2014-15 NHL Power Rankings: Flyers slip two spots

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Flyers forward R.J. Umberger and the Flames' Corey Potter collide. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

1. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 6; 42-17-7, 91 points) – The Ducks have kept the rest of the Pacific Division at arm’s length all year while owning one of the league’s best records, but it didn’t stop Anaheim from making some huge changes at the deadline. The Ducks reworked their defense by acquiring James Wisniewski and Simon Despres. Wisniewski wasn’t able to get in the lineup Wednesday because of a foot injury, but Despres helped Anaheim become the first team to 90 points.

2. New York Rangers (LW: 5; 39-17-7, 85 points) – The Rangers grabbed the biggest name at the deadline: defenseman Keith Yandle. It cost New York a top prospect in Anthony Duclair, defenseman John Moore, a first-round pick in 2016 and second-round pick in 2015. With the trade, the Rangers won’t have a first-round pick for four straight seasons, but they added a defenseman who led Arizona with 41 points, has topped 40 points in the last five full seasons, and should be the power-play quarterback the Rangers haven’t had since Brian Leetch.

3. New York Islanders (LW: 2; 41-21-3, 85 points) – A trade deadline removed from selling off Thomas Vanek, the Islanders comfortably sit in a playoff spot and tied atop the Metropolitan Division. The Isles picked up forward Tyler Kennedy for depth and Michael Neuvirth to add some insurance in net.

4. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 4; 36-15-11, 83 points) – Detroit received immediate return on its trade-deadline acquisition. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored an overtime winner Wednesday for Detroit’s third straight win.

5. St. Louis Blues (LW: 3; 40-18-5, 85 points) – St. Louis has lost three of five, but is only four points behind Nashville with two games in hand. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek headlined the Blues’ deadline acquisitions. As you’ve probably noticed, the NHL stayed neck-and-neck with Chip Kelly in transactions this week.

6. Nashville Predators (LW: 1; 41-17-7, 89 points) – Nashville hit a wall over the last week. The Predators have lost four straight and six of eight. Since defenseman Cody Franson and center Mike Santorelli, the team’s midseason acquisitions, joined the team, Nashville is 2-4-1.

7. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 7; 41-18-5, 87 points) – The Canadiens are 23d in shot-attempt percentage and 21st in unblocked shot-attempt percentage, so it’s no wonder Carey Price is the favorite to be the first goalie to win the Hart Trophy since 2002. Price has a .935 save percentage.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW 8; 39-20-6, 84 points) – Aside from becoming the unofficial landing spot of maligned Flyers defensemen, the Lightning beefed up their blueline with Braydon Coburn and have as good a shot as anyone in a wide-open East.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 10; 36-18-9, 81 points) – The Penguins have faced heat for their big deadline deal. The Pens traded 23-year-old Simon Despres, who was third among the team’s defensemen in shot-attempt percentage and second in unblocked shot-attempt percentage, for 31-year-old Ben Lovejoy, who does not represent much of an upgrade and is eight years older. The Penguins do have a deep group of young blueliners in their pipeline, but that’s hardly an excuse to give away a promising young player.

10. Minnesota Wild (LW: 13; 34-22-7, 75 points) – Devan Dubnyk is 16-3-1 since going to Minnesota, and the Wild are still rolling. Minnesota added forward and former 20-goal scorer Chris Stewart and made the Internet happy by acquiring Jordan and Jordyn Leopold. Adding all the free agents didn’t work (Zach Parise and Ryan Suter), so maybe karma will put Minnesota over the top.

11. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 12; 38-21-5, 81 points) – With Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya down, the Blackhawks made an aggressive push and picked up Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette, and Andrew Desjardins. Early returns were positive, as the new-look Hawks smacked the Hurricanes, 5-2, Monday.

12. Washington Capitals (LW: 11; 35-20-10, 80 points) – Alexander Ovechkin has 26 goals in his last 30 games and has 43 this year. He now owns a five-goal lead over Rick Nash for the league lead and is tied for the league lead in points.

13. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 9; 30-21-12, 72 points) – After eight straight wins, the Kings dropped from the playoff picture with a three-game losing streak.

14. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 14; 36-24-3, 75 points) – The Canucks fleeced Calgary for former top prospect Sven Baertschi, Henrik Sedin became the fourth Swede to 900 points, and the team has wins over the Islanders, Bruins, and Blues over the last 12 days. Not a bad stretch for Vancouver.

15. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 15; 32-21-12, 76 points) – The Jets have lost four of six and, perhaps more importantly, Dustin Byfuglien left and did not return to the game against Ottawa on Wednesday.

16. Boston Bruins (LW: 18; 31-22-9, 71 points) – Before forward Brett Connolly could even get in a game for Boston, he broke his right index finger in practice. It has been that kind of year for the Bruins.

17. Calgary Flames (LW: 16; 34-25-4, 72 points) – Defenseman Mark Giordano, who spent much of the season as a favorite for the Norris Trophy, is done for the year with a torn bicep and the Flames will face an uphill climb to the playoffs.

18. San Jose Sharks (LW: 17; 32-25-8, 72 points) – The Sharks made some minor moves at the deadline after losing five of their previous six, but responded with decisive wins over the Canadiens and Canucks. San Jose is even with Calgary and Los Angeles for the last playoff spot in the Pacific Division with 72 points.

19. Ottawa Senators (LW: 22; 28-23-11, 66 points) – Andrew Hammond is 6-0-1 with wins over the Habs, Ducks, Kings, Sharks, and Jets. He’s given up eight goals in that stretch and his nickname is the Hamburgler, as if his numbers weren’t enough. Right now, he has the Sens four points from a playoff spot.

20. Florida Panthers (LW: 19; 28-23-13, 69 points) – The Panthers acquired Jaromir Jagr, but traded forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Sean Bergenheim, so I might need more time to decide if that constitutes going for it. Either way, I’m moving on before I make the Jagr “old and going to Florida” joke.

21. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 20; 28-25-11, 67 points) – Alex Tanguay played his 1,000th game Wednesday against Pittsburgh, Colorado’s fourth win in six games. Tanguay, 35, has 40 points in 62 games.

22. New Jersey Devils (LW: 23; 27-27-10, 64 points) – Despite only dealing defenseman Marek Zidlicky at what was expected to be a more eventful deadline, New Jersey has won six of eight.

23. Flyers (LW: 21; 27-25-12, 66 points) – The Flyers received resounding praise for a trade deadline in which they kept the company line, focusing on the future. While much of the credit might be due to past organizational failures to avoid chasing fool’s gold, Philadelphia approached the deadline with precise self-awareness. The Flyers still have six active defensemen under contract for next season, could bring back Michael Del Zotto, and have to start making room for some of the prospects coming through the system, so this week could be the first step in what might be a summer purge.

24. Dallas Stars (LW: 24; 28-26-10, 66 points) – The Stars have lost seven of nine without Tyler Seguin.

25. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 25; 24-31-7, 55 points) – The Hurricanes haven’t been outshot since Jan. 31, but are only 7-5-1 to show for it.

26. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 27; 26-33-5, 57 points) – Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf exploded on TSN (one of the team’s co-owners) for airing a tweet involving Lupul and Phaneuf’s wife, Elisha Cuthbert. Phil Kessel followed by slamming the Toronto media and saying he’s “tired of it” in Toronto in an impassioned defense of Phaneuf. So, just another week for the league’s most popular franchise.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 26; 26-33-4, 56 points) – The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs teamed up for what might have been the highlight of both teams’ season. Columbus traded Nathan Horton’s uninsured contract, knowing he’ll never play again, to the Maple Leafs for David Clarkson, who will play but likely poorly. The Leafs will stash Horton on long-term injured reserve for cap relief, the Jackets will actually get a hockey player in return for about $5 million per season, and somehow everyone wins. Naturally, Clarkson will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a torn oblique.

28. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 28; 18-36-10, 46 points) – After trading Jeff Petry, the 27-year-old, top-four defenseman, for a second-round pick, Edmonton is under fire for … well … might as well just say the last 10 years.

29. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 29; 20-37-7, 47 points) – The Coyotes traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek, Antoine Vermette, and Keith Yandle but still …

30. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 30; 19-40-5, 43 points) – … nobody can out-tank the Sabres. I don’t know the level past scorched earth, but that’s the state of Buffalo’s roster after the deadline. Forwards Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, and Chris Stewart are gone. Goalie Michael Neuvirth, a bright spot this season with a .918 save percentage, is out. Can’t have him stealing any games. In return for Neuvirth, the Sabres received Chad Johnson (.889 save percentage) and a third-round pick.