The 2021 NHL season has officially started taking shape as the February schedule gets rolling. For this week’s power rankings, we’ve identified the biggest disappointment ever for each team.
How we rank: The ESPN hockey editorial team presents a selection of the ranking teams 1 to 31 – taking into account previous results and additions out of season – and these results are shown in the list provided here.
Note: The previous leaderboard for each team is from our Week 2 issue, which was released on January 27th. The recordings are from the February 2nd games
Previous ranking: 2
In this week: against DET (February 3, 5); @ NSH (February 8th, 9th)
It was a bummer for Tampa Bay to win the Stanley Cup and then not be able to hoist the banner in front of the fans. They also got off to a 4-0 start at the Amalie Arena, but haven’t been able to welcome any audience again.
Previous ranking: 4th
In this week: OTT (February 4); @ OTT (February 6th)
Almost everything has gone well for the Habs so far, but they could clean up their game a bit. Montreal have received 53 penalties in their first 10 games and are second in the league with 12:18 penalty minutes per game.
Previous ranking: 3
In this week: VAN (February 4th, 6th, 8th)
It was a jam at the far end of Toronto’s defensive rotation. The team want to give Mikko Lehtonen a chance but are still reluctant to use him too much in 5v5 when he gets used to the North American game.
Previous ranking: 8th
In this week: @ PHI (February 3rd, 5th)
The Bruins had to shuffle their lines, particularly the right wingers, quite often early in the season when battling injuries. “It’s having the right dilemma [David] Krejci who we thought we would have solved this year, “said coach Bruce Cassidy this week.
Previous ranking: 1
In this week: against LA (Feb 5th, 7th); against ANA (February 9)
The Golden Knights had a top 10 power play last season, but it’s not working for them yet. It is currently the 28th in the league. Trainer Peter DeBoer said last week that the team was trying new concepts. “We’re just not connected as a group out there yet,” he said. “But I think it’s coming.”
Previous ranking: 5
In this week: @ NYR (Feb 4th); PHI (February 7th, 9th)
The Caps’ biggest disappointment this season was with themselves when Alex Ovechkin and three teammates broke strict road trip rules, forcing the captain to miss four games. In his absence, however, Washington took a 3-0-1 lead, including a whopping 55.6% in the power play.
Previous ranking: 18th
In this week: against NSH (February 4th, 5th); DET (February 7th, 9th)
The Panthers’ biggest disappointment could be this: they have the league’s best points percentage and a 5-0-1 record – while newcomers Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe collectively score 10 goals – but they probably don’t get enough credit for it.
Previous ranking: 9
In this week: against BOS (February 3rd, 5th); @ WSH (February 7th, 9th)
Travis Konecny is one of the best young strikers in Philadelphia, having scored five goals in nine games. But the flyers are still looking for more, which leads to a bank on Saturday. “His 5v5 game has to be better in the areas he is familiar with,” said coach Alain Vigneault.
Previous ranking: 16
In this week: @ CHI (February 4th); @ CBJ (February 7th, 8th)
After four starts, Petr Mrazek led the NHL in percent (0.955) and goals against the average (0.99). But Mrazek was injured last weekend and coach Rod Brind’Amour says his absence will be “long term” and he may need surgery.
Previous ranking: 12
In this week: against ARI (February 4); COL (February 6th, 7th), @ MIN (February 9th)
Vince Dunn is an analytics darling, but a slow start and some healthy scratches left him on the trading block. With 24 years and an annual cap hit under $ 2 million, a lot of teams are interested. But can the blues get a top classic in return?
Previous ranking: 6th
In this week: MIN (February 4th); @ STL (February 6th, 7th); ARI (February 9)
For the past two seasons, Nathan MacKinnon carried the load as injuries struck the Avs squad. Unfortunately they have to repay the favor now that the star center has been down “week after week” with an injury to the lower body.
Previous ranking: 7th
In this week: @ CBJ (February 4th); CHI (February 7th, 9th)
Joel Kiviranta was a playoff favorite in the 2020 bubble and was ready to take another step this season. But we haven’t seen the young Finn since the home game (lower body injury) when he made the Dallas injury list.
Previous ranking: 11
In this week: @ COL (February 4th); against ARI (Feb 6, 7); against STL (February 9)
Minnesota’s future looks bright, but the wilderness was also a primary focus for the player safety department this week. Kevin Fiala was banned for boarding three games while Nick Bjugstad was fined $ 5,000 for cross-checking.
Previous ranking: 13th
In this week: CGY (February 4); @ CGY (February 9th)
Although the Jets are happy to have acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois, as an organization they need to look inward and evaluate their culture. While Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are all isolated cases, it’s difficult to get past three top players who want to be out.
