NHL Power Rankings: Surprise starts continue across the NHL
Some interesting trends to start the season. James Neal is obviously red-hot to start this season for eight goals scored in six games with the Oilers. The Carolina Hurricanes are among the highest scoring teams in the entire NHL. Anthony Mantha looks like he’s taken a step forward with the Red Wings with six goals scored in six games to start this season.
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is also top-5 in the NHL in points while the aforementioned Hurricanes have Dougie Hamilton as their leading point-scorer to this point in the regular season. Can all of these things be sustained along with the strong starts for surprising teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers?
Stay tuned as we get deeper into the regular season and time will begin to even things out for some of these early season developments.
Now on to the power rankings:
31. Ottawa Senators
(1-4-0, last week: 31)
It’s going to be another tough year for the Senators with very little offense to speak of either up front or on the back end.
30. New Jersey Devils
(0-4-2, last week: 25)
13 goals scored and 29 goals allowed? What a disaster to start the season in Jersey where the head coach has to be in big trouble at this point.
29. Dallas Stars
(1-5-1, last week: 23)
Roope Hintz has four goals in the early going for the Stars. So where is the rest of the Stars team at this point?
28. Minnesota Wild
(1-5-0, last week: 28)
With a 1-4-0 record on the road to start the regular season, the Wild have to be starved for some games at home.
27. Los Angeles Kings
(2-4-0, last week: 19)
Only the Winnipeg Jets have allowed more goals than the Kings among Western Conference teams. The wins won’t start coming until they keep the puck out of their net.
26. San Jose Sharks
(2-4-0, last week: 30)
The Sharks have won a couple of games in a row and may be embarking on the slow escape job from the hole they dug while losing the first four games of the season.
25. Chicago Blackhawks
(1-2-1, last week: 26)
The Blackhawks are off to another slow start out of the gate, and Jonathan Toews has just one point in these first four games of the season.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets
(2-3-0, last week: 26)
Average goaltending and a lack of dynamic scoring is exactly what we expected to see from the Blue Jackets after the mass exodus of players from their team in the offseason.
23. Arizona Coyotes
(2-2-1, last week: 29)
11 goals scored in five games thus far is brutally bad for the Coyotes. It’s a good thing they’ve only allowed nine over that same span.
22. Florida Panthers
(2-2-2, last week: 22)
The Panthers have started to right the ship, but Sergei Bobrovsky is stinking up the joint with an .870 save percentage right now.
21. New York Islanders
(3-3-0, last week: 21)
Thomas Greiss outplaying Semyon Varlamov to this point in the season for the Islanders. I did not see that one coming for an Isles team that needs superior goaltending to win hockey games.
20. Detroit Red Wings
(3-3-0, last week: 15)
Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin off to very strong starts for the Red Wings this season as they’re getting enough offense right now.
19. Montreal Canadiens
(2-2-2, last week: 12)
The Habs are off to an okay start with Carey Price really struggling out of the gate. Once he gets rolling then the points should come for a team that should make the playoffs this season.
18. Winnipeg Jets
(4-4-0, last week: 17)
Mark Scheifele is leading the NHL in points while the Jets still wait for Dustin Byfuglien to make a decision on whether or not he’s going to play this season.
17. Vancouver Canucks
(3-2-0, last week: 21)
J.T. Miller leading the Canucks in scoring early this season rather than any of Vancouver’s stud young forwards. Is that good for Miller, or bad for the Canucks with their young trio not off to a dominant start?
16. Calgary Flames
(3-3-1, last week: 18)
Strong start for Calgary’s skill guys and Dave Rittich has been very good in net for the Flames. Still, they are skating along as a .500 hockey team right now and they’re better than that.
15. Philadelphia Flyers
(2-1-1, last week: 29)
Travis Konecny is off to a heck of a start for the Flyers after signing a new contract this summer. Now it’s time for some of his other Flyers teammates to join in the scoring fun.
14. New York Rangers
(2-1-0, last week: 6)
The offense has been there for the Rangers in the early going and it seems the rebuild is coming along very nicely. Let’s see if the Blueshirts can keep it up.
13. Washington Capitals
(3-2-2, last week: 7)
Five goals in seven games for Alex Ovechkin, who just keeps scoring and breaking games open for the Capitals.
12. Vegas Golden Knights
(4-3-0, last week: 13)
What a difference-maker that Mark Stone has been in the early going for the Golden Knights. It’s been just an okay start for the team overall, but Stone has been dominant with four goals and eight points in seven games.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
(3-2-1, last week: 22)
Steve Stamkos is leading the way for the Lightning after a slow start to the season for the Bolts. It was Stamkos that challenged his team to get it together and it’s working.
10. Anaheim Ducks
(4-2-0, last week: 5)
John Gibson and the defense have been very good this year, but they’re going to need to be with a young, unproven team that doesn’t have much offensive punch at all.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs
(4-2-1, last week: 10)
Seven goals in seven games for Auston Matthews to start the season and one would think he hopes it diverts people’s attention away from his off-the-ice activities.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins
(4-2-0, last week: 20)
With injuries all around him and his partner-in-crime Evgeni Malkin on the shelf with injury, it’s been Sidney Crosby taking the Penguins on his shoulders early in the season.
7. St. Louis Blues
(3-1-2, last week: 8)
Just one regulation loss in six games to start the season, but the Blues have also allowed more goals than they’ve scored to this point this year. The Blues have some things to work out.
6. Nashville Predators
(4-2-0, last week: 14)
Not sure it’s going to be sustainable all year, but the Predators are leading the NHL in offense this season with a varied, diverse attack thus far this season.
5. Edmonton Oilers
(5-1-0, last week: 2)
James Neal leads the NHL with eight goals scored this season. File that under “something else that I didn’t think I’d be writing in the power rankings this season.”
4. Buffalo Sabres
(5-0-1, last week: 9)
Only the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes have scored more goals among Eastern Conference teams to this point in the season. There are a few surprise teams in the East and Buffalo is definitely one of them.
3. Boston Bruins
(5-1-0, last week 3)
The Perfection Line has 11 goals in the last five games, and has combined for 24 points already this season. Unfortunately, the Bruins have just five goals from the rest of their team. That isn’t sustainable unless other players get going offensively.
2. Colorado Avalanche
(5-0-0, last week: 6)
No shock that Landeskog, Rantanen and MacKinnon are carrying the Avs in the early going, and that they are off to another fast start again this season. The Avs are legit.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
(6-1-0, last week: 11)
Who had the Hurricanes in first place in the Metro Division and Dougie Hamilton as the leading point scorer on the team? Yup, that’s what I thought. Strong start for the Storm Surge boys.