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PWHL Power Rankings: Each team's midseason MVP

Photo illustration by Julian Catalfo / theScore

This is the second edition of theScore's PWHL Power Rankings for the 2024 campaign. Check back for updated rankings on the first of each month.

1. Toronto (8-5-0, 21 points)

Previous rank: 5

Where would PWHL Toronto be without Natalie Spooner?

After a rough 1-4-0 start to the campaign, Toronto has won six straight games and swiftly become a force to be reckoned with. The ladies in blue didn't just climb back into a playoff position - they're now challenging for the top seed past the halfway mark.

Much of the credit for the turnaround goes to Spooner. The 33-year-old has willed Toronto into contention with a league-leading 10 goals in 13 games. That doesn't even include the two shootout markers she netted last week against New York.

While Spooner carried the load early, the rest of the team is rounding into form around her. Goaltender Kristen Campbell has won seven straight starts and has a .942 save percentage in that 13-game span, while Sarah Nurse and Emma Maltais have found the scoresheet with more regularity.

It took about a month, but Toronto looks like the title contenders many anticipated before the season started.

2. Montreal (8-2-3, 24 points)

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Previous rank: 2

It should come as no surprise that much of Montreal's offense revolves around Marie-Philip Poulin. The superstar paces the team with six goals and 12 points in 13 games, and she's helped spark secondary scoring.

Claire Dalton recently scored a hat-trick after featuring on Poulin's wing. Tereza Vanisova and Maureen Murphy have also been productive alongside the team captain.

Montreal's been the most consistent team through two months of play, largely due to Poulin's leadership both on and off the ice. Montreal will be tough to surpass at the top of the regular-season standings, but Toronto's had their number with two wins in as many matchups.

Those final three contests between the foes - coming at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena, and possibly Montreal's Bell Centre - will be must-see TV down the stretch.

3. Minnesota (7-4-3, 22 points)

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Previous rank: 1

Minnesota remains second in the PWHL, but scoring woes have dropped the team from the top spot in the power rankings from a month ago. The self-professed "Purple Reign" have yet to tally more than three goals in a game and have netted more than two only once since Jan. 27.

After trading center Susanna Tapani, Minnesota suffered from bad timing when Taylor Heise went down with an injury at the Rivalry Series. That's left a massive hole down the middle, and Kelly Pannek is tasked with filling the void.

Likely the most underrated foundational signing league-wide, Pannek leads Minnesota forwards in ice time and has been a key leader as the team has taken a hit offensively. Her huge 23:22 average time on ice the past four games is an example of her importance to Minnesota.

If not for Pannek, we could be seeing a team in free fall after losing Tapani and Heise in short order.

4. New York (6-5-2, 16 points)

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Previous rank: 6

New York only lost one game in regulation during February. Part of that is because four of five contests went to overtime, but it shows that the team's been a tough out.

Alex Carpenter is arguably the league MVP halfway through the season. She leads the PWHL with 16 points and isn't far behind Spooner in goals either with eight.

Her heroics this season include the game-tying goal and overtime winner in New York's wild comeback against Ottawa, another OT winner versus Boston, the team's first "jailbreak" goal, and a shootout winner against Montreal.

There are cases to be made for Corinne Schroeder (.949 SV% in eight starts) and Ella Shelton (tied for the league lead in scoring among defenders), but Carpenter edges out the pack for New York's midseason MVP title.

5. Boston (6-4-2, 18 points)

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Previous rank: 4

Boston continues to be a step below where the talent on the roster suggests they should be. A 2-2-2 stretch in February kept the team at a .500 points percentage, where they've hovered for much of the campaign.

Megan Keller has run the show in Beantown. She's tied for the league lead in scoring among defenders with 10 points in 12 games - which also puts her alongside Alina Muller for the team lead - while playing over 24 minutes a night.

Hilary Knight has shockingly struggled to make a consistent impact on the scoresheet, making Keller the on-ice leader. In fact, her offensive prowess from the backend allowed general manager Danielle Marmer to trade Sophie Jaques for Susanna Tapani and Abby Cook to solidify the team's center depth.

If Boston's going to charge up the standings in the back half, however, they'll need Knight to find the form that made her the 2023 IIHF Female Player of the Year.

6. Ottawa (4-5-4, 16 points)

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Previous rank: 3

Ottawa has lost all seven one-goal games they've been in this season. An extra goal here or there would've made their season completely different, as the team is tied for last place amid a 2-4-1 run in February.

Though Ottawa has had scoring throughout the lineup, the team has failed to have a star perform offensively and carry them up the standings, as we've seen from other PWHL teams. Foundational signings Emily Clark and Brianne Jenner each have only two goals through 12 games, leaving Ottawa as the lone club without a double-digit point-scorer.

The team's workhorse has been goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer. The veteran goaltender has played all 13 games for Ottawa, including a back-to-back when second-stringer Sandra Abstreiter went down with an injury early in the contest.

Her numbers aren't glowing - she sports a .905 SV% - but Ottawa's situation would be even worse if they didn't have Maschmeyer to lean on all season long.

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