With the trade deadline less than a week away, theScore's NHL editors debate some hypothetical deals. In this exercise, each member of the team - Josh Wegman, Josh Gold-Smith, Sean O'Leary, Matt Teague, and Brandon Maron - submitted a trade for debate, with the other editors voting on the proposal. Wegman provided the analysis for each swap.
Leafs add blue-line help
Submitted by Teague
Leafs receive: D Matt Dumba, F Ryan Hartman
Wild receive: F Kasperi Kapanen, F Jeremy Bracco, 2020 2nd-round pick
Who says no?
Both say yes
The Leafsfinally get a right-handed defenseman, but Dumba isn't without his flaws. Though the 25-year-old has a heavy shot, his production has dried up this season and his isolated impact at five-on-five over the last four seasons remains an area of concern.
As illustrated in the chart below, Dumba has consistently allowed opponents to fire an above-average number of shots from traditionally high-danger areas over the past four seasons. Also, his overall impact in the offensive zone appears somewhat below par.
It's entirely possible Dumba could flourish playing for an offensive juggernaut like Toronto, especially with Morgan Rielly as his potential partner when the latter returns from injury. Dumba also has term locked in at $6 million a season through 2022-23.
One of the two protection formats for the 2021 expansion draft involves shielding three defensemen, so it wouldn't be surprising if Minnesota wanted to move someone in its top four. Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon aren't going anywhere, which leaves either Dumba or Jonas Brodin.
The speedy Kapanen gives Minnesota a much-needed right-handed shot up front, and someone who could potentially excel with more ice time. He had 44 points a year ago and is on pace for a similar mark despite playing a third-line role. Toronto would miss the offensive depth he provides, but the addition of Hartman would help ease that blow.
Bracco, 22, has lost much of his prospect shine this season, but he's just a year removed from a 79-point season in the AHL.
Minnesota may want to hold off on moving Dumba until next season so he can restore some of his trade value, but this offer from Toronto would certainly give GM Bill Guerin lots to think about.
Avs, Hawks pull off blockbuster
Submitted by Wegman
Avalanche receive: G Robin Lehner, F Brandon Saad
Blackhawks receive: 2020 1st-round pick, 2021 3rd-round pick (becomes 2nd if Lehner re-signs), F Tyson Jost, D Conor Timmins
Who says no?
Both say yes
Does Avalanche GM Joe Sakic really want to ride or die with Pavel Francouz as his netminder if Philipp Grubauer is out longer than expected? As good as Francouz has been, the answer is probably no. Even if Grubauer returns soon, he's only been mediocre this season. An upgrade would be worthwhile for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, and Lehner is one of the league's best goalies - he's just been stuck behind an awful defensive team in Chicago.
The Blackhawks may want to re-sign Lehner given that he's the better of their two goalies on expiring deals. With this move, they'd still have a chance to bring him back this summer, and if not, they'll get a better draft pick.
Saad would give Colorado an effective, middle-six forward. He has 18 goals in 47 games while posting some strong underlying numbers. The price tag for the 27-year-old is high because he has an additional year left on his contract, but the Avs could use the secondary scoring.
It's worth it for Chicago to part ways with Saad based on the return package. He's essentially replaced by Jost, who hasn't found his scoring touch in the pros yet. Timmins was picked 32nd overall in 2017 and would give the Hawks some much-needed youth on the blue line.
Oilers snag Athanasiou
Submitted by O'Leary
Oilers receive: F Andreas Athanasiou (Detroit retains 50% of Athanasiou's cap hit)
Red Wings receive: F Jesse Puljujarvi (RFA), 2020 2nd-round pick
Who says no?
Both say yes
Both say yes
Both say yes
Both say yes
Athanasiou is having a bad season, but who on the Red Wings isn't? The 25-year-old scored 30 goals a year ago and will be a restricted free agent at season's end. He can absolutely fly and would fit on one of Edmonton's top two lines with ease. There's familiarity too, as Oilers GM Ken Holland drafted Athanasiou in 2012.
Would this be enough for Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman to part ways with Athanasiou? It would depend on how much he values Puljujarvi. The 21-year-old has yet to prove he's a legitimate NHL player, but he's excelled overseas this season and is still oozing with upside. Given Puljujarvi's uncertainty, Yzerman may require a first-rounder to part with Athanasiou while he's still under club control.
Pageau heads south
Submitted by Maron
Stars receive: F Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Senators receive: 2020 1st-round pick, D Julius Honka
Who says no?
Both say yes
Both say yes
Pageau is the best rental center available, and he's frankly one of the only quality pivots on the open market. He's going to be in demand - and not just because he's already notched 20 goals this season - but he's been a very reliable defensive center his entire career, capable of producing offense in spurts.
Pageau's career numbers - both basic stats and analytics - are similar to those of Kevin Hayes, who was dealt for a first-round pick, a conditional fourth-round pick, and Brendan Lemieux at last year's deadline.
Pageau would be a nice fit on the defensive-minded Stars, who could use another center on their quest for a Stanley Cup. Giving up what's expected to be a late first-round pick, along with Honka - an unsigned RFA playing overseas who had demanded a trade - seems more than manageable.
The Sens would gladly take another first-rounder and a young defenseman with some upside.
Bruins land Kovalchuk
Submitted by Gold-Smith
Bruins receive: F Ilya Kovalchuk
Canadiens receive: 2020 conditional third-round pick (becomes a second if Boston makes Eastern Conference Final)
Who says no?
Both say yes
Both say yes
Last season, Bruins GM Don Sweeney added Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson before the deadline to help the club's forward depth without surrendering a first-rounder. Coyle remains with the club, but Johansson is gone and was never replaced. What will Sweeney do this year?
Boston is in dire need of an upgrade to its second line. Karson Kuhlman, who has just one goal this season, currently owns a top-six forward role. Kovalchuk has cooled off a bit lately, but he'd still be a major upgrade over Kuhlman at a reasonable cost.
The Canadiens could hang on to Kovalchuk to try and re-sign the veteran forward. However, considering they got him for virtually nothing, it'd be smart for them to try to acquire whatever assets they could for him, and then potentially attempt to bring him back this summer.
This is the 11th edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings for 2019-20. Check back for updated rankings every second Monday during the regular season.
In this edition, with the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaching, we examine one contract each team wishes it could move at the deadline.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (39-15-5)
Previous rank: 3
The Lightning don't have many truly unsavory contracts, but fourth-liner Yanni Gourde's $5.16-million cap hit through 2024-25 certainly isn't ideal, especially considering the 28-year-old has managed only eight goals and 23 points in 59 games this season.
2. Boston Bruins (37-11-12)
Previous rank: 2
David Backes and his $6-million cap hit have been buried in the minors, but the league-leading Bruins would likely love a chance to permanently rid themselves of that contract, which has one more season remaining.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (36-15-6)
Previous rank: 4
The general manager and captain are big fans of what Jack Johnson brings to the team, but a 33-year-old defenseman making $3.25 million until 2023 doesn't do the Penguins' salary-cap picture any favors.
