Fans were spoiled this season with a multitude of exciting moves at the trade deadline. For this week’s NHL power rankings, we will see how some teams significantly climb the rankings based on the moves they made. Let’s take a look at the top ten.
The Bruins added reinforcements that will make them a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. The Buffalo Sabres dealt Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to Boston. Both of these players have had down years. But, their stock will likely rise now that they are on a competitive team. Hall is a top-tier player who has won the Hart Memorial Trophy in the 2017-2018 season. A change of scenery can help him bring the Bruins to another level.
10. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets surprisingly were inactive at the deadline. Perhaps if they made a splash they could catch the first place Leafs, but now it seems unlikely. Nevertheless, the Jets have an elite offensive core. They arguably have one of the best offenses in the leagues. Three players have hit forty points on the season while another two accumulated over thirty. They have scored the sixth-most goals in the league so they always have the ability to outscore opportunities.
9. Florida Panthers
The Panthers addressed their need for defensemen when they acquired Brandon Montour from Buffalo. Their number one defensemen, Aaron Ekblad, is out for the season with a left leg fracture. Montour is nowhere near Ekblad in talent, but he was a viable rental. The Panthers have had struggles making it out of the first round. 1996 was the last time the Panthers won a playoffs series. They are long overdue for a second-round appearance.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins
Ron Hextall made his first significant acquisition for the Pens as general manager. He acquired Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings. Fans imagine that he will transition from center to wing when Evgeni Malkin returns from injury. The Pens arguably have the easiest schedule of the top three teams in the East. Meaning, it would be no surprise if they gradually gain ground and win the competitive East.
7. New York Islanders
The Islanders made the first splash this season when they acquired veterans, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, from the New Jersey Devils. New York has one of the best defenses. Still, at the deadline, they added Braydon Coburn to have a seventh defenseman. If one of the starting six needs a day off or gets hurt. It seems the Islanders have one of the tougher schedules in the East, nevertheless, a playoff spot is expected.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning
The reigning Stanley Cup Champs could pull off another championship. They added David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets to bolster the defense. However, the Lightning have seemingly lost a step in their game. They are 4-6-0 in their last ten. However, the top three teams in the Central have so many more points in hand, it would be a shock if they fell out of the race. In fact, they are still tied for first with the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes for the division lead.
5. Washington Capitals
Washington acquired Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings. Many fans see this move as an overpay because they gave up Jakub Vrana who is near or at the skill level of Mantha. Additionally, Richard Panik and a first-round draft pick were sent to Detroit. Fans may look back at this in a few years and Washington will be on the hot seat for this trade. It improves them slightly in the present but it will hurt significantly more in the future.
4. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are destined for a championship sooner rather than later. They have one of the most talented and young cores in the NHL. It would be a shock if they failed to string together a run with this team. Their goaltending has caused many fans to have concerns. However, Petr Mrazek returned from the injured list. If he can stay healthy, the Hurricanes are capable of reaching their holy grail: The Stanley Cup.
3. Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are one of the best two-way teams in hockey. They are first in goals allowed and eighth in goals for. Mark Stone is a fitting captain for this organization because he is arguably the best two-way winger in hockey. The Knights have failed to get back to the cup finals since their inaugural season. They have another opportunity this year to capitalize on their chance.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto is arguably the biggest winner of the deadline. Did they overpay for some players? Yes. Was it worth it? Maybe. They acquired Nick Foligno from the Jackets and this gives the young, talented team much-needed leadership. They also addressed their goaltending depth by acquiring David Rittich from the Calgary Flames. This is the year to go all-in according to experts. General manager, Kyle Dubas, took his shot and a Canadian team could hoist the cup for the first time since 1993.
1. Colorado Avalanche
Many fans and experts predicted the Avs to win it all this season. This prediction is still on the table as the Avs are the best team in the league to this point. Although, general manager, Joe Sakic, did not make a blockbuster trade. They added some depth, but they were in such a good place since the offseason. The Islanders were short on cap space and Sakic pounced on the opportunity to acquire signing rights to restricted free agent Devon Toews. Toews was the missing puzzle piece needed to have both a lethal offense and defense. Their goal differential is the best in the league, they are second in goals scored, and tied first in goals against. That is a recipe for success in the NHL. The Avs are the post-deadline favorites to raise the Stanley Cup.
Note: Stats from the honorable mention and 10-4 were recorded prior to Thursday's games.