Power Rankings

Vol. 1

Greetings NFHL fans! As we are a quarter of the way into this 1995 NFHL season some teams are performing as expected, while others are finally meeting them.

26. Buffalo Sabres

Season Record: 3-17-1

Last 10: 2-7-1

The Sabres are right where we expected them to be, with the studs rebuild they began last season. GM Johnson picked up a couple of useful vets in Steen and Ruff that could turn into valuable trade chips at the deadline to pick up some more assets.

25. Tampa Bay Lightning

Season record: 3-15-2

Last 10: 2-7-1

Tampa Bay is dealing with a wrath of injuries and suspensions currently. With 5 regulars out of the lineup, they are struggling to keep the puck out of the net.

24. Chicago Blackhawks

Season record: 4-16-1

Last 10: 3-6-1

Many thought this would be the season that Chicago would take that step forward. Unfortunately for Blackhawk fans, it hasn't happened yet. Billy Guerin has been a bright spot, with 12G and 12A in 21 games.

23. Anaheim Ducks

Season record: 5-14-1

Last 10: 1-8-1

Anaheim is another team that is undertaking a long rebuild. At least they can hold solace in a 5-5 tie with Vancouver in their last outing.

22. Quebec Nordiques

Season record: 6-12-3

Last 10: 2-6-2

The Nords have made some wholesale changes, moving franchise stalwart Joe Sakic out of town and bring in the likes of Stephane Richer and Dominik Hasek. So far, those moves have not paid dividends, but the season is still young.

21. Los Angeles Kings

Season record: 5-13-3

Last 10: 4-6-0

The Kings have pulled the trigger on some moves as well, moving out arguably their top 3 forwards in Robitaille, Richer and Ruuttu. Their leading scorer is now Joe Murphy with 7G and 17 points. They have done a good job of keeping the puck out of the net, but need to start scoring.

20. Florida Panthers

Season record: 6-11-5

Last 10: 2-7-1

The Panthers boast one of the deepest blue lines in the NFHL, but have really been struggling to score. They made a blockbuster trade to bring in Hasek but he was quickly dealt after not being the difference maker he was anticipated to be. Welcome Patrick Roy, who has not fared much better. Will Trader Shane make a big splash to add a big gun up front to address his scoring woes?

19. Calgary Flames

Season record: 7-12-1

Last 10: 3-7-0

Another rebuilding team, they are stockpiling some nice assets on the farm and hold all three of their picks in this year's draft.

18: St. Louis Blues

Season record: 7-11-3

Last 10: 3-6-1

The Blues have had an up and down season to say the least. They lost 11-1 to the Red Wings, then beat them 4-3 the next. They are currently on a two game skid, but those losses have been to Colorado and the surprising San Jose Sharks.

17. Pittsburgh Penguins

Season record: 8-10-3

Last 10: 3-6-1

Losers of 6 of their past 8, the Penguins have hit a skid after a promising start to the season. Nick Kypreos has been a bright spot, sitting second in team scoring with 8G 11A and 103 PIM. 

16. Toronto Maple Leafs

Season record: 8-12-1

Last 10: 5-5-0

This scribe has never seen injuries like this team is suffering at this moment. Every defenseman from the farm has been called up, including the goalie. Four defensemen injured, one goalie, one defenseman and one forward suspended. An unbelievable stretch of bad luck.

15. New York Islanders

Season record: 9-10-2

Last 10: 5-4-1

They have traded away players and yet are still contending in the weak Wales Conference, despite their best efforts not to. Rookie Martin Rucinsky is holding his own, sitting third in scoring with 5G and 12A in 21 games.

14. New York Rangers

Season record: 10-10-1

Last 10: 5-4-1

The Rangers are one of the bigger surprises this season. They have made some bold moves, picking up a legit starting netminder and a couple of veteran forwards to go along with leading scorer Nick Lidstrom. He has 32 points in 21 games, with his closest competitor sitting a ridiculous 17 points back with 15.

13. Boston Bruins

Season record: 12-9-1

Last 10: 6-4-0

The Bruins are looking for consistency in goaltending, something that has plagued them for years. Theo Fleury is starting to flex his muscles as a goal scorer, currently sitting tied for fourth with 15

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

Season record: 12-9-1

Last 10: 6-4

GM Bonanni has been figuring out his roster as this season progresses, and he made a big trade dealing Hasek for Richter and a bundle of top prospects. The cupboard was bare in St. John's, and one trade really helped to start restocking.

11. Edmonton Oilers

Season record: 11-6-4

Last 10: 5-2-3

The Oilers a couple of seasons ago were contenders with the likes of Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, and Larmer. All those players were moved out for young assets and picks and GM Jones has reloaded with the likes of Bure, Forsberg and Weight. He has set himself up for the looks of an upcoming dynasty with all the young studs in Edmonton.

10. Philadelphia Flyers

Season record: 12-8-2

Last 10: 7-3-0

The Flyers have lost 3 of their last 4 after winning 8 in a row. The common denominator in those losses? Strong Campbell Conference teams. 

9. Montreal Canadiens

Season record: 11-8-3

Last 10: 8-1-1

Montreal has a stockpile of youngsters that are coming into their own together. Rookies Glen Murray and Chris Pronger have been difference makers so far this season.

8. Winnipeg Jets

Season record: 12-7-2

Last 10: 5-4-1

Is Allan Bester the Achilles Heel for Winnipeg? His lackluster play has been an issue thus far this season. Kirk Muller looks like he may be the stud that he has been propped up to be.

7. San Jose Sharks

Season record: 13-7-1

Last 10: 6-3-1

San Jose has been a pleasant surprise this season, They made a huge splash with the addition of Sakic and Fuhr from Quebec and Burnaby Joe has lived up to expectations.

6. Hartford Whalers

Season record: 13-7-2

Last 10: 5-4-1

Every season preseason pundits speak of the upcoming demise of the Whalers, that another up-and-coming squad will take over the throne in the Adams. Well as long as Super Mario is leading the charge, the mighty Whale are never out of it. 

5. Colorado Rockies

Season record: 14-7-1

Last 10: 6-3-1

Colorado boast 5 of the top 7 leading scorers in the NFHL, yet sit in 5th in the Campbell Conference. They've scored 23 more goals than their closest competitor so they can score with the best of them. It's a matter of time until they break out and move up the standings.

4. New Jersey Devils

Season record: 14-6-1

Last 10: 6-4-0

The Devils have won 3 in a row and are pacing the Wales Conference. They have been playing stout defensively, allowing the fewest goals thus far in the NFHL. What is puzzling is the lack of scoring, since they are averaging the fourth most shots on net.

3. Minnesota North Stars

Season record: 15-4-3

Last 10: 6-4-0

Winners of 4 of their last 5, they are continuing to show that their play last year was not a fluke. Dmitri Khristich is off to a hot start again this season, this season scoring with 14G thus far.

2. Vancouver Canucks

Season record: 13-4-4

Last 10: 6-1-3

The Canucks are living up to the expectations from last season with all the big moves they made. The off-season team building exercises are paying dividends.

1. Detroit Red Wings

Season record: 16-4-2

Last 10: 6-2-2

The defending champs care continuing to roll to start of the 1995 season. They have allowed the second fewest goals against and are unbeaten in 6. Barry Pedersen and Jimmy Carson are leading the way offensively and Felix and JVB are both over .900 in save percentage.

Some real surprises in this first edition of the rankings. Join us next time to see if the rankings hold up, or if there are some movers and shakers either up or down the rankings.

Lou Brication
NFHL Network