The 2019-20 NHL season is more than halfway over as February begins. Let’s check in on where all 31 teams rank as winter continues forward.
The NHL’s 2020 All-Star weekend has come and gone, unofficially marking the season’s midpoint — or close enough to it, anyway. With more than half of the season played by the start of February, many teams in the NHL have already pulled ahead of the pack, giving themselves good positioning in the playoff hunt.
However, many NHL teams are still jockeying for a postseason position, with the Pacific Division the tightest of them all as a six-point spread separates first place from fifth. As the second half of the season kicks into high gear, and more intra-division games are played across the league, the gaps should widen between the teams, though the races are set to be tight until the final day of the season.
As such, here is how we’ve ranked all 31 NHL teams as February begins.
Detroit Red Wings 12-37-4
Last rank: 31
The Red Wings have the exact same amount of wins this season (12) that the Boston Bruins have overtime or shootout losses. Detroit is comically bad, and maybe even historically bad, this season, and the offseason can’t get here soon enough.
New Jersey Devils 18-24-9
Last rank: 29
New Jersey is likely set to sell off a handful of assets at the trade deadline, given their position in the league’s basement. A four-win January helped solidify their likely place in a lottery pick come spring.
Los Angeles Kings 19-29-5
Last rank: 28
The Kings’ road record of 8-17-4 is fifth-worst in the NHL this season, as they too are also set to be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. Anze Kopitar, with 47 points in 53 games, has at least been a highlight for Los Angeles.
Anaheim Ducks 21-26-5
Last rank: 30
John Gibson has shown he too is human this season with a .904 save percentage, the lowest of his career, but the Ducks’ inability to score (2.48 average goals-for per game) has not helped matters in a Pacific Division that was up for the taking.
Ottawa Senators 18-24-10
Last rank: 27
Ottawa is well out of the playoff race — and was never really in it to begin with with the way their roster was set up. The Senators had a nine-game losing streak snapped in mid-January, their only real highlight of a tough first month of 2020.
San Jose Sharks 22-27-4
Last rank: 23
Given the amount of talent left on the Sharks’ roster, San Jose seems primed to do some unloading at the trade deadline. For the first part of January, head coach Bob Boughner had the Sharks winning four of six games, but the team does not stand a chance of pulling themselves out of the hole they’re in.
Buffalo Sabres 23-22-7
Last rank: 22
The Sabres regressed hard after the first few months of the 2019-20 season. Their combined .901 save percentage over 51 games played and their average 3.12 goals allowed per game sunk their playoff hopes as surprise teams in the East made strides, and they did not.
Minnesota Wild 23-22-6
Last rank: 20
Jason Zucker, among others on the Wild, are being looked at by teams across the league as the trade deadline comes into view. While Minnesota is still technically in the running for a wild card, as they’re seven points out as of Monday, the Western Conference is just too stacked for them to make a run.
New York Rangers 25-21-4
Last rank: 21
New York has many attractive trade deadline assets this season, with forward Chris Kreider and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev catching many eyes in 2020. The Rangers are nine points out of a wild card spot, and will likely slip more when Kreider and others are moved by the end of the month.
Montreal Canadiens 24-23-7
Last rank: 24
The Canadiens acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk has gone well, as the forward has posted 10 points in 12 games with Montreal. However, the team around him has been unable to pick up the pace as the team sits eight points out of a playoff spot.
Winnipeg Jets 26-23-4
Last rank: 17
The Jets’ playoff odds have dropped drastically since December, falling from 69 percent to 17.8 percent, according to Money Puck. Winnipeg may be in the hunt for secondary scoring at the trade deadline, but without an extra offensive punch in their lineup, the Jets are as good as grounded.
Chicago Blackhawks 25-21-6
Last rank: 26
Chicago is making a slight push in the Western Conference, as the Blackhawks sit three points out of a wild card spot on Monday. A five-game win streak in January has propelled them back into the mix, but who knows for how long.
Nashville Predators 24-20-7
Last rank: 25
The Predators are still in trouble of falling short of the playoffs for the first time since the 2013–14 season. However, Nashville has stabilized somewhat in the Central and are just four points out of a wild card spot despite allowing the fourth-most average goals per game this season (3.30).
Arizona Coyotes 26-21-7
Last rank: 11
The acquisition of Taylor Hall wasn’t able to offset the Coyotes’ devastating injuries to their goaltending. Darcy Kuemper has not played since his injury in mid-December and Antti Raanta has cooled off slightly after an injury scare of his own. Arizona is within six points of first place in the Pacific, but will need stronger goaltending and better offensive performances to get there.
Vegas Golden Knights 27-20-7
Last rank: 5
The Golden Knights won just three games in the month of January, a tough blow in a Pacific Division that has gotten so much more competitive in the last month. Instead of increasing their lead in the division, Vegas has slowed their pace and are fighting for a wild card with the dregs of the Western Conference.
Edmonton Oilers 28-18-6
Last rank: 16
Much like the rest of the Pacific Division, the Oilers are in a fight for first place with five other teams. Edmonton had a standout month of January, with just three losses all by one goal each, but the Pacific is still too volatile to really say who will come out on top by season’s end.
