Welcome back hockey fans to another Overtime Heroics NHL Power Rankings Recap. We’ve officially passed the halfway mark on the 2022-23 season as of this week with no shortage of intriguing storylines at our fingertips. A couple of the week’s bigger stories are the impending implosion of the Vancouver Canucks and a possible breaking point for the Ottawa Senators. But first, a few quick hits from around the league.
The Dallas Stars aren’t doing bad at all this season, or this week for that matter, but still find themselves falling down the rankings due to no fault of their own. Even though they are tied for first in the Central Division with a 6-3-1 record in their last 10, it just so happens they’ve been leapfrogged by a few teams who went undefeated on the week.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for the New Jersey Devils as they try to figure out what happened. Though the numbers indicated it was largely just some poor puck luck it still took a toll on the team. But an undefeated week with a high PDO might give them some of their mojo back that took the team to new heights earlier this season.
The struggles of the Edmonton Oilers have been well documented thus far. And although their injury woes haven’t caused as much of a problem as maybe once expected, the team is still disappointing. The Oilers are barely clinging to a wild card spot after the first half of their season. But a strong week with blowout wins over the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks might kick start a strong finishing half to the year. This is nothing new to the franchise, as over the past three seasons, the Oilers have had a .581 points percentage in the first half of the season but escalate to a .657 points percentage in the second half.
The Seattle Kraken keep on rolling this season as they currently sit on an eight game win streak, which includes sweeping a seven-game road trip. They have become the first team in NHL history to do so, and they accomplished this in impressive fashion by outscoring their opponents 37-15. Move over, Vegas, we have a new historic team making waves.
Organizational Turmoil for the Canucks
What a tumultuous season for the Vancouver Canucks. Put on the radar early with the league’s worst start, they had brief glimmer of hope as they pushed to a .500 record, but now have fallen back on old habits on the ice in the midst of an 0-4 week. And the poor performance on the ice is surprisingly not even the biggest concern for them right now.
There’s been the season-long saga with J.T. Miller’s questionable presence in the locker room that seemed to hit a bit of a boiling point a couple weeks ago after he was yelling at goaltender Spencer Martin in the middle of a play. This is made more significant as his massive contract extension is one of the key reasons the club is likely going to need to trade Bo Horvat.
News broke this week after it was announced Tanner Pearson would need to undergo another surgery and would be out for the season. Made worse when Quinn Hughes made an off-hand remark about the injury not being handled properly, which has turned into an organizational and probably an NHLPA investigation.
Then we have the rapidly increasing rumblings of a coaching change to be made in the near future, bringing in Rick Tocchet, former coach of the Arizona Coyotes who has worked with GM Jim Rutherford in the past. This is notable as his coaching style does not mesh well with the team as it is built and he has a history of benching players who he does not like the effort from defensively, which may prove difficult for a team like the Canucks to ice a full roster if that is the case.
It is a difficult time for the Canucks organization as they cannot seem to get anything right lately.
The Embarrassing Effort of the Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk summed it up quite succinctly when he said this after a blowout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, who may be starting to see their offense wake up lately.
This is not how the season was supposed to go. The Senators brought in an experienced veteran in Claude Giroux, a legit scorer in Alex DeBrincat, a starting goalie in Cam Talbot, and got another year of development for an exciting and jam packed prospect pool. But halfway through the season, the team is still not seeing much improvement as they sit second last in the Atlantic Division eight points out of a playoff spot.
The words spoken by Tkachuk are ringing true as something clearly is not working. Maybe the team needs better defenders, which explains why they are in the rumours for some of the available defenders on the market. But it seems ultimately that it is is systemic and structural. Perhaps there is a reason that D.J. Smith was on the hotseat earlier this season, and would remain there to this day.
It is probably too late for the Senators to turn this season around, as they are stuck in an incredibly difficult division and would have to pass six other teams to get themselves into a playoff spot. But with an ownership change coming in the near future, it would be wise to be aggressive in making progress in the team’s rebuild. Quite often, the coach leading the worst years of the rebuild does not stay once things turn around, maybe it is time for that move as the Senators try to turn the corner.
That wraps up this week’s NHL Power Rankings Recap. Which team is ranked too high? Drop a comment down below!
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