We went through the middle of the season, ranked all 32 teams, handed out mid-season awards, and made bold predictions for the second half. For this edition of Power Rankings, let’s determine the best addition each team has made for 2022-2023 – be it a player or a coach – based on what has happened so far.
How we evaluate: Sportzshala’s panel of hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rank teams against each other – taking into account game scores, injuries and upcoming schedules – and those scores are tabulated to create the list presented here.
Note. The previous rankings for each team refer to the most recent edition published on January 6th. Point percentages refer to Thursday’s games.
1. Boston Bruins
Previous rating: 1
Point Percentage: 82.93%
Next seven days: vs. TOR (January 14), vs. PHI (Jan 16), @NYI (Jan 18), @ NYR (Jan 19)
Boston may have a history of redemption this season in coach Jim Montgomery. Jack Adams favorite and first-year Bruins bench boss was fired by the Stars in December 2019 for “unprofessional behavior inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.” In January 2020, Montgomery announced that he was in rehab for alcohol abuse. He was hired as an assistant with the Blues ahead of the 2020 season before returning to starring with the Bruins. In Boston, he pushed the right buttons and was the coach the boys love to play as, turning the four into a ruthless force.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous rating: 3
Point Percentage: 68.60%
Next seven days: @ BOS (January 14), vs. FLA (January 17) vs. WPG (January 19)
Toronto took a risk by trading Matt Murray. This risk pays off. Murray played well in tandem with another off-season rookie, Ilya Samsonov, and gave the Leaves a desperately needed one-two shot on goal. Murray is not without flaws, but 0.919 SV% and 2.48 GAA is pretty high.
3. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous rating: 2
Point Percentage: 70.24%
Next seven days: vs. PIT (January 14) vs. OT (January 15) vs. MIN (January 19)
Carolina solidified their blue line thanks to Brent Burns. The 37-year-old plays almost 24 minutes per game (a high for the Hurricanes), is a powerplay quarterback and is fourth on the team in scoring (28 points in 40 games). The perfect addition.
4. Vegas Golden Knights
Previous rating: four
Point Percentage: 67.44%
Next seven days: vs. EDM (January 14) vs. DAL (January 16) vs. IT (January 19)
Vegas remains in its honeymoon phase with new head coach Bruce Cassidy. The Golden Knights felt they needed a fresh voice, and Cassidy provided it, propelling them to the top of the Pacific Division standings. He may be the missing piece for the Golden Knights, a change that brings them back to the perpetual postseason contenders after sitting at home last postseason.
5. New Jersey Devils
Previous rating: 6
Point Percentage: 67.07%
Next seven days: @ANA (Jan 13), @ LA (Jan 14), @ SJ (Jan 16), @ SEA (Jan 19)
New Jersey needed some serious help online and he found it by trading Vitek Vanechek. The former Washington Capital bolstered the Devils’ crease with a record of 16-5-2, 0.913% SV and 2.37 GAA to rank among the top goaltenders in the NHL. Vanechek’s presence was the decisive factor these demons needed to thrive.
6. Dallas Stars
Previous rating: 7
Point Percentage: 66.28%
Next seven days: vs. CGY (January 14th), @VGK (January 16th), @SJ (January 18th), @LA (January 19th)
Dallas pursued coach Pete DeBoer right after he was fired by Vegas last summer. It turned out to be the Stars’ best move. DeBoer pushed Dallas to the lead in the Central Division after a season in which he barely made the playoffs. There is support for DeBoer systems across the board, as evidenced on the ice by the consistency that Dallas displays on offense, defense and on special teams.
7 Seattle Kraken
Previous rating: 12
Point Percentage: 65.85%
Next seven days: @ CHI (Jan 14), vs TB (Jan 16), @ EDM (Jan 17), vs NJ (Jan 19)
Seattle played 10 games against Calder Trophy favorite Matty Beniers last season, so Andre Burakovsky has to be his real top rookie. He signed as a free agent with the Kraken, and the big winger scored a team-high 35 points in 40 games (one more than rookie Beniers). An amazing season in Seattle would not have been successful without both of their contributions.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous rating: 8
Point Percentage: 66.25%
Next seven days: @ STL (Jan 14), @ SEA (Jan 16), @ VAN (Jan 18), @ EDM (Jan 19)
Tampa Bay benefited from a great rookie campaign by Nick Perbix. A sixth-round pick in 2017, Perbeeks played four years with St. Cloud State, then the American Hockey League, and successfully entered the top four on the Lightning’s blue line. Tampa Bay, accordingly, this month wasted no time in extending its contract with Perbix by two years.
9. Winnipeg Jets
Previous rating: five
Point Percentage: 65.48%
Next seven days: @PIT (January 13) vs. ARI (January 15th), @MTL (January 17th), @TOR (January 19th)
Winnipeg returned to postseason wrestling under freshman head coach Rick Bowness. Bowness did not hesitate to make changes, stripping Blake Wheeler of the captaincy and forcing the Jets to implement a more defense-oriented system. It worked well for Bowness and Winnipeg, and the Jets are now firmly among the top teams in the league.
