theBRKDWN: NHL Power Rankings

Joseph Caruso
NHL/MLB Analyst

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Hockey is back! And that means power rankings are back as well. With the re-aligned divisions for the 2021 season, there are some teams who will be helped and some that will suffer. Now let’s BRKDWN the opening games of the season!

1. Boston Bruins (7-1-2)

The return of Pastrnak has only made this team stronger and they are starting to become the come-back kids with wins over Philadelphia and Washington down by multiple goals. This team is no-doubt a cup favorite.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (8-2-1)

The Leafs are the early favorites for the North division and it should be a battle between them and the team below them for North division royalty for the rest of the season.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

3. Montreal Canadiens (7-2-2)

The dream start for the Canadiens has continued so far as offseason acquisitions Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli have made GM Marc Bergevin look like a genius early on. It remains to be seen how long they can keep this up.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

4. Vegas Golden Knights (5-1-1)

Due to COVID-19, Vegas did not play any games this week. With their current record it is tough to drop them further than this.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-1-1)

Ganging up on the weaker teams in the Central Division has helped Tampa thus far and they are mostly beating teams with ease right now. Hedman is a Norris contender once again, as well as Vasilevskiy for the Vezina.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

6. Dallas Stars (5-2-1)

Joe Pavelski went from 36-years-old to 26-years-old to start the season as he already has 14 points in seven games. Dallas special teams continue to power this squad.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

7. St. Louis Blues (7-3-1)

Brayden Schenn has been hot of late and the new look defense is starting to put together strong performances. The only real question for this team right now is when Tarasenko can return.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

8. Philadelphia Flyers (7-2-2)

Minus the benching of Travis Konecnky, the Flyers have been solid lately. James Van Riemsdyk looks like a completely different player to start the year and is the X-factor right now for Philly.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

9. Colorado Avalanche (7-3-1)

Colorado once again has injuries piling up as Nathan Mackinnon is now week-to-week with a lower body injury. Eventually, the training staff of the Avalanche has to come into question with the number of injuries this team has suffered the last season or two.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

10. Carolina Hurricanes (6-2)

Carolina has been a force since their COVID outbreak as they have handled their business and have looked good doing it. Petr Mrazek is now out with a thumb injury which is concerning.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

11. Washington Capitals (6-2-3)

Blowing back-to-back 3-0 leads against Boston hurts Washington in the rankings, but the hope with everyone back from COVID the team can round into form once again.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

12. Winnipeg Jets (7-3-1)

With Pierre Luc Dubois still waiting to get onto the ice with his new team, the Jets have been a little inconsistent as of late. Winnipeg should be in the market to add another defenseman soon.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

13. Florida Panthers (5-0-2)

Similar to last week, I still don’t know how good the Panthers are. Their wins are against bad teams and they have yet to be challenged with the cancellations of their schedule thus far.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

14. Minnesota Wild (6-5)

Another team to be shut down due to the virus, the Wild have started to come back down to earth after their hot start. Kaprizov continues to impress.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

15. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-1)

The Penguins, while not possessing a bad record, have been the definition of average so far this season. The injuries to the defensive core have not helped their struggling goalies as well.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

16. Edmonton Oilers (6-6)

McDavid and Draisaitl that is all. These two are the most dominant duo in years and they make it look too easy at times.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

17. New Jersey Devils (4-3-2)

The Devils have continued to play against teams, but unfortunately have fallen into the clutches of COVID-19 as well. Sucks because Mackenzie Blackwood was about to make his return to the lineup.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

18. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2)

COVID … However, Rasmus Ristolainen has been great to start the season so far. Goaltending is really going to hold this team back. Also someone needs to issue a missing persons report for Jeff Skinner.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-4-3)

Columbus has been up and down all year and can’t seem to find a rhythm. Laine’s debut is one to forget as they were pummeled by the Stars. Elvis Merzlikins is now on the IR which is going to be problematic.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

20. Nashville Predators (5-5)

Nashville is in serious trouble. Every big name free agent forward they have acquired over the years goes to die in Nashville. It is so confusing to see guys like Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen look like shells of their former selves when both are not even 30-years-old.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

21. New York Rangers (4-4-2)

The Rangers have picked it up of late on the ice, but off it? Oh boy. Tony DeAngelo’s shelf life has expired in New York and it is only a matter of time before he is off the roster.

Last Week’s Rank: 30

22. Chicago Blackhawks (4-4-4)

The Hawks have looked like they found some stable goaltending with Kevin Lankinen as he has all three of their wins this season. The lineups are terrible due to multiple injuries and COVID-related issues, but Patrick Kane is doing everything he can to make this team respectable.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

23. Calgary Flames (4-5-1)

Calgary really needs to start getting some secondary scoring. Markstrom cannot bail this team out of 1-0 games. With the news of Sam Bennet requesting a trade, possible help may be coming soon.

Last Week’s Rank: 21

24. Anaheim Ducks (4-5-2)

Everyone on the Ducks is struggling offensively so it is somewhat surprising of their record not being as bad as it could be. Gibson stealing wins probably has something to do with that.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

25. Los Angeles Kings (3-4-2)

The Kings are slowly transitioning their prospects into the lineup and some have already paid off such as Gabe Vilardi and goaltender Cal Petersen who is taking the load off of veteran Jonathan Quick.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

26. Vancouver Canucks (6-8)

Tyler Toffoli owns the Vancouver Canucks and with a set against the Leafs, this could get worse.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

27. New York Islanders (3-4-2)

The Islanders have struggled mightily as of late. While much is the same as last year in terms of the roster, the results are not. It will be interesting to see if GM Lou Lamerillo stays put or makes a change.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

28. Arizona Coyotes (4-5-1)

Christian Dvorak has been the biggest positive of the team this year as Arizona is not getting the same goaltending as it has been getting the past few years. This team also does not have a direction with the roster it currently has.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

29. San Jose Sharks (3-5)

Due to having games rescheduled because of COVID affecting other teams, the Sharks have yet to play this week.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

30. Detroit Red Wings (2-7-2)

This team is bad. The offseason additions looked like it would make this team at least competitive, but they look like total pushovers. Also, no one has won a game for Detroit except for Jonathan Bernier in over 400 days.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

31. Ottawa Senators (2-8-1)

This team is horrific. DJ Smith has started to play young players instead of the veterans that were brought in, but something has to give with this team. Similar to the Wings, people expected this team to be at least competitive.

Last Week’s Rank: 31