So here we are for edition number 2. We are one month into the season and so far it has been beyond stellar. With Connor McDavid‘s hat trick on day one to Alex Ovechkin‘s back to back hat tricks and insane hot streak to open yet another season of the “coolest sport on earth”. This early into the season the standings are still taking shape and for the most part, are a very inaccurate measurement of how good a team really is. So here we are, ranking all 31 NHL teams not based on their record, but on how good they actually are.
- Tampa Bay Lighting (10-2-2) 2↑
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Steven Stamkos is leading the NHL with 24 points over just 13 games, that’s nearly a 2.0 points per games average. Nikita Kucherov is atop of the league in goals with 12, while Andrei Vasilevskiy has a .927 save percentage in 11 games played. Goodness, the only potential weak spot in this team was supposed to be in net, and Vasilevskiy is number 6 on the save percentage leader boards. This team has beaten the Penguins twice, the Capitals once, and shut out the Blue Jackets. Yeah, they are good. I can’t think of a single reason why they shouldn’t be at number one. Their offense has been other worldly, the defense has also been insane, and then their goaltending has been rock solid.
- Los Angeles Kings (10-2-1) 18↑
The Kings are one of many teams that I didn’t expect to be anywhere near the top in the power rankings at this point. First off, Jonathan Quick is boasting the best save percentage in the league among starting goaltenders with a ridiculous .942. Its pretty hard to lose behind a goalie putting up those kind of numbers. Anze Koptiar is starting off the right way with 14 points in 12 games after a really, really off year last year. They are also finding a way to make use of Dustin Brown as he is averaging a point per game thus far. I haven’t personally watched them much, but oh boy that overtime against the Bruins was so much fun to watch. They look like a team that is solid in both ends, and if they aren’t great in their zone they have Quick to bail them out.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (8-6-0) 4↑
This team is STACKED beyond belief. They also seem to be pretty much immune to injuries. On this team, defense doesn’t have to be too great because they can just score their way out of problems. So far that hasn’t worked every game, so at some point they are going to need to figure out how to keep the puck out of their own net as their starter, Frederik Andersen, has a .896 save percentage and a 6-5 record. Let’s be real, as long as they can score they will be fine, and so far they have been getting scoring from everywhere as they have 8 players with 3 or more goals and 16 players with 3 or more points.
- New Jersey Devils (9-2-0) 22↑
I assumed that the Devils would soon be solid with young players like Nico Hischer and Will Butcher. But I certainly did not expect them to be good this soon. With Butcher and Jesper Bratt’s smooth transition to the league, they have been an extremely fast and offensive team that like most of the other teams at the top here, can put pucks in the net AND keep them out. They have beaten both the Maple Leafs and the Lighting. The Panthers and Ducks are the only other teams that can claim to have beaten the red hot Devils. It’s safe to say, they are going to make the Metro even scarier than it already was this season.
- St. Louis Blues (10-3-1) 8↑
A lot of people have been under rating the Blues. They have lost several top wingers to injury yet they are one of the top teams in the league. For several years now, the Blues have been that team that is almost a cup contender, but not there yet. If they keep playing like this, they certainly will be. They only have 3 games where they scored less than 3 goals, and they have had 7 where they scored 4 or more. Meanwhile, they have allowed 4 or more goals only twice. The teams has been solid all around as 5 players have at least 10 points, Jake Allen has a .926 save percentage and only 4 players have a negative plus or minus.
- Vegas Golden Knights (8-4-1) 21↑
Vegas is currently starting their AHL backup goalie as their top 3 goalies on the depth chart have all gone down to injuries, yet somehow they are still winning games. The team that was supposed to struggle scoring goals, and keeping them out of their own net, has excelled at both. Even with the Vladimir Shipachyov fiasco, they still seem to score with a team made up of mainly 3rd and 4th line players. Before the season started, everyone thought the only way the Knights could win would be if Marc-Andre Fleury would stand on his head, so far all of their goalies have done just that, and their offense has played their part too. They have shown no signs of slowing down and look like they could be the real deal.
- Ottawa Senators (6-2-5) 4↑
After being considered a team that didn’t even deserve to be in the playoffs last year, and proving everyone wrong by going to double OT in game 7 of the ECF, they don’t seem to be a fluke. Even when Eric Karlsson was out with an injury, they were still winning games. And then Karlsson picked up right where he left off as the best defensemen in the league by far. They could have the best record in hockey right now if a few bounces went their way, but instead they have lost 5 of 6 OT games. If only they can find a way to finish more of those close games.
