This coming Wednesday marks the leagues trade deadline and teams are ramping up for the final month of regular season play, contenders are surging forward towards the Stanley Cup playoffs while teams at the bottom are fizzing out. The Washington Capitals remain atop the Rankings, with a hard charge coming from the Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Here’s a look at the top 10 teams in the league.
1. Washington Capitals (41-13-7) (W-L-OT): Not enough attention is being paid to Braden Holtby who has gone 16-0-2 in his last 18 decisions. It will be interesting to see if the Caps make a move at the deadline with virtually zero holes in their lineup.
2. Minnesota Wild (39-14-6): The already deep Wild instantly filled two holes in a significant trade with the Arizona Coyotes. The team brought in two-way center Martin Hanzal and physical winger Ryan White without subtracting anything off their active roster.
3. Pittsburg Penguins (38-14-8): Will the Pens move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury? That’s the big question surrounding the club heading into Wednesday trade deadline. Currently down five key players – Kris Letang, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta, look for the Pens to make a move at the deadline to improve depth on the blue line.
4. Chicago Blackhawks (38-18-5): The Hawks are on a four game winning streak and are 9-1-0 in their last ten. They got the job done on Sunday night as they beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in a Central Division showdown. The victory puts the Blackhawks just one point behind the Minnesota Wild in the division standings.
5. Columbus Blue Jackets (39-16-5): The Jackets visited New York over the weekend, they outscored New York (Islanders/Rangers) 12-2. John Tortorella’s club continues to hold their own in a tough division.
6. New York Rangers (40-20-2): After going to three straight overtime games, the Rangers didn’t have enough in the tank to pull off another win Sunday night, as they fell to the Blue Jackets by a score of 5-2. It was their first home loss in the last 7 games. Look for the rangers to be active buyers before the trade deadline.
7. Calgary Flames (32-26-4): With five wins in their last six games, the Flames suddenly look rooted into the top wild card spot in the West. This recent surge has been led by Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik, or the 3M Line as they have become known as, have combined for an impressive 6 goals and 17 points over the past five games.
8. San Jose Sharks (36-18-7): A six-game point streak is starting to widen the gap between the Sharks and the rest of the Pacific. Brent Burns picked up an assist on the Sharks lone goal Sunday and now is only three points back from Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring title.
9. Ottawa Senators (33-21-6): The Senators sit just two points behind the Canadiens with two games in hand, they look like a real threat to overtake the scuffling Habs for the top spot in the Atlantic division.
10. Nashville Predators (31-26-4): After putting up 22 points during a successful four game home stand, the Predators top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson has carried them into the top 10 and into a more favorable playoff spot.