Power Rankings: Numbers 14 to 10

power rankings5

The countdown continues and starts with the…

14) New York Islanders

This team surprised a lot of people last taking the perennial Stanley Cup favorite, Penguins to six games. Now a year later this team could be looking to take some scalps. They are quick and skilled and no one personifies that more than Captain and franchise star John Tavares. They have depth at center and they have shutdown ability. Travis Hamonic has progressed and has started to mold in to what the Islanders had planned. Michael Grabner is the most dangerous forward maybe in the NHL shorthanded. Fran Nielsen provides great defense and is as automatic in a shootout as they come. They also have toughness and heavy hitters. Mark Martin could develop into a power forward in the image of Bryan Bickell and Milan Lucic. The emergence of Kyle Okposo in the playoffs takes pressure off of Tavares. Goaltending will be the key if the Islander will make noise in the playoffs. Key addition Cal Clutterbuck will provide energy and has 20 plus goal ability plus his is one of the best hitters in the NHL. Not to mention their powerplay is among the league’s best. Solid defense is the backbone of this team but Nabokov needs to steal games versus the cream of the crop. Moving to Brooklyn with this young exciting team will generate buzz for a team without it since the 70s and 80s.

Key Players: John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck, Evegni Nabokov, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Travis Hamonic

Predicted Finish: 3rd in the Metropolitan

13) Toronto Maple Leafs

Two minutes away from a huge upset were the Toronto Maple Leafs. The reason they are not higher on the list is that they did not add pieces to make the team significantly better. The first line of Kessel, Van Riemsdyk, and Bozak will have to step up in a longer season and provide majority of the offense. The loss of Mikael Grabovski will hinder some of the skill and seed but they added much needed snarl in David Clarkson. The biggest move they Maple Leafs made was the acquisition of Jonathan Bernier who will be expected to be the franchise goalie. Backup James Reimer is no slouch and will provide good depth. Nazem Kadri will look to avoid the notorious sophomore slump and give the Leafs a much needed second option. The defense was good at moments and shaky in others. Dion Phaneuf provides leadership and a presence in all three zones. Will this be the year we finally see Morgan Reilly? The offensive dynamo is the Leafs best prospect and a star in the making. Cody Franson is the most defensively sound player is a tremendous skater. Dave Bolland will prove to be one of the trades of the year as he helps the Leafs penalty kill that was among the worst in the NHL. He is also one of the best faceoff men in the league.

Key Players: Dion Phaneuf, Johnthan Bernier, Cody Franson, Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak

Predicted Finish: 4th in Atlantic


12) Anaheim Ducks

Another team that came out of nowhere to not only make the playoffs but to finish first in their division. This team has depth in goal and the best 1-2 punch in the league. Jonas Hiller has been frequently injured and inconsistent. Viktor Fasth on the other hand is a veteran who played his first year in the NHL last year and shined. The defense of the Ducks is mobile and all possess good shots. Cam Fowler is the most offensively gifted D-man and has a bomb of a shot. Francois Beauchemin provided the Ducks with leadership and became a shutdown man. Another great feature of this team is that they are big and strong. Ryan Getzlaf the team’s captain and best player fits this description to a tee. He is skilled and possesses the ability to setup and score. It also helps when you have a sniper with the scoring abilty of Corey Perry on the wing. Two years removed from a 50 goal season, Perry will look to match that feat. Bobby Ryan has since been traded and leaves a hole on the first line. This issue will need to be addressed and could be the chance Kyle Palmieri needs to show his quality. Another power forward Palmieri is cut in the same mold of Bobby Ryan but much more reliable on defense. Saku Koivu and Temmu Selanne will provide leadership and secondary scoring but are in the twilights of the career. Selanne will be back for his last season that he will hop that ends in Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Key Players: Viktor Fasth, Jonas Hiller, Francois Beauchmein, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Temmu Selanne, and Kyle Palmieri

Predicted Finish: 4th in the Pacific


11) Minnesota Wild

The wild made a huge splash in free agency last year and signed marquee names of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Both paid huge dividends and Suter was as good a defenseman in all of the NHL. The emergence of Jonas Brodin complimented Ryan Suter perfectly. This team always lacked a player with offensive skill and was good on defense. Danny Healy never really thrived but they got a slam dunk in Zack Parise. Parise plays in all aspects killing penalties, playing powerplay time, and shutdown periods at the end of the game. Not to mention he is a native son of Minnesota and a fan favorite. This year they will have an injection of youth with Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Matthew Dumba. Granlund is as offensively gifted as any prospect in the NHL but has not shown much. Charlie Coyle provides a big body on the wing and Dumba is hammer in the back. Jared Spurdegon has a bomb from the point and is a quarterback on the powerplay. Danny Heatley will look to bounce back and sore goals. Mikko Koivu is as good as a defensive forward in the NHL and is the teams Captain. The team is also solid in goal with Nick Backstrom and a future star in Matt Hackett. They also have grit with Matt Cooke. The only concern is depth up front but they will keep a lot out of the net.

Key Players: Zach Perise, Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Nick Backstrom, Mikael Granlund, and Danny Healtey

Predicted Finish: 3rd in the Central


10) New York Rangers

There is a lot of buzz behind this team whether it is good or bad. A new coach with a new vision but the question is; will it work? The team was based on blocking shots and grinding out wins under the guidance of John Tortarella and caused them to get caught in their own zone by the more skilled teams. Alain Vigneault will bring offense and more offense. The team has two elite level defensemen in Dan Giradi and Ryan McDonagh. A key player will be Brad Richards who was brought in to be the team’s number one center and as the season went on was demoted to the fourth line. Derek Stepan just signed a new contract and is the Rangers best playmaker. Rick Nash will also need to have a bounce back season. The Rangers shipped Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets and in that traded added depth to an already deep team. The problem with the rangers is that they are small down the center. With the exception of Brian Boyle all of the centers are south of six feet. This was exposed by the much physical Bruins who dominated center play. The only given with the Rangers is that Henrik Lundqvist will be among the league’s best goalies. This team had struggled to advance in the playoffs under Tortarella but will a new scheme help the Rangers. The offensively skilled players will now have freedom to be creative meaning a more important role for the likes of Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Don’t forget about Michael Del Zotto who sometimes seemed lost on defense will welcome this change. With that skill and the defensive prowess of Ryan Callahan this team could be bound for bigger things.

Key Players: Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Derrick Brassard, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi

Predicted Finish: 3rd in the Metropolitan

Follow Connor Coakley on Twitter: @CCokes33


Twitter: @FullScaleSport




Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: