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Power Rankings - Dec. 15

The Florida Panthers have been on a roll as of late and are only two points out of the last playoff spot in the East. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Florida Panthers have been on a roll as of late and are only two points out of the last playoff spot in the East. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

In some ways, nothing ever changes for the Florida Panthers. The team starts poorly, makes a late-season push and inevitably falls short of the playoffs.

But a shift of some sort is already underway, with perhaps more serious changes to follow.

By their usual early-season standards, the Panthers have been pretty sturdy of late, pulling to within spitting distance of a playoff spot. Much of the success is due to unheralded backup-turned-starter Craig Anderson and his league-leading .940 save percentage.

Anderson’s play has led some people, including two THN staffers, John Grigg and Rory Boylen, to debate whether it’s time to move Tomas Vokoun and address needs elsewhere.

Meanwhile, No. 1 defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has long been rumored to be on the block thanks to his pending unrestricted free agent status this July. It has been reported the Bouwmeester sweepstakes is heating up and it’s increasingly likely the big blueliner will be out of Florida before the trade deadline passes. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
San Jose Sharks
1
24-3-2
9-0-1
Still haven't lost at home in regulation after 18 games
2
Boston Bruins
2
21-5-4
8-2-0
Phil Kessel has a 15-game, month-long point streak going
3
Detroit Red Wings
3
20-5-4
6-3-1
League's best power play clicks nearly 30 percent of the time
4
Philadelphia Flyers
8
16-7-6
7-1-2
Showed their explosiveness with a four-goal third period in a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Carolina
5
Chicago Blackhawks
10
15-6-7
6-2-2
Patrick Kane will have a 100-point season before he's 170 pounds
6
Washington Capitals
13
18-10-3
7-3-0
Simeon Varlamov stopped 32 shots in Montreal to win his first NHL start Saturday
7
Anaheim Ducks
6
17-11-3
7-3-0
Thirteen of Teemu Selanne's 14 goals have come on the power play
8
New York Rangers
12
20-11-2
6-4-0
Chris Drury is on pace for just 42 points this season
9
New Jersey Devils
9
16-9-2
8-2-0
Zach Parise could become first Devil ever to score 50 goals
10
Pittsburgh Penguins
4
16-10-4
4-5-1
Looks as though Marc-Andre Fleury will be back this week after a month on the sideline
11
Montreal Canadiens
7
16-8-5
5-3-2
Injury bug attacking Habs, with captain Saku Koivu the latest victim
12
Vancouver Canucks
15
17-11-3
4-5-1
Just trying to tread water until Roberto Luongo makes his return
13
Calgary Flames
5
16-11-3
5-3-2
This team is simply allergic to consistency
14
Nashville Predators
14
15-12-3
5-3-2
J-P Dumont quietly producing at nearly a point-per-game clip
15
Florida Panthers
23
14-13-3
6-2-2
Rookie Michael Frolik finding his game with nine points in past eight contests
16
Minnesota Wild
11
15-13-1
3-7-0
Dropped five straight and didn't score more than two goals in any of the defeats
17
Buffalo Sabres
18
15-12-3
6-4-0
Maxim Afinogenov is essentially an afterthought on this club
18
Edmonton Oilers
19
14-12-2
6-4-0
Dwayne Roloson playing like the No. 1 man
19
Phoenix Coyotes
27
14-13-3
6-3-1
Getting Olli Jokinen back last week was a big boost for Phoenix
20
Los Angeles Kings
20
13-12-4
5-4-1
Maybe Anze Kopitar, with seven points in his past five games, is finally coming alive
21
Carolina Hurricanes
16
13-12-5
2-5-3
Up to Cam Ward or Eric Staal to take this team by the neck and shake them
22
Toronto Maple Leafs
24
11-12-6
4-4-2
Mike Van Ryn is back and fellow blueliner Jonas Frogren shouldn't be far behind
23
Ottawa Senators
17
11-12-5
5-3-2
Without a doubt the worst third jerseys we've seen this year
24
Dallas Stars
26
11-14-4
5-5-0
Does Sean Avery go down as the most regrettable free agent signing ever?
25
Colorado Avalanche
21
14-14-1
5-4-1
Sakic's 20th season has quickly turned into a complete nightmare
26
Columbus Blue Jackets
25
13-14-3
4-6-0
Solid team at home, but need to get much better on the road, where they play eight of their next 11 games
27
St. Louis Blues
22
12-14-3
3-6-1
One more really high pick could make the Blues a great team in the not-so-distant future
28
Atlanta Thrashers
29
9-16-4
2-6-2
Must be happy to see prospect Angelo Esposito finally make Canada's national junior team
29
Tampa Bay Lightning
30
7-15-8
1-7-2
Stamkos last draft, John Tavares or Victor Hedman this year?
30
New York Islanders
28
10-18-2
2-8-0
Have surrendered more goals than any other NHL team

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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