10. New York Rangers
Previous rating: nine
Point Percentage: 63.95%
Next seven days: vs. MTL (Jan. 15), @CBJ (Jan. 16) vs. BOS (Jan. 19)
New York’s tangled history with Jimmy Vesey hasn’t diminished his influence this season. Vesey’s second run with the Rangers – who originally signed him as a college free agent in 2016 and then brought him back to the UFA in September – was surprisingly positive. The 29-year-old winger is confident in defense and attack (14 points in 40 games), for which he received a two-year extension. Quite good.
11. Los Angeles Kings
Previous rating: fourteen
Point Percentage: 62.22%
Next seven days: vs. New Jersey (January 14), vs. DAL (January 19)
Last summer, Los Angeles bought Kevin Fiala from the hands of the Minnesota in a trade. What a move. Subsequently, Fiala signed a seven-year contract with the Kings and now leads the team in goals (15) and points (46) in 45 games. Against the backdrop of the season’s ups and downs in Los Angeles, in other respects, Fiala has achieved the stability he desires.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous rating: 13
Point Percentage: 60.00%
Next seven days: vs WPG (Jan 13), @CAR (Jan 14), vs ANA (Jan 16), @OTT (Jan 18)
Pittsburgh would be in trouble without Ian Rutta. In July, the two-time Stanley Cup winner signed a three-year contract with the Penguins to bolster their blue line group. Rutta is practically running it now, despite Pittsburgh’s many injuries. More minutes and responsibility is no problem for Rutta, who, in the words of coach Mike Sullivan, “gives us everything.”
13. Washington Capitals
Previous rating: eleven
Point Percentage: 59.09%
Next seven days: vs. PHI (Jan 14), @NYI (Jan 16) vs. MIN (Jan 17), @ ARI (Jan 19)
Washington signed Stanley Cup champion and free agent Darcy Kemper, and he’s taken to DC. When Kemper was healthy, he posted a record of 12-10-4, 0.919% SV and 2.52 GAA. Staying available will be key for Kemper in the second half to keep Washington moving.
14. Minnesota Wild
Previous rating: 10
Point Percentage: 60.98%
Next seven days: vs. ARI (Jan. 14), @ WSH (Jan. 17), @ CAR (Jan. 19)
A quiet off-season at Minnesota was cut short by the signing of Sam Steele to a one-year, $825,000 free agent contract in late August. Fast forward to Steele, who has become the Wild’s top center, scoring a record seven goals in 40 games and moving with the times to have his best season ever. And he is only 24 years old. That’s a serious return on Minnesota’s investment.
15. Colorado Avalanche
Previous rating: 15
Point Percentage: 53.75%
Next seven days: vs. OTT (January 14) vs. IT (January 16), @CGY (January 18)
The addition of Colorado’s Alexander Georgiev had the desired effect, seamlessly replacing former No. 1 goaltender Kemper. In an injury-frequent season with the Avalanche, Georgiev’s consistent play (0.915% SV, 2.75 GAA) kept him from becoming another major problem.
16. Edmonton Oilers
Previous rating: 20
Point Percentage: 54.65%
Next seven days: @SJ (Jan 13), @VGK (Jan 14) vs. SEA (January 17) vs. TV (January 19)
Edmonton signed Matthias Janmark to a one-year contract to add depth to the attack, which was needed immediately after Evander Kane’s injury at the start of the season. Since then, Yanmark has played a major role for the Oilers, posting solid minutes in 5-on-5 games and leading in shorthanded minutes of all hitters. It must remain prominently displayed even after Kane’s return.
17. New York Islanders
Previous rating: 17
Point Percentage: 54.65%
Next seven days: vs. MTL (January 14) vs. WSH (January 16) vs. BOS (January 18), @BUF (January 19)
New York made the biggest change off the bench by replacing Barry Trotz with Lane Lambert. It was an interesting move, but so far it seems to be working. The Islanders were once again a playoff-level group, and they produced more offense during the Lambert era than when he was Trotz’s assistant. Lambert is also not afraid to hold his team accountable, which bodes well for continued success, although there are inevitable challenges ahead.
18. Nashville Predators
Previous rating: 21
Point Percentage: 53.66%
Next seven days: vs BUF (Jan 14), vs CGY (Jan 16), vs CBJ (Jan 17), @ STL (Jan 19)
Nashville’s offensive struggle would have been even more prominent without Nino Niederreiter’s input. Karolina left Niederreiter on the open market last summer and since joining the Predators he has been a top player, finishing second on the team in goals (12) and fifth in points (22). Nashville needs more producers like him.
19. Buffalo Sabers
Previous rating: sixteen
Point Percentage: 52.50%
Next seven days: @NSH (January 14), vs. FLA (January 16), @CHI (January 17) vs. NYI (January 19)
Buffalo put Owen Power on…