NHL Power Rankings Week 22 Recap – Another Missed Opportunity for the Flyers

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Hockey fans, we are now in the home stretch of the NHL season. The trade deadline was this past Friday (or maybe it should be trade deadline week, this season) and the team’s rosters are now set to make a push for the playoffs or a push for the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

Two teams this week stand out, for opposing reasons. The Ottawa Senators have been hot lately, putting themselves in a playoff race as well as turning into a buyer at the deadline. On the flip side, the Philadelphia Flyers found themselves mostly uninvolved in a deadline where they really should and could have done something. But first, some quick hits from around the league.

Quick Hits

This week, the Boston Bruins became the fastest team in NHL history to reach 100 points. They accomplished this in just 61 games, beating the previous record holders, the 1972-73 Montreal Canadiens, by one game. The Bruins bought big-time at the deadline, knowing this is a year to add as much as possible, with the additions of Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, and Tyler Bertuzzi. Boston is now absolutely stacked with an unheard-of amount of depth. Especially on defense. This is such an incredible team and story to watch heading into the playoffs as they challenge for the distinction of having the best regular season of all time.

The Nashville Predators have finally chosen a direction, and that is to rebuild. With longtime GM David Poile about to step down and Barry Trotz, the team’s coach from 1998-99 to 2013-14, will be taking over. In his last deadline as GM, the duo traded out some key pieces, like longtime defender Mattias Ekholm being acquired by the Edmonton Oilers, for picks and prospects, setting the tone for the next steps in Nashville. It will be interesting to watch the Predators in the coming years to see how the former coach transitions into his new role as GM.

Some teams prefer to not mess too much with a good thing at the deadline and make a couple of smaller tweaks instead. Some teams, like the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, made a lot of trades to bring in plenty of new faces. This trade deadline season, the Leafs brought in Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Acciari, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty, Erik Gustafsson, and Luke Schenn. On any given game, almost a third of their lineup spots could be filled by these acquisitions. Although the trades make the team better and far deeper on paper, the big question for the Leafs is whether or not this will affect the team’s chemistry moving forward.

Changing Tides for the Ottawa Senators

The season for the Senators has been a roller coaster. A few hot stretches where the team looks promising followed immediately by cold stretches that show the team is not quite ready to compete. But something has changed in recent weeks, again, that shows the Senators may be closer than it looks to entering a competitive window.

Currently on a five-game winning streak, in which they’ve outscored their opposition 27-10, the Senators have been finding a groove, gelling as a team, and showing their core is ready to start challenging.

Earlier this season, it would have been assumed the Senators would sell again at the deadline. Possibly even looking to trade out Alex DeBrincat. But the opposite of that happened. After a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on February 20th, GM Pierre Dorion realized that this team is ready. And he rewarded the core at the deadline with the acquisition of Jakob Chychrun, who had been long on the trade block.

This is a huge move for Ottawa as they find themselves in the midst of a logjam of teams competing for Eastern Conference wild-card spots. But with a defense led by Thomas Chabot and Chychrun, and others like Jake Sanderson and Erik Brannstrom turning into high-level players, the defensive corps the Senators are icing is soon to be one of the best in the league.

Another Missed Opportunity for the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers and making confusing decisions regarding trades, name a better duo. I’ll wait.

The Flyers are in a position where the team is clearly in need of a complete overhaul and rebuild. They do not have the roster strength to compete, nor do they have the extra picks and prospect pool to buy assets.

Logically, the next step would be to start selling and prepping for a rebuild. So, let’s take a look at the moves the Flyers made at the deadline. They acquired Brendan Lemieux and a fifth-round draft pick for Zack MacEwen and a sixth-round pick for Patrick Brown. That’s all. Apparently, they were shopping pending UFA James van Riemsdyk, but nothing came to fruition.

Once again, the Flyers made a baffling decision. They sat on their existing roster at the deadline while they are 25th in the league. Heading into a draft with a collection of extremely promising prospects throughout the first round, holding a few players that would be appealing trade targets, the Flyers left the deadline with nothing.

The direction of this team is sometimes beyond comprehension. They’ve acknowledged the difficult stretch ahead with refunds to season ticket holders for games in April and a letter from John Tortorella asking for support and patience. The Flyers know what they need to do and what the team currently is. And this trade deadline was a botched opportunity to get started on that plan.

That wraps up this week’s NHL Power Rankings recap! Who is ranked too high? Drop a comment down below!

main image credits: Getty Images

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Sean is a lifelong, stubborn Oilers fan who somehow still has hope that next season will be the year. Hockey is his biggest interest and hobby, so he follows the whole league as closely as he can.

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