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Super 16

Super 16: Reasons for optimism, question marks in power rankings

NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen breaks down strengths, weaknesses ahead of Trade Deadline

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Super 16 Power Rankings

Check out this week's Super 16 Power Rankings

See which one of your favorite teams moved in or out of this week's Super 16 Power Rankings

  • 01:00 •

There was minimal movement in the Super 16 power rankings this week compared to last week, with three teams moving up one spot and three others dropping one spot.

But the Super 16 this week still looks different from the others because of the content. We've replaced the hits and misses under each team with new categories: reason for optimism and biggest question mark.

The 16 teams ranked below can and likely should all be considered as potential buyers in the trade market leading up to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. ET. The reasons for optimism and biggest question marks hint at what the 16 teams might be looking for in a trade.

To create the power rankings, each of the 13 staff members puts together his or her version of what the Super 16 should look like. Those are submitted and a point total is assigned to each.

The team picked first is given 16 points, second gets 15, third gets 14 and so on down to No. 16, which gets one point. 

Here is the latest Super 16:

 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (37-11-2)

Total points: 208

Last week: No. 1

Reason for optimism: The Lightning are never out of games. They are 16-8-0 when allowing the first goal and 10-7-0 when trailing after the first period. 

Biggest question mark: Why do they start slow? The Lightning have allowed 59 goals in the first period, second most in the NHL.

Video: SJS@TBL: Stamkos blasts one-timer on power play

 

2. Calgary Flames (33-13-5)

Total points: 188

Last week: No. 2

Reason for optimism: David Rittich. The 26-year-old goalie is holding up against a heavier workload of late, going 8-0-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 10 starts since Dec. 27. 

Biggest question mark: Do the Flames rely on the comeback too much? They lead the NHL with seven wins when trailing after the second period, but they have trailed after the second in 21 games, the most of any team currently in position to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: CAR@CGY: Rittich sprawls to rob Williams

 

3. Winnipeg Jets (32-16-2)

Total points: 184

Last week: No. 3

Reason for optimism: The Jets have remained in first place in the Central Division despite defenseman Dustin Byfuglien missing the past 12 games with a lower-body injury and forward Nikolaj Ehlers missing the past 10 with an upper-body injury. They are 8-4-0 without Byfuglien and 7-3-0 without Ehlers. Each should return in February.

Biggest question mark: What is going on with Patrik Laine? The third-year right wing played a season-low 10:55 in a 4-3 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. He has no goals in his past five games, one in the past 12 and two in 18 since Dec. 16.

Video: WPG@BOS: Connor puts Jets ahead with second goal

 

4. San Jose Sharks (29-16-7)

Total points: 159

Last week: No. 4

Reason for optimism: Erik Karlsson. The defenseman was able to play in the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday after he missed San Jose's final three games before the break because of a lower-body injury. He should be good to go when the Sharks return from their mandatory five-day break after the All-Star Game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Biggest question mark: Will goalie Martin Jones be able to pull his game back together coming out of the break? Jones allowed 17 goals on 86 shots in the final three games before the break, including at least five in each game, dropping his season save percentage to .895.

Video: How Karlsson fits into the Sharks' long-term picture

 

5. Nashville Predators (30-18-4)

Total points: 155

Last week: No. 5

Reason for optimism: All three forwards on the Predators' top line, Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, are healthy again, and production has followed. Johansen scored in a 2-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 23, Nashville's last game before All-Star Weekend and their mandatory five-day break after the All-Star Game. Forsberg and Arvidsson have combined for 11 goals in the past eight games.

Biggest question mark: How can the Predators fix their power play? They are 29th in the NHL (13.1 percent). More recently, the Predators are 0-for-25 in seven games since Jan. 10 and an NHL-worst 9.6 percent (7-for-73) in 24 games since Dec. 6.

Video: EDM@NSH: Forsberg rockets home one-timer for PPG

 

6. New York Islanders (29-15-5)

Total points: 140

Last week: No. 6

Reason for optimism: Robin Lehner. In 13 games (12 starts) since Dec. 18, he is 11-1-1 with an NHL-best 1.34 GAA, a .953 save percentage and two shutouts. Lehner, who is 15-7-4 with a 2.02 GAA, a .931 save percentage and three shutouts this season, is a candidate for the Vezina Trophy.

Biggest question mark: Can their power play make a positive difference? The Islanders are tied for 23rd in the NHL (16.7 percent), but it's gotten better of late, going 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) in the past eight games.

 

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (30-17-2)

Total points: 123

Last week: No. 8

Reason for optimism: Jake Muzzin. The Maple Leafs bolstered their back end by acquiring the defenseman in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. Muzzin is expected to partner with Morgan Rielly on Toronto's top defense pair, shifting Ron Hainsey to the third pair with Travis Dermott and leaving Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner as the second pair. That's the kind of defensive depth the Maple Leafs need to make a run at the Stanley Cup.

