NHL Power Rankings

Last update: Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
By Craig Barnes.
Send Craig an email here: [email protected]

    This is a special end of the year edition of the power rankings, where I will list each team and each team’s MVP as I see it.
  1. Vancouver Canucks
    Henrik Sedin: He was amazing yet again this season for the powerful Canucks. Although not a high goal-scorer, Sedin was able to show off his playmaking capabilities by amassing 81 points, with 67 of those being assists.

  2. Pittsburgh Penguins
    Evgeni Malkin: The almost-assured Hart trophy winner as league MVP, Malkin virtually single-handedly kept Pittsburgh afloat when the injury bug bit this year. His 109 points led the league and showed once again that he is among the top-three players in the NHL consistently.

  3. New York Rangers
    Henrik Lundqvist: As Lundqvist goes, so go the Rangers. New York’s net minder, and my pick for the Vezina trophy as the league’s best goalie had a career year, posting 39 wins, a 1.97 goals-against-average, and a .930 save percentage. Oh yeah, he played the bulk of the Ranger’s schedule too.

  4. New Jersey Devils
    Ilya Kovalchuk: New Jersey’s most consistent offensive force has tallied an impressive 34 goals and 83 points. The Devisl will need his continued production if they want to make a splash in the playoffs.

  5. Boston Bruins
    Patrice Bergeron: My pick for the Selke trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward, Bergeron had a great campaign for the defending champions. His 42 assists show he also has an excellent playmaking side as well.

  6. Nashville Predators
    Shea Weber: I also like goalie Pekka Rinne here, but Weber was Nashville’s most consistent player game-in and game-out. With he and Ryan Suter set to be free agents this year, Predators management better be ready to open up the checkbook.

  7. St. Louis Blues
    Brian Elliott: Indeed, the Blues went with a goaltender-by-committee approach this year, but Elliott was the star for St. Louis. He posted ridiculous stats, including a 1.56 goals-against-average, and a .940 save-percentage.

  8. Philadelphia Flyers
    Claude Giroux: I was initially thinking of putting Scott Hartnell here due to his breakout year. However, I then realized that there would be no breakout year for Hartnell if there was no Claude Giroux. The Flyer’s center posted an unreal season with 93 points. 65 of those points were assists as well.

  9. Phoenix Coyotes
    Mike Smith: It isn’t hard to see that Phoenix needed solid goal tending this year to be successful. I don’t think Coyote’s management thought it would come from Mike Smith, though. He was sensational this year, posting 38 wins and a delightful .930 save percentage.

  10. San Jose Sharks
    Logan Couture: I really like Couture’s game, and his 31 goals and 34 assists show that he will be the centerpiece of this Sharks offense for many years to come.

  11. Detroit Red Wings
    Pavel Datsyuk: I don’t think there’s anything that Datsyuk can’t do. The Red Wings forward finished the year with 67 points, and even though it wasn’t a banner year in Detroit, he was one of the team’s most consistent players.

  12. Chicago Blackhawks
    Patrick Sharp: This was a difficult choice between Sharp and Marian Hossa, but I just feel that Sharp was the more complete player this year with 33 goals and a defensively impressive plus-28 rating on the season.

  13. Washington Capitals
    Nicklas Backstrom: Washington’s No. 1 center only managed to play in 42 games this year, but the Capitals were clearly a better team with him playing, which is one of the reasons they find themselves in the postseason right now.

  14. Los Angeles Kings
    Jonathan Quick: The Kings goaltender was amazing this year. His 1.95 goals-against-average and .929 save percentage are unbelievable numbers that helped propel Los Angeles into the playoffs.

  15. Ottawa Senators
    Jason Spezza: It was a tough choice between Spezza and Erik Karlsson here, but I have to go with Spezza because of his overall game. The Senators center had a tremendous season by registering 34 goals and 84 points, and led Ottawa to a surprising playoff berth.

  16. Florida Panthers
    Brian Campbell: While Erik Karlsson of Ottawa got all the attention as an offensively-minded defenseman, Brian Campbell put together an excellent season in Florida. He had 49 assists alone this year, and showed Panthers fans his abilities that made him so popular when he played in Buffalo.

  17. Buffalo Sabres
    Jason Pominville: When things were going terribly for the Sabres, their captain was their only consistent player. Pominville quietly finished the year with 30 goals and proved he was an excellent choice to lead this Buffalo team.

  18. Calgary Flames
    Mark Giordano: Indeed, this seems like a strange pick considering Giordano plays with Jarome Iginla, but the steady defenseman made a difference when he was in the lineup. Giordano’s numbers won’t stagger anyone, but he played in key situations and, I think, is a cornerstone defenseman for the Flames moving forward.

  19. Dallas Stars
    Kari Lehtonen: The Stars’ net-minder was the main reason why they were in the playoff hunt for most of the season. His .922 save percentage was his most compelling statistic for what I feel was his best season as a professional.

  20. Tampa Bay Lightning
    Steven Stamkos: The easy choice here is Stamkos. The Rocket Richard trophy winner had a banner season in Tampa Bay. He scored 60 goals on the year which led the NHL, and proved that he is a player who you can say in the same sentence as Malkin and Ovechkin.

  21. Colorado Avalanche
    Gabriel Landeskog: The rookie forward had a marvelous year for the Avalanche. A 52-point year is an excellent way to start a career, and Landeskog is showing Colorado’s management that the team needs to surround him with equivalent talent.

  22. Carolina Hurricanes
    Eric Staal: A rough beginning to the season actually ended up being a solid one for the Hurricanes captain. Staal registered 70 points this season, with 46 of those being assists. I wrote earlier that perhaps he needed a change of scenery to get him going. We’ll pause that thought for now.

  23. Minnesota Wild
    Mikko Koivu: Minnesota’s most consistent player when healthy, Mikko Koivu tallied 44 points on the year, but did so in only 55 games. Clearly, he was a difference maker when he was in the lineup for this offensively-starved club.

  24. Winnipeg Jets
    Evander Kane: Kane might be a sleeper pick next year for the fantasy hockey players among us. He closed the campaign with 57 points and reached the 30-goal plateau as well.

  25. New York Islanders
    John Tavares: Islanders fans know they have a super star on their hands with John Tavares. The Islanders forward finished with 81 points in another down year for New York.

  26. Anaheim Ducks
    Teemu Selanne: So much credit has to go to Teemu Selanne for playing as well as he did all year for a struggling Anaheim club. The veteran finished with 66 points on the year, and helped the Ducks charge up the standings in mid-season, only to falter off at the end.

  27. Toronto Maple Leafs
    Phil Kessel: Kessel is the obvious choice because not much better happened in Toronto this year. Indeed, Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner had nice years, but Kessel was consistently at the top of the NHL leaderboard in goals, finishing with 37 tallies on the year.

  28. Edmonton Oilers
    Jordan Eberle: I have been on record saying how impressed I am with Jordan Eberle’s play this season. His stat line of 34 goals, 42 assists for 76 points was outstanding, and gives Edmonton hope for future seasons.

  29. Columbus Blue Jackets
    Rick Nash: Aside from being the Blue Jackets’ best player, Nash also handled the trade deadline with class. He didn’t get dealt despite his alleged requests, but didn’t complain and had a decent year.

  30. Montreal Canadiens
    David Desharnais: Desharnais put together a nice season for the struggling Canadiens. His 60 points at the center position indicates that Montreal has a solid No. 2 center moving forward. The Canadiens need to draft a solid No. 1 this June.

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