4. Washington Capitals (37-16-5)
Previous rank: 1
With Braden Holtby set to become a free agent on July 1, the Capitals should make the tough decision and cut ties a few months early. Rookie netminder Ilya Samsonov has heavily outplayed the veteran and is clearly Washington's goaltender of the future. Getting any sort of return for Holtby could be considered a win, and moving his $6.1-million cap hit would free up cap space to potentially add some offensive depth.
5. Dallas Stars (34-19-6)
Previous rank: 12
The Joe Pavelski signing was ill-advised at the time. Though the contending Stars can't move him now, they probably regret inking the then-34-year-old to a three-year, $21-million pact last July, especially after he's predictably regressed this season.
6. Colorado Avalanche (33-18-6)
Previous rank: 10
Mark Barberio has slotted into Colorado's lineup just 14 times this year, recording two assists. With the defensive pairings playing well, Barberio is one of the only players on the Avalanche's active roster who could potentially net them a depth forward in a trade. He's playing on an expiring contract and has a $1.45-million cap hit.
7. Vancouver Canucks (32-22-5)
Previous rank: 6
Since signing a six-year, $36-million deal in 2016, Loui Eriksson has amassed 37 goals and 86 points in 235 games with the Canucks. He's been a healthy scratch numerous times this year, and the Canucks almost certainly wish they could move his hefty cap hit and make room for some additional talent to help the playoff push.
8. St. Louis Blues (32-17-10)
Previous rank: 5
He's been a staple in St. Louis for ages, but Alex Steen is now 35 years old and will make $5.75 million for another season beyond 2019-20. He's unquestionably one of the Blues' leaders, but 15 points for that kind of dough isn't going to cut it.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (31-21-8)
Previous rank: 7
Andreas Johnsson's injury wasn't timely, but it didn't completely diminish his trade value. Though the forward is likely to miss the rest of this campaign, he's still signed for three more years at $3.4 million per season. That's a contract many teams would find attractive, and shipping him out could net the Maple Leafs some immediate help for a potential playoff run.
10. New York Islanders (33-18-6)
Previous rank: 8
Leo Komarov has scored three goals this season and is on the Islanders' books for another two seasons beyond this one at $3 million per year. Not ideal.
11. Edmonton Oilers (32-21-6)
Previous rank: 13
With Mike Smith set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, Mikko Koskinen could become the Oilers' No. 1 goalie of the future. It's nice to have security in net, but $4.5 million a season until 2022 for a starting goaltender with a .909 save percentage is a little rich.
12. Philadelphia Flyers (32-20-7)
Previous rank: 11
A healthy scratch for a couple of games earlier this year, Shayne Gostisbehere has failed to find his footing in his fifth NHL season. Managing just five goals and 12 points while averaging 18:21 minutes of ice time in 41 games this season, he could still net the Flyers a solid return. Signed until the end of the 2022-23 season at $4.5 million per year, a team in need of a defenseman might be willing to take a shot on the 26-year-old.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (30-18-12)
Previous rank: 9
Brandon Dubinsky hasn't played at all this season due to a wrist injury, and the 33-year-old grinder's production had declined over the last couple of years even before he got shelved. The Blue Jackets currently have ample cap space courtesy of a slew of other ailing players, but Dubinsky will carry a $5.85-million cap hit through 2020-21 if and when he comes off long-term injured reserve.
14. Carolina Hurricanes (33-21-4)
Previous rank: 16
They'd never admit it, but the Hurricanes might prefer not to have 31-year-old captain Jordan Staal's $6-million cap hit on the ledger for three more seasons beyond this one, despite the veteran forward's leadership, experience, and favorable underlying numbers.
15. Vegas Golden Knights (30-22-8)
Previous rank: 15
It's not a contract, per se, but the $500,000 in annual salary Vegas retained in the Tomas Tatar trade will be on the books until 2021. That has to hurt a team as cap-strapped as the Golden Knights.
16. Florida Panthers (30-22-6)
Previous rank: 14
Mike Matheson's eight-year, $39-million contract was a head-scratcher when it was signed. Less than two years into the deal, the Panthers have asked the blue-liner to play forward and made him a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. Florida has until the 2021-22 campaign before his modified no-trade clause kicks in.
17. New York Rangers (30-24-4)
Previous rank: 22
Brendan Smith has logged minutes at both forward and defense for the Rangers this season, and he hasn't particularly been great in either situation. The 31-year-old hybrid only has three goals and three assists in 52 games, but he'll make $4.35 million for one more season beyond 2019-20.
18. Nashville Predators (29-22-7)
Previous rank: 21
The Predators acquired Kyle Turris during the 2017-18 season and immediately inked him to a six-year, $36-million extension. In the two campaigns since signing the deal, Turris has amassed just 16 goals and 51 points in 106 games. His $6-million cap hit will run through the 2023-24 campaign, and Nashville would surely love to spend that money elsewhere.
19. Calgary Flames (30-24-6)
Previous rank: 17
Milan Lucic seems to be a better fit in Calgary than he was Edmonton, but another three seasons at $5.25 million for a 31-year-old enforcer is a big cap issue for the Flames.
20. Winnipeg Jets (30-25-5)
Previous rank: 20
Mathieu Perreault has battled injuries this season, but even when healthy, he's only produced 14 points in 46 games while averaging 13:23 per contest for the Jets. For a player making $4.125 million this season and next, the numbers have to be better.
21. Arizona Coyotes (29-24-8)
Previous rank: 19
Considering the way young goaltender Adin Hill has played when called upon this season, the Coyotes probably wish they could move Antti Raanta's $4.25-million cap hit, which runs through next season. But Raanta's injury history and Darcy Kuemper's absence due to an ailment of his own make such a move impossible.
22. Minnesota Wild (27-24-7)
Previous rank: 25
The Wild inked Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13-year, $98-million contracts in 2012. Eight years later, the deals haven't held up. Parise bounced back last year and has continued to do so this season, but with five more years left on both pacts, it would clearly benefit Minnesota to unload either 35-year-old before regression hits even harder.
23. Montreal Canadiens (27-26-8)
Previous rank: 23
A playoff berth looks unlikely, but the Canadiens reportedly believe the current roster can compete next year after injuries helped derail the 2019-20 season. With only a handful of players on expiring contracts, Montreal might hope Dale Weise will be a sought-after individual on deadline day. His $2.35-million cap hit is a bit high for a player of his caliber.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (26-25-8)
Previous rank: 18
He's a franchise icon from the most successful era in team history, but Brent Seabrook's cumbersome contract remains a burden for the Blackhawks. A slew of injuries has sidelined him this season, but the 34-year-old's ticket includes four more campaigns at $6.875 million per season.
25. Buffalo Sabres (27-24-8)
Previous rank: 24
Kyle Okposo has been playing on the Sabres' fourth line lately, averaging just over 12 minutes of ice time per game. He fits that bottom-six role nowadays, so the fact he's making $6 million for three more seasons after this one is worrisome for Buffalo. The 31-year-old has just six goals and 13 points in 42 games this year, and he has a 15-team no-trade list. Dealing him would be nearly impossible.
26. San Jose Sharks (26-28-4)
Previous rank: 27
Joe Thornton has a no-movement clause and may be content to stick out a disappointing season with the Sharks. But after shipping its first-round pick to the Senators, San Jose must be hoping Thornton will waive his clause and allow the team to ship him to a contender; the veteran center could likely fetch a decent return in a depleted market.