Biggest question mark: How long will it take for Muzzin to fit in and get up to speed with what the Maple Leafs do? That remains to be seen because it's not going to be an easy transition for Muzzin considering he's coming from the Western Conference and has only played for the Kings.

 

8. Vegas Golden Knights (29-19-4)

Total points: 122

Last week: No. 7

Reason for optimism: Home games. After playing their first four games following their mandatory five-day break on the road, the Golden Knights play 10 of their next 12 from Feb. 9-March 6 at T-Mobile Arena, where they are 16-6-3 this season. That's when they could catch and possibility get some separation from the Sharks for second in the Pacific Division; San Jose plays six road games in that same stretch and is 12-12-3 on the road.

Biggest question mark: Will center William Karlsson rediscover his scoring touch? Karlsson, who scored 43 goals last season, has three points, including two goals, in 14 games since Dec. 23. He has been held without a point in 12 of those games and has 10 shots on goal in his past eight games.

Video: MIN@VGK: Marchessault feeds Tuch for PPG

 

9. Washington Capitals (27-17-6)

Total points: 102

Last week: No. 9

Reason for optimism: The break. Washington's time off, including its mandatory five-day break after the All-Star Game, came at a good time for the struggling team. The Capitals have lost seven games in a row (0-5-2), but they play six straight at home, starting against the Flames on Friday.

Biggest question mark: Can they re-establish their defensive structure? Washington has allowed 34 goals in its past six games and included in that is a 2-0 loss to the Islanders. The Capitals have allowed a hat trick in four of their past five games.

 

10. Boston Bruins (27-17-6)

Total points: 94

Last week: No. 11

Reason for optimism: Health. The Bruins will be 100 percent healthy for the first time this season if goalie Tuukka Rask at least dresses for their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. This is notable, especially on the back end, because seven of Boston's eight active defensemen have missed time with an injury this season, totaling 97 man-games missed.

Biggest question mark: Who is the third-line center and where is the secondary scoring going to come from? Trent Frederic got his first chance to play the position in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Jets on Tuesday. Can he be the solution? Forwards David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci have scored 60 percent of Boston's goals this season (87 of 145). The Bruins need another top-six forward.

 

11. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-18-3)

Total points: 78

Last week: No. 10

Reason for optimism: Backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo. He has done well with a heavier workload than normal in the past few weeks. He has started four of the past seven games, going 3-1-0 with a 1.96 GAA and .935 save percentage. This is important because No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky's future in Columbus is uncertain because he's not signed beyond this season.

Biggest question mark: What happens now with Artemi Panarin? The 26-year-old forward, who leads the Blue Jackets with 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists), informed them through his agent, Dan Milstein, that he will not engage in negotiations for a new contract during the season, meaning Columbus might now trade the pending unrestricted free agent before the trade deadline.

Video: NJD@CBJ: Korpisalo stretches across to rob Boyle

 

12. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-6)

Total points: 68

Last week: No. 12

Reason for optimism: Justin Schultz. The defenseman, who has missed 46 games with a fractured left leg, returned to practice in a full-contact role Wednesday, a big step toward his eventual return to the lineup. Schultz should markedly improve the Penguins defense, and getting him back would be like adding a player before the trade deadline without having to give up anything for him.

Biggest question mark: What is wrong with the Penguins power play? They are 4-for-30 (13.3 percent) in nine games since Jan. 6. Worse yet, they allowed three shorthanded goals in six games from Jan. 11-28, all with their top power-play unit on the ice. The Penguins were 31-for-114 (27.2 percent) on the power play in their first 41 games but have allowed an NHL-high 11 shorthanded goals this season.

 

13. Montreal Canadiens (28-18-5)

Total points: 62

Last week: No. 13

Reason for optimism: Carey Price. The goalie is red-hot. Since Jan. 3, he had a 1.51 GAA, a .953 save percentage and two shutouts in eight games prior to All-Star Weekend.

Biggest question mark: Will their power play ever make a positive difference? The Canadiens are 30th in the NHL (13.0 percent), including 3-for-29 (10.3 percent) in 12 games since Dec. 31. They are seventh in 5-on-5 goals-for (113) and fourth in shot attempts percentage at 5-on-5 (53.73), but their power play has dragged them down and is likely a reason they are not ahead of the Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.

 

14. Minnesota Wild (26-21-3)

Total points: 36

Last week: No. 14

Reason for optimism: Road success. The Wild have won two in a row and six of their past eight road games since Dec. 29. This matters because they play four of their next six games on the road and seven of nine from Feb. 21-March 8.

