NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, each team's playoff chances

ByKristen Shilton ESPN logo
Friday, February 23, 2024

We're officially two weeks away from the NHL trade deadline on March 8, and teams will be making moves between now and then to either bolster their Stanley Cup chances or build for the future.

Along with a new No. 1 team on the Power Rankings this week, we are breaking down each team's updated playoff chances, as determined by Stathletes projections.

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 Feb. 16. Points percentages are through Thursday's games.

1. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 5

Points percentage: 68.42%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Florida could be the first team to make consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances since their state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, did it in 2020 and 2021 (and 2022 as well). And this time, the Panthers have a better opportunity to come away victorious.

Next seven days: vs. WSH (Feb. 24), vs. BUF (Feb. 27), vs. MTL (Feb. 29)

2. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 2

Points percentage: 68.97%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Boston experienced last spring how anything can happen once the postseason begins. The key for the Bruins is not to be haunted by the past in their next playoff opportunity.

Next seven days: @ VAN (Feb. 24), @ SEA (Feb. 26), vs. VGK (Feb. 29)

3. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 1

Points percentage: 67.80%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Vancouver has shocked the hockey world as this season's breakout club. Even the current slump shouldn't hurt their chances of a playoff berth. Vancouver has excelled from top to bottom more often than not, so the real icing on their cake will be racking up series wins in the postseason.

Next seven days: vs. BOS (Feb. 24), vs. PIT (Feb. 27), vs. LA (Feb. 29)

4. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 9

Points percentage: 69.30%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. New York has been on such a heater lately -- did you see that Stadium Series comeback? -- that it's almost insulting there's even a 0.3% possibility they don't get in on postseason action.

Next seven days: @ PHI (Feb. 24), @ CBJ (Feb. 25), vs. CBJ (Feb. 28)

5. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 4

Points percentage: 65.52%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Dallas has a deep team, and that has been its backbone through every challenge faced this season. The Stars will need their resiliency intact to make a long run in the playoffs.

Next seven days: @ CAR (Feb. 24), vs. NYI (Feb. 26), @ COL (Feb. 27), vs. WPG (Feb. 29)

6. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 3

Points percentage: 64.66%

Playoff chances: 98.6%. Colorado has battled tough stretches this season. But thanks to Nathan MacKinnon driving the bus at game-changing speed, there's little chance the Avalanche won't make playoffs. The question is: What can they do once they get there?

Next seven days: vs. TOR (Feb. 24), vs. DAL (Feb. 27), @ CHI (Feb. 29)

7. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 6

Points percentage: 67.59%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Winnipeg will get to the postseason. The true curiosity is how the Jets will fare once they're in it. Winnipeg has a top-tier goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck and a lineup littered with star power. But have we seen the best of the Jets already? Or are there even greater things to come?

Next seven days: @ CHI (Feb. 23), vs. ARI (Feb. 25), vs. STL (Feb. 27), @ DAL (Feb. 29)

8. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 8

Points percentage: 64.15%

Playoff chances: 99.8%. Edmonton already graduated from early-season disappointment to postseason lock. Now the Oilers are among the current favorites to win it all (at 11.9%). That's a glow-up if ever we've seen one.

Next seven days: vs. MIN (Feb. 23), vs. CGY (Feb. 24), vs. (Feb. 26), vs. STL (Feb. 28)

9. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 11

Points percentage: 64.29%

Playoff chances: 97.7%. Toronto can thank Auston Matthews' consistently spectacular play this season for basically ensuring they'll be in good position for the playoffs. Naturally, getting in will mean nothing for the Leafs (or Matthews) if they can't produce when it counts.

Next seven days: @ COL (Feb. 24), vs. VGK (Feb. 27), vs. ARI (Feb. 29)

10. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 10

Points percentage: 65.18%

Playoff chances: 99.9%. Carolina stumbling in uncharacteristic fashion to start the season raised red flags. Turns out, we need not have worried about the Canes. They'll not only be in the postseason but -- with a trade deadline upgrade? -- should be among the Eastern Conference favorites.

