NHL Power Rankings — Week 1

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Welcome to the next installment of HockeyClan’s weekly NHL power rankings. Every few weeks throughout the season, HockeyClan ranks every team in the National Hockey League from top to bottom.

Who’s #1? Who’s rising? Who’s falling? The first full week of the 2019-20 NHL season is in the book as teams are already  fighting for extra points in overtime, looking to secure one of eight places in each conference to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s important to not overreact after just 10 days of frozen pucks as teams jockey for positioning and push through the second of back-to-back nights, but it’s time to get an early look at who’s in, who’s out and who might be playing golf instead of lacing ’em up come April.

TIER ONE

1-Colorado Avalanche (4-0) Dealt Bruins 4-2 defeat in what has been a really nice start for a team on the rise. Key will be play of Philipp Grubauer, tasked with being a No. 1 for the first time in his career, and a young but up and coming defensive core in front of him. (Wins: CAL, MIN, BOS, AZ)

2-Boston Bruins (4-1) Playing inspired hockey after getting bounced by the Blues in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final. Clearly looking to get back on the campaign trail with shutouts in two of its four wins to start 2019-20. (Wins: DAL, AZ, VGK, NJ)

3-Tampa Bay Lightning (2-2-1) Look great in wins over Toronto and Florida, but completely out of sync in uncharacteristic setbacks against Carolina and Ottawa. Last season’s epic first round collapse still fresh in the minds of those in the Sunshine State. (Wins: FLA, TOR)

4-Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2-1) The addition of Tyson Barrie to the blueline adds to an already lethal offense. 7-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 10 shows team still has a ways to go. (Wins: OTT, CBJ, DET)

TIER TWO

5-Washington Capitals (2-1-2) With Evgeny Kuznetsov’s three-game suspension out of the way, Capitals can get back to business. After falling to Dallas, 4-3, at Capital One Arena, exacted revenge against the Stars with 4-1 triumph in their building four days later.   (Wins: NYI, DAL)

6-Vegas Golden Knights (3-2) A popular preseason pick in the Western Conference, Knights smacked the Sharks around twice in a home-and-home to start the season, but that was without Evander Kane in the lineup. A 4-1 loss in the desert to the Coyotes is troubling. (Wins: SJ, SJ, CAL)

7-St. Louis Blues (3-1-1) Defending Stanley Cup champs due for regression, but the Blues remain one of the deepest teams out West. The addition of Justin Faulk makes an already potent offense even deadlier on the power play. Eager to prove last season was no fluke. (Wins: DAL, TOR, OTT)

8-Nashville Predators (3-2) Not sure of the need to force backup Juuse Saros into action when All-World goalie Pekka Rinne is ready, willing and able. Yes, more is being asked of the defensive corps after the loss of P.K. Subban, but “Smashville” remains near the top. (Wins: MIN, SJ, WSH)

9-Carolina Hurricanes (5-1) The biggest story to begin the season in the Eastern Conference has the “Storm Surge” leaving teams in its wake. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer are proving equally adept in between the pipes. (Wins: MON, WSH, TB, FLA, NYI)

10-Edmonton Oilers (5-0) The biggest story to begin the season in the West, the Oilers are just the third team in NHL history to engineer comeback victories in each of its first four games. Not sure how long the magic show will last, but enjoy it while you can. (Wins: VAN, LA, NYI, NJ, NYR)

Related: 2019-20 Schedule Preview and Team Capsules

TIER THREE

11-Buffalo Sabres (4-0-1) Showed flashes with its 10-game winning streak last season, but fans are still cautiously optimistic about the nice start. Second in NHL with 25 goals-for. Anything this side of the +/- is a good sign for Buffalo, which is celebrating their 50th anniversary this season. (Wins: PIT, NJ, MON, FLA)

12-Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2) The loss of Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk have left a lot of holes, and Sidney Crosby is not as young as he used to be, but Pittsburgh is still finding ways to get it done. Jake Guentzel is quickly becoming one of the game’s best power forwards. (Wins: CBJ, ANA, MIN)

13-Anaheim Ducks (4-1) Not much was expected from the Ducks are doing next to nothing this off-season. But perhaps, No Moves are the Right Moves” in certain circumstances. John Gibson, whose availability to begin the season was in question, has been nothing short of spectacular for Anaheim, which has allowed only five goals in five games. (Wins: AZ, SJ, DET, CBJ)

14-Montreal Canadiens (2-1-2) Scored a couple of big wins to begin the season over the Maple Leafs and Blues, but fell to the Canes and Sabres in overtime. Habs have amassed 21 goals in five games, but have also yielded that many. Carey Price hasn’t even picked it up yet, but he will. (Wins: TOR, STL)

15-New York Rangers (2-1) Kappo Kakko scored his first National Hockey League goal, the first of many for the Rangers who have only played three games so far. It’s early, but the Blueshirts boast No. 1 power play in the league converting at an unsustainable 60% clip. (Wins: WPG, OTT)

