NHL Power Rankings: 2019 Offseason Edition

2019 NHL Draft, 2019 NHL Free Agency, Artemi Panarin, Commentary, Editor's Choice, Jack Hughes, Long Read, Power Rankings, Top Story

The 2019 offseason has been a busy one to date, with many of the free agents coming off the board, blockbuster trades and a 2019 NHL Draft that left some team’s fans shocked. It’s not over yet, but the regular season is getting closer and the countdown to puck drop is on.

For the 2019-20 season, I’ll be publishing weekly power rankings on all 31 NHL teams. Until then, why not take a look at how the teams are stacking up since the 2018-19 season ended? Lots of teams have changed their outlook over the last couple of months, some for the better and some for the worse.

There’s still time in the offseason and teams will still be making moves. There’s also a number of free agents still left to be signed. But for now, here’s how the NHL’s teams are looking in the middle of summer.

For future power rankings, I’ll include the change from the previous ranking. As this is the first edition, I’ll just note the direction that the team is trending based on the moves they’ve made.

1) Tampa Bay Lightning

2018-19 Finish: 62-16-4, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Kevin Shattenkirk

Biggest Loss: Anton Stralman

Trending: Holding

Kevin Shattenkirk - Rangers
Kevin Shattenkirk was bought out by the New York Rangers, signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Yes, this is the team that got swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in four games. However, they also put up 62 wins in the regular season. They have reigning MVP and Art Ross winner Nikita Kucherov locked up, along with Steven Stamkos, Viktor Hedman and a number of other stars. They extended Vezina-winning goaltender Andrei Vasililevskiy and now just need to sign RFA Braydon Point. This is a highly-skilled team with a lot to prove.

Related: Lightning Sign Free Agent Shattenkirk

2) St. Louis Blues

2018-19 Finish: 45-28-9, Stanley Cup Champions

Biggest Addition: Andreas Borgman

Biggest Loss: Jordan Schmaltz

Trending: Holding

The St. Louis Blues are about to begin defending their Stanley Cup. Starting from the bottom of the league and going on to win the championship is no small feat. This team is basically still the same from that Cup run, with goaltender Jordan Binnington just making more money. He and Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly will be leading this team in 2019-20. They proved the whole league wrong last season, watch out for them this time around.

3) Boston Bruins

2018-19 Finish: 49-24-9, lost 4-3 in Stanley Cup Final

Biggest Addition: Par Lindholm

Biggest Loss:Marcus Johansson

Trending: Holding

The 2019 Stanley Cup finalists are still largely intact, with just RFAs Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy left to re-sign. With goaltenders Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak holding down the fort in net, the trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pasternak, and young defenders like McAvoy, Carlo (once signed) and Torey Krug, it seems like the Boston Bruins are ready to take another run.

4) Toronto Maple Leafs

2018-19 Finish: 46-28-8, lost 4-3 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Tyson Barrie

Biggest Loss: Nazem Kadri

Trending: Up

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the first team on this list to make some big changes this summer. Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau, Jake Gardiner, Conner Brown, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis and Nikita Zaitsev are out. Instead, the Maple Leafs brought in Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza, and Cody Ceci. The team still has superstars in Austin Matthews, John Tavares, Morgan Reilly and Mitch Marner (although Marner is still without a contract). Is this the year they get past round one?

Related: Maple Leafs Trade Kadri to Avalanche for Barrie, Kerfoot

5) Nashville Predators

2018-19 Finish: 47-29-6, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Matt Duchene

Biggest Loss: PK Subban

Trending: Up

Columbus Blue Jackets' Matt Duchene
Former Columbus Blue Jacket Matt Duchene (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Nashville Predators seemed to be on the losing end of a trade with the New Jersey Devils in sending PK Subban away, but it’s safe to say they made up for it by signing Matt Duchene to a very reasonable deal. This team is a perennial contender, and their new depth down the middle should only help that.

6) Vegas Golden Knights

2018-19 Finish: 43-32-7, lost in Western Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Garret Sparks

Biggest Loss: Colin Miller

Trending: Up

The Vegas Golden Knights may have lost Colin Miller, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Erik Haula and the highly-touted Nikita Gusev, and yet they remain near the top of this list. With Mark Stone, Marc-Andre Fleury, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and a number of other great players, this is still a dominant team entering just their third season in the NHL.

