One of the true joys of the NHL having seven franchises in Canada means that Thanksgiving is constantly referred to as "American Thanksgiving" to differentiate from "Canadian Thanksgiving," which is celebrated on "American Columbus Day." A Canadian friend of mine this week said he always liked "American Thanksgiving" because there would be NFL games on television when he got home from school on that Thursday, as a fan of "American football."
For this week's Power Rankings, we took a Turkey Day angle, listing what each team should be thankful for as the tryptophan works its magic. Enjoy!
How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn't guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn't guarantee a fall.
Week 6 ranking: No. 1
The Lightning should be thankful for being as dominant on the road as they are at home, going 7-1-1 away from their sunny environs this season.
Week 6 ranking: No. 2
The Blues should be thankful for the low-key brilliance of general manager Doug Armstrong in making the Brayden Schenn trade, as he has found his 5-on-5 game with Jaden Schwartz and is playing like a No. 1 center. Oh, and those first-rounders in the deal appear to both be in the bottom five picks.
Week 6 ranking: No. 6
Week 6 ranking: No. 3
The Leafs should be thankful for having Connor Brown, who is the kind of worker who never takes a vacation day and shames you when you do.
Week 6 ranking: No. 9
The Jets should be thankful for Blake Wheeler, who is fifth in points for any player from 2015-16 to now. And, no, I didn't realize that, either.
Week 6 ranking: No. 5
Week 6 ranking: No. 8
The Devils should be thankful for Cory Schneider, or, as he's more commonly known in New Jersey, "their defense."
Week 6 ranking: No. 4
The Predators should be thankful for the nonstop parties that are home games in Nashville, as the fans' (inebriated) enthusiasm has powered their dominance at home.
Week 6 ranking: No. 10
The Penguins should be thankful for Phil The Thrill, as Kessel leads them in points and has two overtime goals this season. Heh.
Week 6 ranking: No. 16
The Knights should be thankful for what $500 million and a desire to have an immediately competitive team in a new market does to expansion-draft rules.
11. Calgary Flames
Week 6 ranking: No. 18
The Flames should be thankful for Matthew Tkachuk, who is third on the team in points and without question makes life interesting in every game. Ask the Red Wings.
Week 6 ranking: No. 13
13. New York Rangers
Week 6 ranking: No. 7
The Rangers should be thankful for the outstanding play of Pavel Buchnevich. And perhaps show their appreciation with some dang ice time for the guy.
Week 6 ranking: No. 11
The Capitals should be thankful for having Todd Reirden on their bench, as he'll probably take over as head coach after Barry Trotz is fired.
15. Anaheim Ducks
Week 6 ranking: No. 20
The Ducks should be thankful for the advancements in modern medicine that will hopefully heal the half of the roster that's been injured here and there for the first two months of the season.
16. Dallas Stars
Week 6 ranking: No. 19
The Stars should be thankful that John Klingberg is apparently having the bounce-back season everyone hoped he would.
Week 6 ranking: No. 14
The Blackhawks should be thankful for those state-of-the-art heated benches they use at outdoor games because otherwise Jonathan Toews would have wicked bum-bum frostbite, given that they play in every outdoor game.
Week 6 ranking: No. 23
The Hurricanes should be thankful for being such well-behaved boys, having spent the least amount of time in the penalty box in the NHL this season.
19. Boston Bruins
Week 6 ranking: No. 24
The Bruins should be thankful for the continued offensive mastery of Brad Marchand, who is a point-per-game player and has more goals and points than any other Bruin in the past three seasons.
20. Ottawa Senators
Week 6 ranking: No. 15
The Senators should be thankful for that kindly old farming couple that found a baby Erik Karlsson inside his space capsule and raised him into the NHL defenseman we see today.
21. Minnesota Wild
Week 7 ranking: No. 17
The Wild should be thankful for having given Eric Staal a chance to prove himself after that debacle with the Rangers, as he leads the team in points since his signing.
Week 6 ranking: No. 26
23. San Jose Sharks
Week 5 ranking: No. 12
The Sharks should be thankful that Brent Burns does more than score goals because, wow, what is going on there, huh?
Week 6 ranking: No. 25
The Flyers should be thankful for hanging on to Sean Couturier when the rest of the hockey world was all like, "Hey, they're totally going to trade Sean Couturier at some point."
Week 6 ranking: No. 21
The Canucks should be thankful for Brock Boeser, whose point-per-game season has him squarely in the Calder conversation.
Week 6 ranking: No. 29
The Avalanche should be thankful for a top-six offense, which helps balance out that bottom-five defense.
27. Edmonton Oilers
Week 6 ranking: No. 22
Week 6 ranking: No. 27
The Canadiens should be thankful that there are at least three or four qualified bilingual candidates for an open general manager's job.
29. Florida Panthers
Week 6 ranking: No. 28
30. Arizona Coyotes
Week 6 ranking: No. 31
The Coyotes should be thankful for ... a sudden burst of wins that actually elevated them from the basement of our rankings?!
31. Buffalo Sabres
Week 6 ranking: No. 30
The Sabres should be thankful for these sweet Winter Classic jerseys, if nothing else.