Welcome back to the first edition of NHL Power Rankings here at Full Press Hockey for this season. The way-too-early edition of the rankings.
The NHL’s regular season is underway. Lots of hope and expectations heading into the season for a lot of teams. Especially for those who made moves in the offseason. Some teams have played more games than others, but that does not mean there isn’t enough of a sample size to rank these teams. You can see who the better teams are just in a couple of games that have been played. You can also tell who the bad teams are gonna be again. But there is time to turn it around.
It’s time to dive into the way-too-early edition of NHL Power Rankings and find out where these teams stand.
NHL Power Rankings
1. Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are on a mission to repeat as Stanley Cup Playoffs. They took it personally when they were the oddsmaker’s favourites to win it. Two regulation losses to begin the season with the same team pretty much back. How could you not make them the favourite to win it again?
2. Boston Bruins
This is a familiar site: the Boston Bruins near the top of the NHL Power Rankings. No Patrice Bergeron. No David Krejci. No Problem. Enter Matthew Potrias and Pavel Zacha. The Bruins still had a good defense and the best goalie duo in the game no surprise they are where they are. It could have gone two ways. A motivated Bruins team which we see or a Bruins team that came out really flat.
3. Vancouver Canucks
Not sure a lot of people had the Vancouver Canucks in second place on their bingo cards in the Pacific Division heading into this season. Thatcher Demko is playing like Bubble Demko. Elias Pettersson is playing like it is a contract year. And Quinn Hughes is playing like he should win the Norris. Rick Tocchet got this group playing well.
4. New York Rangers
Peter Laviolette does what Peter Laviolette does in the first year with new teams. That team performs really well. We are seeing it with the Rangers. Artemi Panarin is having another great start to the season. Even Alexis Lafreniere has found his game. The biggest surprise has been how good the defense has been along with Jonathan Quick.
5. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings just keep rolling along. Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson is one of the best top-pairing defensemen in the league. Quinton Byfield is turning into the player everyone thought he would be. Not to mention Pierre-Luc Dubois is working out just fine. The Kings continue to be perfect on the road.
6. Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars just going about their business. Again a lot of people liked the Stars heading into this season. Some new pieces with the addition of Matt Duchene. But the same characters are up front with Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson, and Roope Hintz. Not to mention Jake Oettinger has found his game again. Look out for this team in the West.
7. Colorado Avalanche
Yes, the Colorado Avalanche were struggling before their win over New Jersey, but they are still one of the best teams in the NHL. Not sure they are ahead Vegas for Cup favorites, but we digress. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar continue to lead the way. Having depth scoring really helps this team.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning are finding their way without Andrei Vasilevskiy in the lineup. The big three of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman are on a tear especially Kucherov, who has 11 points in the past three games. Jon Cooper has Tampa Bay taking care of their own end first.
9. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are one of those teams that will be there when it is all said and done. All the best to Frederik Andersen, but the Hurricanes love that three-headed goalie monster. Carolina’s biggest issue is scoring. They need to generate when it matters most.
10. New Jersey Devils
The Devils might be a bit high for some people, however, if it were not for their power play they would be much lower. Add in the fact that Jack Hughes was on a Hart Trophy pace before he got hurt. The Devils have to play better team defense in front of their goalies.
11. Anaheim Ducks
How about those Anaheim Ducks? Their six-game winning streak came to an end, but what a run to start the year. Leo Carlsson is a part-time player right now. Trevor Zegras has yet to contribute, but it has been about comebacks and late-game heroics from Mason McTavish and Pavel Mintyukov. The question is can it last?
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs should be higher up, but this team always gets off to a slow start. Auston Matthews has 13 goals on the season. Joseph Woll has taken the number one duties in Toronto. And of course, there is the William Nylander situation. Nylander continues to produce, but Leafs need to be better defensively.
13. Detroit Red Wings
Detroit is off to a good start despite their loss to the Rangers. Not sure many people expected this kind of start from Detroit, but the pieces Steve Yzerman brought in are clicking. Alex DeBrincat has been excellent, though his scoring pace has slowed down. You have to think if Ville Husso continues to play this way, Detroit will stay in the mix for a playoff spot.
14. Winnipeg Jets
There was so much chaos in Winnipeg this off-season. Nobody knew what to expect, yet Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck both stayed. Scheifele is off to another solid start. Add in Kyle Connor‘s start and the Jets are right in the mix in the Central Division. New mindset, attitude, and belief around this group.
15. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers are in good shape right now despite their injuries on defense. Matthew Tkachuk continues to drive the offense for the Panthers. But this team can’t afford any more injuries. But don’t count them out just yet, but they are where most expect them to be.
