NHL Power Rankings: Post Weeks 1 & 2

NHL Power Rankings: Post Weeks 1 & 2

by October 25, 2021 2 comments

The 2021-2022 NHL season is underway and teams are already fighting for playoff position. Every week, teams will have strong performances while others will fall flat on their face. Each week fans wonder how their favorite team compares to the rest of the league. That’s where NHL power rankings come into play. Every week, fans can check back to see how their team performed over the last week and if they are trending in the right direction.

All stats are current as of October 24.

No. 32: Arizona Coyotes

Talk about a rough start to the season. As expected by many, the Coyotes have not looked very good through their first five games. The Coyotes are still looking for their first win, sitting at 0-4-1. If you’re looking for a bright spot, look towards the net. Karel Vejmelka has looked solid to start the year with a .908 save percentage and a 2.82 goals-against average. Arizona has struggled on the offensive end with a goal difference of -15, scoring only eight goals while letting in 25. This could be a long year for the Coyotes.

No. 31: Chicago Blackhawks

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Even after making moves to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones, the Blackhawks are still tied with the Coyotes for last place in the Central Division. Harboring the same record as their divisional foes, their goal difference is slightly better at -12, with nine for and 21 against. It was difficult to determine which of these two teams would be No. 32, but Chicago still has the talent to bring this back. It’s a question of will they. They need to figure out their offense quickly and get Jones to play like the defenseman they paid him to be.

No. 30: Montreal Canadiens

The Stanley Cup hangover is real for the Canadiens. Their first win of the season came Saturday night in a 6-1 rout against the Red Wings, which is good news. The bad news is that in that game, they scored more than half of what their season goals for had been, that number being 10. It has also been a rough start for Cole Caufield. The breakout player of the playoffs last season is off to a rough start in his rookie season looking more and more like he could use some seasoning. Jake Allen hasn’t exactly been the greatest in net either posting career worsts in save percentage and goals-against average, .891 and 3.07 respectively.

No. 29: Nashville Predators

It’s going to sound like a broken record here, but the big problem in Nashville is they need more offense. Specifically five on five offense. They have one of the best powerplays in the league, currently sitting at ninth with a 28.6 percent power play, but five on five they could use some help. 11 of their 17 goals came during five-on-five hockey. Now that may sound like a decent number, but when you compare it to a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins who have 20 of their 23 goals for coming at even strength, this is a number that the Preds have to improve on. Juuse Saros has looked good being the main man in goal so far, so there’s hope here for the Preds to climb up the rankings as we go throughout the season.

No. 28: Seattle Kraken

The Kraken need to score more. Plain and simple. Yes, this is the theme so far in these rankings, but that’s what happens when you start these rankings on the low end. They are seventh to last in the league in goals per game averaging 2.17 goals per game. It has not been a good start for Philip Grubauer’s Kraken career. Sitting at a 4.01 GAA and a .867 save percentage, he has to improve if the Kraken want any chance of success. They also need to cut down their penalties, blowing the league away with 114 penalty minutes so far. Jared McCann has proved to be the Kraken’s best center scoring five points in five games. If the Kraken can get their scoring act together and fix Grubauer, they can improve their standing on this list.

No. 27: Vegas Golden Knights

Before all the Golden Knights fans out there get too upset, let’s take a look. Yes, Vegas has a lot of players currently injured, and they are some key players for this team. Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, and Alec Martinez are all out and that is a huge blow. But even then, since their first win against the Kraken, Vegas has not looked like the dominant force we all thought they would be. Their usual high-powered offense has the tenth fewest goals per game averaging 2.5 goals. But have no fear Knights fans, once this team gets healthy again, they should climb the rankings.

No. 26: Los Angeles Kings

If this was a ranking based on the best players, the Kings would be at the top. Anze Kopitar has seemingly found the fountain of youth this season currently sitting at fourth in the league in points with nine. Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown have also been recipients of the same fountain with seven and five points so far, respectively. One of their biggest problems is their penalty kill, sitting at 31st in the league killing off 53.3 percent of their penalties. Even still, Kings fans will take this kind of production from Kopitar, Doughty, and Brown that’s for sure.

No. 25: Ottawa Senators

It’s been an interesting season for the Senators to start things off. Matt Murray has looked much better than he did last season with a 1.60 GAA so far, but he left Saturday’s game with a head injury, so that will be something that fans will need to keep an eye on. As is the case for many of these teams near the bottom of the power rankings, the offense has struggled to get off the ground. They have scored 10 goals in five games, with three of those coming from Chris Tierney. If they can find other contributors, they should be able to make their way up slowly.

No. 24: Toronto Maple Leafs

We stay in Canada where we find the Toronto Maple Leafs ranked at No. 24. Toronto fans may be putting Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner‘s faces on milk cartons because they have not been present on the offensive side of things. They have one point combined. You read that right, combined. That is a recipe for disaster. The defensive pairing of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl have not looked great, being the worst defenseman on the team in defensive point share. Jack Campbell has looked good, but it might be time for them to admit Michael Hutchinson just won’t cut it.

