26. Montreal Canadiens
Previous: No. 27
Montreal seems a likely team to blow it all up at the deadline. The Habs are not content with non-playoff seasons, and they have some contracts they’ll look to get off the books. Where would likely tradee Alex Galchenyuk most make sense as a landing spot? If only the Blackhawks weren’t (likely) also selling.
25. Edmonton Oilers
Previous: No. 23
Well, the old Oilers showed back up for a night in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 on Monday. While the offense hasn’t been great, the goaltending has been truly lackluster. It’s almost as if Cam Talbot wasn’t a franchise goalie after all.
24. Florida Panthers
Previous: No. 25
The Panthers have won three straight games, and while they’re arguably just worsening their chances of picking first in this year’s NHL draft, picking up wins is never bad for younger talent. Perhaps the Panthers can find their goaltender of the future in the next draft.
23. New York Rangers
Previous: No. 21
It’s actually crazy how much the Rangers are like the Blackhawks in the overall landscape of the NHL right now. The Rags have fallen apart, losing their last three games and becoming the last “viable playoff team” in the East. By that I mean they’re divider between the teams “in contention” and the teams that are out of it, with 55 points and Florida at 50 just behind.
22. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous: No. 20
And here are the Blackhawks, who have 56 points while the Oilers right below have 50. People might see Chicago’s plus-8 goal differential and wonder how this team isn’t in at least a little better spot. Of course, anyone who remembers the blowouts of Pittsburgh and Ottawa knows what’s going on.
21. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous: No. 24
The Canes have lost their last two games and have just four wins over their previous 10. It’s no secret what’s going wrong here, as some solid young talent is being undone by poor goaltending from Scott Darling. Cam Ward won’t be around that much longer in the NHL, so Carolina has some decisions to make in net.