27. Anaheim Ducks (24-27-7)
Previous rank: 26
Adam Henrique has been a bright spot for the lowly Ducks, leading the club in goal-scoring in 2019-20. The 30-year-old's contract is bound to cause some regret sooner rather than later, though. He's on the books for four more seasons after this one at a cap hit of $5.825 million.
28. New Jersey Devils (22-26-10)
Previous rank: 29
P.K. Subban's $9-million cap hit through 2021-22 is heavy, but surely there are teams out there that still believe in the former Norris Trophy winner. Trading Subban, even in the midst of a career-worst season, could work out well for the Devils and land them some additional assets for their young core.
29. Los Angeles Kings (21-33-5)
Previous rank: 30
Several Kings will surely be finding new homes before Feb. 24, but Los Angeles probably won't be moving goaltender Jonathan Quick. The 34-year-old's play has declined noticeably and - likely to GM Rob Blake's chagrin -he carries a $5.8-million cap hit for three more years after this one.
30. Ottawa Senators (20-28-11)
Previous rank: 28
Nikita Zaitsev has been less than stellar since joining the rebuilding Senators from Toronto. Given Zaitzev's $4.5-million cap hit that runs through 2023-24, Ottawa would be oh so lucky if it could move the 28-year-old and make room for the rearguards of the future.
31. Detroit Red Wings (14-43-4)
Previous rank: 31
This year's trade market features a limited number of defensemen, making Mike Green one of the few assets that could potentially fetch the Red Wings something worthwhile at the deadline. With the rebuild in full swing, getting any sort of return for an aging blue-liner on an expiring contract would be a boon for Detroit.
This is the 10th edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings for 2019-20. Check back for updated rankings every second Monday during the regular season.
In this edition, we highlight a player on each team who'll need to raise his game for the remainder of the campaign.
1. Washington Capitals (35-13-5)
Previous rank: 1
The Capitals remain the class of the league, but Braden Holtby will have to improve if they want to dominate down the stretch and into the playoffs. The netminder has posted a sub-.900 save percentage on the season, and he's allowed four or more goals in six of his last 10 games.
2. Boston Bruins (31-10-12)
Previous rank: 5
It's been a frustrating campaign for Charlie McAvoy after he signed a three-year extension in September. The young blue-liner still hasn't scored in 2019-20 and is on pace for a career-low 26 points. That output would be especially disappointing considering injuries significantly shortened his two previous seasons.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-15-5)
Previous rank: 4
Ryan McDonagh's underlying numbers are solid thanks in large part to the Lightning rounding into form as a team. However, he's simply not producing on the score sheet, managing only 12 points in 46 games after racking up a career-high 46 points across 82 contests in 2018-19.
Jordan Binnington has been fine this season, but fine isn't good enough for a team aiming to defend a championship. The Blues goaltender has a .911 save percentage in 2019-20, but he's authored a mere .879 mark over his last 10 games, surrendering at least four goals in five of those contests.
6. Vancouver Canucks (30-18-5)
Previous rank: 7
Loui Eriksson still hasn't fully found his game. That hasn't stopped the Canucks from leading the Pacific Division, but the $6-million man was acquired in 2016 to score goals, and while he's shown some life lately, he has to give Vancouver more than the five markers and 10 points he's accumulated in 33 contests so far.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (28-17-7)
Previous rank: 13
Much like Binnington, Frederik Andersen has underachieved in the crease, as the Maple Leafs' starting netminder has produced a less-than-stellar .910 save percentage in 2019-20. Worse yet, he's at just .893 since the calendar flipped to the new year.
8. New York Islanders (29-15-6)
Previous rank: 8
Jordan Eberle has just eight goals so far this season, although five have come in his last nine games. The Islanders will hope Eberle can build on his recent performances in the second half after the winger signed a five-year, $27.5-million contract in the summer.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-16-9)
Previous rank: 10
The Blue Jackets have certainly exceeded expectations this season, but Nick Foligno's play has noticeably declined. While he's not typically an elite offensive contributor, the 32-year-old captain has managed only six goals and 22 points in 50 contests, including just two markers and nine points in his last 25 appearances.
10. Colorado Avalanche (28-16-6)
Previous rank: 9
Gabriel Landeskog missed 16 games with an injury earlier this season, so matching his career-high output of 34 goals and 75 points from 2018-19 was always unlikely. However, at his current rate of production - despite showing some life recently - he'd produce only 53 points over 82 contests in 2019-20.
11. Philadelphia Flyers (28-17-7)
Previous rank: 18
Claude Giroux's output dropped to 85 points in 2018-19 after his career-best 34-goal, 102-point explosion two seasons ago, but it's taken a nosedive in 2019-20. The Flyers captain hasn't scored in 11 games and has buried only one goal since the calendar flipped to 2020. He's on pace for just 55 points.
12. Dallas Stars (29-18-4)
Previous rank: 6
One could argue nearly every player outside of the Stars' crease needs to pick his game up, but perhaps no one is more guilty than $78-million pivot Tyler Seguin. The 28-year-old hasn't found the net in 12 games, and with 37 points on the season, he sits tied for 77th in league scoring.
13. Edmonton Oilers (28-18-6)
Previous rank: 14
Nobody expects Alex Chiasson to light the league on fire, but the Oilers are in dire need of depth scoring down the stretch. Chiasson has seen reduced ice time compared to his 22-goal campaign in 2018-19, but the winger is still averaging around two minutes on the power play per game and has the offensive tools to make a difference.
14. Florida Panthers (28-17-5)
Previous rank: 12
Imagine how difficult it would be to beat the Panthers if Sergei Bobrovsky was playing remotely close to his potential. It hasn't quite panned out for the goalie midway through his first season in Sunrise, and for the Panthers to make any serious noise down the stretch, he'll need to get his game on track.
15. Vegas Golden Knights (27-20-7)
Previous rank: 16
Alex Tuch has yet to return to form after missing the first 17 games of the season to injury. With just seven goals through 39 contests, the 6-foot-4 winger must find his rhythm and become the dynamic talent the Golden Knights know him to be.
16. Carolina Hurricanes (30-19-3)
Previous rank: 11
Jake Gardiner hasn't lived up to the four-year, $16.2-million deal he inked with the Hurricanes last summer. The offensive defenseman has only 13 points through 51 games and is a team-worst minus-20. With the long-term absence of Dougie Hamilton, Carolina will need Gardiner to be what they paid him to be.
17. Calgary Flames (27-20-6)
Previous rank: 17
The Flames are desperate for Johnny Gaudreau to get back to his dominant self. Calgary has dropped four of its last six outings, and Gaudreau has contributed just three assists over those games. The 26-year-old has shown flashes of promise, but the consistency just hasn't been there this season.
18. Chicago Blackhawks (25-21-6)
Previous rank: 19
It's hard to believe Alex DeBrincat has only 12 goals through 52 games after netting 41 last season. With the Blackhawks back in the playoff picture, now is the time for the talented winger to rediscover his scoring touch.
