Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NHL Power Rankings: Early surprises, disappointments, and mystery teams

Liam McHugh, Keith Jones and Mike Babcock break down the latest NHL power rankings, discussing whether the Montreal Canadiens deserve the top spot and which team's placement surprises them most.

In this week’s NHL Power Rankings we have a couple of surprises at the top and bottom of the rankings.

At the top, we have the Montreal Canadiens who have been the most impressive (and surprising) team in the league with a 4-0-2 start that has looked even better than the record.

At the opposite end of that spectrum, we have a Vancouver Canucks teams that has been one of the biggest early season disappointments.

We take a look at them, and every other team in the league.

Where does your team rank so far?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Montreal Canadiens. They have 10 out of a possible 12 points, the best goal differential, and great possession numbers while every game so far has been on the road. They look great. Let them enjoy the top spot for a week.

2. Vegas Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury is not giving up his job without a fight and you should be puttting Mark Stone in your early season MVP discussion.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos is back, healthy, and looks great. That will help cover up for the absence of Nikita Kucherov.

4. Colorado Avalanche. Okay maybe at this point this is more of a projection given their early results. But this is the best team in the league on paper. There is no obvious weakness. The results will follow. Be patient.

5. Boston Bruins. The floodgates are starting to open offensively after a slow start, and David Pastrnak’s return is still looming.

6. New York Islanders. Offense is not great so far (as expected) but they do not give up anything. Betting against a Barry Trotz coached team is never a good idea. They always seem to find a way.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs. The stars at the top are doing their thing offensively. Need the goaltending to be a little better.

8. Calgary Flames. A great start for Jacob Markstrom to shut down his former team in back-to-back games. If he plays like this all year that is going to be a game-changer in the North Division.

9. Dallas Stars. Small sample size alert! But, no team has won more playoff games than the Stars over the past two years and after an extended layoff to start the season they came out and put seven goals on the board in their first game.

10. St. Louis Blues. They had one terrible game against Colorado, but this is still going to be a contender and they still have the Vladimir Tarasenko wild card in their back pocket.

Promising start but need to see more to know it is for real

11. Washington Capitals. On one hand, they have at least one point in every game. On the other hand four of their games (and all three wins) are against a questionable Buffalo team and they blew a bunch of leads against Pittsburgh and turned what looked like wins into losses. Mixed bag here so far.

12. New Jersey Devils. A very surprising start here, especially the two games without Mackenzie Blackwood. Jack Hughes is ready to become a star.

13. Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov is exactly what the Wild needed.

14. Carolina Hurricanes. Hard to get a read on them since we have only seen three games, and their schedule the rest of the way is going to be very condensed.

15. Pittsburgh Penguins. They are winning games, but there is nothing pretty about them. They have played with the lead for 34 minutes this season, second lowest total in the league. They have spent more than 160 minutes trailing, third most in the league. Something has to change there if wins are going to continue.

16. Winnipeg Jets. This season looks exactly like it should have been expected: Great offense, strong goaltending, very weak defense.

The mystery teams (what are they going to be?)

17. Philadelphia Flyers. After sweeping Pittsburgh to open the season the Flyers have lost three out of four and allowed at last five goals in each of those losses. They were a mystery at the start and nothing has changed through a week-and-a-half.

18. Florida Panthers. They only have two games but they did what they should have done: Beat a bad team.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrik Laine should boost the power play, but his arrival brings a lot of questions.

20. Los Angeles Kings. It is early, but they have been more competitive than expected against some of the league’s top teams.

21. Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson is off to an incredible start. If the Ducks are going to compete, they need that.

22. San Jose Sharks. The schedule has not been kind (all on the road, tough teams, etc.), and it is not going to get any easier this week with Colorado and Vegas looming over the next four games.

23. Edmonton Oilers. This looks an awful lot like every other Oilers season in the Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl era. Those two carry the offense, the rest of the team provides nothing. That recipe has not worked.

24. Buffalo Sabres. They have kept things close against some good teams, but that is not going to be good enough in this division.

25. Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg is scoring goals, but those special teams issues that hurt them a year ago are still out there so far.

It could be a long season

26. Arizona Coyotes. They were going to be facing an uphill battle with Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the lineup. Going to be even tougher without him for a few weeks.

27. New York Rangers. Not the start they envisioned, and making up ground in this division might be tough.

28. Chicago Blackhawks. Against Detroit they are 2-0 and outscored them 10-3. Against teams not from Detroit they are 0-4 and been outscored 20-9.

29. Detroit Red Wings. Bobby Ryan might end up being a real bright spot (until he gets traded to a contender).

30. Ottawa Senators. The roster looks better on paper but there is still a long way to go here.

31. Vancouver Canucks. No, you should not expect the Canucks to be here all year. They will get better. But this start? Yikes. It deserves the bottom spot at least for one week. Three straight games against Ottawa this week might be what they need.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.