NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus the best trade of the past 10 years for each team

ByKristen Shilton via ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
ESPN

Trade season 2022 has arrived in the NHL! While there wasn't a ton of action in recent weeks, we've seen an uptick now that Monday's trade deadline is less than a week away.

You can stay updated on all of the current deals with our trade tracker, but this week for the Power Rankings, we're taking a look back at the best trade made by each team from the past decade (or a little more, in a couple of cases).

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 last edition, published on March 9. Points paces are through Tuesday's games.

1. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 1

Points percentage: 0.746

Next seven days: @ SJ (March 18), vs. EDM (March 21)

Top trade: Nazem Kadri. Toronto and Colorado pulled this move out late on July 1, 2019, and it was a doozy: Kadri, Calle Rosen and a 2020 third-round pick to the Avalanche, for Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot and a 2020 sixth-round pick heading back to Toronto. Kadri was good in his first two seasons in Colorado (30 goals, 68 points in 107 games), but this season he's been next-level exceptional, with 73 points in 57 games. If the Avalanche make a run, it'll be with Kadri leading the way.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 3

Points percentage: 0.737

Next seven days: @ TOR (March 17), vs. WSH (March 18), vs. NYR (March 20), vs. TB (March 22)

Top trade: Teuvo Teravainen. The Blackhawks had to unload Bryan Bickell's $4 million cap hit. Carolina coveted their first-round draft choice from 2012. It was a match made in heaven: The Hurricanes got Teravainen in exchange for absorbing Bickell's contract and sending a second- and third-round pick back to Chicago. Carolina was right to chase Teravainen. He's grown into a versatile, point-per-game player, appears on the power play or penalty kill and can slide in just about anywhere you need him.

3. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 2

Points percentage: 0.733

Next seven days: @ VGK (March 17), @ ANA (March 18)

Top trade: Sam Reinhart. This isn't even recency bias. Reinhart is having the best season of his career after being traded from Buffalo to Florida last July, in return for seventh-round pick Devon Levi and a 2022 first-rounder. Reinhart's been worth the investment. He's third on the Panthers in scoring, and will factor into the long postseason towards which Florida seems headed. Good deal.

4. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 5

Points percentage: 0.670

Next seven days: vs. NJ (March 16), vs. BUF (March 18), @ VAN (March 19), vs. SJ (March 22)

Top trade: Elias Lindholm. This was a big one: In June 2018, Calgary sent Adam Fox's rights (he was still an unsigned college player), Michael Ferland and Dougie Hamilton to Carolina, for Noah Hanifin and Lindholm. The latter two signed team-friendly deals with the Flames and have been key pieces since the trade. Lindholm has been particularly good, making steady improvements towards a career year in 2021-22. His 30 goals scored in 58 games was fastest on the team to the milestone since Jarome Iginla in 2006-07. Good company.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 4

Points percentage: 0.695

Next seven days: @ SEA (March 16), vs. NYR (March 19), @ CAR (March 22)

Top trade: Mikhail Sergachev. The Lightning thought Jonathan Drouin would be a franchise cornerstone when they drafted him third overall in 2013. Instead, Tampa flipped Drouin to Montreal in 2016 for Sergachev, and that would pay huge dividends. Still just 23 years old, Sergachev has already been an important piece of Tampa's blue line for years -- including two Stanley Cups -- and projects to only get better into the future.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 8

Points percentage: 0.664

Next seven days: @ STL (March 17), @ ARI (March 19), vs. CBJ (March 22)

Top trade: Phil Kessel. Pittsburgh was going all-in on a Stanley Cup. The Maple Leafs needed a fresh start. On July 1, 2015, Toronto traded Kessel to the Penguins, and even retained salary to make it happen. Pittsburgh gave up a first-rounder, among other assets, and Kessel more than delivered for them with 303 points in four seasons -- plus 45 points in 49 games over two Stanley Cups runs.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 7

Points percentage: 0.675

Next seven days: vs. CAR (March 17), @ NSH (March 19)

Top trade: James van Riemsdyk. Toronto sent its 2008 first-round pick Luke Schenn to Philadelphia in 2012 to acquire another former first-rounder in van Riemsdyk. Over the next six seasons, van Riemsdyk was the Leafs' most productive forward, surpassing 30 goals twice and tallying 294 points in 413 games. Van Riemsdyk was also included among the franchise's 100 best players ever during its Centennial Season in 2016. Not too shabby!

8. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 6

Points percentage: 0.675

Next seven days: vs. NYI (March 17), @ TB (March 19), @ CAR (March 20), @ NJ (March 22)

Top trade:Adam Fox. The Rangers took some risk in acquiring the rights to Fox from Carolina in 2019. Fox was a college junior at the time and going back for his senior season at Harvard would make him an unrestricted free agent. New York rolled the dice, anyway, flipping a second-round pick and conditional third to bring Fox in. The Rangers' gamble paid off: Fox has quickly become New York's top defenseman, signed to a mammoth seven-year, $66.5 million contract, and is a Norris Trophy winner (in 2021) to boot.

9. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 12

Points percentage: 0.658

Next seven days: @ MIN (March 16), @ WPG (March 18), @ MTL (March 21)

Top trade: Martin Jones. I know what you're thinking. Jones never played for Boston. And you're right! But, follow along: GM Don Sweeney had an aging Milan Lucic to move in 2015. Los Angeles was game to deal, so Sweeney flipped Lucic (after an 18-goal season) to the Kings for a first-rounder (Jakub Zboril), Colin Miller and the rights to pending restricted free agent Jones. Four days later, Sweeney traded Jones to San Jose for the rights to Sean Kuraly and a first-round pick (Trent Frederic). In a nutshell, Boston unloaded Lucic, and stocked its cupboards for the future at positions of need. Plus, they had Tuukka Rask between the pipes, so losing Jones wasn't insurmountable.

10. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 15

Points percentage: 0.623

Next seven days: @ CBJ (March 17), @ CAR (March 18), vs. DAL (March 20), vs. STL (March 22)

Top trade: T.J. Oshie. The Capitals needed a player like T.J. Oshie. They had talent and skill already (hello, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin), but lacked for some soul. Oshie was the total package. In July 2015, Washington reeled him in from St. Louis for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick. Oshie has been better than advertised since: He's a versatile force, who helped the Capitals finally secure their first Stanley Cup in 2018 and has been their second-leading goal scorer through the last seven seasons.

11. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 14

Points percentage: 0.617

Next seven days: @ PHI (March 17), vs. TOR (March 19), @ ANA (March 21), @ LA (March 22)

Top trade: Filip Forsberg. This must be one of the best trades ever. By any team. In April 2013, Nashville acquired Forsberg from Washington in exchange for Michael Latta and Martin Erat. What the Predators got was an explosive young forward in Forsberg, who's been their best point-per-game player (in over 500 contests) since arriving. The Capitals' return was minimal: Latta produced 17 points in 113 games, and Erat appeared in just 62 contests (with 27 points) before moving on. Can you say lopsided?

12. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 9

Points percentage: 0.644

Next seven days: vs. PIT (March 17), @ CBJ (March 19), @ WSH (March 22)

Top trade: Ryan O'Reilly. What hasn't O'Reilly done for St. Louis? Since the Blues grabbed him from Buffalo on July 1, 2018, O'Reilly has been the franchise's leading scorer, the team's captain, the Conn Smythe winner following their 2019 Stanley Cup run and generally one of the league's elite two-way centers. The price to acquire O'Reilly was steep -- including a first-round pick and Tage Thompson, who is blossoming this season in Buffalo -- but you can't argue how the Blues have benefited from the transaction.

13. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 10

Points percentage: 0.597

Next seven days: vs. SJ (March 17), @ VGK (March 19), vs. NSH (March 22)

Top trade: Jeff Carter. Former Kings' GM Dean Lombardi needed a game-changer. It was February 2012, and his team was clinging to a playoff spot. L.A. lacked scoring depth, so Lombardi acquired Carter from Columbus for Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick. Carter changed everything. He scored six goals in 16 regular season games, and eight goals in 20 playoff tilts while L.A. marched to a Stanley Cup title. Carter continued to be a top producer for L.A. over the next nine seasons (including another Cup run), making him a great pick-up in both the short and long term.

14. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 11

Points percentage: 0.578

Next seven days: @ MTL (March 17), @ NYI (March 19), @ WSH (March 20), vs. EDM (March 22)

Top trade: Tyler Seguin. Basically, the first thing Stars' GM Jim Nill did after being hired in 2013 was pull off (arguably) the best trade in franchise history, acquiring future top-line center Seguin from Boston in exchange for four players (Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith among them). Seguin's resume in Dallas since speaks for itself: He's averaged nearly a point-per-game pace while becoming a superb two-way player and versatile asset at even strength and on special teams.

15. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 16

Points percentage: 0.621

Next seven days: vs. BOS (March 16), vs. CHI (March 19), vs. VGK (March 21)

Top trade: Devan Dubnyk. The trade was simple enough. In January 2015, Minnesota swapped a third-round pick to Arizona for Dubnyk. What the Wild got in return though was no average goaltender. Dubnyk protected the crease for six seasons, producing a 177-113-28 record, with .918 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average. That put him among the NHL's elite during his tenure, and he was a big part of Minnesota's success in the last decade.

16. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 17

Points percentage: 0.583

Next seven days: vs. BUF (March 17), vs. NJ (March 19), @ COL (March 21), @ DAL (March 22)

Top trade: Adam Larsson. The infamous one-for-one trade. Edmonton sent Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Larsson in June 2016, acquiring a player who wasn't flashy, but was exactly what the club needed. Larsson quickly became an alternate captain for Edmonton in 2017-18, serving in a shutdown role and stabilizing the Oilers' blue line for five seasons. It's no wonder Seattle picked him in the expansion draft, and immediately signed Larsson to a four-year deal.

17. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 19

Points percentage: 0.549

Next seven days: vs. DET (March 17), vs. CGY (March 19), vs. BUF (March 20)

Top trade: J.T. Miller. The Canucks haven't hit on a lot of trades in the last decade. This one worked out in the end, but in June 2019, Miller's acquisition was highly controversial. Vancouver gave up a lot to Tampa -- a conditional first rounder, a third, and goalie prospect Marek Mazanec -- to add a middle-six forward in Miller. Miller has overachieved for the Canucks, growing into a top-line contributor who's frequently played with Elias Pettersson and averaged more than a point per game as Vancouver's most productive forward this season.

18. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 13

Points percentage: 0.548

Next seven days: vs. FLA (March 17), vs. LA (March 19), @ MIN (March 21), @ WPG (March 22)

Top trade: Mark Stone. Do not come for us about Jack Eichel. We need more information before fully assessing that trade. What we do know is the value of Mark Stone. He's been Vegas' heart and soul since being acquired from Ottawa in February 2019 for two players and a second-rounder. Stone earned the Golden Knights' first-ever captaincy, has been the team's leading scorer and its most consistent forward. Need more proof? Just look at Vegas' slide lately with Stone on long-term injured reserve. The Golden Knights need their golden boy back on the ice!

19. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 20

Points percentage: 0.541

Next seven days: vs. BOS (March 18), @ CHI (March 20), vs. VGK (March 22)

Top trade: Paul Stastny. In terms of pure, immediate impact, this has to win the day for Winnipeg (we can circle back later on the Pierre-Luc Dubois-for-Patrik Laine trade another time). At the deadline in February 2018, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff sent a message that his team could be a contender by pulling Stastny from St. Louis for a conditional first-rounder, a fourth and Erik Foley. Stastny made the Jets instantly better, capable of playing with a true three- to four-line attack. And the veteran found chemistry with Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, which went a long way in help Winnipeg through its playoff run to the Western Conference finals in 2018.

20. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 18

Points percentage: 0.516

Next seven days: vs. FLA (March 18), vs. NSH (March 21)

Top trade: Draft pick that became John Gibson. Yes, this trade happened slightly before the 10-years-ago window, but we'll slightly bend the rules here. For some reason, the Maple Leafs really wanted to draft Tyler Biggs in 2011. So, they moved up the big board to take Anaheim's first-round slot at No. 22 and gave the Ducks back picks No. 30 and No. 39. Biggs never played in the NHL. Gibson, taken with that second choice, has been excellent as Anaheim's starter, with a career .915 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average. And Anaheim selected Rickard Rakell at No. 30 too, who has been a fixture in their top-nine and scored over 150 goals. This was a fleecing.

21. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 24

Points percentage: 0.500

Next seven days: @ NYR (March 17), vs. DAL (March 19), @ PHI (March 20), vs. OTT (March 22)

Top trade: Cal Clutterbuck. If you look up "glue guys" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Cal Clutterbuck (probably). New York shipped Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota for Clutterbuck and a third-rounder in June 2013; ever since, Clutterbuck has been one of the Islanders' true heart-and-soul players while presiding over the team's aptly named Identity Line.

22. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 22

Points percentage: 0.508

Next seven days: @ LA (March 17), vs. COL (March 18), vs. ARI (March 20), @ CGY (March 22)

Top trade: Brent Burns. We couldn't go with any other move. Burns has been the cornerstone of San Jose's blue line since being added via trade with Minnesota in June 2011. He's become so iconic in the Bay Area, it's hard to remember Burns ever played somewhere else. Since joining the Sharks, Burns has won a Norris Trophy and averaged nearly 24 minutes of ice time per game while also contributing offensively. He's done it all, and well.

23. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 21

Points percentage: 0.525

Next seven days: @ OTT (March 16), vs. WSH (March 17), vs. STL (March 19), @ PIT (March 22)

Top trade: Sergei Bobrovsky. It's hard to top this type of blockbuster. Bobrovsky helped put Columbus on the map. The Blue Jackets brought him over in June 2012 from Philadelphia for a pair of fourth-round picks and a second. Over the next seven seasons, Bobrovsky would collect two Vezina Trophies, win 213 of 374 starts and take Columbus to the playoffs four times. The ending may have been a bit sour, but Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets had it oh-so-sweet there for quite some time.

24. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 27

Points percentage: 0.400

Next seven days: @ EDM (March 17), @ CGY (March 18), @ VAN (March 20)

Top trade: Jeff Skinner. The Jack Eichel trade that brought in Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs may well be superior in time (as could the one for Tage Thompson). But for now, Skinner's acquisition has worked quite well for Buffalo. Since coming to the Sabres from Carolina in 2018, Skinner is the Sabres' fourth-leading scorer, and remains a high-end talent they could continue building around in future seasons.

25. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 32

Points percentage: 0.367

Next seven days: vs. PIT (March 19), @ SJ (March 20), vs. SEA (March 22)

Top trade: Darcy Kuemper. For a while there, Kuemper brought some solid goaltending to the desert. In February 2018, Arizona brought Kuemper over from L.A. in exchange for Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder. It wouldn't be long before Kuemper took over as the Coyotes' starter in 2018-19, going 27-20-8 with a .925 save percentage. But Kuemper's greatest contribution to the Coyotes was stopping 305 of 334 shots he faced through nine playoff games in the 2020 COVID bubble tournament. Quite an accomplishment. Oh, and he helped them on the way out too, netting a first-round pick and young defenseman Conor Timmins in trade return from the Avs in July 2021.

26. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 25

Points percentage: 0.408

Next seven days: @ CGY (March 16), @ EDM (March 19), vs. NYR (March 22)

Top trade: Taylor Hall. Hall spent only four seasons in New Jersey after Edmonton traded him for Adam Larsson in 2016. But Hall's presence had a real impact on the Devils. His 2017-18 season was so good (93 points in 76 games) it earned Hall the NHL's Hart Trophy, and propelled New Jersey to its second playoff appearance in the last 12 years.

27. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 23

Points percentage: 0.458

Next seven days: @ VAN (March 17), @ SEA (March 19), vs. PHI (March 22)

Top trade: Alex Nedeljkovic. There's a decent chance Detroit will look at the Nedeljkovic trade for years to come as a steal. All it took to pry Nedeljkovic from Carolina last July was a third-round pick and Jonathan Bernier. Already, the 26-year-old Nedeljkovic has been a great asset for the rebuilding Red Wings, with a save percentage above .900 in his first season as a starter. As the team improves, so should he.

28. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 26

Points percentage: 0.434

Next seven days: @ MIN (March 19), vs. WPG (March 20)

Top trade: Antoine Vermette. Here for a good time, not a long time. That was the Antoine Vermette story with Chicago. In February 2015, the Blackhawks went big in sending Klas Dahlbeck and a first-round pick to Arizona for Vermette. In 20 playoff games that season, Vermette had four goals and three assists -- but three of those goals were crucial game-winners that helped the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup run. In terms of bang for your buck, Chicago couldn't have done better.

29. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 29

Points percentage: 0.398

Next seven days: vs. CBJ (March 16), vs. PHI (March 18), @ MTL (March 19), @ NYI (March 22)

Top trade: Nikita Zaitsev and Connor Brown. Ottawa sent Cody Ceci to Toronto for Zaitsev and Brown in July 2019, and the Senators have been a major winner in that transaction. Ceci lasted just one (mediocre) season with the Leafs, while Zaitsev has carried big minutes on Ottawa's blue line, and Brown is the club's second-leading scorer (112 points in 172 games) since the trade.

30. Seattle Kraken

Previous ranking: 31

Points percentage: 0.344

Next seven days: vs. TB (March 16), vs. DET (March 19), @ ARI (March 22)

Top trade: 2023 second-round pick. The Kraken have completed just three trades in their short history, and the second-rounder from Washington for Vitek Vanecek -- whom they selected in the expansion draft from the Caps -- stands as the Kraken's best return on a deal so far. So, that's a win!

31. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 30

Points percentage: 0.333

Next seven days: vs. DAL (March 17), vs. OTT (March 19), vs. BOS (March 21)

Top trade: Nick Suzuki. This one should set Montreal up for years to come. In September 2018, the Canadiens moved then-captain Max Pacioretty to Vegas for Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar and a second-round pick. Fast forward to now, and the 22-year-old Suzuki has begun establishing himself as a true offensive threat for the Canadiens. He's not only their leading scorer, but Suzuki is showing a maturity that bodes well for the high expectations Montreal holds for his future.

32. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 28

Points percentage: 0.398

Next seven days: vs. NSH (March 17), @ OTT (March 18), vs. NYI (March 20), @ DET (March 22)

Top trade: Jakub Voracek and a first-round pick. This was a major moment for Philadelphia. In June 2011, the Flyers sent Jeff Carter to Columbus to add Voracek and the first-round draft choice that would become Sean Couturier. In the years since, Couturier has developed into a franchise cornerstone and one of the league's best two-way centers. Meanwhile, Voracek was the Flyers' second-leading scorer (604 points in 727 games) up until he himself was traded to Columbus last summer.

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