NHL Power Rankings: Shea Weber effect helping Habs stay on top
We can start making judgments on some of the big trades over the summer now that teams are beginning to form identities and new players are starting to show how they’re going to fit at their new locales. It seems that the clear short-term winner is the Montreal Canadiens with Shea Weber, who is doing everything for Les Habitants in Montreal right now.
He leads the team in points, is topping 25 minutes a night as the total D-man ice-time horse that he is and is making the Habs a tough team to play against. On the other side of it, the Predators are at the bottom of their division and P.K. Subban is a minus-6 thus far for a Nashville team that most definitely seems like it's easier to play against. Give the short-term win to Montreal out of the gate and make it a draw so far for New Jersey and Edmonton with Taylor Hall and Adam Larsson right now.
Clearly, though, Larsson has helped round out the Oilers into multi-faceted team after being so one-dimensional for so many years and those that barbequed Peter Chiarelli for making the deal might want to re-think things a little bit.
Without further ado, here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Montreal Canadiens (9-0-1, previous ranking: 1)
The Shea Weber Effect is real: four goals and 10 points in nine games, a plus-12 rating and over 25 minutes a game while giving the Habs some real teeth in the defensive zone. I’d imagine that Habs fans are starting to get over the loss of P.K. Subban at this point.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-1, previous ranking: 4)
Four games with Sidney Crosby back from a concussion and four wins for the Penguins, who look that looks strong out of the gate while defending their Cup.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (6-3-1, previous ranking: 15)
The Blackhawks are starting to stabilize things on their penalty kill and defensively in general. Who would have guessed that Artem Anisimov would be leading the Hawks in scoring after the first 10 games of the season?
4. Edmonton Oilers (7-2-1-, previous ranking: 2)
Even if Connor McDavid came out on the losing end of his first showdown with Auston Matthews, the Oilers are still looking down at the Leafs from their new lofty spot high up in the power rankings.
5. Washington Capitals (6-2-1, previous ranking: 8)
The Capitals have won three in a row to get back to their level, but it feels like this Washington team is way too talented to be just middle of the road offensively.
6. Minnesota Wild (6-3-1, previous ranking: 9)
While it looked like it might be getting to the end of the NHL road for Eric Staal last season, he’s been excellent in the first few weeks of his Wild career. It’s a good start for the Wild collectively and for coach Bruce Boudreau in his new spot.
7. New York Rangers (7-3-0, previous rank: 7)
There are some odd-looking stat sheet readouts for NHL teams at this point in the season and J.T. Miller leading the Rangers in points is another one of those oddity-type things.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-4-0, previous ranking: 2)
Steven Stamkos is just tearing it up for the Tampa Bay Lightning: seven goals and 12 points in 10 games, along with 41 shots on net. It would be appear that having the uncertainty of free agency removed from his mind has been a good thing.
9. San Jose Sharks (6-4-0, previous ranking: 12)
Tough start for veteran stalwart and big-game player Joel Ward in San Jose this season: one point in 10 games and a minus-6 rating. Otherwise, the Sharks have been good, not great, in the early going.
10. Ottawa Senators (6-3-0, previous ranking: 10)
While the Senators are holding steady at the 10th spot, all the thoughts and prayers are with Craig Anderson’s family as they go through challenging times right now. What an inspiringly powerful shutout performance from him last weekend
11. Detroit Red Wings (6-4-1, previous ranking: 6)
Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard are giving the Red Wings a strong foundation for success with their stellar goaltending, and making up for some so-so puck possession numbers.
12. St. Louis Blues (5-3-2, previous ranking: 5)
A decent power play and a great penalty kill nit is going a lot to mask some really spotty 5-on-5 play from the Blues right now. It certainly appears that they miss David Backes and Troy Brouwer.
13. New Jersey Devils (4-2-2, previous ranking: 16)
The Devils aren’t scoring much (25th in the NHL at 2.3 goals per game), but they’re giving up even less right now (second in the NHL at 2.0 goals allowed per game) thanks to Cory Schneider and the defense. Schneider was masterful in New Jersey’s 3-1 win over Tampa earlier this week.
14. Boston Bruins (5-4-0, previous ranking: 17)
The Bruins are 5-0-0 and a completely different team when Tuukka Rask is between the pipes. They are not very good when he’s out or taking a rest, so they’d better hope that Rask can remain in one piece this season.
