Eric Stephens’ NHL power rankings (Dec. 4, 2017)

Patience still matters, it seems, in an increasingly impatient world.

Within the hockey universe, Kevin Cheveldayoff is considered to be among the most patient of NHL general managers. Proof of that is his unwillingness to break from a core he built in Winnipeg even when there were growing pains after a surprise berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.

And when there were tough times with missed postseasons the past two years, Cheveldayoff resisted any notion of fifth-year coach Paul Maurice paying the price. In fact, Jets owner Mark Chipman exercised his own patience in handing both multiyear extensions before this season.

Amid expectations that have never been higher since the move north from Atlanta, Winnipeg is meeting them two months in. The Jets are 13-3-2 since their last pair of back-to-back losses, both overtime defeats. The only other consecutive failures came in the season’s opening two games.

Blake Wheeler may be the league’s most underrated player. Mark Schiefele is a star and Patrik Laine could also be one for years. Schifele and Laine were drafted along with goalie Connor Hellebuyck, defensemen Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey and forwards Nikolaj Ehlers, Adam Lowry and Kyle Connor.

As a squadron, these Jets are in full flight. (Records in parentheses are as of Sunday’s games).

1. Jets (17-6-4). They hung a touchdown on two teams (Minnesota, Vegas) and wrapped up a 3-0-1 week with a 5-0 drubbing of Ottawa. Impressive. (7)

2. Predators (16-7-3). Barring injury, Pekka Rinne is going to get to 300 wins this season and all with the same franchise. At 35, he’s as steady as ever with flashes of brilliance thrown in. (2)

3. Lightning (18-6-2). After cooling off with no goals in six games, Nikita Kucherov potted two in win over San Jose. Tyler Johnson also snapped a 15-game cold snap with two. (3)

4. Blues (17-8-2). Back-to-back home losses to Ducks and Kings and just four goals scored in three-game losing streak, but Patrik Berglund has two goals in first three games this season. (1)

5. Kings (17-8-3). Outscored teams 16-5 on a triumphant 4-0-0 road trip. Darcy Kuemper (4-0-2, 1.72 GAA, .944 SV%) is giving them some quality work in backup role to Jonathan Quick. (10)

6. Blue Jackets (17-9-1). Big center Pierre-Luc Dubois, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, made the team at 19 straight out of juniors and is starting to earn rave reviews. (4)

7. Maple Leafs (17-10-1). It isn’t getting much attention but Nazem Kadri is putting together…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *