ESNY’s NHL Power Rankings: Dec. 20 COVID-19 Update

NHL power rankings after major COVID-19 outbreaks across the league.

Leen Amin

Leen Amin

COVID-19 is back and terrorizing the NHL, once again. Games are getting postponed left and right and it was announced on Sunday that cross-border matchups will be delayed through at least Christmas.

The Calgary Flames, who are dealing with the worst outbreak in the league, didn’t play a single game this week while the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs played just once and many teams just twice.

In non-COVID-related news, Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice resigned unexpectedly.

With the league in a bit of a mess, what do the power rankings look like at the close of Week 10? And how bad are affected teams’ outbreaks, exactly?

32. Arizona Coyotes

Week 10: 1-1-0, 8 GF, 8 GA (Opponents: NYR, ANA)
Previous Ranking: 32

At least the Coyotes don’t have to add COVID to their long list of issues for the time being. The fact, however, that some of their games are getting postponed might come as good news to those watching.

31. Montreal Canadiens

Week 10: 1-1-0, 5 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: PIT, PHI)
Previous Ranking: 31

The Canadiens played just twice this week and they had a practice canceled plus their games are postponed until Dec. 28th, but the good news is that Artturi Lehkonen is the team’s only player in protocol.

30. Ottawa Senators

Week 10: 1-1-1, 12 GF, 8 GA (Opponents: FLA, TBL, PHI)
Previous Ranking: 30

Their game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday was postponed, but thankfully the Senators don’t have anyone in protocol. They’ll have a nice break until next Monday, when their games resume.

29. New Jersey Devils

Week 10: 0-4-0, 8 GF, 19 GA (Opponents: PHI, VGK, DET, PIT)
Previous Ranking: 24

Very few teams are in as bad of a state as the Devils. They were one of three teams to play four times this week. They lost all four games, bringing their losing streak up to five-straight, and have a COVID-issue of their own.

Captain Nico Hischier along with defensemen Ryan Graves and P.K. Subban as well as depth players Jesper Boqvist and Christián Jaroš are all in protocol.

28. Seattle Kraken

Week 10: 1-2-0, 7 GF, 10 GA (Opponents: SJS, ANA, EDM)
Previous Ranking: 27

Jamie Oleksiak and Carson Soucey are both in COVID protocol for the Kraken. Seattle’s upcoming week is a short one- just one game against the Coyotes- so that should give these guys time to recover.

27. New York Islanders

Week 10: 1-1-1, 7 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: DET, BOS, VGK)
Previous Ranking: 29

The Islanders have already dealt with COVID issues and it was probably the worst of any team.

It’s good to see that they don’t have much of a problem now, although their star center Mathew Barzal is in protocol. At least he’ll have some time to rest since New York doesn’t take the ice again until Thursday.

26. Chicago Blackhawks

Week 10: 1-0-2, 10 GF, 11 GA (Opponents: WSH, NSH, DAL)
Previous Ranking: 26

The Blackhawks are in pretty good shape right now. They don’t have any COVID issues, are finding ways to get points often (they earned at least a point in every game this week), and have a nice little break until Thursday.

25. Buffalo Sabres

Week 10: 2-0-1, 9 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: WPG, MIN, PIT)
Previous Ranking: 28

The Sabres are in a better position than many teams, at the moment. They were able to play three games this week (and earn points in all of them), don’t have much of a delay in schedule, and don’t have any players in protocol.

24. Philadelphia Flyers

Week 10: 2-0-1, 12 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: NJD, MTL, OTT)
Previous Ranking: 25

The Flyers were able to get three games in this week and only have Morgan Frost in protocol. They have an opportunity to build momentum, not having lost a game this past week and being able to play their next game on Tuesday.

23. San Jose Sharks

Week 10: 0-2-0, 3 GF, 8 GA (Opponents: SEA, VAN)
Previous Ranking: 16

The Sharks have already dealt with their fair share of COVID issues. They currently don’t have anyone in protocol and won’t be playing at all this upcoming week. It isn’t great that they head into this mini-break on a losing streak.

