In today's post, we rank the NHL's (current) top-5 teams factoring in record, recent performance, roster talent, underlying numbers and more.
1. Washington Capitals (39-11-6)
Losing Andre Burakovsky hurts their scoring depth, but this team is pretty much flawless. They can score with anyone, their defense is great and Braden Holtby is having another solid season.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (34-13-7)
They have dealt with injuries to Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin, among others, yet they are still near the top of the league standings and score more than anyone. They're a legitimate Cup contender again.
3. Minnesota Wild (37-12-6)
Bruce Boudreau has done a fantastic job getting the most out of the talent on this roster. They don't have many household names, but they're deep and they can play any style (fast, physical, etc.).
4. San Jose Sharks (34-18-5)
They are top-10 in shot attempt for%, top-10 in scoring chance for% and Brent Burns is playing at a Hart Trophy level. They seem poised for another deep run.
5. Boston Bruins (29-23-6)
I'm going to go against the grain with my pick in the five-spot because this team scares the heck out of me. They have significantly outplayed opponents routinely this season but haven't gotten the results they deserve. They've now won three in a row and are starting to get a little pep in their steps. I think this team will contend for the Atlantic.
1. Washington. Not close. The Capitals enter their break the top team in the league by a mile, scoring 5 goals per game at will and being backstopped by the best goalie in the world.
2. Penguins. It's not as close as it could be without Malkin. Still don't like their defense as compared to Washington, who can match their forward depth with production, if not star power.
3. Minnesota . The Coyotes will always regret giving away Dubnyk. He could have been the franchise player they didn't know they needed. Anyways, depth, coaching, Granlund, Prince. It's all good in MN.
4. LA - Boring but effective. Consistently good, 2 x top D, Jeff Carter, Kopitar and a system that makes Budaj a star.
5. Toronto - Which other teams are throwing out Matthews, Nylander, Marner on different lines? Are those teams complimenting them with Kadri, JVR and Brown? The Leafs are insane and have the capital to improve their problems.