The Predators and the Avalanche lost the most ground this week in the NHL.com ranking
While the Tampa Bay Lightning is ranked first in the NHL Super 16 for the fifth straight week and fourth in a row with a perfect score of seven first-place votes out of a possible seven, the rest of the first half of the current 16 team NHL ranking shows that the higher you get, the harder it gets to move forward.
As a result, two teams have moved up a single place in our ranking since last week, despite excellent sequences: the Washington Capitals moved from third to second despite a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games, while the Vegas Golden Knights moved up from seventh to sixth place even though they won their seven most recent games.
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The San Jose Sharks also had to make a series of four straight wins and limit themselves to two losses in regulation time in their last 10 games (6-2-2) to make a two-row jump from ninth to seventh.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins have only moved up one step, although the former have nine wins in their last 10 games (9-1-0) and the latter currently have a series of five wins.
And to think that the Columbus Blue Jackets, who, despite a 7-3-0 record in 10 games… have lost ground, slipping from eighth to 11th place.
You have to look in the second half of the draw to find the best climb of the week, with the New York Islanders moving from 16th to 12th place thanks to an 8-2-0 sequence in their last 10 games.
The most notable declines this week were in the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.
Nashville, whose difficulties seem to continue despite the return to the game of key players such as P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson (5-5-1 record in 11 games), have moved from fifth to eighth place in the Super 16.
And the Colorado Avalanche, whose defects seem to have become bigger than his enormous qualities (2-6-2 record in 10 games), has dropped four places to stay just in our top-16, 16th place.
The Dallas Stars, who have raised the bar as evidenced by their 6-3-1 record in their 10 most recent games, are back on our list after a two-week absence. They have therefore expelled the Anaheim Ducks, authors of a 2-6-2 record for 10 matches.
They haven’t received enough votes to break into the Super 16, but the fact remains that the Carolina Hurricanes have won their last five games and will be watching for the next few rankings if they maintain that pace.
To establish the Super 16 ranking, each of the seven participating NHL.com staff members established their own ranking of the teams they believe are the 16 teams of the moment in the League. Everyone gives their ranking and points are awarded accordingly.
Each team that is ranked first receives 16 points, the team that is second gets 15 points, the team that is third gets 14 points, and so on until the team of 16th place, which scores one point.
Here’s what this week’s ranking looks like once everything has been added up – with a bonus of positive and negative observations on each team selected in our Super 16:
1. Lightning Tampa Bay (33-8-2)
Total points: 112
Last week: 1st
Positive: Nikita Kucherov is the headliner of the attacking team this season, but at her current pace, Steven Stamkos is still heading towards an 89-point season, which would be her best production since the 2011-12 season. He can also expect a campaign of 43 goals, which would be his best since 2014-15, when he also scored 43 goals.
Negative: Although Ondrej Palat remains healthy by the end of the regular season, he will score a total of 37 points in 2018-19 if he maintains his current production rate. The 27-year-old striker would then reach below 40 points for a second straight season, having reached this plateau for four consecutive seasons, from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
2. Capitals Washington (26-12-4)
Total points: 98
Last week: e-3e
Positive: Promoted to the centre of the second trio completed by T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana in the absence of Nicklas Backstrom, who was ill, Lars Eller collected two assists and posted a plus-2 differential in his team’s 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday evening. He also scored two penalties in 19:08 of ice time.
Negative: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored only one goal on equal terms this season. He had 19 last season.
3. Maple Leafs Toronto (27-13-2)
Total points: 95
Last week: 2nd
Positive: John Tavares, who needs another goal to reach the 300 career mark, is on track for a 92-point season, which would be a career high. The centre-back could score 53 goals in 2018-19 at his current pace, having never scored more than 38 goals or 86 points in a single season so far.
Negative: William Nylander is still slow to regain his reflexes. The man who signed a six-year contract on 1 December and played his first game of the campaign on 6 December has only three points (one goal, two assists) in 14 games since then.
4. Jets Winnipeg (27-13-2)
Total points: 87
Last week: e-3e
Positive: The Jets dominated their opponent 62-45 in goals after the second period this season, including 5-1 in overtime. Mark Scheifele was involved in each of the five overtime goals (three goals, two assists).
Negative: Dustin Byfuglien has already missed four games due to a lower body injury and his absence could extend beyond the 2019 Honda All-Star Game in the NHL on January 26. Nikolaj Ehlers, who suffered a lower body injury last Friday, may return to the game in February only.
5. Flames de Calgary (28-13-4)
Total points: 83
Last week: 6th
Positive: Johnny Gaudreau has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in his last six games. The Flames posted an 18-0-2 record when the striker scored two or more points in a game.
Negative: The Flames gave the opponent’s numerical advantage a goal in six of their last nine matches, for an effectiveness rate of 71.4 percent (20-in-28) during this sequence.
6. Golden Knights Vegas (27-15-4)
Total points: 80
Last week: 7th
Positive: Despite the injuries that caused him to miss 13 games, Max Pacioretty could reach 25 goals this season if he continues at his current pace. This would be better than last winter, when it was limited to 17 goals in 64 games.
