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NHL power rankings 2022-’23: Carolina Hurricanes rolling, Vegas keeps sinking

NHL power rankings

What NHL team is the best right now? With the 2022-23 NHL season officially passing the All-Star break, it’s time for some updated NHL power rankings to get a sense of where teams really stand, based on offseason acquisitions and what we’ve seen in the first half of the campaign.

The offseason was full of interesting, season-altering headlines, with key injuries, signings and draft picks making an impact on lineups. As the season progresses, we’re seeing some teams prove what they’re made of and live up to the offseason hype, while others struggle to get going.

Without further ado, here are Sportsnaut’s NHL power rankings as we look ahead to the rest of the 2022-23 campaign.

Related: NHL games today

NHL power rankings: Best NHL teams in 2022-’23

1. Carolina Hurricanes

nhl power rankings; carolina hurricanes
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous: 1st in the NHL power rankings

The Eastern conference favorite to hoist Lord Stanley’s trophy, the Canes, with all the key pieces back in the lineup, are showing the league what they’re made of. The club has won seven straight contests to create a six point lead in the ever-tight Metropolitan Division.

Special teams seem to be fluctuating, with the power play sitting at 20% and the penalty kill plateauing 81.9%, though that doesn’t seem to stop them. Freddie Andersen has been solid in his return to the crease, stealing big games, though the club was dealt a minor blow when blue liner Jaccob Slavin was sidelined with an upper body injury, listing him as day-to-day. The Canes are also now involved in NHL trade rumors, as Max Pacioretty’s long-term injury frees up cap space, and allows them to search for a depth piece ahead of the trade deadline.

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2. New Jersey Devils

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Los Angeles Kings
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous: 3rd in the NHL power rankings

The Devils are rebounding from a slump, going 8-1-1 in their last ten games to secure second place in the Metropolitan Division. They club certainly enjoyed its pre-break time spent on the west coast, taking the time to stabilize special teams and keep them at a steady pace. Relatively unscathed by injuries (Jonathan Bernier has been on IR since the season began, but doesn’t seem to be missed in the blue paint. John Marino joined him on December 20), the Devils are doing well with a lineup that gels.

Strong gameplay from Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt are helping this team become one of the sleeper picks of the season, with 67 and 51 points, respectively, on the season. If they maintain this gameplay (and if they snag Timo Meier from the Sharks), the Devils could really cause a stir in their division.

3. Boston Bruins

  • Previous: 4th in the NHL power rankings

The Bruins are starting to prove that they are, in fact, mortals. The club suffered three straight losses to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers (though in overtime) and, most importantly, the divisional Tampa Bay Lightning to end the month of January.

Still, the Bruins have only suffered seven regulation losses on the season so far, and boast a ridiculous +81 goal differential, thanks to David Pastrnak’s MVP-calibre start to the season, with 72 points in 51 games. He’s joined by netminder Linus Ullmark, who holds league-bests with his .937 save percentage and 1.90 goals against average. Through the first half of the season, the Bs have also showcased a strong penalty kill as well as a successful power play.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 2nd in the NHL power rankings

The Bolts, who have gone 7-3-0 in their last ten, fall in the NHL power rankings following a massive, 7-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. But, they have three all-important games in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs, who sit five points above them in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay also improved their power play to a 26.3% effectiveness rate, and Nikita Kucherov in particular has been on fire of late, exploding offensively to hold 73 points in 49 games and becoming one of the top players in the league, points-wise.

Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Kucherov and Victor Hedman aren’t players to take lightly, and everyone but Hedman has at least a point-per-game pace. Meanwhile, Andrei Vasilevskiy is still regarded as one of the best goaltenders in the league, so it’s no surprise that the Lightning stays in the top ten in the NHL power rankings.

Related: NHL standings

5. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 6th in the NHL power rankings

The Stanley Cup champions started the season as the favorites to win it all again this season, and are finally playing up to their standards, winning six of their last seven games and going 7-3-0 in their last ten games to prove that they should not, under any circumstances, be forgotten as contenders.

Though captain Gabriel Landeskog’s recovery is taking longer than expected, Bowen Byram, Val Nichushkin and Josh Manson are expected to return in the coming days. But, the Avs seem to be taking it all in stride, carried by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen up front, Cale Makar on the blue line, and Alexandar Georgiev’s stellar play in the blue paint. Look for the Avs to come charging out of the gate after the All-Star Break, further rising in the NHL power rankings.

6. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 8th in the NHL power rankings

Alas, the Oilers are hot, climbing significantly in the NHL power rankings. Thanks to a 7-1-2 record in their last ten contests, the Oilers stay in the post-season conversation, helped by a weak Pacific Division. Four players on the Oilers roster have 60 points or more, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, and superstar duo Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who lead the efforts with 92 and 76 points respectively.

The issue in Edmonton, for a while, seemed to be the goaltending, though both Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner seem to have settled in the blue paint of late. Things can only be helped by Evander Kane’s return, rocky as it may be off-the-ice. That said, the key in Edmonton will need to be consistency but, if they can play like this, they can reasonably expect to make the post-season.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Oilers, check out #EdmontonOilers rumors, rankings, and news here.

7. Seattle Kraken

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous ranking: 5th in the NHL power rankings

The Kraken are proving they have what it takes to be in the postseason, thanks to a .643 win percentage, a +26 goal differential, and ever-important games in hand over the Vegas Golden Knights, which pushed them to the top of the Pacific Division. The team also runs a solid 20.3% power play, and is slowly improving on their once dismal power play, pushing it to a less terrible 72.3%.

Nonetheless, thanks to the struggling division, the Kraken are making a strong case for sneaking into the post-season, and have points leader Andre Burakovsky to credit for some huge victories. Thanks to goaltending that seems to have steadied and better-than-expected gameplay, the Kraken stay in the top ten in the NHL power rankings.

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8. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Previous: 7th in the NHL power rankings

The Maple Leafs are in a bit of a rut again, with a +34 goal differential and 5-4-1 record in their last ten contests. Still, they have a pretty firm grip on a top three spot in the Atlantic Division. But, goaltender Matt Murray and Auston Matthews were sidelined with injuries right before the All-Star Break, and things could take a turn for the Leafs in their absence. Matthews, in particular, is slated to miss three weeks, and his absence could affect the Leafs’ offense.

In the meantime, they’ve come to cultivate a solid power play, though the penalty kill could use some work. Since they’ve all but stamped a ticket to the post-season with a .673 win percentage, they remain in the top ten of the NHL power rankings.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Maple Leafs, check out #LeafsForever rumors, rankings, and news here.

9. New York Rangers

NHL: Dallas Stars at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous ranking: 9th in the NHL power rankings

The Rangers are playing some solid hockey, and stay in the same position as a result, following an overtime win over the Calgary Flames. Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad are operating at better than point-per-game paces, Adam Fox is on fire of late, and Igor Shesterkin is continuing to impress the league with a 2.45 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

The team is also lucky in that, despite a few minor glitches, they have been unscathed by injuries, operating with a full roster for the first half of the season. So, they can continue to build on their +29 goal differential and offer strong competition in the already tight Metropolitan division.

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10. Los Angeles Kings

  • Previous ranking: 11th in the NHL power rankings

The Kings are still sitting in a playoff position in the weak Pacific Division, though they are the only team in a playoff position with a negative goal differential (-10). What’s more, Kevin Fiala is the only point-per-game player on the roster and, while the power play is solid, the penalty kill could use some work, sitting at 74.2%.

The Kings are significantly helped by an exceptionally weak Pacific Division but, still, have gone on a decently successful run of late, with a 5-4-1 record in their last ten games . But, this pace and record may not be sustainable, and they have played more games than their competition (which likely accounts for the point bonus). But, still, the Kings stay in the top half of the NHL power rankings.

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11. Minnesota Wild

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Minnesota Wild
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Previous ranking: 10th in the NHL power rankings

Kirill Kaprizov has taken charge and seems to be on a mission to prove that the Wild should not be taken lightly. The club has fought back to collect a .592 win percentage and 58 points, clinging (albeit barely) to third place in the Central Division.

Kaprizov boasts 60 points in 49 games, which is certainly a huge reason for this team’s standing. Respectable special teams numbers, alongside injuries and questionable play in the Central Division, are also helping this team stay afloat, and a small spurt of injuries did not affect them, play-wise. So, they stay roughly in the same spot in the NHL power rankings following the All-Star Break.

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12. Dallas Stars

NHL: Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous ranking: 12th in the NHL power rankings

The Stars are in a battle for first in the Central Division, though they don’t seem to be faring well of late. They’ve gone 4-2-4 in their last ten games and lost three straight contests in overtime before winning, causing them to stay out of the top ten in the NHL power rankings.

