The Win Column Power Rankings is a weekly feature that will highlight the current rankings of all the NHL teams during that specific week. While their place in the standings will be taken into affect, each team’s’ weekly performances will have the greater effect on how high, or low, they end up ranking.
We officially have settled into the NHL season and boy has it been a puzzling start. It has been a while since the first TWC Power Rankings, and we thought we would give the teams a little more time to adjust before starting to rank them again. While last week we focused on each team’s’ most notable roster decision, the hockey that has been played has left us scratching our heads. The good teams look bad, and the supposed bad teams look somewhat good. There seems to be much more parity in the league so far as most teams have already had outstanding game play as well as embarrassing mishaps. Expect lots of changes in comparison to Week 1, and keep in mind that a record isn’t everything. While some teams we may be a bit bullish or bearish on, remember that their place in the ranking is based on of their start to the season. Things will obviously even out in the following weeks, but expect to see some big gainers and massive drops below. Preseason expectations certainly won’t make or break a team, but their subsequent performances in the last 10 days justify their rankings. If your team isn’t where you want them to be, start looking forward to the upcoming week. Enjoy!
31. Arizona Coyotes
| 0-3-1 | -7
Yikes. This team had so much promise heading into the season, but quickly find themselves at the bottom of our rankings. They looked to be handling Anaheim on opening night, but quickly unraveled. They followed that up with back to back Vegas losses, and an additional loss to Detroit last night. Antti Raanta and Louis Domingue do not look like a promising goaltending duo so far this season. I’m hoping that there isn’t another long season full of losses in the desert, but so far nothing leads me to believe that this will change.
30. Buffalo Sabres
| 0-3-1 | -7
During Week 1, Sabres fans were shocked to see their team ranked #23 and were questioning how they could be so much lower than their Toronto neighbors. This week doesn’t do much to help their cause. While Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, and Jason Pominville have gotten off to blazing starts offensively, they still don’t have a win to show for their effort. Getting thrashed by both the Islanders and Devils was not fun to watch. Their upcoming games against the Kings, Ducks, Golden Knights, and Canucks makes me wonder when their first win will actually come.
29. San Jose Sharks
| 1-2-0 | -10
The Sharks narrowly avoided being last in the league with their win against Buffalo last night. While they still have a solid team, early season results have them stuck here for the time being. A somewhat easier schedule in the next week should see these guys jumping up the rankings. In order to do that they need way more from their top contributors who have been nearly invisible so far this season.
28. Vancouver Canucks
| 1-1-1 | -1
I genuinely thought after beating Edmonton this team could be a surprise this season, but lo and behold, they are still the Canucks. Glad to see Travis Green finally slotted Brock Boeser into the lineup, after he was clearly the most productive forward during the preseason. Jacob Markstrom has looked decent in net, which is definitely surprising. The Canucks need more from their young forwards Markus Granlund, Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen as right now they have goose eggs across their stat lines.
27. Dallas Stars
| 1-3-0 | -25
I’m frankly embarrassed that I had the Stars ranked at #2 during the preseason. I was clearly drinking the Kool-aid way too hard. This team has far too much talent to start the season 1-3. When your leading scorer after four games is John Klingberg you know that the forward group needs to be better. At least Klingberg is off to a hot start. Ben Bishop has given you solid goaltending, but you can’t back him up at all? I’m mad that I have to rank this team so low and I do not plan on having them here for too long. Prove me right.
26. Montreal Canadiens
| 1-3-0 | -12
The Canadiens are so close to being a contender. All they need is more scoring, a better offensive structure, stronger defensive output, and consistent goaltending. I mean that should be easy right? The Habs need something to light a fire under their season, as scoring five goals in four games is about a bad a start as you can imagine. Could a win against the Leafs provide the much needed spark? Your guess is as good as mine, but for the moment this team ain’t pretty.
25. Winnipeg Jets
| 2-2-0 | -9
I’m guessing that if Paul Maurice decides to put Steve Mason back in the net sometime soon, Jets fans will riot. While you can’t blame the first two losses of the season on him alone, there were times when better saves could have been made. The team is averaging 5 goals against per game after three games. The same demons continue to haunt this team. While wins over Edmonton and Vancouver were a step in the right direction, the Jets need to be more disciplined and better defensively if they want to establish themselves as a serious contender.
24. New York Islanders
| 1-2-1 | +1
With their only win coming against the lowly Sabres, the Islanders have been ho-hum so far this season. I can’t tell if the team looks really good or really bad. They are top 10 in the league on the PK at 87.5%, but have yet to score a PP goal. Your guess is as good as mine as to who the starting goaltender should be. Jaroslav Halak has the better stats so far, but my hunch is that Thomas Griess will continue to get starts. Don’t worry Islander fans, nothing overly critical this week.
23. New York Rangers
| 1-3-0 | -10
An opening night loss to Colorado and a thrashing by the Leafs was not how this team needed to start the season. Their shutout against Montreal and loss to the Blues were substantially better efforts, and their powerplay continues to fire on all cylinders. This team is better than their 1-3 record reflects, but they need to fill massive holes at center on the second, third, and even the fourth line to get back to the playoffs this season.
