NHL Power Rankings: Central Division making early noise


NHL Power Rankings: Central Division making early noise

The Central Division was the best in the league last season, and they're quickly making a case that they are again this year in our latest NHL Power Rankings.

Check in with for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1


Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 6

6-0-0, 12 points: Is it actually possible Carey Price can top last season?

2 7

4-1-0, 8 points: There is a lot to love about the Sharks right now, but let's see how they respond to adversity with Logan Couture (fractured right fibula) out 4-6 weeks.

3 15

5-1-0, 10 points: Five road games, four wins. And Vladimir Tarasenko is in the early running for Hart Trophy.

4 17

4-1-0, 8 points: A pair of impressive road wins at Tampa Bay and Florida. Tyler Seguin has six combined points in those two games.

5 3

4-2-0, 8 points: Tampa Bay's penalty killing needs improvement, but that shouldn't be a concern as they are one of the best teams in allowing the least amount of shots per game.

6 5

3-1-0, 6 points: The Capitals are undefeated this year when Alex Ovechkin is awake.

7 18

3-1-1, 7 points: No team had a better week than the Islanders, who got back starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak and rattled off wins over the Jets, Predators, and Sharks (all three in our Top 10).

8 13

4-1-0, 8 points: The Predators allowed an uncharacteristic 41 shots on goal to the Senators, but got some much-needed contributions from the power play to earn the victory.

9 8

4-2-0, 8 points: The Jets rank third in goals per game and third in goals against. They'll really be tested this week, with upcoming contests against Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Chicago, all at home.

10 1

3-2-1, 7 points: Rick Nash only has one point through the first six games, something that needs to change after losing Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin in the offseason.

11 2

3-3-0, 6 points: The Blackhawks have yet to replace Brandon Saad on their top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, a position that's been a revolving door through Week 2.

12 14

3-1-2, 8 points: Give it up to the Canucks, who have picked up a point in all six games so far but one.

13   4

3-2-0, 6 points: The Red Wings are still looking for their groove, but there's plenty of time for that.

14 10

3-1-1, 7 points: The Wild have scored a power play goal in four of their first five games, but they're getting average goaltending from Devan Dubnyk.

15 22

2-3-0, 4 points: Forget about their spot in the standings, the Kings are the NHL's best puck possession team with a 62.1 Corsi.

16   11

3-2-0, 6 points: After a big 7-1 win to kick off the season, the Panthers have been 2-2 since with a plus-1 goal differential.

17   21

2-3-0, 4 points: Sidney Crosby has gone five consecutive games without a point, matching the longest streak of his career. Don't expect that to last any longer.

18 12

1-3-1, 3 points: The Ducks are averaging exactly one goal per game. Something tells us that will change soon.

19 9

 3-2-0, 6 points: The Coyotes are allowing a league-high 34.6 shots per game. Mike Smith has been really solid, but that's tough to consistently overcome for any goaltender.

20 16

3-2-1, 7 points: Erik Karlsson already has eight points through six games, but the Senators must patch up defensively if they want to prove themselves as a playoff-caliber team.

21   28

2-1-1, 5 points: Michal Neuvirth has been a hidden gem after posting two consecutive shutouts last week. He's saving them from falling further.

22 29 2-3-0, 4 points: David Krejci leads the NHL with nine points, and has done so in just five games.
23   20

2-3-0, 4 points: Puck possession remains an issue for the Avalanche. Could Patrick Roy be on the hot seat?

24   30 

1-3-1, 3 points: Say what you want about the Maple Leafs, but Mike Babcock has this team playing hard every night.

25 27

2-4-0, 4 points: Connor McDavid has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last two games, which has resulted in two Oilers wins.

26   25

1-4-0, 2 points: Buffalo's only win has come against the Blue Jackets, which isn't saying much.

27   27

1-3-1, 3 points: The Devils took three of four points from the Sharks and Rangers, but have only scored eight goals through five games.

28 24

1-4-0, 2 points: Noah Hanifin is going to be stud.

29 19

1-4-0, 2 points: Are the analytics catching up to the Flames or is it just a slow start? The Flames are a bottom-five puck possession team, owning a 46.6 Corsi.

30 24

0-6-0, 0 points: The Blue Jackets have allowed 30 goals en route to their worst start in franchise history. Change could be coming.

*Advanced stats courtesy of

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.