14. San Jose Sharks
Previous: No. 16
The Sharks are yet another team that has gone on a nice little run of late, going 6-2-2 in their last 10. They are sitting comfortably in a playoff position, led by the big four of Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski. Today marks a big test for them, as they take on one of the league’s best in the Winnipeg Jets.
13. Dallas Stars
Previous: No. 14
The Stars have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10, and currently hold the top wild-card spot in the West. They’re going to have to keep winning if they want to reach a comfortable position, as the entire Central Division is separated by a mere 13 points. You can read more into what they need to do to qualify for the playoffs, along with some other Western Conference bubble teams, here.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto has had a brutal last 10 games, going 3-4-3. With that being said, they’re still in a playoff position. But they need to turn it around soon before they drop to a wild card. Upcoming games against the Rangers, Bruins , Blackhawks and Stars should really tell us what they’re made of.
11. New Jersey Devils
Previous: No. 9
Their minor drop in ranking from last week to this week is attributed to their brutal stretch in the past 10, going 2-5-3. They’re still sitting in a playoff position, but similar to the Maple Leafs, they are in real danger of dropping to a wild card if they don’t shape things up soon. It will be interesting to see how rookies Nico Hischier and Will Butcher hold up down the stretch. That could largely determine where this team ends up at the end of the year.
10. Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous: No. 12
They have gone 4-5-1 in their last 10, and currently still sit in a playoff spot. Their next game is against the West-leading Vegas Golden Knights. That should be a good measuring stick for a team that has been so close to making a run for so many years. Side note: We REALLY miss Artemi Panarin in Chicago, but I’m glad to see him tearing it up in blue and white, leading the team in points.
9. Colorado Avalanche
Previous: No. 13
What? Yeah, you’re probably just as surprised as we are. The Avalanche have gone 10-0-0 in their last 10 and worked their way out from the bottom of the Central Division and into a West wild-card spot. The departure of Matt Duchene and the career year in the making by Nathan MacKinnon are both potential reasons for their recent success, and it remains to be seen how long they can keep this up. The upcoming road trip should give us a pretty good idea.
8. St. Louis Blues
Previous: No. 8
Going 5-4-1 in their last 10 is not bad, but not outstanding either. In a Central Division that is so close points-wise, they’re going to need to go on a serious run pretty soon. A recent 5-2 home loss to the bottom-dwelling Arizona Coyotes is cause for concern, and it will be interesting to see how well they rebound.