NHL Power Rankings: Dropping the puck on the regular season
As always, getting the power rankings going are going to yield some interesting results.
There will be teams like Edmonton and the New York Rangers that get out to fast starts and will leave questions as to whether or not it's sustainable. There will be other teams like the Sharks, Canucks and Blue Jackets that stumble hard out of the starting gate and make everybody wonder if they’re going to sink to the bottom this year.
Color us impressed at the start for the Carolina Hurricanes where the storm surge is back, and mightily mystified at a Sharks hockey club that’s lost four straight games to start the year with a very talented bunch. There will be plenty of eyes on both teams to see if they continue those trends in the next few weeks as teams get back to their normal level.
Now on to the power rankings:
31. Ottawa Senators
(0-2-0, last week: 31)
New coach. Some new players. Same old place in the power rankings basement for Ottawa.
30. San Jose Sharks
(0-4-0, last week: 8)
Right now the Sharks are an unmitigated disaster to start the season. Let’s check back in a few weeks and see if things are any better.
29. Arizona Coyotes
(0-2-0, last week: 18)
Are the Coyotes going to be any better this season? They have high hopes, but they’ve scored exactly one goal this season. You can’t win if you can’t score.
28. Minnesota Wild
(0-2-0, last week: 24)
Nine goals allowed in the first two games of the season is not very Wild-like. Minny needs to tighten it up if they want to be in the hunt this season.
27. Vancouver Canucks
(0-2-0, last week: 19)
Two goals scored in two games isn’t going to get it done for the Canucks. Ouch.
26. Chicago Blackhawks
(0-1-0, last week: 20)
Are the Blackhawks going to be any better than they were last season? It’s tough to tell at this point with just one game played in Europe.
25. New Jersey Devils
(0-1-1, last week: 23)
The Devils were an en vogue choice as a playoff team this season based on their offseason improvements, but it may take a while to see the new combination truly get going.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets
(1-2-0, last week: 26)
The Blue Jackets are getting outscored by a 14-7 margin by their opponents three games into the season. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for Torts.
23. Dallas Stars
(1-3-0, last week: 10)
I guess Joe Pavelski isn’t going to immediately turn this team into a Cup contender right out of the gate, is he?
22. Florida Panthers
(1-2-0, last week: 17)
Wasn’t Sergei Bobrovsky supposed to be a major upgrade between the pipes for Florida and the reason they were going to get back into the playoffs? Yeah, the .859 save percentage is saying otherwise right now.
21. New York Islanders
(1-2-0, last week: 13)
It’s amazing how much of a saga this Josh Ho-Sang thing has been with the Isles for a player that has done so little over the course of his pro hockey career.
20. Pittsburgh Penguins
(1-2-0, last week: 9)
The Penguins are off to a slow start and will lose Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad for an extended period of time. Not good times in Pittsburgh.
19. Los Angeles Kings
(1-1-0, last week: 30)
So far, so good for the Kings to start this season. But it’s just two games old, so we’ll see if they’re any better than the last few seasons.
18. Calgary Flames
(1-1-1, last week: 12)
The Flames are getting the offense and they’re getting strong goaltending from Dave Rittich as well. Watch out for Calgary as long as they don’t have to play Drew Doughty and the Kings every night.
17. Winnipeg Jets
(2-2-0, last week: 21)
The waiting game for Dustin Byfuglien continues, and the Jets most definitely are not better off for it.
16. Tampa Bay Lightning
(1-1-1, last week: 3)
Steve Stamkos has some harsh words for a Lightning team that still hasn’t looked like they’ve shaken off last season’s playoff doldrums. The Bolts are too talented to be floating around in the Atlantic Division.
15. Detroit Red Wings
(2-1-0, last week: 29)
Anthony Mantha is off to a strong start for the Red Wings in a surprisingly decent opening three games for the Winged Wheels. We’ll see how long they can keep it up for.
14. Nashville Predators
(2-1-0, last week: 6)
I have my doubts about Matt Duchene as a player, but six assists in three games for the Predators is a pretty good fresh start for the talented center.
13. Vegas Golden Knights
(2-1-0, last week: 5)
The explosive Golden Knights are off to a strong start, but they also got a reminder of how stiff the competition is when they blew a two-goal lead to the Bruins on Tuesday night.
12. Montreal Canadiens
(1-0-1, last week: 16)
The Canadiens are on the periphery of the playoff picture for this season, and off to a solid start with the endeavor. And Carey Price hasn’t even got hot yet.
11. Philadelphia Flyers
(1-0-0, last week: 22)
It’s one game into the season, but so far so good with a two-goal performance from newly signed Travis Konecny.
10. Toronto Maple Leafs
(2-1-1, last week: 2)
John Tavares as the captain in Toronto was one of the biggest no-brainers in Maple Leafs history, but somehow the Leafs media managed to stir up some drama with it. Congrats to them.
9. Buffalo Sabres
(2-0-1, last week: 27)
Strong, fresh start for the Sabres, but we saw this movie play out last season. Let’s see if they can build on it and sustain it this time around.
8. St. Louis Blues
(2-0-1, last week: 1)
Just eight goals in their first three games and a plus-1 goal differential for the reigning Cup champs. It’s going to be very difficult to grind that way through an entire follow-up season to their first Cup.
7. Washington Capitals
(2-0-2, last week: 7)
The Caps are somehow without a loss in regulation despite an .882 save percentage from Braden Holtby. That is some kind of accomplishment.
6. Colorado Avalanche
(2-0-0, last week: 15)
Another hot start for the “other” best line in hockey as Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are once again carrying the Avs.
5. Anaheim Ducks
(3-0-0, last week: 25)
Of all the teams that are still undefeated, the Ducks are the team I most expect to fall and fall hard from grace. Eight goals scored in three games still speaks to some offensive shortcomings.
4. New York Rangers
(2-0-0, last week: 14)
Four goals and eight points in two games for Mika Zibanejad is ridiculous, but the Rangers were fully expected to be among the NHL’s most improved teams this season.
2. Edmonton Oilers
(3-0-0, last week: 28)
Who knew swapping out Milan Lucic for James Neal would be such a difference-maker for the Oilers? Six goals in three games is pretty damn impressive.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
(4-0-0, last week: 11)
I half-expected the Hurricanes to come out of the gate struggling after getting humbled in the Eastern Conference Final last spring. Instead they are rolling with 17 goals in four wins to start the season.