Biggest question mark: Will the Wild remain one of the most inconsistent teams in the NHL? They won three in a row going into the All-Star break but lost three of their previous four and needed a shootout to defeat the Kings for the only win in that stretch. That came after winning four of five from Jan. 3-10, which followed a 4-10-1 stretch from Nov. 27-Dec. 31. If the Wild don't build on their three-game winning with a strong next few weeks, they could fall out of a playoff spot and go into selling mode.

 

15. Buffalo Sabres (25-19-6)

Total points: 19

Last week: No. 16

Reason for optimism: Home games. The Sabres play their next seven games at KeyBank Center, where they are 14-6-3. If they're going to make a push up the standings, the first two weeks in February is the time to do it.

Biggest question mark: Secondary scoring. In 25 games since Nov. 29, forwards Jeff Skinner (12), Jack Eichel (11) and Sam Reinhart (nine) have scored 32 of the 66 goals for the Sabres. They are 8-13-4. It's a change from their first 25 games, when Skinner (19), Eichel (5) and Reinhart (3) combined for 27 goals and the rest of the team had 49. The Sabres were 17-6-2.

Video: NJD@BUF: Mittelstadt pots own rebound from in front

 

16. Colorado Avalanche (22-20-8)

Total points: 12

Last week: No. 15

Reason for optimism: They're still in it. The Avalanche have an NHL-worst 15 points since Dec. 4, going 6-14-3 in that stretch, but they're still in a playoff position (second wild card from the Western Conference). They have time to turn it around and give themselves a cushion to make the playoffs for a second straight season.

Biggest question mark: Can they recover? The optimistic view is to see the Avalanche as still in a playoff position, but the fact is they have been the worst team in the NHL for nearly two months, including allowing an NHL-high 89 goals since Dec. 4, and it's fair to wonder if they'll ever get it back on track.

 

Others receiving points: Dallas Stars 10, Carolina Hurricanes 8

Dropped out: None

 

HERE'S HOW WE RANKED 'EM

AMALIE BENJAMIN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Nashville Predators; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. New York Islanders; 9. Boston Bruins; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Columbus Blue Jackets; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Buffalo Sabres; 16. Carolina Hurricanes

TIM CAMPBELL

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Boston Bruins; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Buffalo Sabres; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Colorado Avalanche

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. New York Islanders; 4. Winnipeg Jets; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Nashville Predators; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. Montreal Canadiens; 9. Vegas Golden Knights; 10. Boston Bruins; 11. Washington Capitals; 12. Minnesota Wild; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Columbus Blue Jackets; 16. Buffalo Sabres

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. New York Islanders; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. San Jose Sharks; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Nashville Predators; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Buffalo Sabres; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Carolina Hurricanes

TOM GULITTI

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. New York Islanders; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Nashville Predators; 7. Vegas Golden Knights; 8. Toronto Maple Leafs; 9. Boston Bruins; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Columbus Blue Jackets; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Buffalo Sabres; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Colorado Avalanche

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Winnipeg Jets; 3. Calgary Flames; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Nashville Predators; 6. New York Islanders; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Washington Capitals; 10. Columbus Blue Jackets; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Minnesota Wild; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Colorado Avalanche; 15. Pittsburgh Penguins; 16. Dallas Stars

ROBERT LAFLAMME

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Toronto Maple Leafs; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. New York Islanders; 10. Vegas Golden Knights; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Colorado Avalanche; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Dallas Stars

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. San Jose Sharks; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. Calgary Flames; 6. New York Islanders; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Buffalo Sabres; 16. Colorado Avalanche

TRACEY MYERS

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. New York Islanders; 6. Nashville Predators; 7. Vegas Golden Knights; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Montreal Canadiens; 11. Washington Capitals; 12. Toronto Maple Leafs; 13. Minnesota Wild; 14. Pittsburgh Penguins; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Colorado Avalanche

BILL PRICE

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. New York Islanders; 7. San Jose Sharks; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Vegas Golden Knights; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Colorado Avalanche; 16. Dallas Stars

SHAWN P. ROARKE

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Winnipeg Jets; 3. Nashville Predators; 4. Calgary Flames; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. New York Islanders; 9. Boston Bruins; 10. Pittsburgh Penguins; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Buffalo Sabres

DAN ROSEN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Calgary Flames; 3. Winnipeg Jets; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. New York Islanders; 6. San Jose Sharks; 7. Vegas Golden Knights; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Columbus Blue Jackets; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Buffalo Sabres

MIKE ZEISBERGER

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Winnipeg Jets; 3. Calgary Flames; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Nashville Predators; 6. New York Islanders; 7. Toronto Maple Leafs; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Washington Capitals; 10. Pittsburgh Penguins; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. Columbus Blue Jackets; 14. Buffalo Sabres; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Dallas Stars

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