Previous ranking: 19th
In this week: against DAL (February 4); CAR (February 7th, 8th)
Here’s something the Blue Jackets aren’t used to: In the first ten games of the season with the top pairing of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski on the ice, Columbus was beaten 11-4.
Previous ranking: 10
In this week: @ NYI (Feb 6); @ NJ (February 9th)
The injury bug bit the penguins hard in 2019-20 and persisted in 2021. This time the blue line is affected. With Jim Rutherford’s surprising resignation last week, it’s up to a new GM to figure these issues out.
Previous ranking: fifteen
In this week: @ CGY (February 6th); @ OTT (February 8th, 9th)
There was hope that after three frustrating seasons in Nashville, Kyle Turris would be able to revive his game in Edmonton. Not as much. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl still get very little help from their teammates, including Turris (only three points in 12 games).
Previous ranking: 24
In this week: @ TOR (February 4th, 6th, 8th)
A leaky defense and less than expected production from the top stars were the reasons for the Canucks’ slow start. Vancouver isn’t in too bad shape but can’t afford to wait 20-30 games to find his move.
Previous ranking: 21st
In this week: @ WPG (February 4th); against EDM (February 6); WPG (February 9)
Something is wrong with Sam Bennett. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Sportsnet the center wanted “a change of scene” but the Flames denied Bennett had a trade request. Whatever is true, jumping around the bottom six isn’t ideal.
Previous ranking: 17th
In this week: PIT (February 9th)
It was nice to see the Devils – led by a resurgent Jack Hughes – making headway this season, but their penalty shootouts (a strength from last season) are poor and rank 29th in the league (67.7%) .
Previous ranking: 14th
In this week: against PIT (February 6); @ NYR (February 8th)
A stretch without a win in five games has been worrying, which means that the islanders’ usual problems are compounded. These include an uninspiring power play (they are 19th in the league at 15.8%) and the lack of goals in general (29th with 2.11 goals per game).
Previous ranking: 20th
In this week: @ FLA (Feb 4th, 5th); against TB (February 8th, 9th)
The Preds have got off to a sluggish start, ranking 27th in the league (2.33 goals per game). In the first nine games, the Preds had a total of less than 38 minutes.
Previous ranking: 27
In this week: against WSH (February 4); NYI (February 8)
Tony DeAngelo finished twelfth in the Norris Trophy vote last season and was awarded a $ 9.6 million contract in October. He turned 25 and will probably never play a game as the New York Ranger again. A disappointing fall.
Previous ranking: 23
In this week: @ VGS (February 5th, 7th); SJ (February 9)
It’s been a promising start to the season of Kings, but depth is becoming an issue. Injuries have hit the blue line hard, with defenders Sean Walker (Matt Dumba Puck in the face) and Matt Roy (aboard Kevin Fiala) “for extended periods”.
Previous ranking: 29
In this week: CAR (February 4th); @ DAL (February 7th, 9th)
While it was an open goalkeeping competition, Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban may be disappointed that Kevin Lankinen got the hang of it so early. The young Finn (who is fourth in the league as a percentage) was sensational.
Previous ranking: 28
In this week: @ STL (February 4th); @ MIN (February 6th, 7th); @ COL (February 9th)
The Coyotes have decided not to swap captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson this off-season and now they see how difficult it is to cast his role. Kyle Capobianco, Jordan Gross and Victor Soderstrom signed up for the injured captain, but it wasn’t the same.
Previous ranking: 26th
In this week: All games postponed
Veteran Kyle Okposo sums up the Sabers season this way: “You could probably ask anyone if they’re happy with their offensive play, especially in advance, and I suspect you’d get a lot of no’s, including me. ” … That will be our greatest challenge. “
Previous ranking: 22nd
In this week: @ ANA (February 5th, 6th); @ LA (February 9th)
The biggest disappointment for the Sharks is that they are the only team that haven’t had a home game yet. Although the schedule has changed a few times, it appears that San Jose will finally be able to play at home on February 13th.
Previous ranking: 25th
In this week: SJ (February 5th, 6th); @ VGS (February 9th)
Anaheim fans know this season is all about transitioning into the future. So it might be a disappointment that Trevor Zegras hasn’t had a call, especially when he’s doing things like this:
Yeah, you won’t stop that!
– San Diego Seagulls (@SDGullsAHL) February 1, 2021
Previous ranking: 31
In this week: @ TB (February 3rd, 5th); @ FLA (February 7th, 9th)
The Red Wings were frustrated that they had lost several players to COVID-related absences while trying to establish their identity. Such is life in the NHL in 2021.
Previous ranking: 30th
In this week: @ MTL (February 4th); MTL (February 6); against EDM (February 8th, 9th)
Matt Murray won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh when he was 23 years old. He signed a hefty deal in Ottawa, but fights there (and it’s not just the team’s fault). His savings percentage of 0.849 is the 51st in the league among goalkeepers with more than one game played.