Next seven days: vs. DAL (Feb. 24), @ BUF (Feb. 25), @ MIN (Feb. 27), @ CBJ (Feb. 29)

11. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 7

Points percentage: 61.40%

Playoff chances: 96.7%. Vegas has shown some signs of a lingering Cup hangover. But like every veteran reveler in Sin City, the Golden Knights find ways to rally. Odds are they'll be in for another fruitful spring ahead.

Next seven days: @ OTT (Feb. 24), @ TOR (Feb. 27), @ BOS (Feb. 29)

12. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 15

Points percentage: 60.00%

Playoff chances: 93.5%. Los Angeles is back on the rails after a rough two-win January cost coach Todd McLellan his job. Interim bench boss Jim Hiller has helped right the ship, and the Kings can use their adversity as a rallying point toward postseason success.

Next seven days: vs. ANA (Feb. 24), @ EDM (Feb. 26), @ CGY (Feb. 27), @ VAN (Feb. 29)

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 12

Points percentage: 58.77%

Playoff chances: 76.8%. Philadelphia being a playoff team was not on the Bingo card this year. The Flyers might also be the team most likely to fall out of the conversation post-trade deadline. For now, though, Philadelphia's trending in the right direction. Let's see how far they can go.

Next seven days: vs. NYR (Feb. 24), @ PIT (Feb. 25), vs. TB (Feb. 27)

14. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 14

Points percentage: 58.93%

Playoff chances: 32.9%. Detroit is in position to finally host a playoff game within their stunning, state-of-the-art arena. All that stands in their way is keeping pace with some ultracompetitive Atlantic Division rivals.

Next seven days: vs. STL (Feb. 24), @ CHI (Feb. 25), vs. WSH (Feb. 27), vs. NYI (Feb. 29)

15. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 13

Points percentage: 56.03%

Playoff chances: 80.0%. Tampa is in that murky middle of the Eastern Conference where their pendulum could swing either way. Are the Lightning able to hang from here with the Atlantic's top squads? Are they wild-card material? Or ... does Tampa Bay fall out altogether? It'll be a wild ride from here to find out.

Next seven days: @ NYI (Feb. 24), @ NJ (Feb. 25), @ PHI (Feb. 27), vs. BUF (Feb. 29)

16. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 18

Points percentage: 53.57%

Playoff chances: 41.7%. New Jersey was, at this time last year, a veritable lock for the playoffs. Things are different now. The Devils still have runway, but questions around goaltending and defense especially threaten to derail New Jersey, even if they do secure a spot.

Next seven days: vs. MTL (Feb. 24), vs. TB (Feb. 25), @ SJ (Feb. 27)

17. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 19

Points percentage: 53.57%

Playoff chances: 28.7%. New York did enough slipping and sliding already this season to warrant a coaching change (hello, Patrick Roy). Can the Islanders pull it together in time to recapture a wild-card slot? It'll take more than just continuous star turns from Mathew Barzal to get there.

Next seven days: vs. TB (Feb. 24), @ DAL (Feb. 26), @ DET (Feb. 29)

18. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 17

Points percentage: 54.39%

Playoff chances: 32.7%. Nashville is in a fight to grab one of the Western Conference's wild-card spots. What the Predators do leading up to the trade deadline -- will they boost the lineup or deal veterans away? -- might tell the tale of where they end up.

Next seven days: @ SJ (Feb. 24), @ ANA (Feb. 25), vs. OTT (Feb. 27), vs. MIN (Feb. 29)

19. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 20

Points percentage: 55.36%

Playoff chances: 10.5%. St. Louis' streakiness has dampened its odds of being a postseason contender. Every winning stretch the Blues craft is seemingly followed by a landslide of losing.

Next seven days: @ DET (Feb. 24), @ WPG (Feb. 27), @ EDM (Feb. 28)

20. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 24

Points percentage: 54.55%

Playoff chances: 17.0%. Washington is on track to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since a three-season dry spell from 2003-04 through 2006-07. Luckily the Capitals have a young team and up-and-coming coach on whom they can pin a brighter future.

Next seven days: @ FLA (Feb. 24), vs. OTT (Feb. 26), @ DET (Feb. 27)

21. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 22

Points percentage: 51.75%

Playoff chances: 26.6%. Calgary had high hopes going into this season that were swiftly damaged by losing 19 of its first 30 games. That's a mammoth hole to climb out of, and the Flames don't look poised for a clandestine run from here to the postseason. Trading more roster players ahead of the deadline would signal that the rebuild is officially on.