19. Arizona Coyotes (26-21-7)
Previous rank: 15
Has anyone seen Phil Kessel? The Coyotes' marquee offseason addition has just one point in his last five games and two goals over his previous 12 as the club continues to slide. The Coyotes appear to be all-in this season after acquiring Taylor Hall, and they'll need Kessel to step up and deliver down the stretch to avoid disaster.
20. Winnipeg Jets (26-23-4)
Previous rank: 20
The Jets' glaring hole on the back end is catching up to them. It's tough to single out one player, so we're going to cheat and say the entire blue line has to improve if the club wants to remain in the playoff race. Winnipeg is allowing the most high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes at five-on-five.
21. Nashville Predators (24-20-7)
Previous rank: 23
Unfortunately for the Predators, there are many players to choose from. Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, and Kyle Turris have all drastically underachieved up front. However, the player most capable of sparking a miraculous second-half turnaround is goaltender Pekka Rinne, who is currently posting a career-worst .898 save percentage.
22. New York Rangers (25-21-4)
Previous rank: 21
It's hard to ask for a lot from a teenager at the NHL level, but 18-year-old Kaapo Kakko has been a major disappointment in his rookie season, tallying just 16 points in 46 games. A strong finish would give the 2019 No. 2 pick some much-needed confidence going into the summer.
23. Montreal Canadiens (24-23-7)
Previous rank: 26
Jesperi Kotkaniemi would've been an easy answer for the Canadiens, but the 19-year-old sophomore was sent down to the AHL on Saturday. Another youngster Montreal was counting on, Ryan Poehling, has struggled in his rookie campaign. Poehling scored a hat trick in his NHL debut last season but has managed just one goal in 25 games this year.
24. Buffalo Sabres (23-22-7)
Previous rank: 22
The Sabres are rife with underachievers, but none have disappointed more than Jeff Skinner. He turned a 40-goal 2018-19 season into an eight-year, $72-million contract but has just 11 goals to show for this year.
25. Minnesota Wild (23-22-6)
Previous rank: 25
Matt Dumba must find a way to boost his 2.4 shooting percentage and start finding the net. The talented defenseman showed he can fill the score sheet with 14 goals and 50 points two seasons ago, but Dumba has struggled to return to form after an injury-shortened 2018-19.
26. Anaheim Ducks (21-26-5)
Previous rank: 29
John Gibson was considered one of the league's top goalies entering the 2019-20 campaign. However, he owns a very pedestrian .904 save percentage and his goals saved above average sits at minus-6.
27. San Jose Sharks (22-27-4)
Previous rank: 24
San Jose's season is already a wash, but a big second half from Kevin Labanc would be a positive development moving forward. He's on pace for 16 fewer points than he totaled last year despite seeing a two-minute increase in his average ice time.
28. Ottawa Senators (18-24-10)
Previous rank: 30
The Senators were hoping to see some growth out of 2015 first-round selection Colin White in his second full NHL campaign. White is on pace for just 25 points this season, which would be a 16-point drop-off from one year ago. The 23-year-old needs to step up and prove he's worth the six-year, $28.5-million deal he signed over the summer.
29. New Jersey Devils (18-24-9)
Previous rank: 27
P.K. Subban was brought into New Jersey to lead the defense corps, but he's on pace for a career-low 18 points despite being the league's third-highest paid blue-liner.
30. Los Angeles Kings (19-29-5)
Previous rank: 28
Jonathan Quick is struggling for a second straight season, but strong play down the stretch could potentially make the Kings goaltender tradeable this summer.
31. Detroit Red Wings (12-37-4)
Previous rank: 31
With a record this bad, everyone needs to step up but perhaps none more so than Andreas Athanasiou. The speedster has just five goals in 36 games after potting 30 a year ago.
This is the eighth edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings for 2019-20. Check back for updated rankings every second Monday during the regular season.
In this edition, we identify one New Year's resolution for each team in 2020.
1. Washington Capitals (29-9-5)
Previous Rank: 1
While the Capitals have been dominant this season, an improved power play would make them unstoppable. Washington owns the league's 11th-ranked man advantage (21.8%) but has converted on just five of 33 opportunities over its last 10 games (15.15%).
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (25-12-5)
Previous Rank: 7
Like many of us, the Penguins should make a concerted effort to be healthier in 2020. Pittsburgh currently has more than $24 million going to players on its long-term injured reserve, but at least the club keeps winning.
In 2020, the Bruins need to close out tight games. In 13 trips to extra time this season, they've come out with just two wins while going 0-for-6 in shootouts.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (24-14-5)
Previous Rank: 11
Don't be afraid to give Michael Hutchinson more starts. The Maple Leafs are 15-4-1 under Sheldon Keefe, which has given them a bit of a cushion in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Hutchinson was brutal to begin the season, but he's won all three of his starts since Mike Babcock was fired, posting a .945 save percentage in the process. A well-rested Frederik Andersen will give Toronto its best shot at a deep playoff run in the spring.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (24-15-6)
Previous Rank: 8
The Golden Knights have taken over the driver's seat in the Pacific Division following a slow start to the season. Priority No. 1 for 2020 should be to keep it that way.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (24-13-4)
Previous Rank: 17
The Lightning must resolve to stop giving out so many no-trade clauses. With five pending RFAs, four pending UFAs, and only $8 million in projected cap space for 2020-21, the Lightning will need to get creative to lock up key players like Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli - especially because they also have a whopping nine players with no-trade clauses.
8. New York Islanders (25-12-3)
Previous Rank: 6
The Islanders play a unique style of hockey, but in 2020, they'll need to get more pucks on net. The team ranks dead last in shots on goal with 1,148 - almost 400 less than the top-ranked Golden Knights.
9. Colorado Avalanche (25-13-4)
Previous Rank: 3
This club needs to make a splash in 2020. The Avalanche are in a rare situation as a Cup-contending team with ample cap space and plenty of trade capital. One more elite player would push them over the top.
10. Vancouver Canucks (23-15-4)
Previous Rank: 21
It's been a roller-coaster season for the Canucks, and a current seven-game winning streak has put them back in the playoff mix. Finding some consistency is of the utmost importance in 2020.
11. Dallas Stars (24-14-4)
Previous Rank: 14
Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski, and Tyler Seguin will need to hit a shooting clinic sometime soon. All three players are on pace for the lowest goals-per-game totals of their careers, so they should resolve to light the lamp at their usual levels in 2020.
12. Carolina Hurricanes (24-16-2)
Previous Rank: 5
Give Andrei Svechnikov more ice time. The 19-year-old phenom has emerged as one of the best and most exciting young talents in the league, but he's played just 16:42 per game - almost three full minutes less than Teuvo Teravainen. It's time to let the kid loose.
13. Arizona Coyotes (24-16-4)
Previous Rank: 9
Someone needs to light a fire under Phil Kessel, who's on pace for just 45 points, which would be his lowest output since 2007-08. With goalies Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta battling injuries, Kessel needs to be an offensive catalyst. He can start by shooting the puck more often, considering his 2.32 shots per game would rank as the lowest mark of his career.
14. Florida Panthers (22-15-5)
Previous Rank: 16
The Panthers need to be better on the road. Their 8-8-3 mark away from BB&T Center thus far won't cut it in the playoff race.