In order to stay atop the division, the club will need to rely on their big offensive contracts in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, taking some of the scoring pressure off of newly-signed youngster Jason Roberston, and the team (especially Benn and Roope Hintz, though he just got injured) seems to have difficulty responding. Robertson, though, has been a superstar for his club, and became the first player to score 20 goals this season. Still, the club’s special teams numbers are respectable–especially the 25.0% power play–and Jake Oettinger continues to be a talent between the pipes.

13. Winnipeg Jets

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous ranking: 2nd in the NHL power rankings

The Jets are, apparently, struggling again, losing grip of the top spot in the Central Division. As a result, they fall significantly in the NHL power rankings. They’ve gone 5-5-0 in their last ten games, including a divisional loss to the Nashville Predators–though it was followed by a divisional win over the St. Louis Blues. They have a stint on the east coast before their next big game, on February 24 against the divisional (and surging) Colorado Avalanche.

The only question remains consistency in gameplay, especially considering that, for a long time, defenseman Josh Morrissey was the only point-per-game player on the roster, joined around Thanksgiving by Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois. But, they have shown that they are capable of getting big wins, piecing together a .625 win percentage and a +29 goal differential. Furthermore, Connor Hellebuyck’s .923 save percentage and 2.45 goals against average is a big reason for this team’s league standing.

14. Washington Capitals

  • Previous ranking: 14th in the NHL power rankings

Alex Ovechkin proved that he is never to be taken for granted, surpassing Gordie Howe to become the second-highest goal scorer in the NHL. But, the team seemed to be struggling before the All-Star Break, going 4-6-0 in its last ten games, including a massive, 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a narrow, overtime win over the bottom-of-the-league Columbus Blue Jackets.

Like many teams around them, the Capitals are struggling to find consistency, which could be an issue in a super tight Metropolitan Division. The team should look to head into the second half of the season with grit they’ve shown flashes of, though the schedule is not necessarily kind to them, with a ton of contests against top-level teams like the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes on the docket in the coming weeks.

15. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 16th in the NHL power rankings

Newly-inked Mathew Barzal is back on his horse, leading his team to three straight victories with back-to-back game winning goals. Hope seems to have emerged, as the Isles won the Bo Horvat sweepstakes, and the former Canuck captain, who signed an extension to stay in Long Island, could be just the piece the team needs to surge following the break.

As it stands, the team is relying heavily on Barzal as well as goaltender Ilya Sorokin to bail them out and help them win one goal games, so Horvat’s 31-goal season will be huge in generating offense for a team that struggles to find the back of the net. Because of the Horvat trade and their resurgence of late, they stay in the top half of the NHL power rankings.

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16. Vegas Golden Knights

NHL: Florida Panthers at Vegas Golden Knights
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previous ranking: 15th in the NHL power rankings

The Knights are not doing great lately, losing their first-place spot in the Pacific Division to the Seattle Kraken. What’s more, they’ve gone a dismal 2-6-2 in their last ten games, and have damaged the penalty kill’s slow but steady improvement.

The club did not fare well on its New York road trip, grabbing just two points in overtime losses to the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders. A pair of contests against Central Division opponents who are fighting for a playoff spot is next on the calendar for the Golden Knights, which could give the lackluster team a bit of a struggle. The Knights will then move on to challenge the weakest teams in their own division, which they should use as a reset and an easy point grab.

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17. Pittsburgh Penguins (previous ranking: 18)

18. Buffalo Sabres (previous ranking: 17)

19. Nashville Predators (previous ranking: 20)

20. Calgary Flames (previous ranking: 19)

21. Florida Panthers (previous ranking: 21)

22. Ottawa Senators (previous ranking: 24)

23. Detroit Red Wings (previous ranking: 22)

24. Philadelphia Flyers (previous ranking: 23)

25. St. Louis Blues (previous ranking: 25)

26. Vancouver Canucks (previous ranking: 26)

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27. San Jose Sharks (previous ranking: 27)

28. Arizona Coyotes (previous ranking: 29)

29. Montreal Canadiens (previous ranking: 28)

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30. Anaheim Ducks (previous ranking: 31)

31. Chicago Blackhawks (previous ranking: 30)

32. Columbus Blue Jackets (previous ranking: 32)

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