NHL Power Rankings: Streaking Wild, Canucks, Habs Take Over Top 10
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Welcome to this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings. What a year this has started to become. Perennial powers in Pittsburgh, Washington, and Chicago continue their free falls into the lower levels of the rankings. Meanwhile, the surprises of the year in Vancouver and Montreal continue to impress and compete for the playoffs. With that being said, it’s time to delve into these rankings, where the Wild are quietly making a classic Bruce Boudreau push.
1. Nashville Predators (13-3-1) Previous Rank: 1
Nashville once again stays atop the rankings, and with only the Lightning to challenge them, they should stay at the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future. One of the keys to the Preds surge to the top of the NHL over the past two years? PK Subban. Since the one for one deal between the Preds and Canadiens that sent Subban to Nashville and Shea Weber up north, Subban has more points than Weber has games played. Smashville’s next test? A clash against the other preseason Western Conference betting favorite, the San Jose Sharks tonight.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-4-1) Previous Rank: 2
The Bolts are still at No. 2, and for good reason. The Atlantic Division is well represented in these rankings, with four teams in the top 10. The Lightning are paced by Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. Andrei Vasilevskiy is building off his Vezina finalist season from last year, giving up 2.29 goals a game thus far. The Lightning haven’t faced their chief division rivals in the Bruins and Leafs yet, but banking points beforehand is never a bad idea for Jon Cooper’s crew.
3. Minnesota Wild (11-4-2) Previous Rank: 4
The Wild are the surprise of the league thus far. Going into the season, Minnesota was billed as an old group of veterans that might contend for a wild-card spot. After a slow start, however, the Wild have been white hot. Winners of 10 of their last 12, the aging veterans are doing exactly what they are supposed to. Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Eric Staal, and Ryan Suter all have double-digit points. Can they keep up this torrid pace? Probably not, but then again I thought the Jets would eventually fall off last year but they kept it going—there’s no saying that the Wild can’t do the same.
4. Boston Bruins (10-5-2) Previous Rank: 6
The Bruins take the top spot from the Leafs after beating Toronto Saturday night. With all due respect to Colorado, the top line of the Bruins is the best in hockey. David Pastrnak has the most goals in the league, while Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak are second and tied for fourth in the league in points respectively. Added to a strong stretch by Jaroslav Halak, the Bruins are quietly creeping up the Atlantic standings.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-6-0) Previous Rank: 3
Once again, it’s the same old story with the Leafs. Toronto hasn’t won a game in which they have scored less than two goals. Frederik Andersen has even more pressure on him when the offense isn’t clicking, and he is just 9-5 despite allowing only 2.10 goals against. A bright spot? John Tavares is looking every bit the signing that the Leafs imagined when they signed him this past summer, with 10 goals and 19 points.
6. Vancouver Canucks (10-7-2) Previous Rank: 7
If Minnesota is the surprise of the year thus far, Vancouver is right behind. Elias Patterson is scoring and registering points at a prolific rate, and they are winning despite a horrendous goaltending situation. The Canucks may want to think about trading for a netminder soon and capitalize on this tremendous start to the season. The Canucks are a very young team, and there’s only room for more growth.
7. Calgary Flames (10-7-1) Previous Rank: 4
The Flames are right behind the Canucks in the standings, and therefore right behind them in the rankings. The Flames are once again paced by the top line, but this time it is quite literally only the top line. Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano, and Sean Monahan are forced to produce everything for the Flames. Calgary has a relatively easy upcoming schedule, but they need to keep pace with Vancouver and San Jose in order to stay in the mix for the Pacific.
8. San Jose Sharks (9-6-3) Previous Rank: 8
As the third straight Pacific Division team to appear in these rankings, the Sharks may have finally gotten things rolling. Timo Meier is having a fantastic season, and the Sharks might be the only team that has a defenseman leading their team in points. Brent Burns is more than making up for the troubling Erik Karlsson, and with Joe Thornton back in the fold look for the Sharks to move to the top of the Pacific Division ranks.
9. Montreal Canadiens (9-5-3) Previous Rank: 11
The Canadiens are the fourth Atlantic team in the top ten, and Claude Julien has his boys performing well. The Canadiens are fourth in the division, but only four points off the Lightning for the top of the Atlantic. The Habs are getting great production out of newcomers Max Domi and Tomas Tatar, while Jonathan Drouin is finally showing the potential he flashed in Tampa Bay.
10. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-6-2) Previous Rank: 19
The Blue Jackets are the only Metropolitan Division team on this list, and while the rest of the division spirals out of control there should be love given to Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-6 and giving up 2.74 goals a game, not good if he wants to cash in on his contract year. Even without Bob performing well, Artemi Panarin is still the rock behind the Columbus attack. With 18 points, Breadman is making himself a healthy chunk of change, and John Tortorella has the Jackets playing well after a sluggish start.
Here are the rest of the rankings:
11. Winnipeg Jets (10-5-1) Previous Rank: 9
12. Buffalo Sabres (9-6-2) Previous Rank:
13. Dallas Stars (9-7-2) Previous Rank: 12
14. New York Rangers (9-7-2) Previous Rank: 25
15. Philadelphia Flyers (9-7-1) Previous Rank: 20
16. Colorado Avalanche (8-6-3) Previous Rank: 13
17. Carolina Hurricanes (8-7-3) Previous Rank: 22
18. Anaheim Ducks (8-8-3) Previous Rank: 17
19. New York Islanders (8-6-2) Previous Rank: 10
20. Arizona Coyotes (8-7-1) Previous Rank: 24
21. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-3) Previous Rank: 15
22. Edmonton Oilers (8-8-1) Previous Rank: 14
23. Washington Capitals (7-6-3) Previous Rank: 16
24. Ottawa Senators (7-8-3) Previous Rank: 27
25. Chicago Blackhawks (6-8-4) Previous Rank: 21
26. Vegas Golden Knights (7-10-1) Previous Rank: 26
27. Detroit Red Wings (7-8-2) Previous Rank: 29
28. St Louis Blues (6-5-3) Previous Rank: 28
29. Florida Panthers (6-8-1) Previous Rank: 31
30. New Jersey Devils (6-6-3) Previous Rank: 23
31. Los Angeles Kings (5-10-1) Previous Rank: 30