15. Philadelphia Flyers (22-15-5)
Previous Rank: 10
The Flyers should resolve to rise above mediocrity in 2020. Ranked 15th in these power rankings, Philly also sits 15th in power-play percentage, 16th in penalty-kill percentage, 16th in goals scored, and 15th in the league's overall standings.
The Jets must stop allowing so many power-play goals. Winnipeg can't keep being the NHL's worst penalty-killing club if it plans to keep pace in the rough-and-tumble Central Division.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets (19-15-8)
Previous Rank: 22
The Blue Jackets must remember to keep funds in their savings account this year, just in case a referee does something their coach doesn't agree with.
19. Calgary Flames (22-17-5)
Previous Rank: 13
The Flames should acquire a top-six forward. Michael Frolik’s departure created the required cap space to land such a player, but actions speak louder than words, and GM Brad Treliving needs to make it happen before the trade deadline.
20. Minnesota Wild (20-17-6)
Previous Rank: 23
Wild goaltenders need to make more saves in 2020, especially considering they play behind one of the league's stingiest defensive teams. Minnesota ranks near the top of the NHL in expected goals against per 60 minutes, scoring chances against per 60 minutes, and high-danger scoring chances against per 60 minutes, yet Alex Stalock, Devan Dubnyk, and Kaapo Kahkonen have combined for a save percentage below .900 and a goals-against average above 3.00. Even league-average goaltending the rest of the way could get the Wild into the playoffs.
21. Nashville Predators (19-15-7)
Previous Rank: 20
Pekka Rinne needs to play up to his usual standard. The Predators are largely pulling their weight on both offense and defense, while their longtime starting goaltender is the primary reason they've underachieved to date.
22. Buffalo Sabres (19-17-7)
Previous Rank: 19
More roster improvements are needed in 2020. The Sabres have made a series of smart trades over the past year but haven't kept pace in the top-heavy Atlantic Division. Fortunately, Buffalo still has some expendable pieces on its roster who could be dealt for reinforcements. Perhaps some additions can help the Sabres snap their lengthy playoff drought.
23. New York Rangers (19-18-4)
Previous Rank: 24
Stop taking so many penalties. The Rangers have been shorthanded more often than any other team in the league this season, and their 23rd-ranked penalty kill (78.4%) hasn’t done them any favors.
24. Montreal Canadiens (18-17-7)
Previous Rank: 18
The Canadiens must resolve to close out key games. Montreal has gone just 4-7-3 against divisional opponents this season, while 15 of its total losses have been decided by one goal.
25. Chicago Blackhawks (19-18-6)
Previous Rank: 25
The Blackhawks need to spend the first six weeks of 2020 figuring out their long-term plan. Do they go full rebuild or can they stay the course with a mix of youth and experience in hopes of simply qualifying for the playoffs? The former would be more feasible if not for the hefty contracts of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith, but it bears considering.
26. San Jose Sharks (19-21-4)
Previous Rank: 28
Climb the standings - it's that simple. This already appears to be a lost season for the Sharks, but it could get even worse if the first-round pick they owe the Senators ends up in the top five.
27. New Jersey Devils (15-20-6)
Previous Rank: 30
While this season is a write-off, the Devils should still believe in their not-so-distant future. Following a disastrous start, they've gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games while showing glimpses of potential. This team is loaded with young talent and a handful of key veterans, so it should resolve to keep on trucking in 2020.
28. Ottawa Senators (16-21-5)
Previous Rank: 26
Ottawa must re-sign Anthony Duclair. The 24-year-old - who was considered a throwaway in last year's Ryan Dzingel trade - is in the midst of a breakout season. The Senators have plenty of cap space but don't feature many foundational pieces, so locking up Duclair should be a priority. He's always had the talent to produce at this rate, so there's a strong chance that he's for real.
29. Los Angeles Kings (17-22-4)
Previous Rank: 29
With $21 million tied up between franchise cornerstones Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty until 2024, the Kings will need to make big strides in their rebuild this year. Both veterans are now in their 30s, so the window to become competitive again won't stay open much longer.
30. Anaheim Ducks (17-20-5)
Previous Rank: 27
A complete teardown is needed in 2020. The on-the-fly retool - or whatever you want to call the current situation in Anaheim - isn't working. This needs to be the year in which the Ducks start from scratch.
31. Detroit Red Wings (10-30-3)
Previous Rank: 31
Where does one even begin with these Red Wings? Let's start with Dylan Larkin. While the young forward's candor about wanting to skip the All-Star Game could be considered refreshing, it likely didn't sit well with many fans. Larkin could stand to show a bit more tact in 2020.
Welcome to a special edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings, which will encompass the last 10 seasons. With the new decade now underway, it's time to take one last look back at the previous 10 years and see which franchises were the class of the league.
Let's rank how each team performed in the 2010s, considering overall performance, division titles, and championships:
1. Chicago Blackhawks
Stanley Cup titles: 3 (2010, 2013, 2015) Division titles: 3 Playoff appearances: 8 Best player: Patrick Kane
The only team to claim three championships this decade is the no-brainer selection for the No. 1 spot. Even after trading a series of high-profile cap causalities in 2010, the Blackhawks were able to win two more Stanley Cups over the following five years, cementing their decade of excellence. Chicago has been disappointing recently, with no playoff wins over the past three seasons. But the team still accomplished plenty in the 2010s.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
Stanley Cup titles: 2 (2016, 2017) Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 10 Best player: Sidney Crosby
The Penguins were the decade's most consistently competitive club, qualifying for the postseason every year - and more than any other team - while also claiming the ultimate prize on back-to-back occasions. Only the Blackhawks won more playoff series than Pittsburgh and the Boston Bruins over the 10-year span. The Penguins won the second-most games of the decade too, with a dominant core of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, and Matt Murray leading the way.
3. Washington Capitals
Stanley Cup titles: 1 (2018) Division titles: 7 Playoff appearances: 9 Best player: Alex Ovechkin
If the Capitals had won more than one Stanley Cup, it would be almost impossible to argue against them being No. 1 on our list. They earned the most wins in the 2010s, won the most division titles, only missed the playoffs once, and secured three Presidents' trophies along the way. Ovechkin and Co. endured a lot of criticism for their playoff futility before 2018, largely overshadowing a decade of dominance.
4. Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup titles: 1 (2011) Division titles: 3 Playoff appearances: 8 Best player: Patrice Bergeron
After kicking off the decade with a championship in 2011, the Bruins have been one of the league's top contenders almost every year since. Following two additional trips to the finals in the 2010s, Boston is tied with the Blackhawks for the most Cup appearances this decade (three). The Bruins have been one of the league's most consistent teams, and the club is set up well for years to come with a mix of veterans and youth.
5. Los Angeles Kings
Stanley Cup titles: 2 (2012, 2014) Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 7 Best player: Drew Doughty
For the first half of the decade, the path to the Western Conference title went through Los Angeles or Chicago. The Kings and Blackhawks traded Stanley Cups over four straight seasons, likely costing each other an additional championship in the process. With two-time Selke Trophy winner Anze Kopitar leading the team alongside Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Drew Doughty and one of the decade's top netminders in Jonathan Quick, this era of Kings hockey will be championed for generations to come.