Next seven days: @ EDM (Feb. 24), vs. LA (Feb. 27)

22. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 16

Points percentage: 53.70%

Playoff chances: 22.9%. Pittsburgh should qualify as the season's most surprising free fall. Who would have expected the Penguins to have such long postseason odds after they added new GM Kyle Dubas, acquired the likes of Erik Karlsson and Reilly Smith and have gotten MVP-caliber play from Sidney Crosby? Baffling.

Next seven days: vs. PHI (Feb. 25), @ VAN (Feb. 27), @ SEA (Feb. 29)

23. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 27

Points percentage: 51.79%

Playoff chances: 20.2%. Minnesota tried salvaging its season with a coaching change. It hasn't entirely worked yet. The Wild are at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2018-19, and that would be a shame for hockey fans hoping to see Marc-Andre Fleury get what might be one last postseason run.

Next seven days: @ EDM (Feb. 23), @ SEA (Feb. 24), vs. CAR (Feb. 27), @ NSH (Feb. 29)

24. Seattle Kraken

Previous ranking: 21

Points percentage: 52.68%

Playoff chances: 21.2%. Seattle may just be outmatched by their fellow Western Conference foes. The magic that boosted the Kraken in their sophomore season was lacking in year three. There could be a long summer looming for Seattle to ponder what went wrong.

Next seven days: vs. MIN (Feb. 24), vs. BOS (Feb. 26), vs. PIT (Feb. 29)

25. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 25

Points percentage: 48.21%

Playoff chances: 1.6%. Buffalo being at slightly better than 1% odds here is a total, utter disappointment. This season was supposed to change the narrative and show an established, winning culture. Better luck next year?

Next seven days: @ CBJ (Feb. 23), vs. CAR (Feb. 25), @ FLA (Feb. 27), @ TB (Feb. 29)

26. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 26

Points percentage: 45.61%

Playoff chances: 0%. Montreal is somewhere within a cooly calculated rebuild. When will it end for the Canadiens? Only GM Kent Hughes can say for certain.

Next seven days: @ NJ (Feb. 24), vs. ARI (Feb. 27), @ FLA (Feb. 29)

27. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 23

Points percentage: 44.64%

Playoff chances: 0.3%. Arizona can't change their own playoff destiny at this stage. The Coyotes could play spoiler down the stretch though, wielding a lineup filled with budding talents who should make them contenders in seasons ahead.

Next seven days: @ WPG (Feb. 25), @ MTL (Feb. 27), @ TOR (Feb. 29)

28. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 28

Points percentage: 47.22%

Playoff chances: 0.8%. Ottawa made adjustments everywhere from its ownership to front office execs to coaching staff. And still the Senators are on the outside looking in. Whatever their elusive winning formula is, it feels out of reach this season.

Next seven days: vs. VGK (Feb. 24), @ WSH (Feb. 25), @ NSH (Feb. 27)

29. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 29

Points percentage: 41.82%

Playoff chances: 0%. Columbus knew long ago when its last game would be this season. But at least they're only one year away from hosting the next Stadium Series clash at Ohio State. Silver linings!

Next seven days: vs. BUF (Feb. 23), vs. NYR (Feb. 25), @ NYR (Feb. 28), vs. CAR (Feb. 29)

30. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 30

Points percentage: 37.50%

Playoff chances: 0%. Anaheim won't have to wonder about its postseason odds. Just the draft lottery ones.

Next seven days: @ LA (Feb. 24), vs. NSH (Feb. 25), @ SJ (Feb. 29)

31. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 31

Points percentage: 31.82%

Playoff chances: 0%. San Jose might come first in being officially eliminated from playoff contention. So there's that.

Next seven days: vs. NSH (Feb. 24), vs. NJ (Feb. 27), vs. ANA (Feb. 29)

32. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 32

Points percentage: 28.95%

Playoff chances: 0%. Chicago has Connor Bedard back on the ice. Eventually, the Blackhawks will have a shot at the playoffs again, too.

Next seven days: vs. WPG (Feb. 23), vs. DET (Feb. 25), vs. COL (Feb. 29)