No. 23: Winnipeg Jets

Now, this could be where the list starts to really get controversial. But the Jets defense has looked bad. The best defensive point share on the team is Josh Morrissey with a 0.5 DPS. That’s not great to put it simply. Now their goal differential is better than some teams that will be above them in these rankings, but they allow the seventh-most goals in the league averaging 3.80 goals against per game. Without a strong defense, Connor Hellebuyck is looking human for the first time in a long time, or even ever. Nice to see Pierre-Luc Dubois find his scoring touch, though.

No. 22: Detroit Red Wings

Well, how about the Red Wings? After being in what has been a hard rebuild, the sun may be beginning to show in Detroit. Yes, it’s early and there’s a good chance this can’t keep up, but even though their record currently sits at 3-2-1, they have only been shut out once, and their biggest loss was by five to the Canadiens. They are hanging in these games. Could this be a little high for them? Absolutely. But right now their offense is on fire and it has put them here in my rankings. Oh and also, Lucas Raymond is as good as advertised, if not better.

No. 21: Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks’ power play is one of the biggest reasons that they start here at 21 in the rankings. It also helps that they had two close games with the Wild and took them to their limit. Kevin Shattenkirk has seemed to be another fellow recipient of the fountain of youth with six points in six games, averaging a point per game. Troy Terry and Jakob Silfverberg also have six points this season. Oh, and John Gibson continues to stand on his head and be the rock of Anaheim.

No. 20: Colorado Avalanche

It’s been an interesting season for the Avalanche. After a great victory over the Blackhawks, they have lost three of their last four games. Their defensive core is also struggling partly due to the injury to Devon Toews, who is currently on injured reserve. He is a big presence on both ends for the Avs and they are suffering not having him back there. Erik Johnson leads Colorado in the defensive points share category, sitting at 0.4 DPS. They could turn it around at the end of October with a couple of games they could win against Vegas and the Minnesota Wild, both at home.

No. 19: Tampa Bay Lightning

Well, thunder has struck, and it caused the Lightning to drop down to 20, at least to start. Of course, losing Nikita Kucherov is a huge loss for this team, but their defense has been struggling out of the gates this year. A minus five goal differential along with allowing the sixth-most goals total and fourth-most per game? Right now the defense has Tampa Bay grounded. Their offense gets them to this spot with Steven Stamkos, a healthy Stamkos at that, leading the team with nine points to this point.

No. 18: New York Islanders

We open the teens with one of the teams in Manhattan. The Islanders have found their goalie in Ilya Sorokin who has looked solid to start the year with a 2.80 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Their defense has been middle of the road so far, but let’s not forget they have one of the best defensive pairings in the league with Ryan Pelech and Ryan Pulock. Oliver Wahlstrom has also looked strong to this point for the Isles.

No. 17: Calgary Flames

The biggest thing that the Flames have going for them, and one of the main things putting them at this ranking is their goal differential. 11 goals for, 11 goals against for an even zero. Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau are leading the charge offensively with six points each, Lindholm scoring all his points with goals and Gaudreau with assists. Jacob Markstrom is also bouncing back nicely with a 2.30 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

No. 16: Dallas Stars

In the Lone Star state, a tumbleweed rides across the Stars in the offensive zone, but they have one of the top defenses in the league to start the year, which lands them at number 16 in the rankings. They are top 10 in goals against per game averaging 2.20, putting them seventh in the league. Miro Heiskanen has been put into the conversation for best defenseman in the league to start the season, and Esa Lindell has a 48 percent Corsi at even strength, which means when he’s on the ice the Stars have control of the puck quite often.

No. 15: Philadelphia Flyers

Now in terms of record, it is true the Flyers should not be up this high. But, their offense has been lethal to start the season. Currently, they are averaging the fourth-most goals per game in the league with 4.5 goals. Carter Hart is another member of the bounceback club with a 2.64 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Joel Farabee is off to a good start in his junior year with six points, leading the team.

No. 14: Vancouver Canucks

Connor Garland has been a godsend for the Canucks so far this season. He leads the team with eight points and is tied with Bo Horvat for the lead in goals. Everything else for the Canucks stats-wise from a team perspective is subpar, but that is the case for many of these middle-of-the-pack rankings teams this early on in the season.

No. 13: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are the epitome of a middle of the rankings team to start out the season. A team whose record wouldn’t reflect it, but quietly they have a lot of balance in their team. Oliver Bjorkstrand is the early standout with seven points in five games, with Patrik Laine right behind with six points. Elvis Merzlikins has looked great with a 1.63 GAA and a .947 save percentage. While we’re here, rest in peace Matiss Kivlenieks.

