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Super 16

Super 16: Top teams in Stanley Cup Qualifiers

Bruins, Blues, Lightning among best in NHL.com rankings

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

The NHL season resumes Saturday with the start of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers after being paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The top four teams in each conference, based on points percentage, will play a three-game round-robin, and the No. 5-12 seeds will be paired in eight best-of-5 series. The winners of those series will advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the four teams from the round-robin.

NHL.com has been previewing the League's return with weekly Super 16 rankings covering positions and teams. This week, the Super 16 covers the top teams among the 24 returning to play.

Is a repeat of last season's Stanley Cup Final in order? The consensus in this week's Super 16 is yes.

The Boston Bruins, the runners-up last season, are No. 1 going into the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, and the St. Louis Blues, the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, are one voting point behind them at No. 2, according to a panel of 13 NHL.com staff members.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference First Round last season, are right behind the Bruins and Blues, four voting points shy of the top spot.

Twenty of the 24 teams in the Qualifiers were ranked this week by the participating staff members. The Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens were not. The Wild, Coyotes and Blackhawks are seeded 10th, 11th and 12th in the Western Conference. The Canadiens are the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference.

To create the Super 16, each of the 13 participating staff members put together his or her version of what they think it should look like. Those were submitted and a point total assigned to each. 

The team selected first was given 16 points, second got 15, third 14 and so on down to No. 16, who got one point. 

Here is the Super 16:

 

1. Boston Bruins (44-14-12, .714 points percentage)

Total points: 191

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS)

Hit: David Pastrnak is back practicing with the full team after participating in one small group session during training camp. The right wing, who tied Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead with 48 goals, said he is healthy and that he was never sick, but he missed practice time because he had to quarantine. Pastrnak might play in the exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN1, TVAS, FS-O, NESN). 

Miss: Ondrej Kase did not travel with the Bruins to Toronto. The forward is on their roster and could join them "in short order," general manager Don Sweeney said Wednesday.

 

2. St. Louis Blues (42-19-10, .662 points percentage)

Total points: 190

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Colorado Avalanche on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS2, ALT, FS-MW)

Hit: Vladimir Tarasenko is back and healthy. The forward hasn't played since Oct. 24, when he sustained a shoulder injury that required surgery. He led the Blues in goals for five straight seasons from 2014-19 and scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games this season.

Video: COL@STL: Tarasenko buries Schwartz's pass

Miss: Vince Dunn returned to practice Monday for the first time since July 14. It's not clear if the defenseman will be ready to play against the Avalanche.

 

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, .657 points percentage)

Total points: 187

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Washington Capitals on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS, SUN, NBCSWA)

Hit: Steven Stamkos is back practicing and the forward said he feels good after missing every practice during training camp because of a lower-body injury he said was related to having core muscle surgery March 2. He could be ready to play Monday.

Miss: Victor Hedman did not travel with Tampa Bay to Toronto, the Eastern Confernce hub city, because of personal reasons. The defenseman is expected to arrive Friday and should be available to play against the Capitals.

 

4. Colorado Avalanche (42-20-8, .657 points percentage)

Total points: 170

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Blues on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS2, ALT, FS-MW)

Hit: The Avalanche are healthy, which is something they couldn't say when the season was paused, when centers Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri, forwards Mikko Rantanen, Andre Burakovsky and Matt Calvert, and goalie Philipp Grubauer were out because of an injury.

Miss: There is a lack of postseason experience at goalie; Grubauer has played 16 NHL playoff games, and Pavel Francouz has never played one.

Video: WSH@COL: Grubauer makes save on Ovechkin

 

5. Vegas Golden Knights (39-24-8, .606 points percentage)

Total points: 146

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Dallas Stars on Monday (6:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN1, ATTSN-RM, FS-SW)

Hit: The Golden Knights have two goalies to choose from: Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. It's an envious position, especially with three games in the round-robin to figure out who will start Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round.

Miss: Max Pacioretty is unfit to play and did not travel with the Golden Knights to Edmonton. It's not clear when the forward, who led Vegas with 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists), will join the team

 

6. Washington Capitals (41-20-8, .652 points percentage)

Total points: 145

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Lightning on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS, SUN, NBCSWA)

Hit: Braden Holtby had a strong training camp and the goalie said he feels comfortable too, a good sign for the Capitals, who will have to ride him if they want to regain the championship they won in 2018.

