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Take a demeanour during a NHL standings and demeanour during a top-four teams in any conference. Do it right now. Here they are. Go look. Take a demeanour during a teams we see in those groups.

A lot of a ones we design to see, right? A lot of a teams we have talked about all season.

Nashville. Tampa Bay. Boston. Vegas (yes, Vegas). Winnipeg. Pittsburgh. Toronto. Teams like that.

Then there is a Minnesota Wild. A group that roughly nobody is articulate about or has talked about it, mostly given they are decidedly normal in usually about each vital category, sitting with one of a 10 best annals in a league.

Nothing about their tangible play on a ice unequivocally points to a group that should be that high in a standings.

They are one of a misfortune teams in a joining in shot try commission during 5-on-5 play.

They are in a bottom 10 in shots on idea for and shots on idea opposite per game. They are a center of a container group on a energy play and a chastisement kill. They are removing fine goaltending, yet not unequivocally a form of out-of-this universe opening that typically rises a common group this high adult in a standings.

They do have a sincerely decent sharpened commission (both altogether and during 5-on-5 play) yet like a goaltending it is zero so out of a typical that it should lead to such a poignant strike in a standings.

Along with all of that they unequivocally haven’t been a terribly healthy group this deteriorate and have had to understanding with some flattering poignant injuries to some flattering poignant players. Nino Niederreiter has missed 19 games. Zach Parise has missed 39. Charlie Coyle has missed 16. Mikael Granlund has missed five.

Even with all of that here they are with one of a improved annals in a league.

None of it creates sense. Based on all mentioned above they should substantially be one of a worst teams in a league.

The dual things they have going for them this deteriorate are a fact they have, for whatever reason, been scarcely unbeatable during home with a towering 24-5-6 record during a Xcel Energy Center.

They also have a integrate of pivotal forwards in Eric Staal, Jason Zucker (two of a tip forwards that have been healthy all season) and Mikael Granlund carrying some outrageous years offensively.

Staal stays a conspicuous story formed on a approach his career has rebounded given nearing in Minnesota before a start of a 2016-17 season. He looked like he was a bombard of his former self during his final year in Carolina, yet after a good bounceback deteriorate a year ago he has come behind this deteriorate and producing a approach he did in his primary when he was one of a best players in a league.

Zucker has already cracked his prior career high in goals, and has once again helped form a flattering clever twin with Granlund when they have been used together. Since a start of final deteriorate Zucker and Granlund have spent some-more than 1,400 mins of 5-on-5 ice time together (via Natural Stat Trick), during that time a Wild have outscored teams by a 74-45 domain and tranquil some-more than 51 percent of a shot attempts (an considerable series deliberation how bad a rest of a Wild’s possession numbers are).

Those 3 players merit a ton of credit for a Wild’s stream standing.

They are are also another good sign that infrequently a lot of what happens in a NHL in any given deteriorate can be totally pointless and not make any sense. It is a beauty of a competition sometimes. No other sports lends itself to that arrange of opening for teams a approach hockey can.

On to a rankings!

The Elites

1. Nashville Predators — They are 10-0-1 in their past 11 games entering a week and have no debility on paper or on a ice. The best group in hockey.

2. Boston Bruins — They fact a have won 6 of their past 7 games and are averaging some-more than 5 goals per diversion during that widen yet Patrice Bergeron for all of those games and Charlie McAvoy for 5 of them is remarkable. A frightful group in a Eastern Conference.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning — Speaking of frightful teams in a Eastern Conference, Tampa Bay is 9-0-1 in a past 10, has already strike 100 points on a season, and has dual of a tip scorers in a league. Honestly, any of these tip 3 teams have a legit evidence to be in a tip spot.

4. Winnipeg Jets — Patrik Laine has 15 goals in his past 11 games. That is an absurd run. The Jets have a lot of good descent weapons. He is a many dangerous.

The Rest Of The Contenders

5. Vegas Golden Knights — They have cooled off a small bit recently yet enter a week carrying won 3 out of 4 on their stream highway trip.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins — They have not always looked great, yet they enter a week in initial place in a Metropolitan Division, have won 3 out of four, and are still personification yet their starting goalie.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs — They had a flattering miserable four-game highway outing recently yet returned home with a large win over Pittsburgh. Given a series of shots they give adult their playoff success will still mostly be dynamic by how good Frederik Andersen plays in net.

8. Minnesota Wild — Not unequivocally certain how they are doing it, yet they have one of a tip annals in a league. Eric Staal is removing many of a courtesy for his season, yet let’s not disremember Jason Zucker’s 28 goals.

The ‘could go possibly way’ group

9. Philadelphia Flyers — Being a fan of this group has to be utterly a trip. So distant this deteriorate they have mislaid 10 games in a row, won 6 in a quarrel dual opposite times, and afterwards mislaid 5 in a quarrel over a past week and a half before gnawing out of it by shutting down one of a best descent teams in a joining over a weekend.