No. 12: New Jersey Devils

The Devils’ offense leaves something to be desired, this is true and fans know it’s frustrating just reading about it. However, their defensive efforts have to be recognized. They have allowed the third least goals in the league with 10 goals and are 10th in goals against per game allowing 2.5 goals per game. This is another situation where the offense must be improved, but for now, this is where the Devils will start.

No. 11: Buffalo Sabres

Everyone is stunned to see how the Sabres are winning so far this season. What’s weirder is that Colin Miller is a point per game player with five points in five games. They’re just below the Devils allowing the fourth-least goals in the league and are third in goals against per game averaging two per game. Some people just want to watch the world burn, and the Sabres are reveling in the chaos they’ve created.

No. 10: Boston Bruins

Here we are. The final 10 and we start with the team in Beantown. One of the biggest things that the Bruins have going for them is their penalty kill. They currently have the seventh-best penalty kill with 85.7 percent conversion. No surprise that Brad Marchand leads the team in points with five in three games. Linus Ullmark is also looking like an early candidate for the steal of free agency with an one GAA and a .972 save percentage. Funny what happens when a goalie gets a good defensive core behind him.

No. 9: San Jose Sharks

Another team that nobody thought would be this high, despite receiving their first loss Sunday night, the Sharks have looked great up to this point. They are eighth in goals against per game averaging 2.2. Erik Karlsson is starting to look like his old self, and Logan Couture is leading the team once again with seven points in four games. Who would’ve thought that the tandem of Adin Hill and James Reimer would be doing so well?

No 8: Washington Capitals

The Capitals know how to score goals, and that is the reason why they slot in here at nine. Alex Ovechkin, no surprise, is off to a hot start with 10 points in five games and passing Marcel Dionne on the all-time goals list. They are eighth in the league in goals for per game averaging 3.8 goals per game, but their usually lethal powerplay isn’t quite up to par yet. If they can figure it out, they will be a top-five team before too long.

No. 7: New York Rangers

Leaving their fellow New Yorkers in the dust to start, the Rangers have had a good start to the 2021-2022 campaign. On the back end, they have been solid starting the year allowing the fourth-fewest goals per game averaging 2.17 goals. Mika Zibanejad has already proved why he got his extension with six points in six games. Igor Shesterkin has looked phenomenal too. Keep an eye on the Rangers.

No. 6: Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes may have turned into an actual hurricane that is rolling through the NHL. Their defensive efforts somehow haven’t taken a step backwards even without Dougie Hamilton as they are first in goals against with seven. They have a goal differential of 11. They are 10th in goals for with 18. Andrei Svechnikov is off to a tremendous start with seven points in four games. It’s good to have you back Frederik Andersen.

No. 5: Pittsburgh Penguins

The offensive juggernaut of the league this season, at least to start, might just be the Pittsburgh Penguins. Even without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Bryan Rust due to injury and Tristan Jarry, Kris Letang, and Jeff Carter in Covid-19 protocol, this team has managed to have a killer offense. They are currently second in goals for per game averaging 4.6 and are first in goals for total with 23. Not to mention they also have the best penalty kill in the league sitting at 92.3 percent.

No. 4: Minnesota Wild

The analytical darlings of the hockey world, the Wild have been able to do a lot with a very easy schedule, but there are reasons for concern. While all of their statistics are middle of the road, their biggest asset is their puck control which has been solid. All but one player on the team has above 50 percent Corsi during even strength. For those who aren’t huge analytic fans, this means that a majority of the time, the Wild have possession of the puck. Their possession game is among the best in the league, and that’s what lands them here at four for now, but they could be one of the biggest fallers next week.

No. 3: Edmonton Oilers

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see them in the top three. The Oilers are, as predicted, one of the best offensive teams in the NHL tied with the Penguins in goals for with 23, and goals for per game with a 4.6 average. But the thing that sets them apart is their power play, at a league-best 47.1 percent. As a sidenote, Connor McDavid already has 13 points in five games. No big deal.

No. 2: St. Louis Blues

The Blues have been an offensive explosion to start the year. Their 5.5 goals per game average is first in the league and their power play is second at 42.9 percent. But they are tied for first on the penalty kill at 92.3 percent. The surprise point leader is Jordan Kyrou with seven through four games. Jordan Binnington is the latest on this list to resurrect himself with a 2.75 GAA and a .919 save percentage. But there’s one team above even this impressive display.

No. 1: Florida Panthers

Coming in at the top of the list is the Panthers, and no one should be surprised. They are only one goal behind the league lead in goals for with 22 seconds in goals against with nine, and sixth in goals for per game averaging 4.4. Welcome back Sergei Bobrovsky, as he is having his best year as a Panther with a 1.99 GAA and a .942 save percentage. When you beat the two-time defending champions and the team that many consider favorites for the cup in the Avalanche, you earn this No. 1 spot.

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