22. Edmonton Oilers
| 1-2-0 | -19
I was ready to hand the cup to the Oilers after Connor McDavid single-handedly embarrassed the Flames. Since then though, the team has not looked good. Losing to both Vancouver and Winnipeg, two teams that did not look to be playing good hockey. Leon Draisaitl has missed two straight practices, do the Oilers finally get stricken by the injury bug? Cam Talbot appears to have been struggling over the past few games after his opening night shutout. If he continues to struggle, can you expect him to play 60 more games? It’s early, but the season sure took a sharp turn after Game 1.
21. Boston Bruins
| 1-2-0 | -3
After such a promising season opener against the Predators where two rookies scored their first NHL goals, the Bruins then proceeded to lose TWICE to the Avalanche in back to back games. While the Avalanche may have improved this year, it sure doesn’t feel better to lose to them this season. In the last TWC power rankings I mentioned how much this season relied on Tuukka Rask. So far? A 3.75 GAA, 0.87SV%, and one yank. While nowhere near panic mode yet, they need him to right the ship.
20. Ottawa Senators
| 1-0-2 | SAME
The Senators finally got their first win of the season on Tuesday night against the Canucks, even though they obtained points in their first two games. Currently this team doesn’t look like the one that reached double OT in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. That being said, seeing as Erik Karlsson pretty much dictates this teams’ play, you can’t be too upset about this start. As my friend Ben put it: “feels like cheating to get two points without Erik.”
19. Carolina Hurricanes
| 1-0-1 | -4
Currently the Canes have played the fewest number of games, so their small sample size is tough to judge. A shootout win and an overtime loss hasn’t showed a ton to get us further excited about an already exciting team. By process of other teams doing more (both good and bad), the Canes drop a few spots compared to last week. I do worry about the 10K+ drop in attendance from game 1 to 2.
18. Philadelphia Flyers
| 2-2-0 | +4
Win – Loss – Win – Loss. You can’t blame the team for being consistent early on compared to others. Wayne Simmonds was outstanding in the team’s first four games, earning 3rd star of the week. Brian Elliott has looked “ok” so far. With some adequate performances, he will command the crease until otherwise. The Flyers have some tough opponents coming up next week and will be interesting to see how they respond to it.
17. Nashville Predators
| 2-2-0 | -12
The Predators seemed to have battled their way back from starting the season 0-2. I expect this winning trend to continue over the upcoming week, but other teams have just performed better so far; hence their ranking. Who is Nashville’s x-factor moving forward? Roman Josi. He has only played two games with no points and is a -3. They need him to be better.
16. Minnesota Wild
| 1-1-1 | -4
Honestly take your pick of teams from 12-20. Any of these teams could be either ranked higher or lower due to their mixed results so far. A perfect example of this would be the Wild. They earned their first win last night in dominant fashion against the Blackhawks, but also lost their first two games against Detroit and Carolina. This team should be near the top of this list, and if they continue to play like they did last night, they most certainly will.
15. Detroit Red Wings
| 3-1-0 | +12
Detroit was able to christen the Little Ceasar’s Arena with an opening win against the Wild. Going 1-1 in their next two allows them to crawl out of the basement for now. Mike Green is looking more like the #1 trade deadline candidate come March. The real question coming out of the Motor City – what is going on with Andreas Anthanasiou?
14. Florida Panthers
| 2-1-0 | +12
Yes, I was very critical of the Panthers before the season as I wondered where the goal scoring would come from. So far the Panthers are scoring by committee with 10 players registering goals. Both of their wins came against formidable opponents in Tampa and St. Louis. Their stock is rising if they can continue to produce the same way, but for now we are going to keep their jump at 12 spots.
13. Anaheim Ducks
| 2-1-1 | -7
Every game the Ducks have played has been close. Squeaking in wins against Arizona and New York, in games that could have gone the other way, shows that the Ducks are still a decent team even when missing some key contributors. This team should continue to get by while they wait for these players. Currently without a PP goal on the season, the Ducks need to start capitalizing on these chances more if they want to keep pace.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins
| 2-2-1 | -11
The championship hangover was real for the Penguins. I still have nightmares about the 10-1 loss to the Hawks, and I’m not even a Penguins fan. Can’t imagine Antti Niemi getting into another game any time soon as both of their regulation losses came with him in net. This is probably far too low a ranking for this team, especially with a strong win against the Capitals, but they are the highest ranked team with three L’s.
11. Colorado Avalanche
| 3-1-0 | +20
Huh. Nail Yakupov has three goals? Semyon Varlamov has a .945 SV%? This can’t be correct. Kudos to the Avs for silencing the haters and starting strong this year, but keep in mind they started 3-1-0 last year as well. I wouldn’t be buying as much Colorado stock as their fans are right now, but Matt Duchene’s value is sure increasing.
