Happy 2019, hockey fans. The turn of the calendar means a chance for new beginnings, life changes and resolutions to be better. The same applies to NHL teams, as we see in this week’s power rankings.
How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn’t guarantee a fall.
Previous ranking: 1
Resolution: To remember to delicately place Andrei Vasilevskiy in bubble wrap on March 1 so that (A) he’s healthy for a Stanley Cup run and (B) he doesn’t have to play hockey in March, a month in which he has a .908 save percentage for his career.
Previous ranking: 2
Resolution: To not overreact to the constant questions about the team’s toughness — and to add to that toughness while also adding discernible skill. Which is a long-winded way of saying, “We resolve to trade for Wayne Simmonds.”
Previous ranking: 4
Resolution: To make sure to never mention the name Laurent Brossoit around Oilers fans.
Previous ranking: 3
Resolution: To spend more time with friends, in particular this fella Stanley …
Previous ranking: 5
Resolution: To continue to be the most successful, entertaining and well-managed team in Alberta. Having the better goaltending as well is just spiking the football on the Oilers’ heads at this point.
Previous ranking: 6
Resolution: To keep sending packages stuffed with expired catfish to Gary Bettman until they get the Stadium Series game they should have already had.
Previous ranking: 9
Resolution: To play as well as possible to earn a Stanley Cup championship celebration. Not because Boston needs another title — they don’t! — but because we’re genuinely curious how an older, debatably wiser Brad Marchand celebrates that victory.
Previous ranking: 7
Resolution: To figure out why in the name of Wade Flaherty this team is getting .891 save percentage goaltending.
Previous ranking: 12
Resolution: To try to not break a rib laughing about the NHL being so worried about the gambling implications of a team in Las Vegas, as it makes several partnerships with sportsbooks and allows teams like the Devils to open up wagering parlors in their arenas.
Previous ranking: 13
Resolution: To never, ever stray from the predictable early-season life cycle of underwhelming results, threats of change from upper management and then a winning streak that rockets them back into playoff contention after being written off. Rinse, repeat.
Previous ranking: 11
Resolution: To shoot their shot. No matter what happens this summer, the Jackets should load up and go for broke this season. Who knows, maybe this will be the postseason when Sergei Bobrovsky acts like Sergei Bobrovsky?
Previous ranking: 8
Resolution: To search far and wide for secondary scoring help. Forty games into the season, Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are the only two Sabres in double digits for goals. The Lightning and Leafs each have six.
Previous ranking: 10
Resolution: To take nothing for granted. And by that we mean to send an envoy to every Senators game, offering a victory bounty incentive to every one of their opponents to help boost their Jack Hughes odds as much as possible.
Previous ranking: 14
Resolution: To lean into the emotions of the fan base and hold off on a John Tavares tribute when he returns to Long Island for the first time on Feb. 28. They’ll give him one, because it would be a little classless not to. But wouldn’t it be delicious if they didn’t?
Previous ranking: 15
Resolution: To make more trades with Arizona.
Previous ranking: 17
Resolution: To not, under any circumstances, waste this season from John Gibson.
Previous ranking: 18
Resolution: To let Bruce Boudreau down lightly this summer if this thing doesn’t turn around, because he’s a really good dude.
Previous ranking: 19
Resolution: To realize that by absolutely torching your two best players in a profane rant to the media, you might in fact be making other really good players reconsider ever playing for the franchise. Would they even be invited to the next Tavares-like courtship now?
Previous ranking: 20
Resolution: To keep drafting the skinny kids that the other teams overlook.
Previous ranking: 21
Resolution: To be extra-cautious next time someone is willing to take a discount so he can return to his childhood home.
Previous ranking: 23
Resolution: To hire Joel Quenneville no matter the cost, no matter the effort, no matter what it takes. Because no matter what Dale Tallon has or has not done for this franchise, it’ll all have been worth it if he hooks that fish.
Previous ranking: 16
Resolution: To never again trade a talented forward for a defenseman you believe fills a specific, myopic “need.”
Previous ranking: 22
Resolution: To incorporate either pyrotechnics or interpretive dance in a future group victory celebration. Or both!
Previous ranking: 29
Resolution: To find another finisher at forward, because the Devils basically have only two of them, and they frequently play on the same line.
Previous ranking: 24
Resolution: To keep sending Steve Yzerman cryptic notes before it is revealed they’re his secret admirer and then they go steady.
Previous ranking: 27
Resolution: To meditate more, for that’s the only way to cope with the statistical anomalies of Michael Grabner. Last season? Twenty-seven goals, 25 of them at even strength. This season? Six goals in 25 games, four of them short-handed (!).
Previous ranking: 25
Resolution: To let Gritty coach Game 82 because honestly, what’s the worst that could happen at this point?
Previous ranking: 30
Resolution: To lose 220 pounds (and, in the process, $6.875 million against the cap through 2024).
Previous ranking: 28
Resolution: To finally grasp the inherent difference between “good” and “good on paper.”
Previous ranking: 26
Resolution: To use Lyft.
Previous ranking: 31
Resolution: To wear the Burger King jerseys for the rest of the season, because it’s not getting any prettier.