Miss: The reason Washington will need to ride Holtby is Ilya Samsonov, their backup goalie, sustained a season-ending injury prior to training camp. Also, defenseman John Carlson did not practice Friday after falling into the end boards during the third period of a 3-2 exhibition win against the Carolina Hurricanees on Wednesday. He could return to practice Saturday.

 

7. Pittsburgh Penguins (40-23-6, .623 points percentage)

Total points: 130

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS)

Hit: Sidney Crosby is back after missing five practices/scrimmages last week. The center played in the exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday.

Miss: Pittsburgh was 0-for-3 with four shots on goal on the power play against Philadelphia. The Penguins were 16th in the NHL during the regular season at 19.9 percent.

 

8. Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, .645 points percentage)

Total points: 124

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Bruins on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS)

Hit: Forward Oskar Lindblom is on the roster less than one month after completing his cancer treatments for Ewing's sarcoma.

Miss: Nothing jumps out here with a healthy lineup after the 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins in their exhibition game.

Video: TBL@PHI: Lindblom gets standing ovation

 

9. Dallas Stars (37-24-8, .594 points percentage)

Total points: 89

Game 1: Round-robin vs. Golden Knights on Monday (6:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN1, ATTSN-RM, FS-SW)

Hit: The Stars, like the Golden Knights, are in a good position with their goaltending, having to choose between Ben Bishop (21-16-4, 2.50 goals-against average, .920 save percentage) and Anton Khudobin (16-8-4, 2.22, .930). They also have three round-robin games to decide.

Miss: Roman Polak opted out, leaving the Stars without a veteran defenseman who averaged 16:40 of ice time in his 41 games this season.

 

10. Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-5, .596 points percentage)

Total points: 79

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. New York Rangers on Saturday (Noon ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-CR, MSG)

Hit: The Hurricanes have 16 players on their roster who played for them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, when they reached the Eastern Conference Final.

Miss: Defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Martin Necas each is unfit to play. So is defenseman Brett Pesce, who is on the roster but is recovering from shoulder surgery he had in early March.

 

11. Edmonton Oilers (37-25-9, .585 points percentage)

Total points: 78

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN)

Hit: Centers Leon Draisaitl (110 points; 43 goals, 67 assists) and Connor McDavid (97 points; 34 goals, 63 assists), the top two scorers in the NHL this season, picked up where they left off since training camp began. McDavid scored two goals, and Draisaitl had an assist and won nine of 13 face-offs in the a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames in their exhibition game in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on Tuesday.

Miss: Edmonton has to be wary of its 5-on-5 defense. The Oilers allowed the third most 5-on-5 goals during the regular season (158) and allowed 2.33 goals against at 5-on-5, second-most in the NHL.

Video: EDM@CGY: McDavid nets second goal on the rush

 

12. Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-9, .579 points percentage)

Total points: 57

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, FS-O)

Hit: Ilya Mikheyev's return gives an already deep group of forwards even more depth. Mikheyev scored in a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens in their exhibition game Tuesday; it was his first game since Dec. 27, when his right wrist was cut by a skate blade. The rookie scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 39 games.

Miss: The Maple Leafs, like the Oilers, are another team that has to improve its 5-on-5 defense. Toronto allowed 2.24 goals per game at 5-on-5 this season (157 in 70 games), fifth-most in the NHL. 

 

13. Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, .579 points percentage)

Total points: 49

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Maple Leafs on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, FS-O)

Hit: The Blue Jackets led the NHL with 419 man-games lost to injury this season, but they are almost fully healthy going into the Qualifiers.

Miss: Forward Josh Anderson, who is on the roster, is unfit to play recovering from shoulder surgery.

 

14. New York Islanders (35-23-10, .588 points percentage)

Total points: 33

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Florida Panthers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN1, TVAS, MSG+, FS-F)

Hit: The Islanders will be bolstered by the return of defenseman Adam Pelech and center Casey Cizikas. Pelech hasn't played since sustaining what would have been a season-ending Achilles injury on Jan. 2. Cizikas didn't play after Feb. 11, when he sustained a lacerated left leg.

Miss: They don't have a clear-cut No. 1 goalie between Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss, and they're trying to figure out who among Leo Komarov, Andrew Ladd and Tom Kuhnhackl will play left wing on the third line.

 

15. Winnipeg Jets (37-28-6, .563 points percentage)

Total points: 29

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Calgary Flames on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, CBC, SN)

Hit: The Jets were tied with the Bruins for the fewest goals against per game in the (2.11) and were second on the penalty kill (90.2 percent) from Feb. 1 to the end of the season. Winnipeg was tied for sixth in goals for per game (3.32) and tied for seventh on the power play (24.5 percent) during that time frame.