6. St. Louis Blues
Stanley Cup titles: 1 (2019) Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 7 Best player: Alex Pietrangelo
The Blues established themselves as a consistent title contender while logging the fourth-most regular-season wins this decade, but they made just one conference finals appearance before finally breaking through. After knocking on the door for so many years, St. Louis finally won its Stanley Cup in 2019.
7. San Jose Sharks
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 9 Best player: Joe Thornton
Considered a strong contender every year, the Sharks were unable to get over the hump come playoff time. They missed the playoffs only once this decade, appeared in one Stanley Cup Final, and made the conference finals four times. San Jose is starting a new chapter following the departure of Joe Pavelski, and with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau winding down their careers.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 6 Best player: Steven Stamkos
Despite routinely falling short of claiming hockey's ultimate prize with loaded lineups, the Lightning were still one of the NHL's most competitive clubs for much of the decade. Tampa Bay reached at least the Eastern Conference Final in four of its six playoff appearances this decade, and the team made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. The Lightning also unforgettably flopped in the first round last spring after a historically dominant regular season. But overall, they were still a model of consistency in the 2010s.
9. New York Rangers
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 7 Best player: Henrik Lundqvist
The Rangers didn't win it all, but they were among the league's best for a good chunk of the decade. New York recorded four seasons with 100-plus points, one of which resulted in a Presidents' Trophy. The Blueshirts also notched nine playoff series wins, peaking with a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.
10. Nashville Predators
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 8 Best player: Pekka Rinne
Defense and goaltending were staples for the Predators throughout the 2010s. Rinne was one of the best puck-stoppers of the decade, and strong defense has always supported him, whether it was Shea Weber and Ryan Suter anchoring the blue line, or Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. In addition to a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, the Preds claimed the Presidents' Trophy in 2018.
11. Anaheim Ducks
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 5 Playoff appearances: 7 Best player: Ryan Getzlaf
The Ducks are mired in their second season of a rebuild, making it easy to forget how dominant they were in the 2010s. No, they didn't win a Stanley Cup, but there's nothing to be ashamed of after five straight division titles and two trips to the conference finals. This team was near the top of the league when Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were in their primes.
12. Vegas Golden Knights
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 2 Best player: Marc-Andre Fleury
A master class in expansion drafting, the most successful inaugural season in North American sports history, and two trips to the playoffs in two seasons of existence is a heck of a lot more than what many teams have accomplished this decade.
13. Montreal Canadiens
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 3 Playoff appearances: 6 Best player: Carey Price
Montreal lacked a superstar forward throughout the decade, but the team often hustled and never quit. With two trips to the Eastern Conference Final, the Canadiens went as far as their goaltending could take them, most memorably when Jaroslav Halak transformed into a brick wall against the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010.
14. Philadelphia Flyers
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 6 Best player: Claude Giroux
Philadelphia peaked at the beginning of the decade, advancing to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Blackhawks in six games. The rest of the Flyers' playoff appearances in the 2010s ended in first- and second-round exits. A lack of star forwards, lackluster defending, and inconsistent goaltending held the club back for most of the decade.
15. Vancouver Canucks
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 4 Playoff appearances: 5 Best player: Henrik and Daniel Sedin
The Canucks are on the verge of doing a full 360 this decade. From 2009-10 to 2012-13, no team racked up more points than Vancouver. The 2010-11 club that lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final may be the best team this decade to not win a Cup. There were plenty of dark times after the Alain Vigneault era ended in 2013, but a successful rebuild is churning out a promising young core featuring Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes. Now the Canucks could be one of the best teams of the 2020s.
16. Minnesota Wild
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 6 Best player: Ryan Suter
The massive free-agent contracts handed to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in 2012 helped the Wild reach the playoffs in six straight seasons from 2013 to 2018. But Minnesota was never able to get over the hump, winning just two playoff series this past decade. Now the club is transitioning into a rebuild with Suter and Parise on the books until 2025. It's safe to say the team's championship window was missed.
17. Dallas Stars
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 3 Best player: Jamie Benn
The Stars will look back on the decade and lament not being able to muster more than a few playoff appearances and just a pair of series wins, but they've endured a tough go in the ultra-competitive Central Division. Still, the entire decade was a case of what could have been because Benn was in the fold, Tyler Seguin was around for over five years, John Klingberg was in Dallas for five of the 10 years (not including 2019-20), and Alexander Radulov was aboard for the final few campaigns.
18. Winnipeg Jets
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 3 Best player: Blake Wheeler
Making the move from Atlanta in 2011, the Jets didn't take off right away. After missing the playoffs in five of their first six seasons in Winnipeg - including a sweep in their first appearance in 2015 - the Jets loaded up at the draft and hit on a number of picks. It was a long process for hockey-starved fans in Winnipeg, but the Jets have now been one of the league's best teams over the last few seasons, and they went to the conference finals in 2018.
19. New York Islanders
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 4 Best player: John Tavares
When a team's best player of the decade is someone the fan base now despises, it wasn't a pretty 10 years. The 2010s were full of dysfunction for the Islanders. Ex-GM Garth Snow was unable to build a team around Tavares, whiffing on several high draft picks. The Islanders moved out of the aging Nassau Coliseum in 2015 and into the Barclays Center, which proved to be a disaster for fans and players alike. However, with a new arena on the way, and Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz changing the team's culture, the Islanders are entering the 2020s on a high note.
20. Detroit Red Wings
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 7 Best player: Henrik Zetterberg
The Red Wings slowly came back down to earth this decade. A perennial powerhouse throughout the aughts, Detroit is on track to miss the postseason for a fourth straight campaign, extending the team's streak of not winning a playoff series to seven years. With a rebuild in the works, the Red Wings' quest to return to relevancy will take some time over the next decade.
21. Colorado Avalanche
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 4 Best player: Nathan MacKinnon
Despite missing the postseason six times this decade, the Avalanche experienced tremendous draft success. Colorado added blue-chip forwards Gabriel Landeskog (2011), Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Mikko Rantanen (2015), and defenseman Cale Makar (2017) to assemble one of the NHL's most talented core groups. Denver has become a hockey hotspot once again with the Avs likely to make a third consecutive postseason appearance this season.
22. Ottawa Senators
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 5 Best player: Erik Karlsson
The Senators have been a laughingstock over the past few years, but they did make the playoffs five times this decade, coming within a goal of the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. However, it's mind-bending to wonder how far proper management could have led a core that was all 23 years old or younger at one point and featured Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, and Jakob Silfverberg, with a 26-year-old Ben Bishop in goal to boot.
23. Calgary Flames
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 3 Best player: Mark Giordano
The Flames have spent most of the decade trying to find a replacement for Mikka Kipprusoff between the pipes. From Karri Ramo to Jonas Hiller to Brian Elliott to Mike Smith and now to David Rittich, the ongoing carousel in goal is a major reason why Calgary never made the postseason in back-to-back seasons this past decade and won just one playoff series.
