NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, one word to describe each team

ByKristen Shilton ESPN logo
Friday, April 7, 2023

We've entered the final week of the 2022-23 NHL regular season. While some playoff spots continue to be contested, we have seen enough of all 32 teams to distill their performances during this campaign down to one word.

So for this week's edition of the NHL Power Rankings -- the final set for this season -- we offer the last word on each club's 2022-23 regular season.

How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another -- taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule -- and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.

Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the most recent edition, published March 31. Points percentages are through Thursday's games.

1. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 1

Points percentage: 81.41%

Remaining games: vs. NJ (Apr. 8), @ PHI (Apr. 9), vs. WSH (Apr. 11), @ MTL (Apr. 13)

Last word: Unforgettable. Boston has collected accolades, broken records and reached elite benchmarks in a thoroughly dominant regular-season performance. Like every team, the Bruins care more about what happens when the calendar flips to playoff time, but no one inside -- or outside -- that organization should soon forget what Boston achieved this season.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 2

Points percentage: 69.87%

Remaining games: @ BUF (Apr. 8), @ OTT (Apr. 10), vs. DET (Apr. 11), @ FLA (Apr. 13)

Last word: Thriving. Carolina proved last season's 116-point effort was no fluke. The Hurricanes passed the 100-point mark again this season with steady, effective contributions across the board. This is a team living its best life now, and it's an era of prosperity in which Carolina deserves to revel.

3. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 3

Points percentage: 68.35%

Remaining games: @ BOS (Apr. 8), vs. BUF (Apr. 11), @ WSH (Apr. 13)

Last word: Astonishing. New Jersey showcased the season's best glow-up by going from a recent underachiever to startling playoff contender. And what fun these Devils have been to watch. The way New Jersey's young talent came into its own during the regular season suggests there is plenty more special years ahead for this team.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 4

Points percentage: 66.03%

Remaining games: vs. MTL (Apr. 8), @ FLA (Apr. 10), @ TB (Apr. 11), @ NYR (Apr. 13)

Last word: Successful. Toronto was supposed to have a good regular season. And it did. The Leafs will finish with more than 100 points and appear to have set themselves up to strongly compete in the playoffs. That is really what the regular season is for anyway, a tune-up toward the only task that matters for Toronto: winning a postseason series.

5. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 6

Points percentage: 67.09%

Remaining games: @ DAL (Apr. 8), vs. SEA (Apr. 11), @ SEA (Apr. 13)

Last word: Resilient. Vegas had another regular season filled with obstacles (including those pesky, self-imposed, salary cap related ones). But this time, the Golden Knights found a way to come out on top. Despite injuries and other issues, Vegas kept betting on itself and proved to be a satisfying wager.

6. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 10

Points percentage: 64.10%

Remaining games: vs. VGK (Apr. 8), @ DET (Apr. 10), @ STL (Apr. 12), vs. STL (Apr. 13)

Last word: Energizing. Dallas didn't just get star turns from its younger performers -- Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Jake Oettinger, etc. -- coming further to life this season. The Stars also enjoyed a renaissance of sorts for veterans Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, contributing like they haven't in years. Whatever the Stars have cooking, it's been great for the team's new and old guard.

7. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 5

Points percentage: 65.82%

Remaining games: @ CBJ (Apr. 8), vs. BUF (Apr. 10), vs. TOR (Apr. 13)

Last word: Beneficial. New York didn't shy away from big swings (hello, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane) or learning big lessons (chemistry takes time to build). New York should be a more complete playoff team because of how it used the regular season to troubleshoot, experiment and get real about what could take them on another deep postseason run.

8. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 9

Points percentage: 64.94%

Remaining games: @ LA (Apr. 8), @ ANA (Apr. 9), vs. EDM (Apr. 11), vs. WPG (Apr. 13), @ NSH (Apr. 14)

Last word: Tenacious. Colorado didn't look like the reigning Stanley Cup champion for much of the early regular season (and losing captain Gabriel Landeskog for the year was a tough blow). But the Avalanche got back on track with impressive turns from Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. No one should be hoping for a matchup in the Mile High City this spring.

9. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 8

Points percentage: 62.82%

Remaining games: vs. STL (Apr. 8), @ CHI (Apr. 10), vs. WPG (Apr. 11), @ NSH (Apr. 13)

Last word: Determined. Minnesota started the season slowly after a low-key offseason where GM Bill Guerin couldn't improve his roster amid ongoing salary cap issues. No matter. Minnesota stayed the course, and its top players like Kirill Kaprizov, Marc-Andre Fleury and -- most recently -- Matt Boldy proved Guerin right for trusting his group to succeed.

10. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 11

Points percentage: 65.19%

Remaining games: @ SJ (Apr. 8), @ COL (Apr. 11), vs. SJ (Apr. 13)

Last word: Star-powered. Edmonton's regular season deserves a two-word hyphenate for its two superstars (that's Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, of course), whose performances defined the Oilers' campaign to date. Is there a ceiling one or both of them can't break through? Talk about elevating those around them, too.

11. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 7

Points percentage: 63.29%

Remaining games: vs. COL (Apr. 8), vs. VAN (Apr. 10), @ ANA (Apr. 13)

Last word: Unsung. Los Angeles might be having the strongest, most unacknowledged regular season of any club. The Kings weathered early-season issues and said goodbye to franchise legend Jonathan Quick. They also didn't hesitate to add at the trade deadline and have been a beacon of consistency in the wild, wild West. L.A. deserves more flowers.

12. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 12

Points percentage: 63.29%

Remaining games: @ OTT (Apr. 8), vs. TOR (Apr. 11), vs. DET (Apr. 13)

Last word: Archetypal. Tampa Bay's season is playing out as usual: The Lightning have gone through uniquely dominant stretches, followed by patches that beg the question, "Is Tampa Bay finally tired?" And before you know it, the Lightning answer critics with more crisp execution. Of course there was a little drama mixed in with trade deadline moves and a star or two being benched. Never a dull moment!

13. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 15

Points percentage: 57.05%

Remaining games: vs. NSH (Apr. 8), vs. SJ (Apr. 10), @ MIN (Apr. 11), @ COL (Apr. 13)

Last word: Maddening. Winnipeg is a good team. Maybe a great one. So why have the Jets made so much of this season unnecessarily difficult? Connor Hellebuyck has backstopped this group with a Vezina Trophy-worthy campaign, but elsewhere the Jets are infuriatingly up and down. That might not ultimately cost them a playoff spot, but there had to be an easier path for such a talented club.

14. Seattle Kraken

Previous ranking: 14

Points percentage: 61.54%

Remaining games: vs. CHI (Apr. 8), @ ARI (Apr. 10), @ VGK (Apr. 11), vs. VGK (Apr. 13)

Last word: Breakthrough. Seattle experienced the opposite of a sophomore slump. The NHL's newest team struggled last season, but this season the Kraken checked in as one cohesive, opportunistic unit. Seattle's had its difficulties -- mainly with establishing good goaltending -- but there's no doubt the Kraken emerged better than before.

15. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 17

Points percentage: 56.33%

Remaining games: @ VAN (Apr. 8), vs. NSH (Apr. 10), vs. SJ (Apr. 12)

Last word: Choppy. Calgary's season had all the makings of a dominant campaign that didn't quite take flight. Newcomers Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri needed time to click, Jacob Markstrom's game was inconceivably inconsistent and coach Darryl Sutter wasn't always pushing the right buttons. Will that roller coaster lead to a stronger Flames' team in 2023-24?

16. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 13

Points percentage: 56.33%

Remaining games: vs. PHI (Apr. 8), @ WSH (Apr. 10), vs. MTL (Apr. 12)

Last word: Sensible. New York doesn't generally make waves. But the Islanders are resolutely reasonable. Struggling to score? Trade for -- and extend -- Bo Horvat.Have an exceptional goaltender in Ilya Sorokin? Ride him, with support from strong team defense. It's not flashy. But the formula might work well to put New York in the postseason.

17. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 19

Points percentage: 56.33%

Remaining games: @ WSH (Apr. 8), vs. TOR (Apr. 10), vs. CAR (Apr. 13)

Last word: Turbulent. Florida hasn't looked like the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners for most of this season. The Panthers couldn't find a rhythm until the promise of a postseason push began bringing out their best. The lengthy ebbs and flows may have hardened the Panthers to prepare for this final stretch, but it will be tough to swallow if they miss out on the playoffs altogether.

18. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 16

Points percentage: 55.70%

Remaining games: @ DET (Apr. 8), vs. CHI (Apr. 11), @ CBJ (Apr. 13)

Last word: Perplexing. Pittsburgh committed to its veteran core without adding much around it. That led to a strange season of Penguins' hockey. Pittsburgh was at times unbeatable and at others unrecognizable. The Penguins persisted through injuries, scoring slumps and poor goaltending in what's become an uphill battle to stay in the postseason picture.

19. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 21

Points percentage: 53.90%

Remaining games: vs. CAR (Apr. 8), @ NYR (Apr. 10), @ NJ (Apr. 11), vs. OTT (Apr. 13), @ CBJ (Apr. 14)

Last word: Encouraging. Buffalo battling for a playoff spot into April? That scenario alone makes this season a wild success and an excellent sign for the future of this rising young club. The season came with trials and growing pains, but those lessons rubbed off well on the Sabres as Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin exploded into stardom. Regardless of where Buffalo finishes in the standings, there's hope that next season -- and beyond -- will be increasingly positive.

20. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 18

Points percentage: 56.41%

Remaining games: @ WPG (Apr. 8), @ CGY (Apr. 10), vs. MIN (Apr. 13), vs. COL (Apr. 14)

Last word: Frustrating. Nashville was primed to build off last season's great results. But the Predators' offense never clicked the same way, injuries to top players piled up from there and suddenly they were back to relying on Juuse Saros to save them. It wasn't a winning combination, even if the Predators' final stretch revealed some inspiring performances. But it all might be too little, too late.

21. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 22

Points percentage: 51.27%

Remaining games: vs. TB (Apr. 8), vs. CAR (Apr. 10), @ BUF (Apr. 13)

Last word: Exasperating. Ottawa has all the tools. The Senators just couldn't stay healthy long enough to get everyone in the same lineup. What if Ottawa had been, though? What if Alex DeBrincat immediately excelled? What if Cam Talbot was able to be that true every night, No. 1 goaltender? Yes, Ottawa played meaningful hockey into April. But still, there's so many questions around what could have been for the Sens.

22. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 20

Points percentage: 49.36%

Remaining games: vs. FLA (Apr. 8), vs. NYI (Apr. 10), @ BOS (Apr. 11), vs. NJ (Apr. 13)

Last word: Surprising. Washington went from maximizing its closing contender window, to watching Alex Ovechkin break historic NHL records, to slumping so hard that GM Brian MacLellan opted to trade players away instead of adding at the deadline. Who saw that twist coming? The Capitals appear headed in a new direction now that's come about quicker than we expected.

23. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 24

Points percentage: 51.27%

Remaining games: @ MIN (Apr. 8), vs. DAL (Apr. 12), @ DAL (Apr. 13)

Last word: Substandard. St. Louis has set a high bar for itself in recent seasons. The Blues didn't find their way to it this season. Despite rising stars like Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou in the fold, St. Louis' poor start, aging defense and overall inconsistencies couldn't be overcome. No one appeared more rattled by that than the team itself.

24. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 25

Points percentage: 51.28%

Remaining games: vs. PIT (Apr. 8), vs. DAL (Apr. 10), @ CAR (Apr. 11), @ TB (Apr. 13)

Last word: Disappointing. Detroit had a goal in mind to make the playoffs and fell short. This was despite GM Steve Yzerman loading up on offseason weapons that wound up being hit -- like with goaltender Ville Husso -- and miss. The Red Wings did extend captain Dylan Larkin, but they were trading players away at the deadline. Detroit's desire for another postseason chance will have to wait.

25. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 23

Points percentage: 49.36%

Remaining games: vs. CGY (Apr. 8), @ LA (Apr. 10), @ ANA (Apr. 11), @ ARI (Apr. 13)

Last word: Dramatic. Vancouver went through it all this season, making headlines as often for its mediocre on-ice play as well as the interesting front office ethos that ultimately led to an in-season coaching change. All that swirling outside noise didn't help Vancouver produce like it wanted, and now the Canucks have several months ahead to sit on what went wrong.

26. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 26

Points percentage: 45.51%

Remaining games: @ NYI (Apr. 8), vs. BOS (Apr. 9), vs. CBJ (Apr. 11), @ CHI (Apr. 13)

Last word: Poor. Philadelphia's faithful had to hope for better than what the Flyers were able to give. That shockingly good start dwindled away into so many tough nights that GM Chuck Fletcher was let go, and Rangers fans were able to take over Philadelphia's building. You know that's something the Flyers never want to see happen again.

27. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 27

Points percentage: 42.41%

Remaining games: vs. ANA (Apr. 8), vs. SEA (Apr. 10), vs. VAN (Apr. 13)

Last word: Promising. Arizona isn't riddled with stars but the Coyotes work hard. That came through all season, whether through individual performances or full-team efforts that saw Arizona unexpectedly win a few games against top contenders. There's plenty to look forward to from this desert-dwelling club.

28. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 29

Points percentage: 38.46%

Remaining games: vs. EDM (Apr. 8), @ WPG (Apr. 10), @ CGY (Apr. 12), @ EDM (Apr. 13)

Last word: Unsatisfactory. San Jose never flourished this season. Even at their best, it felt like the Sharks were lacking the spark to truly reach a consistent, winning trajectory. The fact that Erik Karlsson rebounded into his Norris Trophy-caliber form is about the best thing San Jose can claim this season.

29. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 28

Points percentage: 43.04%

Remaining games: @ TOR (Apr. 8), @ NYI (Apr. 12), vs. BOS (Apr. 13)

Last word: Presumptive. Montreal wasn't meant to take huge strides. Not when GM Kent Hughes seemed more committed to a slow rebuild. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield used the first two-thirds of their seasons to showcase why the organization's future is so bright, though. When they're both healthy and thriving, it will go a long way in making Montreal great again.

30. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 32

Points percentage: 35.90%

Remaining games: @ SEA (Apr. 8), vs. MIN (Apr. 10), @ PIT (Apr. 11), vs. PHI (Apr. 13)

Last word: Calculated. Chicago knew what it wanted going into this season: Connor Bedard. How do the Blackhawks get him? By not winning games -- painful as that is. That's not to say. The Blackhawks didn't make it interesting at times with a hot streak here and there. But Chicago has done what's necessary to give itself a great chance in the 2023 draft lottery.

31. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 31

Points percentage: 35.90%

Remaining games: vs. NYR (Apr. 8), @ PHI (Apr. 11), vs. PIT (Apr. 13), vs. BUF (Apr. 14)

Last word: Painful. Columbus' train wreck of a season was derailed by injuries so severe and to so many key players it was almost laughable. Only the situation isn't all that funny. The Blue Jackets are hard to even define or assess given how infrequently they could ice a consistent lineup. Whatever the offseason holds, it has to be fueled by the outright agony of what's been endured the past eight months.

32. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 30

Points percentage: 35.90%

Remaining games: @ ARI (Apr. 8), vs. COL (Apr. 9), vs. VAN (Apr. 11), vs. LA (Apr. 13)

Last word: Faltering. Anaheim took a step back. There was ample promise in its ranks during last season's showing that didn't translate often during this campaign. GM Pat Verbeek clearly has a path in mind that's taking the Ducks back through some dark times. If they can come out of it as stronger competitors though, it'll be worth a little suffering now. The young pieces are certainly there.