NHL Power Rankings: Panthers on top; Maple Leafs improving
In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Florida Panthers regain the top spot after a convincing win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, pushing their early season record to an incredible 10-0-1, the best start in franchise history.
They boast a deep, talented team across the board and are getting a huge bounce back performance from Sergei Bobrovsky in goal to really put them over the top.
Elsewhere around the league the Toronto Maple Leafs finally start to look like the team they should be thanks to a five-game winning streak, while Jacob Markstrom keeps the Calgary Flames in the top-five.
On the other end of the spectrum, reality is starting to set in for some teams that had surprising starts.
We take a look at all of that and more.
Where does your team sit?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Florida Panthers (Last week: 2). Sergei Bobrovsky’s bounce back has been one of the more underrated storylines in the league this season. That continues and this team will be a major contender. If it does not continue? Spencer Knight is still there.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 1). Florida got the best of them in their prime matchup on Saturday, and the upcoming schedule is really tough. Good early season test for the Hurricanes ahead.
3. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 4). Zach Hyman has seven goals in 10 games on a 22 percent shooting percentage. How many goals will he finish the season with?
4. Calgary Flames (LW: 5). Jacob Markstrom has four shutouts in nine games. He is carrying this team right now.
5. St. Louis Blues (LW: 3) Great start to the season, but a tough west coast road trip saw them drop games in Los Angeles and Anaheim.
6. Minnesota Wild (LW: 17). They are making a habit out of come-from-behind wins. It works for now, but not really a habit you want to get into.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 9). Even without Nikita Kucherov their lineup is still capable of scoring four or five goals every night. Scary talent here.
8. New York Islanders. (LW: 8). Semyon Varlamov made his first start of the season on Sunday and played okay, but I would not be going away from Ilya Sorokin right now.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 19). They have won five in a row after a slow start and starting to finally look like the team they are supposed to be.
10. Philadelphia Flyers (LW:11). They are proving what everybody believed about them in the offseason. If the goaltending is good, they will be good. The goaltending has been very good. From both Carter Hart and, more shockingly, Martin Jones.
11. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 16). The Jets are off to a really good start overall and Connor Hellebucyk has not really played all that great yet this season. When he gets rolling again this could be a sneaky contender.
12. Washington Capitals (LW: 7). The Capitals have an overtime problem, currently sitting 0-4 in games that go beyond regulation this season.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 18). Losing Patrik Laine is going to be a problem. Elvis Merzlikins has been fantastic to help bail them out.
[Related: Patrik Laine out 4-6 weeks]
14. New York Rangers (LW: 6). Little inconsistent right now. Igor Shesterkin has masked some flaws so far. A goalie masking flaws on the Rangers? Sounds familiar.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 12). They are playing fine given the fact half of their lineup has been out at various times this season. They really need players back, though.
16. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 15). They will be great when they get Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, and Jack Eichel back in the lineup at the same time. Need to stay competitive until then.
[Related: Golden Knights still have questions to answer after Jack Eichel trade]
17. Boston Bruins (LW: 10). Forget being a one-line offense right now, they are a one player offense (Brad Marchand) right now.
18. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 13) Time to show they are one of the most talented teams in the league and stack some points over the next couple of weeks.
19. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 21). Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider look great, they have salary cap space to play with this offseason, and are starting to make real progress.
20. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 29). They have won four in a row, with the most impressive win coming on Sunday against St. Louis. Troy Terry has an 11-game point streak right now. Bet you did not expect that at any point this season.
21. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 27). Anze Kopitar remains a top-tier player. Hall of Fame resume there? You can make a strong argument based on who is already in there.
22. New Jersey Devils (LW: 14). Being without Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton is a lot to overcome when those two players were expected to account for so much of their offense this season.
23. Nashville Predators (LW: 23). Juuse Saros is the key here, but Roman Josi is having a big year offensively and Matt Duchene is off to a surprisingly fast start.
24. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 26). They need Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser to get going offensively a little more. There are signs that is happening.
25. Dallas Stars (LW: 25). Not sure what else to say except this has been one of the more disappointing starts in the league.
26. San Jose Sharks (LW: 22). They are 2-4-1 since that 4-0 start, with the only regulation win during that recent seven-game stretch coming against Buffalo. Reality is setting back in.
27. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 20). They are 2-4-2 since that 3-0-0 start. Reality is setting back in. The Jack Eichel era is also over, closing the book on another failed rebuild.
[Related: Jack Eichel trade closes book on failed Buffalo Sabres rebuild]
28. Seattle Kraken (LW: 24). Given the initial investment they made in defense and goaltending all of the blown leads are very disappointing.
29. Ottawa Senators (LW: 28). They sent their best goalie so far (Filip Gustavsson) to the minor leagues. Good luck convincing your fan base winning right now is the priority when you make moves like that.
30. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 30). Hopefully Carey Price can return and make a big impact for them. They need something.
31. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 32). The first game without Jeremy Colliton looked like a different team. Still a disappointing start when you consider the offseason moves.
32. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31). They finally got a win after an 11-game losing streak to open the season. The schedule over the next couple of weeks is looking tough, though.