NHL Power Rankings: Post-lockout edition
Sean takes a look at how the NHL shakes down from top to bottom entering the long-awaited new season.
Check out where all 30 teams stand before the puck drops on January 19th.
1. Los Angeles Kings -200 The defending champs will start the season at the top of the heap. With minimal changes, the Kings are poised to become the first repeat Stanley Cup winner since the Red Wings did it in 97 and 98.
2. New York Rangers -196 This is a familiar position for the Rangers, but will they finally be able to live up to all of those lofty expectations. Rick Nash should give linemate Brad Richards a huge boost.
3. Vancouver Canucks -194 The Canucks are no longer a youthful bunch, and the Roberto Luongo era has all but ended with Cory Schneider taking over as the team's starting goaltender. Still, this is a team that always seems to be in the mix for the President's Trophy and this year will be no different.
4. Boston Bruins -189 Boston suffered a Stanley Cup hangover last season, but should bounce back strong in the shortened 2013 campaign. The play of Tuukka Rask in goal will be key, as he takes over for Tim Thomas.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins -186 I'm not quite as high on the Penguins as most entering the new season. Can Sidney Crosby stay healthy? Will the Jordan Staal trade pay off? The Pens will be good, but I'm not sure they'll be great.
6. Chicago Blackhawks -182 The Blackhawks are loaded with talent, but haven't been able to regain the form that saw them bring home the Stanley Cup three years ago. Goaltending remains a big issue, with the inconsistent duo of Ray Emery and Corey Crawford being relied upon.
7. St. Louis Blues -177 The pieces are in place for the Blues to make a run. This is a young team, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in today's NHL, especially when you're led by an accomplished head coach like Ken Hitchcock. In a shortened season, the Blues could be an excellent sleeper.
8. Detroit Red Wings -171 The post-Nick Lidstrom era begins in Detroit. The Red Wings aren't getting any younger, but Ken Holland always ices a competitive team, and this year will be no different. The Wings will find a way to contend for top spot in the West once again.
9. Philadelphia Flyers -166 After watching former teammates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter hoist the Cup with the Kings last summer, the Flyers will be extra-motivated to turn the trick themselves here in 2013. Until they come up with a permanent answer between the pipes, they'll remain a longshot at best.
10. Washington Capitals -163 With the built-in advantage of playing in the Southeast Division, the Capitals are always a threat to take a run at the title. After a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, there will be no shortage of motivation for Ovie and the Caps to bounce back, and with the talent on hand, they should do just that.
11. San Jose Sharks -158 The same old Sharks are back. It's hard to say how many more playoff runs the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have left in them. Some would say they're due to miss the playoffs altogether. The reality should lie somewhere in the middle.
12. Minnesota Wild -153 Perhaps no hockey market is more excited about the return of the NHL than Minnesota. With the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild were the big winners in the offseason - we'll see if that translates into success on the ice.
13. Buffalo Sabres -149 The Sabres just haven't been able to get over the hump in recent years, but there's no question, this is a team loaded with talent, depth, and an all-world goaltender in Ryan Miller. A shortened season could benefit them a great deal, although playing the majority of their schedule against Northeast Division foes will be tough.
14. Dallas Stars -144 Dallas will be relying on some aging talent such as Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in an effort to return to prominence. The loss of Mike Ribeiro hurts.
15. Tampa Bay Lightning -139 Don't be fooled. Yes, the Lightning have plenty of talent on paper, but not a great deal of depth. With Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier on the downside of their respective careers, a lot will be placed on the shoulders of Steven Stamkos.
16. Carolina Hurricanes -134 The Staal brothers have been reunited, and Carolina looks like a team to watch in 2013. The addition of Alex Semin from Washington gives the 'Canes even more offensive pop, while youngsters Jeff Skinner and Tim Gleason give them hope for the future.
17. Ottawa Senators -127 The Sens ran into a tough opening round playoff matchup against the Rangers last year, but that didn't take anything away from what was a surprisingly good season. The building blocks are there, but playing in a tough Northeast Division could be their downfall.
18. New Jersey Devils -122 New Jersey's season may rest on whether or not Ilya Kovalchuk returns from Russia. Without him, the Devils would be seriously undermanned offensively, especially considering Zach Parise flew the coop to Minnesota in the offseason.
19. Edmonton Oilers -117 I really think this is the year the Oilers make some noise in the West. With the majority of their young stars getting some much-needed experience at the AHL level this season, the Oil could have one of the most cohesive units in the league early on.