22. Columbus Blue Jackets

Week 10: 0-2-0, 5 GF, 9 GA (Opponents: VAN, EDM)
Previous Ranking: 19

The Blue Jackets saw a postponement in their game on Saturday against the Flames. They currently have Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic, and Gabriel Carlsson in protocol. How badly will they be missed in Monday’s game against Buffalo?

21. Los Angeles Kings

Week 10: 2-1-1, 10 GF, 11 GA (Opponents: TBL, FLA, CAR, WSH)
Previous Ranking: 21

Drew Doughty is in protocol for the Kings, but at least he’s the only one. More good news is that the Kings’ game against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday has been postponed, so they won’t have to play a back-to-back.

20. Vancouver Canucks

Week 10: 2-0-0, 9 GF, 5 GA (Opponents: CBJ, SJS)
Previous Ranking: 16

The Canucks take a fantastic six-game winning-streak into their break. They won’t play until next Monday and it’ll be a good recovery period for Brad Hunt, Juho Lammikko, Tyler Myers, Tucker Poolman, and Luke Schenn.

19. Boston Bruins

Week 10: 0-2-0, 2 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: VGK, NYI)
Previous Ranking: 18

The Bruins have a much-needed break until next Monday. Check out this star-studded list of guys in protocol: Patrice Bergeron, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, Brad Marchand, Craig Smitch, and Jeremy Swayman.

18. Dallas Stars

Week 10: 1-2-0, 6 GF, 11 GA (Opponents: STL x2, CHI)
Previous Ranking: 22

The Stars were one of the few teams in the news for something other than COVID. Goaltender Ben Bishop retired unexpectedly due to health issues.

17. Winnipeg Jets

Week 10: 1-2-0, 8 GF, 11 GA (Opponents: BUF, WSH, STL)
Previous Ranking: 17

The Jets will have time to adjust to life post-Maurice during their week off.

16. Detroit Red Wings

Week 10: 2-1-0, 10 GF, 8 GA (Opponents: NYI, CAR, NJD)
Previous Ranking: 20

This was a nice bounce-back week for the Red Wings. It was good for them to come away with two wins during such a dysfunctional time. The Red Wings are off until the 27th, a break that they need.

Members of the organization in protocol are: head coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay, assistant video coach Jeff Weintraub, Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner, Alex Nedeljkovic, Michael Rasamussen, Carter Rowney, Givani Smith, Pius Suter, and Joe Veleno.

15. Edmonton Oilers

Week 10: 2-1-0, 11 GF, 10 GA (Opponents: TOR, CBJ, SEA)
Previous Ranking: 15

Edmonton’s offense has finally gotten going again after an uncharacteristic slump.

It’s especially impressive that the Oilers are winning without some of their more important players who are in protocol: Duncan Keith, Ryan McLeod, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Devin Shore.

14. Colorado Avalanche

Week 10: 1-1-0, 6 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: NYR, NSH)
Previous Ranking: 12

The Avalanche have been hit pretty hard and will end up having a minimum of 11 days off, which they really do need. Andre Burakovsky, J.T. Compher, Darcy Kuemper, Cale Makar, and Devon Toews are all currently in protocol.

13. Anaheim Ducks

Week 10: 1-0-1, 9 GF, 7 GA (Opponents: SEA, ARI)
Previous Ranking: 8

Anaheim’s games have been postponed through next Monday, but the good news is that the players are in the clear.

12. Pittsburgh Penguins

Week 10: 3-0-0, 11 GF, 6 GA (Opponents: MTL, BUF, NJD)
Previous Ranking: 13

The Penguins are on cloud nine. They have no COVID problems, their schedule is relatively unaffected, and they’re on a seven-game winning streak. They probably deserve it after their cursed start to the season.