8. Anaheim Ducks (6-5-1) 1↓
After yet another deep playoff run, most expected the Ducks to fall off a bit, but they have shown signs of doing so just yet. Ryan Getzlaf has only played 6 games due to various injures, yet he has still looked as good as ever tallying 7 points during those 6 games. John Gibson has continued to thrive as he has put up a .921 save percentage. The main thing currently holding the Ducks back is injuries. They currently have 5 starters including, Patrick Eaves, Ryan Kesler, Cam Fowler , and Getzlaf on IR and have Gibson dealing with a groin injury.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (8-5-2) 8↓
Oh goodness, where do I start. Every single time I think they have learned their lesson, they go and get blown out again. And then they bounce back and look “decent” again. Then they fall flat on their face yet again. I don’t even know anymore. Their offense seems to be faltering as they haven’t scored more than 2 goals since beating the Panthers, 4-3 on October 20th. On top of that they have only won 1 of the 7 games with more than a 1 goal lead. And when they lose, they seem to get blown out. Although, all of their blow outs have come on the second of back to back nights but that can’t be an excuse for a team that just went back to back. They need to figure out how to get scoring 5 on 5 again, and how to stay out of the penalty box or the Penguins could find themselves at the bottom half of the power rankings next month.
10. Columbus Blue Jackets (9-4-0) 8↓
3 of the 4 losses have come to teams in the top 5 of the power rankings, and the Blue Jackets have been looking just a dangerous as expected. Rookie, Sonny Milano, has looked great for the Blue Jackets thus far as he is leading the team in goals with 5. They have been getting scoring all over their roster, just like last year, as they currently have 9 players with 6 or more points. Meanwhile reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky has looked just as sharp and posted a .934 save percentage. Due to that and stellar defense, they are 4th in the league when it comes to goals against with only 20 goals allowed. They are going to be a very scary team if they can just keep doing what they are doing.
11. Winnipeg Jets (7-3-2) 12↑
The biggest move for in the off-season for the Jets was their signing of goalie Steve Mason to a 2 year deal. Right about now, I am sure they are wishing it was only a 1 year deal as Connor Hellebuyck has seemingly evolved into a starting goalie over night after struggling last year. Hellebuyck is currently boasting a .940 save percentage, good enough for 5th in the league, while Mason has a well below average .872 and has started in all of the Jets’ regulation losses. The Jets have an incredible amount of talent on both ends of the ice, and if Patrik Laine begins to breakout like everyone seems to be predicting, the Jets are going to be an even tougher team to stop.
12. Philadelphia Flyers (7-6-1) 6↑
The Flyers seem to finally have a complete offensive group and all seem to be preforming well. They may be finally over the hump. They have been playing some, for the most part, good hockey, but in order to be considered a potential contender, they need to fix what ever is going on in net. Their free agent signing of Brian Elliot hasn’t gone too well so far. He has a .884 save percentage yet is 5-2. If the Flyers want to keeping winning, they need to continue finding ways to win with below league average goaltending, and/or try and improve their goalie situation. If they can do that, they will be yet another team that makes all of the other teams in the Metro, dread being in the Metro.
13 Colorado Avalanche (7-5-0) 17↑
The Avalanche have been a team for the past few years that have been at least decent on paper, but have just been an absolute abomination on the ice. But they seem to have turned it around a bit. They are a team with a lot of speed and skill that have shown that they can compete against several good teams already. They seem to be rather inconsistent on the ice. One day, they can score 6 goals, the next they get shut out. They also seem to struggle keeping pucks out of their own net as they have allowed less than 3 goals only twice, and have allowed more than 4 goals 5 times. Matt Duchene has been on the trade block since late into last season. Maybe they can get back some much needed defensive help, to strengthen their play in their own end.
- New York Islanders (7-5-1) 8↑
Without John Taveres, the Islanders are dead last. But Tavares has been on fire so far as he already has 11 goals, including 8 goals in the last 4 games. So far the Islanders have won every single game that Tavares has a point in. Now the supporting cast in the likes of Josh Bailey (14 points), Andres Lee (12 points), and Jordan Eberle (9 points) have certainly held their own and helped kept the Islanders in games. Their defense seems to also be holding strong, as not a single defensemen has a negative plus and minus. Their goaltending hasn’t been anything special, but it hasn’t be terrible either. As long as Tavares keeps scoring, the Islanders will be a potential play off team, just like pretty much all of the teams in the Metro.
