NHL Power Rankings: New Year’s Resolutions Edition

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) and goalie Frederik Andersen (31) congratulate each other after their win over the New York Islanders following NHL hockey action in Toronto on Feb.14, 2017. NHL rookie classes like this one don't come around very often. It's been almost 25 years since we last saw three rookies hit both the 20-goal and 70 point plateaus in the same season (1992-93). Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner are all on pace to do it this year. (Frank Gunn/CP)

The only thing that may go to waste quicker than best-laid plans is that gym membership you purchased on Jan. 1. (Aren’t those automatic monthly withdrawals a treat?)

But that doesn’t stop us from setting out a course for betterment in these last hazy, lazy days of December.

We’re all full of spiced nog and ideas. The sugarplums and Nintendo Switches once dancing in our heads have been replaced by cleanse recipes and abdominal crunches we may never complete.

So it is in that same forward-thinking spirit, we offer up our NHL Power Rankings: New Year’s Resolutions Edition.

As always, teams are ranked in order of their current 2017 awesomeness. The write-ups focus on a 2018 goal for your favourite club.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

We resolve to keep our foot slammed on the gas pedal, finish the job we came painfully close to completing in 2015, and make Luke Fox look super smart for picking us to win the 2018 Stanley Cup.

2. Vegas Golden Knights

We resolve to avoid the temptation to sell off James Neal for a first-rounder and David Perron for a second-rounder, and instead make noise in the playoffs and become the greatest hockey-mad surprise party since Nashville circa 2017.

3. Nashville Predators

We resolve to not let the healthy return of Ryan Ellis to our D core — which features three 20-point scorers — throw off our chemistry but rather enhance it and make us the Western Conference favourite.

4. New Jersey Devils

We resolve to get off our wallet and use some of our $14.1 million in salary cap space to make sure we end our five-year playoff drought and take our high-flying Cinderella squad as deep into the night as our slippers will carry us.

5. Washington Capitals

We resolve to be eliminated after the Pittsburgh Penguins.

6. Los Angeles Kings

We resolve to re-sign Drew Doughty on July 2.

7. Boston Bruins

We resolve to continue our winning ways (four in a row, baby!), sneak up from behind on Toronto and swipe home-ice advantage in Round 1 of an opening-round Atlantic playoff series sure to give Leafs Nation violent fits of anxiety as they think back to 2013.

8. St. Louis Blues

We resolve to make the playoffs for a seventh straight season.

9. Winnipeg Jets

We resolve to win a dang playoff game for the first time in our second life.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs

We resolve to modify Mitch Marner’s ice time so that it more closely aligns with his value to the team. The kid ranks second in points and 12th in average time on ice.

11. New York Islanders

We resolve to use the Belmont Park arena deal and soon-to-be Calder winner Mathew Barzal as leverage in the John Tavares negotiations. See! There is a future here.

12. New York Rangers

We resolve to acquire centre depth before the trade deadline passes us by.

13. Minnesota Wild

We resolve to get our coach, Bruce Boudreau, a Game 7 victory.

14. Columbus Blue Jackets

Honestly, we know you have a Power Rankings to read here, but there’s no point in dissecting our resolutions at this point.

15. San Jose Sharks

We resolve to rent Joe Thornton to the highest bidder on Feb. 26 and give everyone who must work 12 hours that day something real to talk and write about.

16. Dallas Stars

We resolve to sneak into the playoffs as The Hot Team You Don’t Wanna Face in Round 1.

17. Chicago Blackhawks

We resolve to let someone else have a turn at playing outdoors in 2018-19.

18. Calgary Flames

We resolve to be more truculent.

19. Philadelphia Flyers

As starving as we are for a long-term No. 1 franchise goaltender, we resolve to not get too excited about how awesome Carter Hart is and rush him into the big leagues until he’s good and ready.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

We resolve to blow up our future by trading for Matt Duchene and Evander Kane in a desperate three-peat bid.

21. Edmonton Oilers

We resolve to qualify for the Western Conference wild card during the season’s final weekend, even if it means Connor McDavid plays 38 minutes a night from here until April.

22. Carolina Hurricanes

We resolve to quit blaming our coaches and goalies and actually bring in a couple of elite forwards, even if that means we need to stop hoarding all the good young D-men.

23. Anaheim Ducks

We resolve to stop letting John Gibson and Ryan Miller cover up our mistakes. Maybe averaging 35 shots against per game isn’t how you win hockey games.

24. Colorado Avalanche

We resolve to build a worthy team around Nathan MacKinnon and not let a bona fide star go to waste.

25. Montreal Canadiens

We resolve to find Carey Price the type of goal support he deserves. (Note: We have eight years to fulfill this resolution.)

26. Florida Panthers

We resolve to dig up the receipt for that Spacey in Space hoodie and return it.

27. Vancouver Canucks

We resolve to save up all of our puck luck and cash it in at the NHL Draft Lottery this spring because building a team around Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Rasmus Dahlin sounds like good business.

28. Detroit Red Wings

We resolve to quit pretending we’re only two good weeks from hopping back in the race and go for the scorched-earth approach that helped turn Toronto and New Jersey around quicker than most thought possible.

29. Ottawa Senators

We resolve to pick a lane: either invest in raises to Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene, or sell while these core players still have real value.

30. Buffalo Sabres

We resolve to live in the moment and enjoy the world junior tournament, because it may be a while before a hockey championship is won on our ice surface.

31. Arizona Coyotes

We resolve to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He deserves to play for a winner.