- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Walt Disney World is currently celebrating its 50th birthday, having opened roughly four months before Jaromir Jagr was born.
To honor this magical place, and with no small amount of corporate synergy, we’ve decided to use this week’s NHL power rankings to match all 32 teams with the Disney World attractions — rides, food, characters — that best fit their vibes.
How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another — taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule — and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.
Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the last edition, published on Jan. 5. Points percentages are through Tuesday’s games.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous ranking: 1
Points percentage: 0.758
Next seven days: vs. CBJ (Jan. 13), vs. VAN (Jan. 15), @ BOS (Jan. 18)
Churros. They’re not always right in front of you. You have to know where to find them. But once you do, the variety of flavors and the absolute sugar high you get from them makes churros better than anything else in the park.
2. Florida Panthers
Previous ranking: 2
Points percentage: 0.736
Next seven days: vs. DAL (Jan. 14), vs. CBJ (Jan. 15), @ CGY (Jan. 18)
Mad Tea Party. From Dec. 14 to Jan. 8, the Panthers had an average of 8.4 total goals in their games. They were 16-0-0 when leading after two periods and have rallied for a point in five of 12 games in which they trailed after two periods. Like the tea cups, a dizzying experience.
3. Colorado Avalanche
Previous ranking: 4
Points percentage: 0.712
Next seven days: vs. ARI (Jan. 14), @ ARI (Jan. 15), vs. MIN (Jan. 17)
Astro Orbiter. Piloting a high-flying rocket ship to the stars … until you realize your aforementioned rocket ship is tethered to a pole with a metal bar, and you’ve been unable to truly take off when it matters. In fact, you just keep going in circles …
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous ranking: 3
Points percentage: 0.721
Next seven days: @ ARI (Jan. 12), @ STL (Jan. 15)
The Haunted Mansion. Everywhere you look, there are ghosts, including ones that are literally riding with you. As team advisor Paul MacLean memorably said on the Leafs’ Amazon Prime show: “They’ve got demons in their heads, they got ’em in their beds, they got ’em in their cars … everywhere they turn, there is a demon.” (Although his delivery was a bit more colorful.)
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous ranking: 6
Points percentage: 0.697
Next seven days: vs. VAN (Jan. 13), vs. DAL (Jan. 15), @ LA (Jan. 18)
The storage lockers. During a day at the park, you might discover that you’re carrying too much with you — an overage, if you will. So you head to the long-term storage lockers to stash some salaries, er, souvenirs in there, until it’s safe to add them back to your group. And that, friends, is how you have a successful day at Walt Disney World. Or maybe even two in a row.
6. New York Rangers
Previous ranking: 7
Points percentage: 0.676
Next seven days: @ SJ (Jan. 13), @ PHI (Jan. 15)
Jungle Cruise. A classic ride reimagined for 2021-22, with exciting new twists on all the stuff your parents used to enjoy. In other words, they can stop talking about Brian Leetch and Mike Richter, because those characters have been updated to Adam Fox and Igor Shesterkin.
7. Nashville Predators
Previous ranking: 13
Points percentage: 0.676
Next seven days: vs. BUF (Jan. 13), @ BOS (Jan. 15), @ STL (Jan. 17), vs. VAN (Jan. 18)
Country Bear Jamboree. A down-home, southern-fried hootenanny that entertains the crowd with foot-stompin’ fun … and then you look at the standings and realize these are marauding wild beasts that will tear you from brows to boots if you are standing in their way.
8. St. Louis Blues
Previous ranking: 8
Points percentage: 0.652
Next seven days: vs. SEA (Jan. 13), vs. TOR (Jan. 15), vs. NSH (Jan. 17)
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade. The ideal spot for the NHL’s sixth-best offensive team this season (3.44 goals per game) as well as Ryan O’Reilly’s beard.
9. Washington Capitals
Previous ranking: 5
Points percentage: 0.662
Next seven days: @ NYI (Jan. 15), vs. VAN (Jan. 16), vs. WPG (Jan. 18)
Toy Story Mania! You sit in your spot and then just start firing away at an array of moving targets, seeing who can score the most. Which brings us to our next question: Would Alex Ovechkin ever go on another ride besides this one at Disney World?
10. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous ranking: 12
Points percentage: 0.671
Next seven days: @ LA (Jan. 13), @ SJ (Jan. 15), @ VGK (Jan. 17)
It’s a small world. Oh, you think it’s safe to leave it out of your plans? Just forget it exists because you’ve seen it so many times? Well, this international menagerie — Canada, the United States, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czechia, even Latvia — won’t be ignored just because you think the iconic ride is past its expiration date.