7) Pittsburgh Penguins

2018-19 Finish: 44-26-12, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition:Brandon Tanev

Biggest Loss: Phil Kessel

Trending: Down

It’s hard not to have a team that includes Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup in the top-10. At the same time, they’re both getting older, and it seems to be getting increasingly hard to fill the spots around them. Trading Phil Kessel for Alex Galchenyuk and signing Brandon Tanev to a deal that isn’t looking great right now may be the beginning of the end for the team that has been extremely consistent for more than a decade.

8) San Jose Sharks

2018-19 Finish: 46-27-9, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Final

Biggest Addition: Jonny Brodzinski

Biggest Loss: Joe Pavelski

Trending: Down

The San Jose Sharks have been a Stanley Cup contender year in and year out for a long time. The club still has Brent Burns, Logan Couture and they managed to re-sign Erik Karlsson. But the team just lost Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi while Joe Thornton remains unsigned. They haven’t made a lot of additions to fill these roles, but they may have some pieces internally to step up.

9) Washington Capitals

2018-19 Finish: 48-26-8, lost 4-3 in Easter Conference Final

Biggest Addition:Radko Gudas/Richard Panik

Biggest Loss: Matt Niskanen

Trending: Down

Radko Gudas #3, Philadelphia Flyers
Radko Gudas was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 2018 Stanley Cup Champions didn’t repeat like the Pittsburgh Penguins before them, but they are still a contending team. Alex Ovechkin could very well be chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record, Nicklas Backstrom remains a high-end playmaker, John Carlson is one of the best defensemen in the league and Braden Holtby can still steal games. Don’t count them out.

10) Carolina Hurricanes

2018-19 Finish: 46-29-7, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Final

Biggest Addition: Ryan Dzingel

Biggest Loss: Micheal Ferland

Trending: Up

After surging into the playoffs in 2019, the Carolina Hurricanes shocked the Capitals and outplayed the New York Islanders on their way to the Eastern Conference Final. While they couldn’t take down the big, bad Bruins, there’s a lot to like about this team. Sebastian Aho is locked in after the team matched the Montreal Canadiens’ offer sheet, and this is a very young team that looks to be at the beginning of something great.

11) Winnipeg Jets

2018-19 Finish: 47-30-5, lost 4-2 in Western Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Neil Pionk

Biggest Loss: Jacob Trouba

Trending:Down

The Winnipeg Jets didn’t have the finish that they were hoping for this season. And while the team is still largely intact, moving on from Jacob Trouba must sting a bit. That being said, and while they still have to re-sign young star Patrick Laine and Kyle Conner, this team is very skilled up front and on defence. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if they really make a push in the Western Conference. A bounce-back season for Laine would help that.

12) Dallas Stars

2018-19 Finish: 43-32-7, lost 4-3 in Western Conference Semifinals

Biggest Addition: Joe Pavelski

Biggest Loss: Mats Zuccarello

Trending: Up

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Joe Pavelski signed with the Dallas Stars as a free agent (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Dallas Stars have a good, young team. Miro Heiskanen looks like an absolute stud and Roope Hinz could be right there too. That’s not even mentioning stars Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and 2019 Vezina finalist Ben Bishop. Adding Joe Pavelski and taking a chance on Corey Perry will only help this team.

13) New York Islanders

2018-19 Finish: 48-27-7, lost 4-0 in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Biggest Addition: Semyon Varlamov

Biggest Loss: Robin Lehner

Trending: Up

The New York Islanders shocked the hockey world last season on the backs of new head coach Barry Trotz and goaltender Robin Lehner. One of those two is gone now, with Lehner heading to free agency and signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. To replace him, the team brought in Semyon Varlamov. The rest of the roster remains very similar to last season, but will the new goalie be able to fill Lehner’s skates?

14) Colorado Avalanche

2018-19 Finish: 38-30-14, lost 4-3 in Western Conference Semifinals

Biggest Addition: Nazem Kadri

Biggest Loss: Tyson Barrie

Trending: Up

Nathan MacKinnon is one of the best players in the world, and hs line is one of the best in the league. The Colorado Avalanche still need to re-sign RFA Mikko Rantanen, but this team is looking better already. Adding Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky helped the team’s depth, and they have one of the best young defensive groups in the league after adding Bowen Byram at the draft and including the recently extended Sam Girard and rookie Cale Makar. They could be rising on this list very soon.

15) New York Rangers

2018-19 Finish: 32-36-14, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Artemi Panarin/Jacob Trouba/Kappo Kakko

Biggest Loss: Kevin Shattenkirk

Trending: Way Up

Columbus Blue Jackets Artemi Panarin
Former Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

There are two teams that you could argue won the offseason, and the New York Rangers are one of them. They used every path to bring in new talent to their advantage. Kappo Kakko was drafted second overall, Jacob Trouba was acquired via trade, and the team landed the best player in free agency in Artemi Panarin. The Rangers are looking strong heading into 2019-20.