15. Dallas Stars (7-6-0) 3↓
This is a team that has been hyped up a lot because of their off-season signings in Alexander Radulov, and Ben Bishop, and their trade for Mark Methot. For the most part, they have looked pretty good, but they haven’t beaten many good teams either. Only once have they beaten a team higher than them in these power rankings. Big Ben has looked good in net so far, a massive upgrade from their previous goaltenders. Now that they seem to have the goalie problem finally fixed, maybe they seem to be a pretty good team, as they also have a solid defense, and a pretty good offense.
16. San Jose Sharks (7-5-0) – – –
Every year everyone predicts that the Sharks are going to finally fall off, but they never do. This is one of those teams that I kinda glossed over as for some reason I see them as a boring, average, middle of the pack team. They have a below average goals for but goodness their goals against is amazing, as they rank second in the league largely because of Martin Jones. All but one of their losses came from a team ranked higher than them in the rankings. They look as if they will once again be a solid team, ready for another attempt at a deep playoff run.
17. Vancouver Canucks (6-4-2) 14↑
Honestly, I have no clue how the Canucks are doing this well. Like most of the other teams that found themselves at the bottom of the league, has tried to just go young and fast. For the Canucks it certainly been working. Their defense seems to be holding together well, as they have 28 goals allowed, nearly 10 goals under the league average, and then pretty much on league average for goals for. I can’t imagine the Canucks keeping this up for much longer, and I can’t imagine they actually want to keep it up, as they are still in rebuild mode. They can either settle for being a bubble team for the near future, or try and continue the rebuild and tank for picks. I’m going to assume they would rather do the latter.
18. Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-2) 8↓
They haven’t looked too bad, Their are only 3 non goalie players on the team with less than 3 points. They are 7th in the league in goals for, and 10 goals against. Yet they still have lost 2 of their last 6 games. So far they have mainly played tough teams, but that isn’t an excuse for a team with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
19. Nashville Predators (5-5-2) 14↓
They were never a really offensive team, but you can’t win games when you are ranked 28th in goals for. Other than that, statistically speaking, they don’t look too bad, but they don’t look like the Western Conference champion. Although they have allowed 4 or more goals in half of the games they played this year. They need to find a way to step up to a higher level both defensively and offensively if they want to go for another run at the Stanley Cup.
20. Washington Capitals (6-6-1) 12↓
They seem to be back to the age where if Alexander Ovechkin doesn’t score a hat trick, they can’t win. so far Ovechkin has an average of 3.25 points per game when the Capitals win, and an average of .28 points per game when they lose. Simply put, the Capitals need Ovechkin to score to do anything. They are middle of the pack in goals for and below average in goals against. You simply can’t be a contender when you need one guy to do all of the work. If Ovechkin goes off on a tear again like he did in the first couple of games or other players decide to step up big, the Capitals could definitely move up this list. But until then they are staying right where they are.
21. Calgary Flames (7-6-0) 4↓
This team is more of a defensive team, but just like the Predators, they can’t be 28th in goals for, and still win games. The Flames currently have scored over 3 goals only 3 times, now they are above average in goals against. But if they are to win while still being this low in goals for, they are going to need to be lights out on defense and in net. So far Mike Smith has looked good and has a .931 save percentage, yet he has still lost 5 of the 11 games he has started. The problem seems to be up front. Only 11 players even have a goal, and the majority of the team has a negative plus and minus. If they can even out the scoring by getting some more scoring from their lower lines, they will be a dangerous playoff team.
22. Carolina Hurricanes (4-5-2) 3↓
Yet another Metro team that could go far this year. Their record isn’t the greatest, but every team they have lost to is ranked above them, and only once they lost by more than one goal. They’re like a lot of the others further down in the power rankings, 28th in the league in goals for, but they make up for it in goals against where they are 4th in the league. They one of the youngest and the cheapest defenses in the league, which so far, has proved very effective. Its not like they were playing bad hockey either, if a few more bounces went their way they could be on top of the highly competitive Metro. Definitely be on the look out for the Hurricanes to be a sneakily dangerous team this season.
23. Detroit Red Wings (6-7-1) 5↑
Just like many of the other bottom of the pack teams from last year, the Red Wings have been much better than everyone expected. Over the past few weeks they were able to make enough moves to sign Andreas Athansiou. How they get themselves into such a bad cap situation with such a mediocre team, I have no idea. But so far they are about average for both goals for and goals allowed, and both of their goaltenders seem to be doing pretty well. I doubt they will be able to keep this mediocrity up for an entire season, but hey, who knows.
