Rich 10 NHL Rankings(Dec. 31-Jan. 5th)

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10. Vegas Golden Knights(21-15-6)

  • Previous Rank: NR
  • Record this past week: 1-2-0
  • The Golden Knights are in a good spot come the new year. With putting up goals against opponents that either match or come close to how many are scored against them, this team is finding consistency. While they are scoring plenty of goals, it doesn’t seem to be enough. This team has struggled to maintain a high ranking and fluctuates in the standings due to inconsistency in games.  With players such as Max Pacioretty leading the team in points, assists and goals and Mark Stone right behind him, this team has the manpower to be great but are not maximizing on opportunities. Vegas goes against three good teams this week which they need to beat in order to find themselves in the top ten next week. 

9. Dallas Stars(22-14-4)

  • Previous Rank: NR
  • Record this past week: 2-0-0
  • Dallas Stars are on a roll right now winning both of their games this past week. This team has gone to a more aggressive playing style, which seems to be helping them win games. With Tyler Seguin and Roope Hintz leading the team in points, this team has been very strong offensively, outscoring opponents but also staying consistent throughout the entire game. This week, the Stars were able to stay alive through a shootout as well as come back in the third to win it against the Coyotes. Dallas is proving themselves in the league right now and will be set to play in the Winter Classic this week, which could help them improve in the standings if they continue to maximize on opportunities. 

8. Carolina Hurricanes(23-14-2)

  • Previous Rank: 4
  • Record this past week: 1-2-0
  • Carolina has struggled this week with finding the net, which leads to their decrease in rank. The Hurricanes goaltending is holding the team back by allowing more goals to be scored than the offense is scoring.  While this team has a great offense, it won’t win games alone if the goaltending is being compromised. With Andrei Svechnikov and his “lacrosse” shots leading the team in points and Sebastian Aho leading the team in goals, this team is strong on their offense, which is keeping the team alive but two players alone cannot run the team without assistance. In order for this team to get to the top, they need to improve on their defense to help keep the puck out of their zone and more moving on the ice towards their offensive zone. 

7. Philadelphia Flyers(22-12-5)

  • Previous Rank: 6
  • Record this past week: 2-1-0
  • They Flyers are a team that just seems to coast along through the standings. This team is very strong with matching scoring to what is being scored on them which is good to make sure you aren’t being outscored. However, they aren’t improving in the league and seem to be playing basic hockey. This team needs to find the aggression in games to fight against opponents and create a strong defense. With star player Travis Konecny leading the team in points and assists, this player is creating a great model for the team with his ability to find the net and maximize on opportunities. This team needs to step up their ability to find the net and not just float their way through. 

6. Colorado Avalanche(23-12-4)

  • Previous Rank: 10
  • Record this past week: 1-1-1
  • The Avalanche seem to be inconsistent in their play right now, going from scoring multiple goals and running the game to completely blowing games to opponents. This team has struggled to find their game with injuries this season but have stayed consistent enough to remain in high standings. Everyone talks about the Avalanche’s star player Nathan MacKinnon and how he leads the team in points and goals and is a valuable leader on this team, however, the players who the team got during trades this summer, seem to be leading the team as well. Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri both have proven to be new assets to the team, helping find the net and massive offensive contenders. The Avalanche are a strong team who need to continue to use their packed team of across the board strong players to push them higher in the league to be present during games and in winning. 

5. Pittsburgh Penguins(24-11-4)

  • Previous Rank: 7
  • Record this past week: 2-0-0
  • The Penguins are continuing to improve in their abilities to win games as well as beat out other teams in the standings. Pittsburgh has a strong offense scoring 11 points combined in their last two games. This offense is being lead by Jake Guentzel, who leads the team in points and goals. Having the ability to find the net almost every game is a great advantage the Penguins have compared to other teams that allows them to improve this season. Going into this upcoming week, Pittsburgh plays three lower-ranked teams, which could help them improve even more or they could fall short if they do not find the net. 

4. New York Islanders(24-10-3) 

  • Previous Rank: 5
  • Record this past week: 1-2-0
  • The New York Islanders is a team that continues to also be a team that holds their own but gets beaten by their opponents constantly. This team has a great group of young players who are leading the team such as Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, and Ryan Pulock who all help maximize on scoring opportunities. The Islanders are another team who seems to fluctuate in standings and can’t always hold their own during games.  The New York Islanders are going to need to beat tough competitors this week in order to keep them from dropping in the standings.

3. Boston Bruins(24-7-9)

  • Previous Rank: 3
  • Record this past week: 3-0-0
  • Boston is a team who is doing well but is just not as good as the teams above them this past week. The Bruins have kept themselves in the top three for multiple weeks now but can’t seem to find that number one spot. The Bruins main issue is that their team can’t seem to be a combined dynamic. With players Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak leading the team, the other players need to step up and maximize on shots like those players do. The Bruins need to find players that are dynamic in styles and that can potentially play both positions if needed. The Bruins need to continue to play good hockey just like they have been but play to where they will not be getting out played by other teams. 

2. St. Louis Blues(26-8-6)

  • Previous Rank: 2
  • Record this past week: 3-0-0
  • The Blues are another team that has held their spot in the top three consistently for the past couple of weeks. St. Louis is a great team that simply just hasn’t found the number one spot through the weeks.  The Blue have a strong core for their team and are only one point behind the Capitals right now. If the Blues can pull off wins against three top teams this week, it might cause a shift in the standings and push them to number one. 

1. Washington Capitals(27-8-5)

  • Previous Rank: 1
  • Record this past week: 1-2-0
  • It is not a surprise that the Capitals have maintained their top spot in the standing for another week. This team is consistently improving their game but are starting to lose their lead against other teams. With only one point separating the Capitals and second place, they need to redeem themselves and pull out multiple wins in order to secure their spot. The Washington Capitals are a good team who had a rough week losing to two very good teams and a combined 14 goals. The Capitals need to work harder on defense and goaltending to prevent getting scored on if they plan to stay number one.

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