Related: Artemi Panarin Signs With New York Rangers

16) Calgary Flames

2018-19 Finish: 50-25-7, lost 4-1 in Western Conference Quarterfinals

Biggest Addition: Milan Lucic

Biggest Loss: James Neal

Trending: Down

In a trade of the bad contracts, the Calgary Flames sent James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Milan Lucic. The teams also swapped goaltenders via free agency, with the Flames signing Cam Talbot. There’s still work to do though, as RFA Matthew Tkachuk is without a contract. The 2018-19 season saw the Flames finish second in the league, but will they be able to do it again?

17) New Jersey Devils

2018-19 Finish: 31-41-10, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: PK Subban/Jack Hughes

Biggest Loss:Eric Gryba

Trending: Way Up

Jack Hughes Devils Draft
Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

The other team where it could be said they won the 2019 offseason, the New Jersey Devils are looking immediately better for the upcoming season. With the first-overall pick in the draft, they added Jack Hughes. Then, they went out and traded for former Norris-winner PK Subban and the highly-touted Nikita Gusev. They also didn’t have any big losses. Like the Rangers, the Devils are looking to make a big jump this season.

Related: Devils Must Go for It After Subban Trade

18) Florida Panthers

2018-19 Finish: 36-32-14, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Sergei Bobrovsky

Biggest Loss: Roberto Luongo

Trending: Up

It didn’t take long for the Florida Panthers to replace the retired Roberto Luongo. They landed the top goaltender in free agency, Sergei Bobrovsky, while also adding Anton Stralman. This is a team looking to let in a lot fewer pucks, while the team, led by Aleksander Barkov, looks to get back into the playoffs.

19) Arizona Coyotes

2018-19 Finish:39-35-8, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Phil Kessel

Biggest Loss: Alex Galchenyuk

Trending: Up

The Arizona Coyotes made a big move this offseason, adding Phil Kessel via trade. Giving up Alex Galchenyuk in the trade was the biggest loss for the club so far. They traded up in the draft to select Viktor Soderstrom, who could crack the lineup as early as this year. This is a young team that looks to continue to improve. Expect young winger Clayton Keller to take a big step forward as well.

Related: Penguins Trade Phil Kessel to Arizona Coyotes

20) Buffalo Sabres

2018-19 Finish:33-39-10, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Colin Miller

Biggest Loss: Jason Pominville/Alex Nylander

Trending: Slightly Up

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller
Colin Miller was acquired via trade by the Buffalo Sabres (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

The Buffalo Sabres were looking strong last season, but then the wheels came off and they missed the playoffs and finished sixth in the Atlantic division. They’ve made some moves though, adding forward depth with Marcus Johansson, and re-tooling the defence by adding Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju. With the changes and captain Jack Eichel and star Jeff Skinner in the lineup, the Sabres should be an improved team in 2019-20.

21) Vancouver Canucks

2018-19 Finish: 35-36-11, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: J.T. Miller/Tyler Myers

Biggest Loss: Ben Hutton

Trending: Up

The Vancouver Canucks have one of the best young players in the NHL in Elias Pettersson and the team should expect a big jump from him this season. The team made some moves that seem like they are trying to win now, and on paper, this team is better. But signing Tyler Myers to a deal that is likely an over-payment, and adding J.T. Miller are quick fixes, which may hurt the team in the long run. For now, they are trending up but I’m wary of them this season.

22) Chicago Blackhawks

2018-19 Finish: 36-34-12, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Olli Maatta/Robin Lehner

Biggest Loss: Henri Jokiharju

Trending: Holding

The Chicago Blackhawks have one of the best players in the league in Patrick Kane who finished last season with 44 goals and 110 points. Even so, they missed the playoffs in 2018-19, but don’t count them out for 2019-20. The team added Olli Maata and Robin Lehner to bolster their goals against numbers but made a questionable trade sending Henri Jokiharju to the Sabres for Alex Nylander. Maybe they think they have another Dylan Strome on their hands.

23) Montreal Canadiens

2018-19 Finish: 44-30-8, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Ben Chiarot

Biggest Loss: Jordie Benn

Trending: Holding

The Canadiens haven’t made many moves this offseason, which is surprising considering they tried to steal Sebastian Aho from the Hurricanes. Instead, the Habs made some depth additions that could prove promising. This is a team getting younger that has a pretty solid cupboard of prospects right now. They could be poised to make a quick turnaround.

