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NHL Power Rankings: Reactions from first week of NHL season

NHL Power Rankings

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 15: Philadelphia Flyers Goalie Carter Hart (79) makes a save during the first period of a National Hockey League game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers on January 15,2021, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we take a look at the first week of the NHL season and some of the overreactions that may have come from it.

The first week of a season is always a great time to jump to conclusions, and there is always the chance of overreacting to a ridiculously small sample size of games. You spend all offseason waiting for the first game, and you think your team is either going to win the Stanley Cup or the season is already over depending on what they did at the start. That is going to be especially easy to do this season given the shortened training camp, lack of preseason games, and the fact everybody is just jumping right into the real games.

Every team is still getting getting up to speed and figuring itself out, and it has produced some pretty wild results so far.

So let’s take a look at some of those early results and see where your team currently sits after one week. Many of these will change dramatically in the coming weeks. Rankings only account for games through Sunday.

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Tampa Bay Lightning. No Nikita Kucherov? No problem. A well oiled machine that just keeps humming along.

2. Philadelphia Flyers. They scored 11 goals in two games against the Penguins and Carter Hart looks strong. The latter point is the important one. If that guy is good, the Flyers are going to be good.

3. Vegas Golden Knights. As far as two-way players go Mark Stone is as good as it gets right now. With four games against a Coyotes team that will be without its captain (and top defender) for at least two of those games the Golden Knights can get off to a great start.

4. Colorado Avalanche. We saw on Saturday night what this team can do when it is clicking on all cylinders. It is scary good.

5. Washington Capitals. They have not always looked great, but five out of six points during a three-game in four-day stretch (all on the road) is a fine way to start the season.

6. Nashville Predators. Improved special teams play (the penalty kill is perfect through two games) could make this team a surprising contender again.

7. Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov looks like he is going to be worth the wait. In the spirit of overreactions the Calder Trophy might be his to lose.

8. Montreal Canadiens. Josh Anderson has two goals in two games. He had one goal in 26 games a year ago. If he is healthy and rediscovers his goal scoring touch that would be a significant addition.

9. Boston Bruins. They have played two games and only scored three goals with none of them coming at even-strength. Not too concerned about that. Yet.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs. They have not been great so far by any means, but they have done enough to win two out of three games.

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11. Calgary Flames. They let a two-goal lead slip away in the season opener, but then came back and helped Jacob Markstrom and Chris Tanev shut out their former team.

12. Arizona Coyotes. The Phil Kessel redemption season might be underway. The Coyotes certainly need it.

13. St. Louis Blues. When you lose the second game of the season 8-0 it kind of makes it easy to forget about the strong performance in the season opener.

14. Florida Panthers. New plan for this season: Tell Keith Yandle he is going to be a healthy scratch before every game, then play him and watch him score goals.

15. Winnipeg Jets. It is only one game, but Patrik Laine looked great in that one game.

16. Pittsburgh Penguins. They have struggled to keep the puck out of their own net so far and the power play looks horrific. Lot of wild cards on this team, none bigger than the unproven goalie duo. Think the rest of the team will figure it out.

17. Carolina Hurricanes. Andrei Svechnikov is going to be special, and he is really going to take a big step toward that this season.

18. New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin had a tough debut, but he was also put into a tough spot when he was not expecting to play. The Islanders have played one dominant game and one lousy game.

19. New York Rangers. The Rangers have played one dominant game and one lousy game.

20. New Jersey Devils. We have seen the key to any success for them this season, and it is Mackenzie Blackwood.

21. Vancouver Canucks. The bottom half of this lineup is still a huge concern.

22. Ottawa Senators. Thomas Chabot is already a really good player and he has been great in the first two games.

23. San Jose Sharks. This goaltending situation still seems like a major issue that has not been adequately addressed yet.

24. Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are going to light up the scoreboard almost every game, but the question will still be whether or not this team can stop anybody. So far the answer is no.

25. Buffalo Sabres. They probably deserved a better result in one of those first two games, but this season is still going to be an uphill battle with that goalie duo in that division.

26. Los Angeles Kings. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory so far. They have had a 3-1 lead in each game, only to lose both games 4-3 in overtime. They were two seconds away from winning the second game until Ryan Suter sent it to overtime.

27. Detroit Red Wings. Credit to them for stealing a win against Carolina, but in two games they have been outshot 73-35. That is not a sustainable way to compete.

28. Anaheim Ducks. It is still hard to see where the offense is going to come from on this team. Interesting young talent, but not enough difference makers right now.

29. Columbus Blue Jackets. Their top forward (Pierre-Luc Dubois) wants out and they looked bad in their first two games. Still think this is a potential playoff team, but this is not the start you want.

30. Chicago Blackhawks. This was going to be a bad hockey team even before they lost their top two centers. Without them it might be the worst team in the league. They have not even been competitive yet.


Dallas Stars. How do you react to no games played yet? Check back in next week.

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