16-Calgary Flames (2-2-1) The cage belongs to David Rittich for however long he gives the Flames a reason to continue rolling him out there. The big, 6’3″ Czech-born netminder has been hit or miss for Calgary this season. The James Neal-Milan Lucic trade that was supposed to add toughness and grit has not panned out. (Wins: VAN, DAL)

17-Dallas Stars (1-4-1) Are the Stars this bad? Of course not, but the offense just hasn’t been there with just 13 goals in six games. Joe Pavelski is still finding his spot among what is arguably the deepest top-six in the league and Roope Hintz is a star in the making. (Wins: WSH)

Related: New Faces in New Places — 2019-20 NHL Free Agent Frenzy

TIER FOUR

18-Winnipeg Jets (4-2) Pundits were eager to pile on the Jets after the loss of Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien to the blueline, but Winnipeg has been just fine. Even with Josh Morrissey out of the lineup, Winnipeg is getting it done thanks to a potent offense, which overcame a four-goal deficit in win over Devils. (Wins: NJ, PIT, MIN, CHI)

19-Detroit Red Wings (3-2) Experts predicted the young nucleus of forwards in Motor City were still a year away from contending, but Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi has Detroit off to a pleasant start. They could continue to surprise under GM Steve Yzerman’s first-year at the helm. (Wins: NSH, DAL, MON)

20-Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-1) After two nice wins to start the season, including a 4-2 triumph over Chicago as part of the NHL Global Series at O2 Arena, the Flyers lost a tough one in a shootout to Vancouver Saturday night. Still, Broad Street has been stingy this far making opponents earn their way. (Wins: CHI, NJ)

21-Florida Panthers (1-2-2) The Sergei Bobrovsky-Joel Quenneville era has not been as seamless a transition in Florida, but the Panthers have lost a couple one-goal games. Season-opening win over the rival Lightning shows what Panthers are capable of but consistency has been an issue. (Wins: TB)

22-San Jose Sharks (1-4) Blood in the water had people panicking after the Sharks lost their first four games of the season, but San Jose, which was without Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson, will be just fine. And just to make sure this type of snafu doesn’t come back and bite, the Sharks brought back old friend Patrick Marleau. (Wins: CHI)

Related: Complete Recap and Results — 2019 NHL Draft

TIER FIVE

23-Chicago Blackhawks (0-2-1) The Blackhawks opened the 2019-20 season in Prague of the Czech Republic and haven’t been seen since. Patrick Kane has one goal. Jonathan Toews doesn’t have any. Still, it’s early. We think the Hawks are a borderline playoff team. (Wins: None)

24-New York Islanders (2-3) For a team that playing such inspiring hockey for Barry Trotz a year ago, there has been little to dwell upon out on Long Island. Yes, a new rink is on its way, but somebody’s going to have to play in it. Anders Lee was handed the the big off-season contract. So far he has not delivered. (Wins: WPG, FLA)

25-Vancouver Canucks (2-2) Thirty saves in regulation and another two more in a shootout from goalie Jacob Markstrom helped Canucks steal a point against the Flyers Saturday night. Markstrom will give the young buds a chance to bloom on most nights. With Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Elias Petterson the future is bright. (Wins: LA, PHI)

26-Los Angeles Kings (2-2) Talk about your wild swings of momentum. A night after giving up eight to the Canucks, Kings come back with seven of their own in win over Preds. The roller coaster season should continue for the Kings, who should look to deal Jonathan Quick before he loses all his trade value. (Wins: CAL, NSH)

27-Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3) The Jackets have a couple of nice wins under their belt, but this is not a team expected to contend in the wake of mass exodus led by Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Columbus fandom is at an all-time high. Too bad the team is in flux. (Wins: BUF, CAR)

28-Arizona Coyotes (1-2-1) NHL-best 100% penalty killing unit. While that figure figures to dip as the season winds on, optimism remains in the desert — and for good reason because the kids can play. Took top-ranked Avalanche to overtime before folding. (Wins: VGK)

29-New Jersey Devils (0-3-2) Are the Devils this bad? Of course not, but they’re leaving a lot to be desired. After GM Ray Shero went out and acquired P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev, not to mention the addition of No. 1 overall pick, Jack Hughes, much was expected. So far nothing has been delivered. (Wins: None)

30-Ottawa Senators (1-3) Scored a big win and high sigh of relief from ownership after pulling a surprise, 4-2, win over the mighty, but somewhat susceptible Lightning Saturday night. A battle with the 31-ranked Wild is next on tap. Looking forward to highlights. (Wins: TB)

31-Minnesota Wild (0-4) The Wild have reached a new low. For a proud franchise and a devoted and knowledgeable hockey fan base, the product just hasn’t been there on the ice. Minnesota is probably not the worst team in the NHL, but right now they are playing like it. (Wins: None)

 

 

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