NHL Power Rankings: Valentine’s Love Letters Edition

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Patrick Marleau (12) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins with centre Mitchell Marner (16) during overtime NHL hockey action in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Maybe it’s because Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s beautiful icecapades got us catching feelings.

Maybe it’s because today is Valentine’s Day and we’re tripping off a big Bulk Barn bag of cinnamon hearts.

Or maybe it’s because we have too much love not to share it.

Regardless, we’re getting all schmoopy with the NHL Power Rankings: Love Letters Edition.

As per our weekly ritual, all 31 teams are ranked in order of their current loveliness. The write-ups feature a brief love note to each club.

It’s Grade 2 all over again, so we’re obligated to hand out a valentine to everyone in the class.

1. Boston Bruins

Dearest Boston, we love the way you kept on truckin’ with Brad Marchand suspended and how Zdeno Chara has made 40 the new 30.

2. Nashville Predators

Howdy Nashville, we love how you have assembled the deepest, most well-rounded blue line in hockey. You haven’t made it all about one defenceman. We also love that you actually make trades. Oh, and hot chicken. We love hot chicken.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning

Dear Andrei Vasilevskiy, we love watching this over and over and over and over…

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto, we love how you’ve studied the CBA rules and the fine print around the salary cap better than anyone else. To be honest, part of us envies your ruthlessness in pursuit of victory.

5. Vegas Golden Knights

Viva Vegas! We love that you are making us all look like fools and giving us a fun story to write about.

6. Winnipeg Jets

Peggy, if you were my Wi-Fi, you’d be full bars right now. Your improved discipline, your sturdy leadership core, your fun-loving Finn, your vastly improved goaltending… let us count the ways.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

I wish I knew how to quit you, Pittsburgh. I had you broken, way back in the bottom third of the power rankings for months. Yet you climbed the mountain and once again look like a group that can win it all. Your resilience inspires poetry.

8. Dallas Stars

Dear Dallas, we love that John Klingberg is sneaking up on everyone as a legitimate Norris candidate.

9. St. Louis Blues

Sweet St. Louis, we love that you’re always in the mix. That your defence and goaltending is overwhelming enough to make due with a relatively average group of forwards. Now, what we’d really love is for you to get bold and trade for an impact scorer and try to make history.

10. Philadelphia Flyers

Philly, we love that you’re flying high off a championship and got your self-esteem back up. It makes you much more attractive to others. (P.S. We’d also love to freeze the standings as is and get treated to an all-Pennsylvania first-round playoff bloodbath series.)

11. Minnesota Wild

Dear Minny, we love that Eric Staal signing you made in 2016. When the other teams dived head-over-heels into long-term relationships with the wrong guy, you paid reasonable money and marginal term ($3.5 million times three years) to a born-again all-star who leads your team in scoring (51 points).

12. Washington Capitals

Dear Washington, we love that you didn’t listen when everyone wrote you off with all of your departing free agents. We love seeing Alex Ovechkin scoring at will and Barry Trotz coaching his way to the top of the division even though management is dragging its feet on a contract extension.

13. Los Angeles Kings

Dear Los Angeles, your endless sandy beaches and perfectly curled surf may entice those other guys. But we love that you don’t tell Drew Doughty what he can and can’t say during interviews.

14. San Jose Sharks

Dear San Jose, with your Zeusian beards and your robes of teal, we love that Patrick Marleau’s departure and Joe Thornton’s injury have not ripped out your heart. You put on a brave face and carry on, secure in the wisdom there are other fish in the sea.

15. Colorado Avalanche

Oh, hello, Colorado. Your youthful enthusiasm and rapid ascension from the depths of despair are inspiring to all. Keep up the good work.

16. Calgary Flames

Dear Calgary, we love that Mike Smith is (reportedly) not hurt too severely and that at least one Alberta franchise has a real chance to make the playoffs.

17. Florida Panthers

Dear Florida, we love that you quietly have three forwards hovering around a point-per-game pace — Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Aleksander Barkov — and yet you’re not complaining about a lack of respect. Also, we love the rhyming name of your new goalie, Harri Sateri. So fun to say.

18. Anaheim Ducks

Dearest Anaheim, we love that despite your rash of injuries and negative goal differential, you are still firmly in the playoff hunt. And if you do snatch a wild-card berth, we love that one of the top seeds will be scared to death to play you.

19. Carolina Hurricanes

Dear Carolina, we love how fresh ownership has injected your offices with hope and vision. We adore your promise but must admit we are getting a touch anxious. Where is this relationship going?

20. New York Islanders

Dear Isles, our long-distance relationship was getting stale. It sounded more doable in theory. So we love that you are making plans to move back home. We will wait for you.

21. New Jersey Devils

Yo Jersey! We love how quickly you’ve shown how rebuilds can spin in the right direction. Admittedly, our love is a little bit conditional. Frankly, we’d love you much more with a healthy Cory Schneider.

22. Columbus Blue Jackets

Dear Columbus, we love your tough love. You never beat around the bush and remain truthful — even if that’s a truth we don’t want to hear. We always know where we stand with you, so it’s up to us to go along for the ride or bail.

23. New York Rangers

Dear New York, you’re going through a tough time. I see that now. I think we need some space until you figure your stuff out. Call me when you’re in a better place. I’ll pick up.

24. Montreal Canadiens

Montreal, ma belle imparfaite. I love your passion, and I respect your recent honesty. I think it’s healthy that you’re finally getting some things off your chest that have been probably been eating you inside for months now.

25. Chicago Blackhawks

We’re not sure if it’s you or us, Chicago. But we kinda liked the old you better.

26. Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings are red,
Lightning wear blue,
Tampa could use one more D,
Hey, Mike Green, how ’bout you?

27. Edmonton Oilers

Dear Edmonton, we know you’ve endured a bitter winter. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, they say. We love that you’ve lowered expectations for next year and should be able to thrive without all that pressure hanging overhead.

28. Vancouver Canucks

Dear Vancouver, we love that you’ve found a young player who gets us out of seats and may have a few more coming. We’re still in the honeymoon phase, so we’re going to enjoy this and try not to get carried away with visions for the future.

29. Buffalo Sabres

Dear Buffalo, we love that you’re trying to get someone to pay a first-round pick, a decent prospect, and a roster player for Evander Kane. It’s cute.

30. Ottawa Senators

Dear Ottawa, we love Erik Karlsson. And we heard through the grapevine that he might be in an open relationship. Totally cool if we got the wrong impression. Just throwing it out there. (P.S. You may have noticed we Scotch-taped a crisp $20 bill for you inside this valentine. Spend wisely.)

31. Arizona Coyotes

Oh, hey, Arizona, we love your patience. Some say it’s the loftiest virtue. You’re still sticking with this whole hockey thing, which is nice.

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