Negative: At his current pace, Jonathan Marchessault is heading into a 55 point season, a total that would be 20 points lower than last year. This would be the first time in six seasons in the NHL that the attacker would experience a decline in speed compared to the previous season.
7. Sharks San Jose (25-13-7)
Total points: 70
Last week: 9th
Positive: Brent Burns, who has made it a specialty to distinguish himself on the attack in recent seasons, is on the way to experiencing his best campaign in this respect. If he continues to produce as he does now, he will collect 89 points in 2018-19, which would surpass his personal peak by 13 points, and no less than 75 helpers, 20 more than last winter, when he set a personal record for this title. This total of 75 assists would also be the 13th in NHL history for a defenseman, tied with Paul Coffey (1992-93) and Al McInnis (1990-91).
Negative: The Sharks are without their third defensive duo in three games as Marc-Édouard Vlasic is injured in the wrist and Justin Braun in the knee. The latter saw his name put on the list of wounded. They both skated away from the team this week.
8. Predators Nashville (27-15-3)
Total points: 67
Last week: 5th
Positive: Filip Forsberg returned to the team on Monday after the striker missed 17 straight games due to a hand injury. Despite his long absence, he is still first in the team for goals with 16, two more than Craig Smith.
Negative: Their numerical advantage is ranked 26th in the League with an efficiency rate of 15.3 percent.
9. Penguins Pittsburgh (24-13-6)
Total points: 58
Last week: 10th
Positive: Defender Kristopher Letang is heading towards a 72-point production this season if he maintains his current pace and remains healthy. This is a sign that he has recovered from neck problems in April 2017, as he has never scored more than 67 points in one season so far (2015-16) in his 13-year career.
Negative: Derick Brassard will have to accelerate the pace of the attack to avoid his worst offensive season in 12 years in the NHL. He is heading into a 28-point campaign, having never scored less than 36 points in a season where he has competed in a minimum of 70 games.
10. Bruins Boston (25-14-4)
Total points: 49
Last week: 11th
Positive: Even if he missed 16 games due to injuries, Patrice Bergeron is offensively producing for a regime that would see him exceed 90 points for the first time in his career, even if he has been limited to 66 games (if he stays healthy and plays all Bruins games by the end of the regular schedule). His personal high is 73 points, which he reached in 81 games in his second NHL campaign in 2005-06.
Negative: Charlie McAvoy (foot) will miss a seventh game in a row on Thursday night. However, the defender could return to play on Saturday in Toronto.
11. Blue Jackets Columbus (24-15-3)
Total points: 43
Last week: 8th
Positive: The numerical disadvantage has a success rate of 90.3 percent (28-in-31) in 15 games since December 6, making this unit the third most effective unit in the NHL during this sequence.
Negative: The power play continues to look for itself, having failed to score 24 times in 11 games and scoring only one goal on 38 occasions in the team’s most recent 15 outings.
12. Islanders de New York (23-14-4)
Total points: 27
Last week: 16th
Positive: Centre Brock Nelson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last five games. The Islanders have had a record of 9-2-0 since December 15.
Negative: Thomas Hickey has missed nine games in a row since the defender suffered a lower body injury on December 17.
13. Sabres de Buffalo (23-14-6)
Total points: 21
Last week: 13th
Positive: Rémi Élie has been putting on his uniform more often lately. The 23-year-old left winger has played four of the Sabres’ six games since the Christmas break. He is still looking for his first goal this season, having played a total of 14 games until 2018-19.
Negative: Defender Nathan Beaulieu has been out of the line-up for the last three games of the team
14. Canadiens Montréal (23-16-5)
Total points: 20
Last week: 14th
Positive: Defender Jeff Petry scored 30 points in 44 games this season, which would give him 56 points at the end of the regular season if he continues at the same pace. It would be a new personal mark, he who scored 42 points last winter.
Negative: Max Domi is also on track for his best attacking season, but to do so he will have to put an end to his drought as he hasn’t found the back of the net in 14 games since December 11, having scored 11 goals in his first 22 games in the campaign. It now has to find the right balance with its offensive production.
15. Stars Dallas (23-17-4)
Total points: 19
Last week: n/a
Positive: Alexander Radulov is another one who seems to be on the way to his best attacking season so far. In his case, he is heading towards a production of 82 points, he who had collected 72 points, a peak for him so far last winter.
Negative: Jason Spezza is short of five games without a point, his longest game of the season, and the centre-back has only scored three points (one goal, two assists) in 11 games since December 13.
16. Avalanche Colorado (20-16-8)
Total points: 16
Last week: 12th
Positive: Gabriel Landeskog needed only 43 games to set a new personal goal high, scoring two in a 7-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday to reach 27 goals this season. He had 26 in 82 meetings in 2013-14.
Negative: Gabriel Bourque was dropped from the line-up in the last three games of the Avalanche. He only competed in 34 of the 44 Avalanche games this season and has only 10:17 ice time per game on average.
Teams that have slipped beyond 16th place in our Super 16: Ducks d’Anaheim
The other teams that received points this week: Carolina Hurricanes, 4; Vancouver Canucks, 3