24. Toronto Maple Leafs
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 4 Best player: Auston Matthews
As promising as the Maple Leafs may look in 2019-20, the majority of their decade was truly ugly. From 2009-10 to 2015-16, Toronto ranked 29th in wins (225) and points (517), and if it weren't for the "Shanaplan" and the arrival of No. 34, the Leafs would likely be even lower on the list. Three straight playoff appearances to close out the decade bumped the Leafs up a few spots, but they're hoping to be much higher in the rankings when this list gets recreated heading into 2030.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 4 Best player: SergeiBobrovsky
On the bright side, this decade was far better than the Blue Jackets' first in existence. Their four-game sweep of the Lightning last spring for the first series win in club history is easily the franchise's best moment. Unfortunately, it may take a while before that upset is topped.
26. New Jersey Devils
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 3 Best player: Andy Greene
Aside from one surprise trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12, the Devils did a whole lot of nothing over the last 10 years. They bowed out in the first round in five games both times in their two other playoff appearances. They've finished near the bottom of the league a handful of seasons over the last several campaigns, and New Jersey will hope its stockpile of high draft picks propels the team in the right direction for the next decade.
27. Florida Panthers
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 2 Playoff appearances: 2 Best player: Aleksander Barkov
The first half of the decade featured some forgettable teams in Florida, even including the 2012 squad, which might be the worst division-winning team of the entire decade. The second half has been better, but also a bit disappointing. After winning another division title in 2016 with a 20-year-old Barkov, 22-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau, 22-year-old Vincent Trocheck, and 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the Panthers have yet to return to the postseason despite an enviable core. However, the club seems to be on the right track this season through Joel Quenneville guidance.
28. Arizona Coyotes
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 3 Best player: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
The Coyotes made the playoffs three straight years to begin the decade, reaching the conference finals in 2011-12, but it was all downhill from there. Even a mid-decade name change from Phoenix to Arizona couldn't save them. However, after a long, winding rebuild, the Yotes finally look to be playoff-bound this season. If they can re-sign Taylor Hall, their outlook for the 2020s looks significantly better.
29. Carolina Hurricanes
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 1 Best player: Eric Staal
The Hurricanes ranked 23rd in wins over the decade, with only one playoff appearance to show for it. Carolina advanced to the Eastern Conference Final last spring, but the overwhelming majority of the 10-year span was largely forgettable in Raleigh. That's especially true for all five seasons before 2018-19 when the Hurricanes finished sixth or lower in their division. At least there's some hope for the future now.
30. Edmonton Oilers
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 0 Playoff appearances: 1 Best player: Connor McDavid
The 2010s began with so much promise for the Oilers. The club secured three straight first overall picks (2010, 2011, and 2012), but between Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov, only "The Nuge" remains. The Oilers' optimism grew further after selecting Connor McDavid first overall in 2015, but Edmonton still can't seem to find consistent success, largely due to a series of poor front-office decisions - primarily from Peter Chiarelli. Going through five different GMs and eight head coaches this decade best illustrates this organization's instability.
31. Buffalo Sabres
Stanley Cup titles: 0 Division titles: 1 Playoff appearances: 2 Best player: Jack Eichel
When they won only 23 games in 2014-15, the Sabres thought they had successfully tanked their way to drafting Connor McDavid. After losing the lottery and settling for the second pick, they got the next best thing in Jack Eichel. The Sabres haven't recorded a winning campaign since 2011-12, but they'll likely snap a nine-year playoff drought this season.
With the decade drawing to a close, theScore looked back and voted on 100 moments that defined the sports world in the 2010s. Below is the final installment of our month-long series, counting down moments 20-1.
This was Brazil's shot at redemption. Despite the nation's unparalleled World Cup success, it had never truly recovered from losing the 1950 final on home soil. The 2014 edition of the tournament, though, was supposed to exorcise those demons. In the eyes of many Brazilians, it was destiny. And then everything came crumbling down on a surreal, eerie evening in Belo Horizonte. An emotional Brazil side, playing without the injured Neymar, were blown away in the semifinals; Germany scored five goals in the opening 29 minutes en route to a remarkable 7-1 win. In the stands, disbelief morphed into tears, and, eventually, anger. Brazilian fans consoled one another, to no avail. - Gianluca Nesci
19. UMBC pulls off historic upset 🙀
March 16, 2018
No. 1 seeds were 132-0 against 16-seeds until 2018, when America East champion UMBC met overall top seed Virginia in Charlotte. The Retrievers had never won an NCAA Tournament game and weren't expected to on this day. But everything went right. UMBC began the second half on a 17-3 run and never looked back, embarrassing Virginia 74-54 and making history. The UMBC athletics' Twitter account ballooned from 5,400 followers to 41,000 as it fired off sassy but clever tweets during the stunning performance. - Mark Cooper
18. Kevin Durant's 'Next Chapter'
July 7, 2016
After blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Western Conference Finals to Golden State, Durant did the unthinkable and joined the enemy. The formation of the "Hamptons Five" brought KD together with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala to form one of the most dominant units in NBA history. Durant was blasted for the move he described as "the hardest road" as it fundamentally altered the balance of the league, but it's hard to argue with the results. What followed was three straight trips to the Finals, two titles, and a pair of Finals MVPs for Durant. - Mike Dickson
17. Villanova at the buzzer ⏰
April 4, 2016
The name of the play was Nova. In a tie game with 4.7 seconds left, Jay Wright called it. Ryan Arcidiacono brought the basketball up the court. Kris Jenkins, the inbounder, trailed him. As Arcidiacono reached the 3-point line, he shoveled the ball to Jenkins. "Bang," Wright mouthed from the sideline as Jenkins coldly hit the 3-pointer that gave Villanova a 77-74 win over North Carolina and a national championship. Moments before Jenkins' shot, UNC's Marcus Paige knocked down an acrobatic, equally impressive 3-pointer that was soon forgotten. - Cooper
16. The Fierce Five 🖐️
July 31, 2012
Originally referred to as the Fab Five before a Jalen Rose rant forced a name change, the Fierce Five of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber dominated the artistic gymnastics event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. While the team earned the U.S. its first gold medal on international soil in the women's competition, the fivesome also gained notoriety when Douglas became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the individual competition, and Maroney's unimpressed podium look became a famed internet meme. After the Olympics, they visited the White House, were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and came forward as survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of gymnasts. - Bryan Mcwilliam
15. Boston Marathon bombing
April 15, 2013
On a day normally reserved for celebration of the human spirit, tragedy struck. Two bombs, detonated 14 seconds apart, killed three people and injured hundreds. A manhunt for the two bombers followed, culminating in the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a Watertown, Massachusetts backyard. Rather than focus on the perpetrators, stories of the heroes that ran towards danger to help became a beacon. Through grief and heartache, a city battled together and "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry for not only New England, but also the world. - Devang Desai
14. Leicester City defy the odds 🦊
May 2, 2016
