It is getting closer to Trade Deadline time in the NHL. These next few weeks could really determine which Canadian teams will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. There is a little movement in this week’s rankings with no team moving more than one spot. Here is where I see the seven Canadian teams sitting in the rankings this week.
1) Winnipeg Jets: 31-13-9 2nd in Central Division (2-1 in the last week) EVEN
The Jets have been at the top of my rankings for all but one week this season. They had a tough schedule in the last week. The Jets played Tampa and Vegas in back to back games and then finished off the week with a battle against the streaky Colorado Avalanche. Even without a couple big name players this Winnipeg team continues to win. They have Arizona, The Rangers, St. Louis and Washington all at home in the next week as they continue a nine game home stand.
2) Toronto Maple Leafs: 31-19-5 3rd in Atlantic Division (3-1 in the last week) +1
The Leafs move up a spot this week to second. They had solid goaltending to start the week and then the offence finished off strong in the back half. The Leafs seem to have gotten over their mid season slump where they just weren’t competing every night. Their only setback this week was to Boston, a team they will most likely be seeing in the first round of the playoffs. The Leafs play a strong Nashville team, Ottawa and Tampa in the next week.
3) Calgary Flames: 26-18-8 4th in Pacific Division (1-2 in the last week) -1
The Flames are one point back of a Wild Card spot and trail L.A by one point for third in the Pacific going into Tuesday. The Flames need to figure out how to hang on to third period leads or leads in general. It has been something they have been great at over the last two seasons but recently it has been a problem. They start a six game road trip Tuesday against Chicago. This is a big week for this Flames team.
4) Montreal Canadiens: 22-25-6 6th in Atlantic Division (2-2 in the last week) +1
The Habs move up a spot thanks to a strong weekend of play. They are eight points back of the final Wild Card spot and unless they go on a miraculous run, they will miss the playoffs. Nikita Scherbak has been inserted into the Habs lineup and the team seems to have gotten an offensive jolt from that move. Expect the Habs to be sellers at the deadline no matter what happens until then.
5) Edmonton Oilers: 23-24-4 6th in Pacific Division (1-1 in the last week) -1
The Oilers didn’t give me a whole lot to work with, only playing two games in the last week. They are 11 points out of a Wild Card spot and McDavid seems to be the only one who scores. The Oilers need to make some moves to get some scoring help around him before the deadline. No Matter what Talbot claims, this will not be a playoff team this year so they have to build towards next year.
6) Vancouver Canucks: 21-25-6 7th in Pacific Division (2-1 in the last week) Even
The Canucks are 13 points out of the final Wild Card spot. They have been playing exciting hockey and there should be a light at the end of the tunnel for Canucks fans who have been waiting for some young talent to take over this team. Vancouver needs to move out some older players this year and build towards a great season next year. The effort is there for this team, now the young players just need some more experience.
7) Ottawa Senators: 17-25-9 Last in Atlantic (2-2 in the last week) Even
The Sens are having a rough go this season. Some nights it just seems like the team isn’t buying what Guy Boucher is selling. They did go .500 in the last week but at this point loses are probably better than wins for this team. They need new goaltending and a little more help for Karlsson on the back end. This season probably can’t end fast enough for the Ottawa Senators.
The rankings are splitting further apart between the top three teams and the bottom four teams. Montreal is going to have to make a magical run if they want back in the playoff conversation but for everyone else below them I just don’t see it happening. Toronto is very close to taking over that top spot from Winnipeg in my eyes so it will be an interesting week. Check in again next Tuesday for the next instalment of the power rankings. Thanks for reading!