NHL Power Rankings: Hot Takes Edition


Winnipeg Jets left wing Shawn Matthias (16) gets pushed off the puck by Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Roman Polak (46) during first period NHL hockey action, in Toronto on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. (Chris Young/CP)

Full disclosure: We’re only doing it for the clicks.

This week’s evaluation of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League includes a scorching, fact-loose opinion on each of the 31 clubs.

As a wise mentor once advised, when it comes to sports chatter, it’s better to be memorable than right.

Anything to differentiate from the pack!

So, dear reader, slide on a pair of oven mitts. You’ll need them as you scroll through our first-ever NHL Power Rankings: Hot Takes Edition.

Get ’em while they are.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

You think you’re the only one who truly understands Victor Hedman’s value? Well, chew on this: With the Norris front-runner on the shelf for three to six weeks, the Tampa Bay Lightning will blow a 22-point cushion and miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

2. Vegas Golden Knights

The Army is just jealous that the Golden Knights are about become the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season.

3. Boston Bruins

If they all stay healthy, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand should finish the year with a five-on-five Corsi of 107 per cent. Do the math.

4. Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon is the best hockey player Cole Harbour, N.S., ever produced. Check the standings, buddy.

5. Calgary Flames

When a head coach needs to inspire his boys into the playoffs, he has one of three options: (a) give them a case of beer on a train ride, (b) throw his stick in a fit mid-practice or (c) Plan C will be revealed during the Flames’ 2018-19 skid.

6. Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin’s negative-35 plus/minus rating in 2013-14 should give the committee pause before electing the Russian into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

7. Winnipeg Jets

Because it’s so dark and cold in Winnipeg, the Jets have opted to get better at hockey instead of going out at night, and here we are — atop the Central Division.

8. Nashville Predators

Right-shot defenceman P.K. Subban attended a Maple Leafs game during his bye week because he was dropping a subtle hint to Lou Lamoriello that he’d be open to getting traded home to Toronto.

9. Dallas Stars

Deep down, Marc Methot/Alexander Radulov wishes he was back in Ottawa/Montreal so he could help turn around the Senators/Canadiens.

10. St. Louis Blues

With Carter Hutton playing excellent in goal, the St. Louis Blues can finally put their search for a true Number 1 franchise goalie to bed.

11. New Jersey Devils

See what happens when they don’t have to shave before every game?

12. Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin is not one of the 100 greatest of all time, and two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel is not an all-star.

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Just imagine all the Hart Trophies Claude Giroux would’ve won had he been playing wing all these years.

14. Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Brown only let his production tail off to send Darryl Sutter the message that he wanted to be promoted back to the top line.

15. Chicago Blackhawks

Healthy-scratching Brent Seabrook for a game should be all the incentive he needs to make sure the Blackhawks won’t regret his $6.875-million cap hit for the next seven years.

16. San Jose Sharks

Why a thatch of Joe Thornton’s beard tore out so easily is because it isn’t a real beard but a toupee beard.

17. Minnesota Wild

Minnesota will advance to the conference final and dodge elimination by scoring on one final drive with zero seconds on the clock.

18. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs will absolutely re-sign impending free agents Leo Komarov and Roman Polak this summer because they’ve earned the coach’s trust. Need proof? Look at their ice time.

19. Anaheim Ducks

The department of player safety should not punish players with incredible ironman streaks the same way it punishes players without incredible ironman streaks.

20. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets knew William Karlsson would thrive in Vegas, but depth at centre is soooo overrated.

21. New York Rangers

Renting 20-goal man Michael Grabner is worth mortgaging your team’s future.

22. Detroit Red Wings

Henrik Zetterberg, a $6.1-million cap hit, will fulfill his contract and play out the 2020-21 season for rebuilding Detroit even though his actual salary drops to $1 million. For the love of the game.

23. Carolina Hurricanes

Forget Quebec. Carolina’s new ownership should consider re-relocating to Hartford for the sole purpose of reinstating the greatest logo in NHL history. Merch sales, baby.

24. New York Islanders

The Islanders are only one John Tavares signing away.

25. Montreal Canadiens

The Habs are only one John Tavares signing away.

26. Florida Panthers

If they didn’t let Jaromir Jagr walk, the Panthers would be hunting down a playoff spot.

27. Ottawa Senators

Why would Erik Karlsson ever want to leave Ottawa — an organization that recently waved good-bye to his pals Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson and Marc Methot — when he can be a big fish in a small pond?

28. Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid is cool, but Mathew Barzal is so much faster.

29. Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver should resist the temptation to rent Thomas Vanek for a valuable draft pick at the deadline and instead extend him so he can help mentor Brock Boeser.

30. Buffalo Sabres

When Justin Falk called Evander Kane “selfish” during their confrontation in practice, he meant it in the good way, y’know, how you want good shooters to be selfish so they can score lots of goals and help their team win a whole bunch of games.

31. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes will totally make the playoffs in 2019. C’mon, they’re due.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.