NHL Power Rankings: Capital Improvement
The Washington Capitals are making a strong run to get back to the Stanley Cup, which they won in 2018.
A 27-11-4 record has the Caps tied for first place in the East Division and ranked No. 8 in Dunkel's latest NHL Power Rankings. The Alex Ovechkin-led offense remains as potent as ever and currently ranks 2nd in the league in scoring at 3.43 goals per game. At 34, Ovechkin has shown few signs of slowing down. He currently ranks 5th in the league in goals with 21. Veteran center Niklas Backstrom is tied for 14th in assists with 29.
That one-two punch has delivered many Ws for Washington over the years. But the Caps were not content to just sit tight with the players it had.
In one of the biggest deals at the trade deadline, he Caps acquired Anthony Mantha from the Red Wings. Mantha is a former first round pick and has scored 95 goals and 99 assists in 302 career games. The 26-year-old winger is under contract through the 2023-24 season.
Washington also acquired verteran winger Michael Raffl from Philadelphia. Raffl is coming off a 20-point season (8 goals, 12 assists), but has just 3 goals and 5 assists thus far this season.
With three consecutive games coming up later this month against the other first place team in the East --the NY Islanders -- the Caps will get a quick look at whether these deals are likely to pay off.
Taylor Made For Boston
The Boston Bruins made some changes during the last off-season and decided not to bring back veteran captain Zdeno Chara and defenseman Tory Krug. The result has been a Bruins team that is still trying to find its way. Last year's best record in the East (44-14-12) has been replaced with a mediocre 21-12-6 mark, which has Boston sitting in 4th place in the East Division and just No. 18 in Dunkel's NHL Power Rankings.
Not surprisingly, the Bruins tried to shake things up at the trade deadline by acquiring former MVP Taylor Hall from the Sabres. Hall, who won the MVP with the Devils in 2018, will be joining his third team in less than two years after stops in Arizona and Buffalo. His numbers were down this year with the Sabres as his 0.51 points per game is a career worst. And he had a minus-21 ratings, which was 4th worst in the league.
The Bruins are desperately hoping Hall can regain his form and add some firerpower to a disappointing offense, which ranks only 18th in the league in scoring at 2.72 goals per game despite being 4th in shots per game at 32.2
Hall and his new teammates will get a chance to show Buffalo what it lost as 4 of Boston's next 7 games are against the No. 31 Sabres.
Check out all of Dunkel's NHL Power Rankings