10. Florida Panthers — They have a inside lane for a furious label mark in a Eastern Conference. They enter a week on a nine-game indicate strain and have been on a hurl for a integrate of months now. we consternation what a account surrounding this group and a front bureau changes a past dual seasons would demeanour like had they not mislaid Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, and Nick Bjugstad for some-more than 114 man-games a deteriorate ago. Think that had something to do with their decline? Think their healthy this deteriorate has something to do with their improvement?

11. Washington Capitals — If Braden Holtby does not get behind to personification like Braden Holtby it could be an extremely brief open in Washington. Shorter than usual, that is.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets — They are starting to collect it adult during the right time yet they still have unequivocally small domain for blunder in that competition with New Jersey and Florida.

13. San Jose Sharks — Brent Burns is on lane to finish in a top-three in shots on idea for a third year in a row. For a defenseman that is unheard of. Bobby Orr used to do that. That is about it.

14. Colorado Avalanche — If we are going to lose, remove in overtime. The Avalanche have mislaid 5 of their past 10 games. Not great. But 4 of those waste have come in overtime or a shootout that means they’ve warranted 14 of a probable 20 points over that stretch. That will keep we in a playoff hunt.

15. New Jersey Devils — Taylor Hall is still doing extraordinary things yet he needs some help. The Devils have mislaid 6 out of 10 entering a week and are still watchful for trade deadline merger Michael Grabner to record his initial indicate with a team.

16. Anaheim Ducks — When healthy Ryan Getzlaf is still an implausible talent. He has 50 points in 44 games this season. With a healthy lineup they would not be a fun first-round matchup in a playoffs for anybody.

17. Dallas Stars — They are trending in a wrong instruction during a wrong time of year. Maybe that’s not a misfortune thing. They still have a reason on a playoff mark and during a impulse would hide into Pacific Division playoff joint as a initial furious label team, avoiding a first-second turn gauntlet that could embody Winnipeg and Nashville. So … a vital tank? Doubtful, given it still seems like something is holding them back, yet it could work out that way.

18. Los Angeles Kings — Just when it looked like they were going to make a good small pull they get obliterated during home by a Blues group that had been descending apart.

19. Calgary Flames — Mike Smith‘s deficiency was a large problem for them. His lapse did not go good for him or a Flames as they forsaken a large diversion to an Islanders group that had mislaid 8 in a row.

20. St. Louis Blues — The usually reason they are not resolutely in a lottery during this indicate is given they had such a good start to a season. They have been awful for weeks, though.

Hope a ping pong balls go your way

21. Edmonton Oilers — They are 7-4-0 in their past 11 games, mostly given Connor McDavid has left from “best actor in a world” to “superman” mode.

22. New York Rangers — Ryan Spooner has 12 points in 7 games given being acquired from a Boston Bruins in a Rick Nash trade. He is a limited giveaway representative after a deteriorate and creation a good evidence to be a partial of a Rangers’ evident future.

23. Chicago Blackhawks — Not certain we entirely know a front office’s apparent devise to hang with a same invulnerability that has, for a many part, stunk this season.

24. Carolina Hurricanes — Maybe subsequent year will be a year it all comes together for them, he pronounced for a eighth year in a row.

25. Arizona Coyotes — They competence still have a misfortune record in a joining yet they are not personification like a misfortune group in a joining during a moment, and have not for several weeks. The report has malleable adult a bit yet they have still beaten some unequivocally good teams during this widen (Minnesota twice, Anaheim, San Jose).

26. Vancouver Canucks — Brock Boeser‘s hapless damage means there is literally no reason for anybody to watch their games for a rest of a season, unless we are contractually thankful to.

27. Buffalo Sabres — It is still inexcusable they are this bad this distant into their rebuild, yet during slightest they have won a integrate of games recently.

28. New York Islanders — we put them during No. 31 a week ago especially given they had usually been on such an unspeakably bad run and looked so awful for so long. we didn’t unequivocally consider they were a misfortune group in a league. But we am not certain they are distant from it, either. They have authorised 50 shots on idea in 6 opposite games this season. Since a start of a 2015-16 deteriorate no group in a NHL has authorised some-more than 50 shots in a diversion 3 times. In scarcely 3 full years. The Islanders have doubled that in reduction than 70 games this year.

29. Ottawa Senators — The fans merit a mangle and if they are going to remove Erik Karlsson this summer (or subsequent summer) we wish for their box they get some good advantageous in a breeze lottery and get a possibility to collect Rasmus Dahlin to one day (hopefully) reinstate him. The owners substantially does not merit that same good fortune, though.

30. Detroit Red Wings — Henrik Zetterberg is a Hall of Fame talent that played on some of a best teams of a complicated era. Now he is going out on this team. It seems to be removing to him. How could it not?

31. Montreal Canadiens — They have usually won 5 of their past 20 games and we am not certain we trust Marc Bergevin to puncture a authorization out of a hole he has helped put it in.


Adam Gretz is a author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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