NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, biggest offseason decisions

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Kristen Shilton, ESPN NHL reporterMar 29, 2024, 07:30 AM ET

CloseKristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.

Another week closer to the end of the regular season — and start of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs — and we have another new team sitting atop the throne of the NHL Power Rankings.

But in addition to a new order to our list, this week we took a break from the playoff (and draft lottery) race to look at a critical offseason decision that each club will have to make, whether it’s pending free agents, a coach (or GM) hire or a possible trade.

How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors sends in a 1-32 poll based on the games through Wednesday, which generates our master list here.

Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the previous edition, published March 22. Points percentages are through Thursday’s games.

Previous ranking: 6
Points percentage: 69.86%

This offseason will include (another) decision to make on pending RFA Kaapo Kakko. The 23-year-old’s expiring two-year deal had a “prove it” undertone for leverage leading into another negotiation. What GM Chris Drury comes to the table with should indicate how highly the Rangers value Kakko into the future.

Next seven days: @ ARI (March 30), vs. PIT (Apr. 1), vs. NJ (Apr. 3)

Previous ranking: 9
Points percentage: 68.24%

Who’s going to round out the bottom two defensive pairs? Jani Hakanpaa and Chris Tanev are both free agents; Nils Lundkvist and Thomas Harley are up-and-coming RFAs. The Stars have had their issues getting it right on the blue line. Targeting the right personnel there moving forward is crucial.

Next seven days: @ SEA (March 30), vs. EDM (Apr. 3)

Previous ranking: 2
Points percentage: 66.89%

Boston is already talking an extension with pending RFA Jeremy Swayman — and his deal will have a ripple effect on Linus Ullmark’s future. Swayman already went through one fraught negotiation with Boston last summer; will this year’s conversation be smoother? And…

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Source link : https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/39828095/nhl-power-rankings-2023-2024-best-teams-standings-offseason

Author : Kristen Shilton

Publish date : 2024-03-29 12:33:07

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