Nearly four years later, it still gives you goosebumps. Going into the 2015-16 Premier League season, Leicester City were 5,000-1 underdogs to win the title; at the time, you could get the same odds on Elvis Presley being found alive. They couldn't possibly do it. After all, they had only been promoted to England's top flight the year prior. But powered by a journeyman striker, an unassuming manager, and the football gods, the Foxes shocked the world. Claudio Ranieri sobbed, Andrea Bocelli (!) performed at the King Power Stadium, and Wes Morgan led a trophy celebration that will never be forgotten. Anything's possible. - Nesci
13. 'Kick Six' sinks Alabama 🏃💨
Nov. 30, 2013
This high-stakes Iron Bowl meeting had one of the wildest endings in 150 years of college football. Tied at 28 in the final seconds, Nick Saban sent his kicker out to try a 57-yard field goal. Standing in the end zone, Auburn's Chris Davis caught the kick when it fell short and took off. Davis' 109-yard return - the "Kick Six" - gave the Tigers a walk-off, 34-28 win, and eventually sent Auburn to the national championship game while handing Alabama its first loss. - Cooper
12. Michael Phelps stands alone 🏅
July 31, 2012
A new generation was ready to take over, but in the end, Michael Phelps still made history. Phelps, who announced the London games would be his last, passed Larisa Latynina to become the all-time record holder for most Olympic medals won. That same night, Phelps settled for silver after Chad le Clos prevailed in the 200m butterfly. The South African said Phelps was the reason he started to swim competitively, and he wasn't alone in citing "The Baltimore Bullet" as an inspiration. Phelps decided to return to the five rings party in Rio, finishing his Olympic career with 28 medals and a genuine claim to be the greatest athlete of all time. - Desai
11. Patriots' unbelievable comeback 😲
Feb. 5, 2017
Up 28-3 in the third quarter, it looked like nothing could stop the Falcons from winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Even when the Patriots finally scored a touchdown, they botched the extra point. In the fourth frame, everything changed. Aided by a Matt Ryan fumble, a Jake Matthews hold, and a miraculous Julian Edelman catch, New England rattled off 25 straight points to force overtime. The Patriots won the coin toss, then finished the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. - Alex Chippin
10. Donald Sterling banned for life
April 29, 2014
Long-maligned as the worst owner in sports for a myriad of deplorable reasons, Donald Sterling's tenure came to an unprecedented halt as NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed the disgraced billionaire a lifetime ban and ordered him to sell the team. While it was an open secret around the NBA that Sterling was racist before 2014, it became public domain when an audio recording surfaced of the owner telling his mistress, V. Stiviano, that he was upset she was fraternizing with black people - in particular Magic Johnson - at games. - Michael Bradburn
9. City's last-second title: 'Aguerooooo!' 💥
May 13, 2012
It seemed calamitous Manchester City would skulk even further under Manchester United's shadow when, with seconds left in the 2011-12 campaign, they were surrendering the title to the red half of town. They needed to overcome lowly Queens Park Rangers to beat United to the title, but were losing 2-1 at home. Edin Dzeko's 92nd-minute equalizer didn't subdue United fans' celebrations 137 miles away in Sunderland. It wasn't enough. But then, with 93:20 on the clock, Sergio Aguero scored. The Etihad Stadium erupted. United supporters crumbled. City won their first title in 44 years, and in a manner that couldn't be sweeter for their fans or, indeed, the neutral. - Daniel Rouse
8. Crosby's golden goal for Canada 🍁
Feb. 28, 2010
Canada was the unanimous favorite to claim gold on home soil, but the team didn't face an easy path to glory. After losing to the Americans in the preliminary round, Canada narrowly defeated Slovakia in the semis, setting up a winner-take-all rematch with their biggest rival. When the USA erased a 2-0 deficit, the gold medal game went to overtime. Sidney Crosby delivered the golden goal, sending his home country into an unforgettable frenzy from coast to coast. - Sean O'Leary
7. Bolt defends his crown, again ⚡
Aug. 14, 2016
After bursting onto the scene in Beijing in 2008, Usain Bolt stunned the world by setting world records in the 100m and 200m sprints. He showed no signs of slowing down at the 2012 London Olympics, setting a new Olympic record in the 100m sprint. Entering the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, all eyes were on the Jamaican phenom to see if he could be the first sprinter to three-peat in the 100m race. Trailing with only meters to go, Bolt surged ahead and crossed the finish line in first, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest athletes ever. - Brandon Maron
6. Kaepernick makes a statement ✊
Aug. 26, 2016
Colin Kaepernick's protest during the national anthem and the resulting movement spanned multiple years, transcending sports and reaching into the political realm. During a preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat on the bench during the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner," an act that went unnoticed until footage was shared by fans in attendance. Afterwards, speaking with a former Army Green Beret who suggested he kneel instead, the then-49ers quarterback took a knee in silent protest of racial injustice and police brutality against people of color in America. Kaepernick considered the cause so crucial, he staked his career on it. The courts got involved, as did the President of the United States. It divided sports fans and compelled some to question Kaepernick's patriotism, even stalling his football career, but the movement continues on, with the likes of Kenny Stills and Eric Reid still kneeling during the anthem. - Michael McClymont
5. Cubs finally end the drought ⚾
Nov. 2, 2016
This was the ultimate sports curse. The Cubs hadn't won a pennant since 1945, and they hadn't won a World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was president. For 108 years, the Cubs were baseball's punching bag, inventing new ways to lose on a seemingly annual basis. But finally, in 2016, everything clicked for this star-crossed franchise. In true Cubs fashion, it didn't come easy, as they had to overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Indians and survive one of the greatest Game 7s ever played to crush the Billy Goat curse forever. Over five million people attended the parade. - Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb
4. Tiger wins The Masters 🐯
April 14, 2019
No one captivates an audience like Tiger Woods, and he did it better than ever before over four magical days this past April. In the mix at Augusta after three strong rounds, Tiger outplayed and outsmarted his opponents to claim his fifth green jacket and 15th major. From putting his tee shot to within three feet on the famous 16th to immediately hugging his kids in triumph after all he'd been through over the years, this win was truly a moment for the ages. - O'Leary
3. Cavs come back to stun Warriors 🏆
June 19, 2016
The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead. You couldn't go anywhere on the internet after the 2016 NBA Finals without that phrase poking fun at Golden State's historic collapse. It went so viral it even has its own Know Your Meme page. But don't let the jokes overshadow the Cavaliers' accomplishment. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were incredible in an unprecedented Finals comeback that gave their franchise its first ever title and a city its first major championship in 52 years. Cleveland, this is for you. - Jonathan Soveta
2. 'Intercepted at the goal line!' 😱
Feb. 1, 2015
When the Seahawks had a second-and-goal opportunity at the Patriots' 1-yard line with 26 seconds remaining, it seemed unavoidable that Marshawn Lynch would be handed the ball and Seattle would take the lead. However, the Seahawks' slant pass was ultimately intercepted by Malcolm Butler. The undrafted rookie recorded his first career interception in Super Bowl LXIX to give New England its first title since 2005. - Caio Miari
1. The Decision 👑
July 8, 2010
Social media had yet to evolve into what it is now in the summer of 2010, when LeBron James and manager Maverick Carter devised "The Decision," a made-for-TV special to announce LeBron's free-agency choice. While his heart may have been in the right place - the broadcast donated millions in ad revenue to various charities - it was a PR disaster for James; with the words "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach," he publicly jilted his home region of northeast Ohio in favor of joining a Miami Heat Superteam. It was a moment that cast LeBron as a villain, and while that's something he's since mostly erased with three NBA championships (including one back in Cleveland), it still lingers in the minds of some. - John Chick