20. Colorado Avalanche -111 It's going to take at least another year for the Avalanche to become a serious player in the Western Conference. They'll ice a lot of talent, but a little too much youth at this point.
21. Nashville Predators -106 Credit the Preds for at least holding on to Shea Weber. This is never going to be a team that wins on talent alone. Gritty play will once again be the norm, as Nashville looks to get over the hump in a crowded Western Conference.
22. Toronto Maple Leafs -101 There are issues all over the place, and the firing of GM Brian Burke came at a rather curious time, but that doesn't mean there isn't a sense of optimism in Leaf Land these days. It remains to be seen whether it's warranted or not.
23. Phoenix Coyotes 104 Was last year's playoff run a fluke? Maybe. The 'Yotes rode the hot hand of goaltender Mike Smith all the way to the Western Conference Final but don't count on a repeat trip this spring.
24. Montreal Canadiens 109 Montreal is hungry for a winner these days. Very hungry. I'm not convinced that Michel Therrien is the answer behind the bench, but I've been proven wrong before. It looks like the Habs are a couple of pieces away from icing a playoff team.
25. Anaheim Ducks 114 The Ducks are loaded, but that hasn't translated into much success in recent years, and I won't be surprised if they underachieve once again in 2013.
26. Florida Panthers 117 Florida was a bad bounce away from ousting the eventual Eastern Conference champion Devils in the opening round of last year's playoffs. However, I think they're in for a fall here in 2013. Goaltending is a major issue, and there are too many holes to fill on the blue line.
27. Winnipeg Jets 121 The Jets will have arguably the toughest travel schedule in the league, but they certainly won't use that as an excuse. This is a young team, and one that is still a year or two away from contending.
28. New York Islanders 124 The Isles will need a lot of bounces to go their way in order to make an improbable run to the postseason. If John Tavares turns in an Hart Trophy-type year, they might have an outside shot, but that's highly unlikely.
29. Calgary Flames 128 Calgary earns a reprieve only thanks to how bad the Blue Jackets are. The Flames really are a mess right now, in my opinion. In an ultra-competitive West, they'll struggle to stay competitive.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets 132 Rick Nash is gone, and so are the Blue Jackets hopes of contending in the next 3-5 years. The cupboard isn't bare, but don't be surprised if the Jackets goaltending situation gets worse before it gets better.
- March 12, 2014 - 10:00 PM
- Nick Parsons
- Offered at:
- pinnacle @ 8.5 -108 Cleveland
1* free play Cleveland Cavaliers.
Editors Note: Parsons enters Wed. on a number of jaw-dropping runs of greatness. First and foremost is his incredible streak of domination on the NBA hardwood! Nick is on a longterm 15-5 +$9,050 NBA run!
Both teams are stumbling right now. The Suns have gone 3-6 their last nine to fall out of the playoff picture.
Brutal defensive play is to blame. Phoenix has given up a ghastly 112.1 PPG while letting opponents shoot 52.5 percent during the slide. Eric Bledsoe returns to the line-up (off the bench according to coach Jeff Hornaceck); Bledsoe is a spark-plug that the Suns desperately need to start producing, but I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be far from 100% game shape in his first outing back.
Cleveland has some work ahead of it as well as it sits five games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East. This is a critical stretch for the Cavs, with games at Golden State and the Clippers before then returning home to play Miami, OKC and Houston.
"We need to play well, obviously, with where we're sitting," Cleveland coach Mike Brown assessed last night. "So it'll be good to get out and get on the road and try to come together and get some wins. I'm looking forward to it; I think the guys are too."
The Cavs have lost four straight, both SU and ATS. They’ve been off since Saturday and also play with the added revenge motivational factor, as the Suns won 99-90 in Cleveland on January 26th.
It was the way the Cavaliers lost that contest as well which won’t be sitting well with them; Cleveland led by as many as 20 points before crashing and burning with a six-point third quarter (note that Cleveland is 9-7 ATS in revenging a home loss vs. an opponent this year).
On the injury front, note that Phoenix will be without the services of starting foward PJ Tucker because of a one game suspension.
The Suns are coming off back-to-back SU road losses, but did manage to cover the spread in each of those contests. However, vs. a highly motivated, revenge minded, rested, focused and frankly desperate Cavs team, I feel this is simply too many points to be giving up here.
Consider a second look at Cleveland in this one.
Good luck, Nick Parsons