15. Anaheim Ducks (4-5-2, previous ranking: 22)
The Ducks have done a pretty good reversal from their 0-3-1 start and are again climbing up the charts in the Pacific Division after resolving the Hampus Lindholm situation.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-1, previous ranking: 25)
The Blue Jackets are 4-1-1 in their past six and have been riding Sergei Bobrovsky for all he’s worth with 10 goals allowed in that stretch of games.
17. Buffalo Sabres (4-3-2, previous ranking: 28)
Many expected the Sabres to fall apart with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane on the shelf, but Matt Moulson, Ryan O’Reilly and others have been holding things together for Buffalo until they get healthy. Anders Nilsson also looks like a good pickup as a backup goaltender.
18. Colorado Avalanche (4-4-0, previous ranking: 18)
It’s been a decent start for the Avs, but Semyon Varlamov can be a lot better than he’s been over the first few weeks. Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon have both looked strong out of the gate under a new coach.
19. Florida Panthers (4-5-1, previous ranking: 13)
If Jonathan Marchessault and Colton Sceviour are the leading scorers on your team, it’s time for a lot of highly paid young guys to start stepping it up on the Panthers roster. With all due respect to Marchessault and Sceviour, of course.
20. Philadelphia Flyers (5-5-1, previous ranking: 20)
No real statement wins for the Flyers so far this season and they again look like defense and goaltending are going to be issues for them. Both Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth have been brutal for the Broad Street Bullies this season.
21. Vancouver Canucks (4-5-1, previous ranking: 14)
The 1.8 goals per game have the Canucks ranked dead last in the league and reveal just how much big free agent signee Loui Eriksson has done for the team. A combined minus-11 for the Sedin Twins and Eriksson thus far this season.
22. Dallas Stars (3-4-2, previous ranking: 11)
The Stars aren’t quite up to full power yet this season, obviously, but Devin Shore has been a pretty good player for them along with the cavalcade of offensive stars on their roster. Jamie Benn is too good and too dominant to be a minus player.
23. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-4-3, previous ranking: 27)
William Nylander says to Auston Matthews that “anything you can do, I can do better” except for scoring four goals all in one game, of course. The two rookies have combined for 10 goals and 21 points in 20 games for the Leafs.
24. Nashville Predators (3-5-1, previous ranking: 24)
It looks like there’s going to be a learning curve for a Nashville team going from Shea Weber to P.K. Subban, who is a minus-6 in nine games with the Predators thus far.
25. Winnipeg Jets (4-6-0, previous ranking: 26)
Mark Schiefele really coming into his own this year among a talented group of forwards and almost a point-per-game player while topping 21 minutes of ice time per night. Patrik Laine’s six goals aren’t so bad either.
26. Calgary Flames (4-6-1, previous ranking: 20)
The Flames again are underachieving out in the West and not doing enough despite the changes that took place over the summer. Johnny Gaudreau has two goals in 11 games, and is a minus-8 on the season. That is pretty gruesome with Halloween already in the rear view mirror.
27. Los Angeles Kings (4-6-0, previous ranking: 19)
Peter Budaj has done a pretty good job of stopping the bleeding for the Kings, but they’re not going anywhere when defenseman Alec Martinez is their leading scorer. The Kings look similar to the Bruins of a year or two ago as a once-great team now on the decline.
28. New York Islanders (4-6-0, previous ranking: 23)
The Isles feel like a team that needs a bit of a change given the goaltending situation that’s going on and the really slow start for Jaroslav Halak between the pipes. Garth Snow needs to be proactive and make something happen with the Isles to give them a bit of a jump-start.
29. Carolina Hurricanes (2-4-3, previous ranking: 29)
Another season and another spot in the basement of the Metro Division. Noah Hanifin is a minus-7 to start the season for the Hurricanes and has struggled pretty mightily in his sophomore season in Carolina.
30. Arizona Coyotes (3-6-0, previous ranking: 30)
So, Jake Chychrun is going to stick with the NHL rather than being returned to junior hockey and looks like he’s going to live up to some of the hype that surrounded him a year ago going into his draft. Good for the Coyotes to have the willingness to step up and grab him when they did, and good on Chychrun living up to the expectation from many that he was physically the D-man closest to playing in the NHL who was drafted last summer.