11. Minnesota Wild
Previous ranking: 10
Points percentage: 0.667
Next seven days: vs. ANA (Jan. 14), @ COL (Jan. 17)
Space Mountain. What else could it be other than Disney World’s greatest (Kirill the) thrill ride?
12. Vegas Golden Knights
Previous ranking: 11
Points percentage: 0.615
Next seven days: vs. PIT (Jan. 17)
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A multimillion-dollar world of imagination that offers thrilling rides, lasting memories and the unwavering feeling that it never goes quite as far as you’d like it to go. That weird feeling in your stomach about the Golden Knights in the playoffs is not because you drank too much blue milk …
13. Boston Bruins
Previous ranking: 15
Points percentage: 0.625
Next seven days: vs. MTL (Jan. 12), vs. PHI (Jan. 13), vs. NSH (Jan. 15), vs. CAR (Jan. 18)
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. You’re wandering around, trying to find your way. Is there anyone who can help get you back on track? Step into the tiki room, and you’ll realize that … Tuuk can. (Groan.)
14. Anaheim Ducks
Previous ranking: 14
Points percentage: 0.577
Next seven days: @ MIN (Jan. 14), @ CHI (Jan. 15)
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The newest of the new, a 4D-adventure ride in Epcot. Rats cooking French cuisine is the food equivalent of tossing the puck over the net to one’s teammate for a goal. In this comparison, Anton Ego is played by John Tortorella.
15. Calgary Flames
Previous ranking: 9
Points percentage: 0.606
Next seven days: vs. OTT (Jan. 13), vs. FLA (Jan. 18)
Meeting Russell and Dug at Discovery Island. Watch as the talking dog and the Wilderness Explorer boy are reunited with the curmudgeonly old man, whose floating balloon house landed in Calgary, Alberta, where he inexplicably became head coach of the Flames last season.
16. Dallas Stars
Previous ranking: 20
Points percentage: 0.563
Next seven days: vs. SEA (Jan. 12), @ FLA (Jan. 14), @ TB (Jan. 15), vs. MTL (Jan. 18)
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Just when you think you’re going up, you’re going down. In my best Rod Serling voice: “Picture a team that went from a seven-game winning streak into a five-game losing streak to a four-game winning streak. That team is the Dallas Stars, champions of … The Twilight Zone.” [Cue theme]
17. Edmonton Oilers
Previous ranking: 16
Points percentage: 0.559
Next seven days: vs. OTT (Jan. 15)
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Charismatic rebels try to escape the clutches of a soul-crushing empire, whose constant mistakes and short-sightedness — no one thought to check the vulnerabilities of the thermal oscillator for the planet-destroying weapon? — have it constantly taking L’s. It appears Connor and Leon are being held in Detention Block AA-23, sub-level five.
18. Vancouver Canucks
Previous ranking: 18
Points percentage: 0.500
Next seven days: @ TB (Jan. 13), @ CAR (Jan. 15), @ WSH (Jan. 16), @ NSH (Jan. 18)
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Yes, this is an overt reference to Bruce Boudreau. Spot the lie.
19. Winnipeg Jets
Previous ranking: 17
Points percentage: 0.561
Next seven days: @ DET (Jan. 13), @ WSH (Jan. 18)
Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360. We don’t know what’s wilder: That there’s a part of Epcot dedicated to the mysterious grandeur of that far-off land “Canada,” or that there’s a 12-minute movie about this legendary land of the north. Jets logos would look keen on mouse ears, honestly.
20. Los Angeles Kings
Previous ranking: 23
Points percentage: 0.569
Next seven days: vs. PIT (Jan. 13), @ SEA (Jan. 15), @ SJ (Jan. 17), vs. TB (Jan. 18)
Na’vi River Journey. Based on a Hollywood production that at one point was a cultural sensation … for a very finite number of years. But hey, the sequels are on their way to take us back to Pandora! (Not to be confused with “Avatar Flight of Passage,” which is a thrill ride, while this one is a lot more deliberate and moderately paced. Such is Todd McLellan.)
21. San Jose Sharks
Previous ranking: 19
Points percentage: 0.554
Next seven days: vs. NYR (Jan. 13), vs. PIT (Jan. 15), vs. LA (Jan. 17)
Under the Sea, Journey of The Little Mermaid. Can you believe there are no sharks referenced in “Under the Sea?” The sturgeon and the ray get the urge and start to play. The newt plays the flute, the carp plays the harp, the plaice plays the bass, the bass plays the brass, the chub play the tub, the fluke is the duke of soul, the ling’s on the strings, the trout’s rockin’ out, the blackfish sings, the smelt and the sprat know where it’s at, and the blowfish blows on a trumpet. I’ve been under the sea. I know there are sharks there. We cannot stand for this erasure.