Toronto Maple Leafs 28-17-7
Last rank: 7
Toronto started out the month of January with playoff odds as high as 90 percent, according to Money Puck. Their odds have since fallen into the 70s after a skid of losing five of six games in mid-January. The Maple Leafs, however, are still in good shape to make the playoffs, but will need to play more consistently to keep their postseason spot.
Calgary Flames 27-20-6
Last rank: 18
The Flames had a hot start to January, winning six of their first seven games in the 2020 calendar, but ended on more of a sour note. Matthew Tkachuk remains the team’s best scorer, and biggest pest, with 42 points in 52 games.
Philadelphia Flyers 28-17-7
Last rank: 14
Injuries and a hot Metropolitan Division have stalled the Flyers a bit this season, but the team put together an impressive month of January to keep themselves in the playoff hunt. Philadelphia’s playoff odds sit in the 40s at the start of February, but the team sits just outside of the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, even with Carter Hart‘s absence over the last few weeks.
Florida Panthers 28-17-5
Last rank: 15
As February begins, the Panthers sit outside of the playoff bubble despite a six-game win streak in mid-January. However, Florida has the seventh-best remaining strength of schedule in the NHL, and with the second-best offense in the NHL (3.60 average goals for per game), their goaltending woes haven’t been as much of a factor.
Carolina Hurricanes 30-19-3
Last rank: 10
Carolina snuck into the playoff bubble at the beginning of February, but is clustered with four other Metropolitan Division teams fighting for the third spot in the division. Defensively, the Hurricanes are among the league’s best, with their 28.9 average shots allowed per game the second best in the league, though their strength of schedule the rest of the way is a bit concerning as one of the worst in the league.
Dallas Stars 29-18-4
Last rank: 9
The Stars have made quite the comeback since the start of the season. Dallas remains solidly in third place in the Central Division, and while their offense leaves much to be desired, their goaltending duo of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have the NHL’s best combined save percentage of .921, keeping them very much alive this season.
Colorado Avalanche 28-16-6
Last rank: 6
The Avalanche sit tied with the Stars at 62 points this season in the Central, bolstered by the Hart Trophy worthy season of Nathan MacKinnon (72 points in 50 games). Defenseman Cale Makar also is making a strong Calder Trophy bid as the team’s second-best point producer this season, helped along by his nearly 21 minutes of ice time.
New York Islanders 29-15-6
Last rank: 8
Much like the Hurricanes and Flyers, the Islanders remain in the middle of a Metropolitan Division slog. A 4-3-3 record in their last 10 games is slightly worrisome, but the Islanders still remain the NHL’s third-best team in overall goals allowed this season (136) as their defense continues to be solid into February.
Columbus Blue Jackets 28-16-9
Last rank: 19
Columbus continues to surprise this season, making the biggest jump into the top 10 as they’ve put themselves in the playoff conversation over the last few months. The Blue Jackets ended January with a six-game win streak, catapulting their playoff odds from the 40s into the 60 percent range over a month’s span. Rookie goaltender Elvis Merzlikins has gone above and beyond in net this season, becoming a formidable netminder beside the stalwart Joonas Korpisalo this season.
Vancouver Canucks 30-18-5
Last rank: 13
The Canucks lead the Pacific Division by three points, a slim margin to be sure, but their dominance this season has been a major story. Vancouver has won six of their last seven games to close out January, with leading scorer Elias Pettersson having 11 points in 11 games during the team’s first month of 2020.
Pittsburgh Penguins 33-14-5
Last rank: 4
A healthy Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins’ lineup in January, bolstering the team’s morale despite losing Jake Guentzel to injury for the rest of the season. Pittsburgh’s ability to stabilize and thrive in Crosby’s absence should put the rest of the league on notice, especially since Crosby has 11 points in the six games since his return.
Tampa Bay Lightning 32-15-5
Last rank: 12
The Lightning are officially back in business. Tampa Bay won 10 games out of 13 in January, putting them ever so closer to knocking Boston out of the top spot in the Atlantic. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos are a two-headed monster offensively, as Tampa Bay’s power play clocks in at the league’s third best at 25.3 percent.
Boston Bruins 31-10-12
Last rank: 3
Boston’s lead in the Atlantic Division is much smaller now, but the Bruins are still holding strong this season. A few bumps in the road aside, the Bruins remain a lethal team offensively with the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak (38) and Brad Marchand, who is fifth in the NHL in assists (46) through 53 games.
St. Louis Blues 31-14-8
Last rank: 2
The reigning Stanley Cup champions continue to impress this season, despite going 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. The Blues have an eight point lead in the Central Division and have the NHL’s fourth-best home record of 17-4-4 this year. David Perron remains the surprise offensive standout for the Blues this season, recording 53 points in 53 games.
Washington Capitals 35-13-5
Last rank: 1
Washington is a hard team to beat this year. Alex Ovechkin remains the league’s most prolific scorer and John Carlson continues his Norris Trophy worthy season on defense. Though goaltender Braden Holtby has passed his prime, rookie netminder Ilya Samsonov has been keeping the team from completely collapsing with a .925 save percentage in 20 games played.
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