All NHL teams are around the halfway mark in their season. Some teams have surprisingly emerged as playoff locks. This week let’s countdown the top ten teams in the NHL
10. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have one of the best forward groups in the NHL. The acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubois solidified their center depth. Following his quarantine, he was slotted in as the number two center. In fifteen games, he has accumulated ten points. Additionally, their first line has been spectacular. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers are all around or above a point per game pace. Winnipeg has one of the best first-lines in hockey allowing them to compete on any given night.
9. Minnesota Wild
The Wild have gone on a surge recently. They have won twelve of their last sixteen contests. Their success can be attributed to the rookie phenoms Kirill Kaprizov and Kaapo Kahkonen. Kaprizov leads the Wild in scoring, while Kahkonen has stopped the puck better than most in their own end. While many fans predicted the Ranger’s Alexis Lafreniere and Igor Shesterkin as the best members of the rookie class, it would be no surprise if the Wild rookies finished top two in the Calder race.
8. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers have gained significant ground in the North. When it seemed like the Maple Leafs had the division title with ease, the Oilers have been playing better hockey and are now tied for first in the North. The Oilers have two of the best centers in the NHL on the same team! Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 107 points and is well over a point per game pace.
7. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche have been able to string together a significant amount of wins without star defensemen Cale Makar. The Avs have won five in a row and only trail Vegas in the West. Philipp Grubauer has been terrific in goal and is currently in the Vezina conversation. Grubauer and his defense have allowed the second-fewest goals against. Therefore, the Avs can shut down any team on any night.
6. New York Islanders
The Islanders have dropped their last two games after winning a league-best nine-in-a-row. They only trail the Caps in the East. The Islanders had their first regulation loss of the season at home last night. So it is an understatement to say that they have been good at home. They have been great at keeping the puck out of their net all season long. They have allowed the sixth-fewest goals in the NHL.
5. Carolina Hurricanes
The Canes are 8-1-1 in their last ten. The Canes are one of the most balanced teams in the NHL. They have both a spectacular offense and defense. They have scored the sixth-most goals and allowed the eighth-fewest. This has contributed to them having the fourth-best goal differential in the league. The Hurricanes have been consistent even though they are missing core players like Teuvo Teravainen, Petr Mrazek, Jake Gardiner, and Vincent Trocheck.
4. Florida Panthers
The coaching decision to have Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau on different lines has paid dividends. Both players are well-above a point per game pace and help the players around them. It has been beneficial to the other forwards as well. The scoring depth has considerably increased since the move. Additionally, Chris Driedger has been a terrific backup goalie to Sergei Bobrovsky.
3. Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas has been the most dominant team in the West. They have won four straight and have been one of the best defensive teams. They have allowed the fewest amount of goals in the NHL. Goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, looks rejuvenated and is a clear Vezina finalist at this point in the season. His goals-against average is below two and his save percentage is above.930.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts have been the best two-way team in the NHL. They have scored the second-most goals and have allowed the fourth-fewest. This has allowed them to lead the President’s Trophy Race since they have the most points. Probably, Tampa walks away with a lot of hardware when the NHL has their awards ceremony. They have players capable of winning the Hart, Norris, and Vezina. Likewise, the overall team may be repeat Stanley Cup Champs.
1. Washington Capitals
The Capitals have one of the most intimidating offenses in the league. Surprisingly, their best point producer so far is Nicklas Backstrom not Alex Ovechkin. It also helps that their goalie Ilya Samsonov is healthy after being out a significant amount of time. So, if the Caps can do a better job limiting opposing scoring chances, they can be the most dominant team in the packed East. They have won their last six so things are looking good in D.C.