this season and are a great team to watch. However, you have to focus on all aspects of the ice, not just offense. This team has great offensive talent but lacks on the defensive side of the puck. Moving players around and creating new passing opportunities could make this team better than they already are.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (13-6-1, 27 pts)
Previous rank: 4
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team everyone knows and has watched through triumph and downfall. This season is seeming to shape up for the Leafs as they are winning games only allowing six regulation losses maintaining a winning record.
Toronto has a strong contender in net helping them win games. However, if your goaltender is the only one doing anything for the team that is going to be a disaster waiting to happen. With a team that prides itself on young and amazing talent, they seem to be shooting the puck in opposite directions of the net this season.
The Maple Leafs will need to switch the mindset of players and start becoming a threat to opponents with scoring to maximize on getting ahead this season.
2. Florida Panthers (13-2-3, 29 pts)
Previous rank: 3
The Panthers have done a great job this season only allowing three games to be lost in overtime to opponents and two losses. However, as they started out as an unstoppable team it looks to be slowing as the season continues. As they had those three losses, they have started to repair the damage and get back on a winning streak.
Star players helping this roster include Aleksander Barkov who leads the team in goals and Jonathan Huberdeau who leads the team in assists and overall points.
The Panthers are still number one in the league but have opponents steadily creeping up behind them.
1. Carolina Hurricanes (14-2-1, 29 pts)
Previous rank: 1
The Carolina Hurricanes are a team everyone expected to come back swinging after making a name for themselves these past few seasons. The Hurricanes are dominating on the ice this season and are inching to break the Panthers first place hold in the league.
While this team hasn’t been heavy on scoring they bring other assets to the ice, Maximizing defense to push opponents out of their zone has helped Carolina so far. Carolina needs to put more points on the board to ensure their rein continues.
Carolina is one team to be watching this season as they continue to fight their way on the ice and in the standings.