Miss: They won't have center Bryan Little, who hasn't played since Nov. 5, when he was hit in the head by a shot from forward Nikolaj Ehlers and sustained a perforated eardrum.

 

16. Vancouver Canucks (36-27-6, .565 points percentage)

Total points: 26

Game 1: Qualifier series vs. Minnesota Wild on Sunday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N, FS-WI)

Hit: Micheal Ferland might be in the lineup Sunday. The forward was limited to 14 games this season, none after Dec. 10, because of recurring concussion symptoms.

Miss: If Ferland plays, it could be in place of forward Jake Virtanen, who scored 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 69 regular-season games but struggled in training camp and may have lost his spot in the lineup regardless of Ferland's status. Forward Zack MacEwen is an option, but Josh Leivo is not after the forward had a setback in his recovery from a knee injury and is not on the roster.

 

Others receiving points: Nashville Predators, 22; Calgary Flames, 10; New York Rangers, 8; Florida Panthers, 5

 

HERE'S HOW WE RANKED 'EM 

AMALIE BENJAMIN 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Nashville Predators; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Edmonton Oilers; 13. Columbus Blue Jackets; 14. Toronto Maple Leafs; 15. Florida Panthers; 16. Vancouver Canucks

TIM CAMPBELL

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Edmonton Oilers; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Columbus Blue Jackets; 11. Winnipeg Jets; 12. Calgary Flames; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Philadelphia Flyers; 16. Dallas Stars

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Boston Bruins; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Vegas Golden Knights; 6. Colorado Avalanche; 7. Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. Philadelphia Flyers; 9. Dallas Stars; 10. New York Islanders; 11. Edmonton Oilers; 12. Carolina Hurricanes; 13. Toronto Maple Leafs; 14. Winnipeg Jets; 15. Columbus Blue Jackets; 16. New York Rangers

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Boston Bruins; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. Vegas Golden Knights; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Edmonton Oilers; 13. Toronto Maple Leafs; 14. Columbus Blue Jackets; 15. Florida Panthers; 16. Vancouver Canucks

TOM GULITTI 

1. Boston Bruins; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Philadelphia Flyers; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. Dallas Stars; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Edmonton Oilers; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. Toronto Maple Leafs; 14. New York Islanders; 15. New York Rangers; 16. Nashville Predators

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Boston Bruins; 5. Philadelphia Flyers; 6. Colorado Avalanche; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Dallas Stars; 10. Pittsburgh Penguins; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Vancouver Canucks; 13. Carolina Hurricanes; 14. Winnipeg Jets; 15. New York Rangers; 16. Columbus Blue Jackets

ROBERT LAFLAMME 

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. Vegas Golden Knights; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Winnipeg Jets; 12. Edmonton Oilers; 13. Toronto Maple Leafs; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Nashville Predators; 16. Calgary Flames

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Vegas Golden Knights; 6. Colorado Avalanche; 7. Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Columbus Blue Jackets; 12. New York Islanders; 13. Toronto Maple Leafs; 14. Edmonton Oilers; 15. Nashville Predators; 16. Calgary Flames

TRACEY MYERS 

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Vegas Golden Knights; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. New York Islanders; 14. Toronto Maple Leafs; 15. Vancouver Canucks; 16. Calgary Flames

SHAWN P. ROARKE 

1. Boston Bruins; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Colorado Avalanche; 7. Tampa Bay Lightning; 8. Philadelphia Flyers; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Dallas Stars; 13. Edmonton Oilers; 14. Vancouver Canucks; 15. Winnipeg Jets; 16. Florida Panthers

DAN ROSEN 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Vegas Golden Knights; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Vancouver Canucks; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Edmonton Oilers; 13. Winnipeg Jets; 14. Columbus Blue Jackets; 15. Toronto Maple Leafs; 16. New York Rangers

DAVID SATRIANO

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Boston Bruins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Vegas Golden Knights; 5. Colorado Avalanche; 6. Dallas Stars; 7. Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Pittsburgh Penguins; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Columbus Blue Jackets; 13. Edmonton Oilers; 14. Vancouver Canucks; 15. Winnipeg Jets; 16. New York Rangers

MIKE ZEISBERGER 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Colorado Avalanche; 6. Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Vegas Golden Knights; 8. Toronto Maple Leafs; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Philadelphia Flyers; 12. New York Islanders; 13. Vancouver Canucks; 14. Winnipeg Jets; 15. Calgary Flames; 16. New York Rangers

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