22. Detroit Red Wings
Previous ranking: 21
Points percentage: 0.500
Next seven days: vs. WPG (Jan. 13), vs. BUF (Jan. 15), @ BUF (Jan. 17)
Spaceship Earth. Like the Winged Wheel, the large geodesic sphere has been an iconic image for decades, housing a journey through history itself. It’s currently undergoing a lengthy renovation while remaining open, and the end result should be extraordinary.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous ranking: 24
Points percentage: 0.485
Next seven days: @ CAR (Jan. 13), @ FLA (Jan. 15)
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. The roller coaster you ride forward and then backward. Just when you think it’s over, things get interesting. Like when you’re a team that has won five out of 15 times trailing after two periods, the most for any team in the NHL this season.
24. New Jersey Devils
Previous ranking: 25
Points percentage: 0.458
Next seven days: @ NYI (Jan. 13)
Slinky Dog Dash. Do not be fooled by its playful vibe, endearing whimsy and elaborate theming. When this thing gets going … it really gets going.
25. New York Islanders
Previous ranking: 26
Points percentage: 0.464
Next seven days: vs. NJ (Jan. 13), vs. WSH (Jan. 15), vs. PHI (Jan. 17), @ PHI (Jan. 18)
Trying to get that last ride in before the park closes. You got a late start at the park. You’ve managed to get through only a couple of lines. They’re asking guests to head to the exits. You’re sprinting to see if you can hop on your favorite ride, but time is running out. Either this is going to be a disappointing trip, or it’s going to end with a last-minute thrill.
26. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous ranking: 27
Points percentage: 0.431
Next seven days: vs. MTL (Jan. 13), vs. ANA (Jan. 15), @ SEA (Jan. 17)
Splash Mountain. For a few reasons, but we’ll go with that whole “undergoing a five-story drop after being at the top of the mountain.”
27. Philadelphia Flyers
Previous ranking: 22
Points percentage: 0.471
Next seven days: @ BOS (Jan. 13), vs. NYR (Jan. 15), @ NYI (Jan. 17), vs. NYI (Jan. 18)
Pirates of the Caribbean. They look like the rapscallion, lawless bullies that we see menacing people in the history books. Yet this version is inherently nonthreatening.
28. Seattle Kraken
Previous ranking: 30
Points percentage: 0.353
Next seven days: @ DAL (Jan. 12), @ STL (Jan. 13), vs. LA (Jan. 15), vs. CHI (Jan. 17)
Pin trading huts. “Hey, the last time we were here, we saw a bunch of pins get traded.”
“Well, the pin traders had four years to prepare for us, so there were no trades available.”
“So you were expecting the same kinds of pins to be available like last time, but no one was offering them, and … you just decided not to acquire any pins at all?”
“Correct. We’re trying to make sure there’s room on the lanyard next summer in case some pins we really want become available.”
“OK, keep telling yourself that …”
29. Ottawa Senators
Previous ranking: 29
Points percentage: 0.344
Next seven days: @ CGY (Jan. 13), @ EDM (Jan. 15), vs. BUF (Jan. 18)
Hall of Presidents. Filled with Senators, interesting more than entertaining, and basically a place your parents drag you to “learn something” when all you want to do is hit Space Mountain for the 100th time.
30. Montreal Canadiens
Previous ranking: 31
Points percentage: 0.265
Next seven days: @ BOS (Jan. 12), @ CHI (Jan. 13), @ ARI (Jan. 17), @ DAL (Jan. 18)
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The Canadiens got to play dress-up as a Stanley Cup contender for a few months, and then watched their roster turn back into a pumpkin. Currently closed for renovations. (Also, “boutique” is French in origin, so this is perfect.)
31. Buffalo Sabres
Previous ranking: 28
Points percentage: 0.371
Next seven days: @ NSH (Jan. 13), @ DET (Jan. 15), vs. DET (Jan. 17), @ OTT (Jan. 18)
Buffalo chicken spring rolls. Not to pull the curtain back on this intricate process, but I searched “Buffalo” and “Disney World” and discovered that these delicacies are now available again at the Spring Roll Cart in the Magic Kingdom. And I’ve made the mistake of writing this ranking on an empty stomach. So we can go with, “they have a rough exterior but some promising ingredients on the inside,” and I think that works. But mostly I just want to devour like 20 of these.
32. Arizona Coyotes
Previous ranking: 32
Points percentage: 0.258
Next seven days: vs. TOR (Jan. 12), @ COL (Jan. 14), vs. COL (Jan. 15), vs. MTL (Jan. 17)
The entrance line. It’s the last place you want to be. A tedious wait before you’re allowed to have fun again, with impatient little rug rats pulling on your shirt, asking when they can finally get their mouse ears. And there’s no skipping the queue with a Lightning Lane.
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