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PREDICTED TOP 16  NHL POWER RANKINGS AT THE END OF THE SEASON

A month into the new season, many teams have shown what they could do and how much they improved or degraded from the past season. Although it is too early to tell on what their finishes will be, many NHL clubs have already demonstrated how they will play for the remainder of the season.  Using current NHL stats and preseason predictions, here are the Projected Power Rankings for the end of the season.

2000px-New_York_Rangers.svg16: NEW YORK RANGERS

New York Rangers have typically been a mediocre team throughout their history. They only made the NHL Finals completely out of luck. When the Rangers faced the Flyers in round one of last years’ playoffs, they played a Philadelphia team that weren’t that good – therefore giving New York the series win. In Round two, if Martin St.Louis didn’t get the motivation to play for his mother, they would’ve lost.  However, Marty’s motivation to play in his mothers name gave the Rangers the spark to beat out the Penguins in seven games. In the Eastern Finals, Montreal was already worn out after fighting a decisive battle against Boston. In game one New York took out Carey Price, and a rookie had to take his place. Also, Dale Weise, who was a big part of the Montreal playoff run was out with an injury. New York was able to squeak by the disabled Canadians. In the Finals, the Rangers could’ve easily been swept by the Kings if ice did not build up in the goal. In the offseason, losing Anton Stralman and Brad Richards meant losing two great goal scorers, and having Derek Stepan out for the first few games gave them a slow start. Do not expect a lot from the Rangers.

15: OTTAWA SENATORSOttawa_Senators.svg

Everything seemed to be going wrong with the Senators. They lost their Captains, star defenseman(Sergei Gonchar) and the trade for Bobby Ryan seemed like a disaster.  But this year, the Sens will make a comeback season.  David Lengwand was a great addition to the team. Kyle Turris had already proven that he could take on the role as the No.1 centre, and with Erik Karlsson’s veteran experience and leadership, the Senators could look forward to a playoff season.

14: MINNESOTA WILDMinnesota_Wild.svg

Minnesota had bounced back from losing seasons, but this year, they will not have another failing season, but definitely will be trending down.  Heatley and Moulson played big roles in Minnesota last year, but with them leaving, the Wild will lack firepower. Darcy Kuemper is a reliable player in net,  so Harding and Backstrom might be on the trading block.

13: ST.LOUIS BLUESStLouis_Blues.svg

Acquiring Paul Stasny was probably the best move the Blues made this offseason. They now have a stable offence and a reliable defense. However, there are teams with far better offences and defencemen crew than the Blues, making them rank 13 on my list.

12: DETROIT REDWINGSDetroit_Red_Wings_logo.svg

The Joe Lewis Arena will soon become a retirement home. The Redwings crew is too old, and have only a few talented players to take their places. Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall are getting older, and the players to take their places are not experienced enough. Last year, the Redwings leader in points is Daniel Alfredsson, with only 49 points. This will be the Wings last season that they will have a winning season.

11: BOSTON BRUINS1024px-Boston_Bruins.svg

With their captain, Zedeno Chara sidelined, the Bruins will crumble. Once he returns, their record will not improve a whole lot. Not only the captain is out,  productive scorers David Krejci and Marc Sarvard out, the Bruins will have somewhat trouble on the scoring front. They are guaranteed a playoff spot, but will not have a higher seed.

Calgary_Flames_Logo.svg10: CALGARY FLAMES

This is probably the biggest surprise in the NHL. I am serious. The Flames will have a good season. Hiller is a great goalie, and will carry the team. Sean Monahan and Jerry Hurdler will continue to produce points for the team, and once top hockey recruit Sam Bennett returns from his recovery after his surgery, he will play well and dominate in the NHL.

9: SAN JOSE SHARKSSanJoseSharksLogo.svg

Whether you hate them or you love them, the Sharks are still a top team in the NHL.  Stalock and Niemi are a dynamic goaltending duo and putting Burns back as a defenseman will replace the old and trending-down Dan Boyle. Hertl will assume a big role this year, and the Sharks will have a good run.

Logo_New_York_Islanders.svg8: NY ISLANDERS

The Isles fixed goal-tending and added more power on the blue line, and they are on track for a playoff run.

 

7: NASHVILLE PREDATORSNashville_Predators_Logo_(2011).svg

Nashville’s goaltender Pekka Rhinne returned, and will play great hockey for the rest of the season. The Predators have a lot of good additions this offseason, including James Neal, Mike Riberio and Olli Jokinen. They problem is they don’t have enough first line players, and too many second liners.  However, things seem to be working out for them so far.

6: VANCOUVER CANUCKSVancouver_Canucks_logo.svg

Our hometown team is set for a comeback season, no doubt. Last year we lacked everything, from goal scoring to powerplay and to goaltending. With Alex Burrows returning for a comeback season, the addition of Nick Bonino and Radim Vrbrata to score goals, Linden Vey to improve the power play, Doresett to add more toughness for the team, and Ryan Miller to fix netminding, our Canucks will have a sub par playoff run.

ChicagoBlackhawksLogo.svg5: CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS/LOS ANGELES KINGS

Blackhawks are pretty much guaranteed a playoff ticket. They didn’t lose any important players, and added star centre Brad Richards into the mix. Crawford have been injured for a while now, and that would be the only problem so far.  And the Kings, do i have to even explain?

4: ANAHEIM DUCKS1280px-Anaheim_Ducks.svg

The Ryan Kesler trade was good for both teams. Andersen and Hiller are ready to be top caliber goalies and win hockey games. Once Corey Perry returns, the Ducks will be tough to beat.

Pittsburgh_Penguins_logo.svg3: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Spaling and Crosby are working well together, and even though the Pens lost two top defensemen, I think they are still good enough to push back to the top of the NHL

 

2: MONTREAL CANADIENS1280px-Montreal_Canadiens.svg

Montreal would’ve went to the Finals if the Bruins didn’t deliver big hits.  This year, Montreal will be stronger than ever. The Danny Briere experiment didn’t work, so they exchanged for an even better player, P.A Parenteau. Therrien is among the best coaches in the NHL, Subban is a two-way defenseman, who can play offense and defence while giving powerful hits. Galchenyuk and Gallagher are young guns and are ready to assume big roles.  Losing Gionta wasn’t a big loss, with Markov, Subban, Pacioretty ready to take over. Getting Gonchar on the blue line was a great addition. So beware of a Montreal domination.

1: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNINGTampa_Bay_Lightning_Logo_2011.svg

The Lighting have the best Blue Line in the NHL. Garrison, Stralman and Hedman will deliver big hits, snipes, and last line protection against enemy players. Ryan Callahan might not be a good scorer, but his leadership will definately help them. In my opinion. Steven Stamkos is the best NHL player right now. He will have a great comeback season. The Lighting forwards include future stars Drouin and Johnson, who will be a threat to all goalies.  Palat and Filuppla will provide great supporting fire for the team, and the Vezina nominee Ben Bishop, the Lighting will finish NO.1 in at the end of the season.


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WPGSN.