10. Vegas Golden Knights
| 3-0-0 | +20
The teams’ roster situation may be a mess right now, but what a story Vegas is turning out to be. The first expansion team to start a season with three straight wins, with all-star performances from Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal. While we may not be as bullish as fans may like in our rankings, two of the teams wins came against a pretty terrible looking Coyotes team. VGK still has many decisions to make regarding their roster, hopefully they sort this out soon despite them seemingly sticking to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra with their current undefeated record.
9. Los Angeles Kings
| 2-0-1 | +12
Besides their OT loss to the Flames, the Kings have looked like a very strong team so far this season. Having a healthy Jonathan Quick sure does help, but I’m looking at the resurgence from Anze Kopitar and *somewhat* Dustin Brown who are looking to bounce back from disastrous years. Brown has been averaging more ice time in his first three games than he had all of last season. While he may have been trapped in Daryl Sutter’s doghouse, John Stevens seems to have more confidence in Brown. This has created additional offensive options for a team that looks to remain a threat in the Pacific.
8. New Jersey Devils
| 3-0-0 | +20
Yes, the Devils are undefeated. Yes, they beat the Leafs, but their other two wins came against the Sabres and Avalanche. The team doesn’t look half bad, but it is still early. Rookie Jesper Bratt has come out of nowhere to steal the spotlight from his fellow rookies. Cory Schneider looks to have returned to form. The Devil’s land at 8 and we will see how long they last there.
7. Columbus Blue Jackets
| 2-1-0 | +2
There is lots to be excited about in Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky is continuing his Vezina prowess. Artemi Panarin is fitting in well in the offence. Sonny Milano looks to be the surprise of the season so far and the team’s only loss came at the hands of the Blackhawks. Not much to complain about in Ohio.
6. Calgary Flames
| 3-1-0 | +2
Here at TWC, an immense amount of joy was felt to see that our pre-season ranking of the Flames has so far panned out well. While the opening night loss to the Oilers brought loads of dismay, the following three games have been outstanding. A blowout against Winnipeg, an overtime win in LA, and oh of course that small victory in Anaheim. The team is fun to watch and so far looks like a solid team, but there is work to be done. Mike Smith has looked like the number one goalie the Flames have needed, but allowing 40+ shots in three of the four games is unsustainable.
5. Washington Capitals
| 2-1-1 | +5
Real talk, I didn’t think it was possible to score seven goals in two games. That is simply unheard of in today’s NHL. Shoutout to Alex Ovechkin for completely ignoring all of the preseason hate and carrying the team on his back. Another shoutout to Nathan Walker for throwing a shrimp on the barbie. Losses to Tampa and Pittsburgh shouldn’t be worrisome as this team looks to continue its winning ways this season. Goal for this week? Maybe teaching Ovi (8G 0A) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (0G 8A) to share more.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning
| 3-1-0 | SAME
Trading wins and losses with the Panthers, the Lightning followed that up with wins against the Capitals and Penguins. Their special teams looks like the best in the league, so do not commit a penalty against these guys. With four players currently with 6 points or more each, their offensive will continue to be their biggest weapon. Not to take away from their solid d-core (besides the maligned Dan Girardi) that has been and will be a problem for all of the teams in the league. No wonder everyone was picking the Lighting to win the cup this year, they look legit.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
| 3-1-0 | +8
*Full disclosure* I did mention that it wouldn’t surprise me if the Leafs exceeded expectations this year – so far so good. The Leafs came blazing out of the games with a combined 22 goals in their first four games (!!). Solid goaltending from Frederik Anderson and continuous lasers from Auston Matthews has the city planning the 82 – 0 season already – oh wait I just checked the Devils highlights – sorry 81-1. Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Devils is unfortunately keeping the Leafs out of the top two. The 5 on 3 SHG may haunt Leaf fans for the next little bit, but that game will be long forgotten in a few weeks.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
| 3-1-1 | +5
Rule #1 – Never doubt the Hawks. It was almost idiotic of me to rank them as low as I did. Brandon Saad seems to be the catalyst that this team was missing last year. Everyone on the team appears to be one level higher than they were last year. An absolute thrashing of the Stanley Cup Champions, and lopsided wins against Columbus and Montreal, have shown this team is as dangerous as it has ever been. If you own a fantasy league, buy as many Hawks players as you can.
1. St. Louis Blues
| 4-1-0 | +16
While the Hawks were doubted, the Blues were nearly cast aside by myself. Wow was I wrong. The addition of Brayden Schenn looks to be one of the smartest off-season moves by Doug Armstrong. Alex Pietrangelo looks to be an early season contender for some Norris votes and Jake Allen is getting it done in the net. The Blues look strong on both ends of the ice, which makes it hard to choose the better aspect of their game. Regardless of their first loss to the Panthers last night, the Blues will look to give the other Central Division teams a run for their money. What is even more impressive? The fact that they are playing this well without some of their key contributors. I can’t imagine what they will look like when those guys return to the team, but for now the Blues take this week’s #1 spot.
What are your thoughts? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below.