24) Philadelphia Flyers

2018-19 Finish: 37-37-8, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Kevin Hayes

Biggest Loss: Radko Gudas

Trending: Holding

Winnipeg Jets Kevin Hayes
Former Winnipeg Jets right wing Kevin Hayes (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

The Philadelphia Flyers started the offseason making some big moves, bringing in Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Braun, but it’s been fairly quiet since. This core group is still strong, with Claude Giroux, Jakub Vorachek, Sean Couturier, and James van Riemsdyk, while holding a solid group of young players like Nolan Patrick, Carter Hart, and Travis Konecny (who is still an RFA) among others. This group has the potential to turn it around this season.

25) Edmonton Oilers

2018-19 Finish: 35-38-9, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: James Neal

Biggest Loss: Milan Lucic

Trending: Up

It’s been a low-key offseason for the Edmonton Oilers, but don’t expect it to stay that way. The organization has a new face steering the ship in general manager Ken Holland, and he’ll likely be making some moves throughout the season once he sees what he has. He’s already traded Milan Lucic to the Flames for James Neal, which one-for-one, looks like a good deal for the Oilers. Plus, this team does still have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid.

Related: Neal Swapped for Lucic in Bizarre Alberta Trade

26) Columbus Blue Jackets

2018-19 Finish: 47-31-4, lost 4-2 in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Biggest Addition: Gustav Nyquist

Biggest Loss: Artemi Panarin/Sergei Bobrovsky/Matt Duchene

Trending: Tumbling Down

Three of the biggest names on the free-agent market came from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin, Bobrovsky and Duchene all headed out of Ohio, while the club brought in Gustav Nyquist and Marko Dano. It’s definitely a team that looks much worse on paper, and they still have to re-sign RFA Zach Werenski. It’s not looking too bright for the Blue Jackets.

27) Minnesota Wild

2018-19 Finish: 37-36-9, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Mats Zuccarello

Biggest Loss: Eric Fehr

Trending: Tumbling Down

Dallas Stars Mats Zuccarello
Former Dallas Stars center Mats Zuccarello (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

This is a team that hasn’t really made a lot of moves this offseason – and based on their finish last season that isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help that they recently fired GM Paul Fenton after one year on the job. They are currently searching for his replacement, who will have his work cut out for him. The core of this team is getting older, and the team isn’t looking any better.

28) Anaheim Ducks

2018-19 Finish: 35-37-10, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Michael Del Zotto

Biggest Loss: Corey Perry

Trending: Holding

Another team that had a rough season, and it doesn’t really look like it’s going to improve anytime soon either. There haven’t been many moves for the Anaheim Ducks, it seems like they may start handing the reins over to the younger players. Players like Troy Terry, Maxime Comtois, and Sam Steel should represent the next wave of Ducks’ stars. Will we see them all this season?

29) Detroit Red Wings

2018-19 Finish: 32-40-10, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Valterri Filppula

Biggest Loss: Niklas Kronwall?

Trending: Up

The new man in town is looking to get the Detroit Red Wings back into contention. Steve Yzerman has been named the general manager and has fans looking forward to a bright future. But, it doesn’t look like that future will be coming this season. The team will be getting younger, led by star Dylan Larkin, and we should see some of those young players appear this season. Longtime defender Niklas Kronwall is still deciding on his future and the Red Wings are giving him the time he needs.

30) Los Angeles Kings

2018-19 Finish: 31-42-9, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Martin Frk

Biggest Loss: Dion Phaneuf

Trending: Holding

Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Los Angeles Kings
Dion Phaneuf was bought out by the Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

It seems strange to have a team with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick way down on this list, but here we are. The Los Angeles Kings were bad last season, and they haven’t really done anything to improve aside from buying out defender Dion Phaneuf. It’s an ageing lineup that may have some tough choices to make on their core pieces moving forward.

31) Ottawa Senators

2018-19 Finish: 29-47-6, did not qualify for playoffs

Biggest Addition: Nikita Zaitsev

Biggest Loss: Cody Ceci

Trending: Holding

The Ottawa Senators continue to make big changes to their lineup. They’ve added veteran leaders in Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis, Artem Anisimov, players that could help long-term in Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev, while moving out Cody Ceci, Zach Smith, Mike Condon, and Ben Harpur. The Senators aren’t close to finishing this rebuild, but they have been filling the prospect cupboard. Unlike the teams just above, they are at least making moves… right?

Related: Senators and Leafs Swap Ceci, Zaitsev

What teams do you think should have been higher? Which should be lower? Leave your comments below!

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