24. Boston Bruins (5-3-3) 3↓
Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are all starting off the season right as they are all hovering around a point per game. But they are going to need more players to step up if they are going to try and make the playoffs. For better or for worse, backup goalie Anton Khudobin seems to be doing much better than Tuukka Rask, in both save percentage and in record. I think this Bruins team’s time has come and gone and to become a competitor, they are going to have to go through a partial retool. This line up simply isn’t good enough to get their where they want to be.
25. Montreal Canadians (4-8-1) 14↓
Considered the biggest disappointment out of the gates, the Canadians seem to have forgotten how to score. Their idiotically miss-managed cap will certainly come back to haunt them, but there seem to be much more pressing matters than that. Trade rumors have been at an all time high for Alex Galchenyuk as he hasn’t been preforming how the Canadians would like him too be, but I hardly think that is his fault. For some reason they have felt it is best to play him on the 4th line, giving him little opportunity to be himself and score. The Canadians are a team that needs to make some trades to improve their team as a whole, yet they really don’t have any assets to trade, unless they are willing to deal Galchenyuk. Probably worst of all, Carey Price has looked mortal. He hasn’t been his normal other worldly self, so he hasn’t been able to carry this poorly managed team.
26. Florida Panthers (4-7-1) 3↑
So far, the Panthers have had a lot of tough games, as they have played the Penguins twice, the Lightning 3 times, the Blues once, and the Captitals once. Yet they haven’t been too bad. They seem to be good at getting shots on net, because eventually they are bound to go in. They are currently averaging 34 shots a game and have had 4 games where they got over 40 shots on goal. Goaltending seems to be one of the main issues as they have 3 mediocre goalies, all together averaging a .900 save percentage. If they can somewhat fix their goaltending, they could be a rather good team.
27. Minnesota Wild (5-4-2) 15↓
Despite being 4th in the league for goals against, they find themselves near the bottom of the power rankings. They don’t have anyone over .8 points per game, and if they wan’t to go far, that will need to change. Goaltending seems to be decent so far, but Devan Dubnyk can definitely play better than he has been so far. There was a point around the middle of last year where the Wild were on a tear, if they can get back to playing like that, they could be a very scary team.
28. New York Rangers (5-7-2) 13↓
For a while, the Rangers fall off seemed imminent. Now it seems to have come. Their goals for is pretty decent but they are ranked 29th in goals against. Defense is supposed to be the Rangers strong point. So far, only 8 of the 23 skaters that have played a game for the Rangers this year have a positive plus or minus. Henrik Lundqvist seems to no longer be able to carry the team like he used to as so far he has a .898 save percentage. His backup hasn’t done any better, as Ondrej Pavelec has a .887 save percentage. If they can’t find away to keep pucks out of their own net, they will be left in the dust by this highly competitive metropolitan division.
29. Edmonton Oilers (3-7-1) 25↓
Hockey is a team sport, and a solid goaltender in Cam Talbot, and one of the best players in the world Connor McDavid, can not win hockey games on their own. Cam Talbot has been excellent yet sports a .904 save percentage, as the defense hasn’t been giving him much help. If players other than McDavid start playing well, they can go back to being one of the best in the west. Currently, they are ranked dead last in goals against, if that doesn’t change, the Oilers can say good-bye to another chance at a deep play-off run.
30. Buffalo Sabers (4-7-2) 6↓
Evander Kane, Jason Pominville, and Jack Eichel have been great, but everyone else has been terrible. They are near the bottom in both goals for and goals against. Only 4 players have over 4 points. Only 5 players have a positive plus and minus. The stats speak for themselves. They need to find scoring from other other places than just from the 3 players listed earlier.
31. Arizona Coyotes (1-12-1) 6↓
You may remember that I actually thought the Coyotes could be pretty decent this year. Boy was I wrong. They currently only have one win, and you can’t really get any closer to blowing a game than they had. The ONLY bright spot on this team is Clayton Keller, who is currently leading all rookies with 9 goals. Antti Raanta was solid when he was in net, but he got injured, and then Louis Domingue took his place, who posted a pitiful .856 save percentage. One of their top paring defensemen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, has a horrific -14 plus and minus. Needless to say, the Coyotes need to some how find a way to keep goals out of their own net.