11. St. Louis Blues

Week 10: 2-1-0, 10 GF, 6 GA (Opponents: DAL x2, WPG)
Previous Ranking: 11

This was a good week for the Blues, who also have off until the 27th. Oskar Sundqvist is their only player in COVID protocol.

10. Vegas Golden Knights

Week 10: 4-0-0, 16 GF, 9 GA (Opponents: BOS, NJD, NYR, NYI)
Previous Ranking: 14

The Golden Knights are on fire. They won all of their games in what was a busy week and don’t have any COVID issues. Vegas is rolling.

9. Calgary Flames

Week 10: DNP
Previous Ranking: 9

The Flames, who were the only team to not play in Week 10, have the worst COVID situation in the league. They haven’t played since Dec. 11th and won’t play again until at least the 27th.

The list of players in protocol is jaw-dropping: Rasmus Andersson, Mikael Backlund, Dillon Dube, Byron Froese, Johnny Gaudreau, Erik Gubranson, Noah Hanifin, Oliver Kylington, Trevor Lewis, Elias Lindholm, Milan Lucic, Andrew Mangiapane, Jacob Markström, Sean Monahan, Tyler Pitlick, Brad Richardson, Adam Ružička, Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadarov.

8. Nashville Predators

Week 10: 2-0-0, 8 GF, 4 GA (Opponents: COL, CHI)
Previous Ranking: 10

The Predators are dealing with an outbreak and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. With seven-straight wins they’re arguably the hottest team in the league, but now have to sit for 10 days.

Mikael Granlund, Ben Harour, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron, and Philip Tomasino are in protocol.

7. Florida Panthers

Week 10: 0-2-0, 3 GF, 12 GA (Opponents: OTT, LAK)
Previous Ranking: 3

Things are really getting tough for the undermanned Panthers.

They’re shut down until next Monday and have a lot to look forward to as they welcome back key players from COVID protocol: Sam Bennett, Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas, Ryan Lomberg, Brandon Montour, Frank Vatrano, and Carter Verhaege.

6. New York Rangers

Week 10: 1-1-1, 7 GF, 9 GA (Opponents: COL, ARI, VGK)
Previous Ranking: 6

The Rangers’ already weird upcoming schedule just got weirder. Their only game of the week has been postponed and they won’t play again until Week 12. The good news is that Patrik Nemeth is the sole member of the team in protocol right now.

5. Minnesota Wild

Week 10: 0-0-1, 2 GF, 3 GA (Opponent: BUF)
Previous Ranking: 5

The Wild played just one game this past week and will play just one during Week 11, and it’ll come on Monday. They’re on a three-game losing streak and are caught in a bit of a slump, but at least none of their players have COVID.

4. Washington Capitals

Week 10: 1-1-1, 11 GF, 10 GA (Opponents: CHI, WPG, LAK)
Previous Ranking: 1

The Capitals are so deep that they’re capable of earning points even without their top guys. Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, and Michael Sgarbossa are all in protocol.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning

Week 10: 2-0-0, 5 GF, 3 GA (Opponents: LAK, OTT)
Previous Ranking: 7

The Lightning are hot right now and they’ll look to stay that way, especially since they’re not dealing with any COVID issues.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

Week 10: 2-0-0, 10 GF, 4 GA (Opponents: DET, LAK)
Previous Ranking: 4

The Hurricanes showed us why they’re the some of the best in the game this week. They can beat anyone, even when they’re missing players.

Sebastian Aho, Ian Cole, Seth Jarvis, Steven Lorentz, Jordan Staal, and Andrei Svechnikov are all in COVID protocol.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Week 10: 1-0-0, 5 GF, 1 GA (Opponent: EDM)
Previous Ranking: 2

The Maple Leafs are going to have a total of two weeks off. Will that end up being a great rest period for them or will it cause them to become rusty?

In any event, they’re going to need it, since their list of guys in protocol is just getting longer: head coach Sheldon Keefe, assistant coach Spencer Carbery, T.J. Brodie, Jack Campbell, Travis Dermott, Alexander Kerfoot, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, and John Tavares.

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