NHL Power Rankings: Blues back on top, Leafs continue to rise as Avalanche slip

The NHL has pushed through its holiday vacation and is ready to bring non-stop action until the All-Star break next month. With Christmas behind us, now is the point where we turn to the "and a happy new year" portion of the song and look ahead to 2020. 

The turning of the the calendar presents a good time to look at what might be in store for all 31 teams across the NHL as we head down the home stretch of this season, then transition into a new one. For some, the focus might be maximizing their opportunity to make a strong push in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. For others, it's about fixing some issues just to get into the dance. And for others, their focus might already be on June and July.

No matter the situation, every team has things they want to accomplish in 2020, and January 1st tends to bring out the optimism in folks. A new year brings a chance to start (somewhat) fresh and set goals. As such, let's use this week's Power Rankings to take a look at what every NHL team's resolution might be as we begin again in 2020.

Also, it's important to note that that outlooks can change quite quickly, even after the turn of the new year. The team that currently sits at the top of this week's rankings -- the St. Louis Blues -- was near the very bottom of the league standings when we began the 2019 calendar year. Here we are about 365 days later and they're not only looking down on the rest of the league, but they're doing so as reigning Stanley Cup champions. How's that for optimism? 

Biggest Movers
4 Maple Leafs
6 Jets
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Blues Get healthy and repeat. Maybe add some scoring at the deadline. 231-12-8
2 Capitals Reach an extension with Nicklas Backstrom and prevent any thought of being one-hit wonders in the playoffs. 134-11-5
3 Bruins Add some secondary scoring in a top-six winger and hold onto the top spot in the Atlantic. Also maybe try winning a shootout for once. 229-10-12
4 Penguins Stay. Healthy. Seriously, maybe just TRY giving it a shot. 231-14-5
5 Islanders Continue to prove any remaining doubters wrong. Expanding on playoff success would certainly help. 129-15-5
6 Avalanche Protect our sweet baby man-child Cale Makar, as well as the other big-time playmakers at the top of that roster. The team is too fun to be shorthanded come playoff time and Makar has a Calder to win. 428-15-6
7 Maple Leafs Try to avoid Boston in the first round at all costs. Then perhaps maybe consider not ending the season in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible. 426-17-7
8 Flyers Give consistency a shot. It's very stressful on all of us as we try to figure out which version of this team is for real. 127-17-6
9 Golden Knights Don't take any major penalties in the playoffs. 125-20-7
10 Hurricanes Make sure everyone knows just how good of a season Dougie Hamilton is having and also ensure that Andrei Svechnikov doesn't try to go pro in lacrosse. 329-18-3
11 Stars Keep getting great goaltending and find enough production from key forwards to be considered a dangerous team heading into the playoffs. 328-17-4
12 Coyotes Do enough down the stretch to restore some relevance to the franchise and not allow the Taylor Hall acquisition to go to waste. 426-20-5
13 Lightning Start to turn it on and rediscover the magic of old in the second half of the year. Also, don't get swept in the playoffs, assuming they make it to the playoffs. 429-15-5
14 Panthers Keep it together enough on the back end - both on defense and in net - in order to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. 128-16-5
15 Flames One way or another, see enough to confidently determine whether Geoff Ward is the coach of the future. --26-19-6
16 Wild Continue building toward a long-term vision without getting trapped in the dreaded No Man's Land that swallows perpetually average teams. --23-21-6
17 Canucks Play fun, high-energy hockey while continuing to cultivate and develop young pillars that will serve as the future of the franchise while also shedding dead (see: old/expensive) weight. 228-18-4
18 Jets Reward the stellar play of Connor Hellebuyck by improving the defense and not allowing him to get peppered with high-danger shots. 625-22-4
19 Predators Don't let bad goaltending sink this season, especially with how they've boosted that offense. 122-19-7
20 Canadiens Find a way to get Carey Price back to looking like Carey Price and continue developing talented young forwards into difference-makers. They also have a good opportunity to add up front as well. --22-22-7
21 Rangers Keep taking steps forward and finding progress in the rebuild, especially so they don't have to waste any more prime years of Artemi Panarin. 223-21-4
22 Sabres Giving Jack Eichel even the slightest bit of help during a potential Hart-worthy season would be a great place to start. 122-21-7
23 Blue Jackets Find a way to pick up some additional draft picks. They need to recoup some of what they lost in going for it last year. 127-16-8
24 Oilers Stop forcing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to do this all on their own. It's depressing that the best pure talent the NHL has seen in a long time has to waste away prime years like this. McDavid deserves better. Draisaitl deserves better. Oilers fans deserve better. The entire NHL deserves better. 226-18-5
25 Blackhawks The defense... fix it. And if Stan Bowman can't fix it, find someone who can. --24-21-6
26 Kings Start shedding pieces of the older core and get to stockpiling as many future assets as possible. They've got to rebuild, especially considering they have $11 million in dead cap space next season. 118-27-5
27 Ducks Start finding some offense, preferably in young guys that will be sticking around for a while. They've got some promising players in the organization but they need to start seeing that turn into results at some point soon. 119-25-5
28 Senators Sell high on expiring assets while continuing to pick up future pieces for the rebuild. Then, make sure it means something by drafting well. 218-23-9
29 Sharks Finally admit to themselves that this goaltending tandem isn't going to get the job done. --22-25-4
30 Devils Work on rebuilding the rebuild. They've got some decent young pieces in place but they should be looking to move all expiring assets as well as players who are approaching (or into) their 30s. --18-24-7
31 Red Wings Continue to achieve historic levels of suck and hope that it's all worth it at the end of the (draft) day. --12-35-4

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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