16. New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are the same team most expected them to be this year. They are a team that struggles to score goals. They can play really good defense and can get great goaltending, but offensively they are not consistent enough. It is similar to the Hurricanes. The difference is their young players are stepping up.
17. Arizona Coyotes
How about the Arizona Coyotes? Not sure too many people expected the Coyotes to play this well out of the gate. Logan Cooley has been a great addition to go along with Clayton Keller. The Yotes are trying to put a good team on the ice. The issue for them is their building.
18. Buffalo Sabres
You have to classify the Buffalo Sabres as a disappointment to begin the year. Though not surprising for this analyst. While Buffalo has the firepower to score, can a team really rely on two young goalies to bring them back to the promised land? It is tough. Things got to start turning around for them.
19. Minnesota Wild
The Wild are shaking things up a little bit with their defense corps. They traded Cale Addison and brought in Zach Bogosian. Filip Gustavsson is not off to the start he wanted. However, the Wild do have Marc-Andre Fleury. Not to mention Kirill Kaprizov and that top line is rolling. Now that this team is healthier, they have a chance to get back into the top three in the Central.
20. Montreal Canadiens
It was fun while it lasted in Montreal. The Canadiens got off to a great start. But nobody really believed it would last. Montreal was not a playoff team. Sam Montembault and Jake Allen were playing out of their minds. The injury to Kirby Dach really hurt this squad. And playing from behind in every game eventually catches up with a team.
21. Washington Capitals
It is a shame about Nicklas Backstrom. Hard to come back from hip resurfacing surgery. The Capitals have a new crop with Dylan Strome and Sonny Milano. Not sure Washington is a playoff team. Alex Ovechkin can still score, but this team is old and slow, especially when they play against fast teams.
22. Nashville Predators
Nashville has been a fun team to watch this season. Ryan O’Reilly has been a great addition to this team. Juuse Saros gives the Predators a chance to win in every game he plays in. It is a rebuilding year in Nashville, but Andrew Brunette has got them playing well.
23. St. Louis Blues
If it was not for Jordan Binnington, the Blues might not be in the position they are in. He has been phenomenal for the Blues this season. He single-handedly beat the Devils last Friday night. The Blues are getting nice performances from Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, but they need to be more consistent.
24. Seattle Kraken
Man, it is a different season for Seattle. The goals they were getting last year are not there. Not to mention the goaltending, either. This is a different Kraken team. Again, it’s still early, but it is with the way Vancouver and Anaheim are playing.
25. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers were off to a good start before things came crashing back to Earth against the Sharks on Tuesday night. Nice to see guys like Travis Konency, Cam Atkinson, and Sean Couturier contributing and healthy for once. Owen Tippett has picked up where he left off. The future is bright not sure it is now.
26. Columbus Blue Jackets
Another team with a bright future is Columbus. They have a talented player in Adam Fantilli. Patrik Laine has not been on the ice since being rocked by Rasmus Anderson. Kent Johnson is searching for his game and the moves they made in the offseason are not paying off. The build is coming, but not this year.
27. Chicago Blackhawks
Take the off-the-ice stuff away from this team for a minute. It is fun to watch Connor Bedard play in the NHL. They have insulated him with the right pieces. Bedard is adjusting to life in the NHL. It will be a long season for Chicago.
28. Calgary Flames
What is up in Calgary? Look the Flames found a way to win back-to-back games. Nazem Kadri is getting it going finally for the Flames. But what about Jonathan Huberdeau? Something is off with him and extensions are on hold for their pending free agents. What is the excuse now that Darryl Sutter is not there?
29. Ottawa Senators
Talk about turmoil. The Ottawa Senators are a mess off the ice. They might be a mess on the ice too. Fans are giving it to the team. This is a crucial point in the season for the Senators before they head to Sweden. They have to find a way out of this skid. DJ Smith probably is not coming back anyway but it could be sooner than we think.
30. Pittsburgh Penguins
It is very shocking to see Pittsburgh at the bottom of the NHL Power Rankings. However, the way this team has been constructed, they are trying to outscore their problems and their biggest problem is Tristan Jarry.
31. Edmonton Oilers
Things are bad in Alberta, especially with the Oilers. Jack Campbell is on waivers. The team can’t score, defend, or get a save. Something has to change and it will be a coach if there is not any accountability sometime soon for the mistakes that keep happening.
32. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks will be the worst team in the NHL. We are talking historically bad. Mike Grier called his team out and wanted things to change. Well, if things don’t change will be coming. Look for certain players to be on the move.
That does it for this edition of NHL Power Rankings… Stay Tuned more another edition of NHL Power Rankings in a few weeks when the season really gets going.