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. Vegas Golden Knights (5-1-1)

They were first last week and now first this week, Vegas has simply been the best team in the NHL so far this year. Balanced scoring and quality goaltending are the strengths of this team. They are serious cup contenders if they are able to add another centre to the fold.

Last Week’s Rank: 1

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2)

The Leafs are finally coming out on top of close games, something that could not have been said the last couple of years. Mitch Marner is leading the lead in scoring and their powerplay is the best in the league.

Last Week’s Rank: 7

3. Washington Capitals (5-0-3)

Even with the whole COVID fiasco that happened with Washington and having four regulars out of the lineup including Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals still have not missed a beat so far this season.

Last Week’s Rank: 9

4. Montreal Canadiens (5-0-2)

Montreal has arguably played the most complete game thus far in the North division with a balanced scoring attack. Ex-Canuck Tyler Toffoli went off against his former team but the lack of star power up front could hold this team back.

Last Week’s Rank: 5

5. Boston Bruins (5-1-1)

After a rough few games against the Devils, the Bruins are rolling now and playing with the swagger that they had last year. Secret (lethal) weapon David Pastrnak is set to rejoin any day now after his rehab went ahead of schedule.

Last Week’s Rank: 23

6. Dallas Stars (4-0)

Dallas opened their season by stomping all over the Nashville Predators. Even with Jamie Benn out of the lineup, the Stars’ power play has been nuclear with Joe Pavelski also turning back the clock.

Last Week’s Rank: 18

7. Winnipeg Jets (5-2)

After the blockbuster trade acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Jets have one of the best one-two punch centre duos in the league. Funny enough that is probably third behind McDavid and Draisaitl and Matthews and Tavares.

Last Week’s Rank: 15

8. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1-1)

Another team suffering from game postponements, Tampa has not had the opportunity to showcase their full strength in the Central division. Hopefully the long layoffs do not hurt the team’s momentum.

Last Week’s Rank: 2

9. Florida Panthers (3-0-1)

Yes Florida is undefeated but due to the constant rescheduling of their games they only have three games played, two of them against the Blackhawks.

Last Week’s Rank: 13

10. St. Louis Blues (4-2-1)

The Blues depth has been impressive to start the year and will be key for the team moving forward. It still seems that the team is adjusting to life without Alex Pietrangelo as Jordan Binnington has had to stand on his head a few times.

Last Week’s Rank: 11

11. Minnesota Wild (5-3)

The Wild have slipped since last week’s rankings as the lack of secondary scoring and having the worst centre depth in the league is hurting them right now.

Last Week’s Rank: 4

12. Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-1)

The loss of Sean Couturier has really hurt the Flyers as well as the struggles of franchise cornerstone Carter Hart. Captain Claude Giroux needs to also pick up the pace if the Flyers are going to capitalize on their potential.

Last Week’s Rank: 3

13. Carolina Hurricanes (3-1)

The COVID-19 virus has struck the Carolina Hurricanes and they have not played any games since last week’s rankings.

Last Week’s Rank: 16

14. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-1)

The Penguins have played better of late, but the shocking news of GM Jim Rutherford resigning indicates something to keep an eye on to see if the team can continue to chug along.

Last Week’s Rank: 17

15. Anaheim Ducks (3-3-2)

John Gibson is the early favorite for the Vezina trophy as his sensational play has helped the Ducks upset the Avalanche a few times. There are a lot of question marks with this roster but their goaltender is the only answer they have right now.

Last Week’s Rank: 26

16. Los Angeles Kings (3-3-2)

Anze Kopitar has shown that he still has a lot left in the tank at 33-years-old as he is in the top five scoring race so far this year. It remains to be seen what this team does as the season goes along.

Last Week’s Rank: 30

17. Colorado Avalanche (5-3)

Colorado has not impressed out the gate whatsoever. Losing games against the Kings and Ducks are concerning but the hope is for this team to be a well-oiled machine moving forward.

Last Week’s Rank: 10

18. New Jersey Devils (3-2-1)

Jack Hughes and Ty Smith have been excellent to start this season. However, the goalie carousel rages on in New Jersey with COVID and injuries playing a role in the team’s lineup every night.

Last Week’s Rank: 8

19. Nashville Predators (4-3)

Nashville barely beating Chicago at home is not too inspiring, as whatever this team does it constantly struggles to score goals. This team will see little success if Filip Forsberg is the only player scoring goals in the forward core.

Last Week’s Rank: 12

20. Vancouver Canucks (5-5)

Demolishing Ottawa has given confidence to the big boys of Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller which Canuck fans are hoping carries over to the rest of the season. They also cannot expect Demko to save more than 40 shots a game either.

Last Week’s Rank: 25

21. Calgary Flames (2-3-1)

After a series against the Leafs, Calgary all the sudden is right in the thick of the division after a strong start. Getting any production outside Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm has to start happening for this team to go anywhere.

Last Week’s Rank: 6

22. New York Islanders (3-4)

The lack of offensive firepower in the Trotz system has limited the team recently. Semyon Varlamov was sensational earlier but at 32-years-old, Sorokin needs to be able to take some starts away from him and play well.

Last Week’s Rank: 14

23. Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2-3)

The trigger was finally pulled on Pierre-Luc Dubois as he was traded along with a 2022 third round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. As soon as Dubois was shipped out, Columbus looked much better in their recent games.

Last Week’s Rank: 28

24. Buffalo Sabres (3-3-2)

After a terrible start, the Sabres have started to turn it around a little bit. The Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall combination has looked good so far, but the goaltending on this team is still a major question mark.

Last Week’s Rank: 29

25. San Jose Sharks (3-5)

Erik Karlsson still has yet to make an impact this season for the Sharks despite having a 10-month layoff to fully recover from whatever injuries hampered him. His days of being a top two defensemen at age 30 are long gone at this point.

Last Week’s Rank: 20

26. Arizona Coyotes (3-4-1)

Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson is now out for a few weeks and as being the main puck mover on the blueline has resulted in the Coyotes slipping in a division where no one has taken charge of yet.

Last Week’s Rank: 22

27. Edmonton Oilers (3-6)

If not for a last second win against a tired Jets team, Edmonton would be lower than they already are. Mikko Koskinen has played every game so far and that is not a good thing.

Last Week’s Rank: 24

28. Chicago Blackhawks (2-3-3)

Chicago beating up on Detroit should not inspire much confidence moving forward. Pius Suter scoring a hat trick to go along with his first career goal is a season highlight so far.

Last Week’s Rank: 31

29. Detroit Red Wings (2-5-1)

Jeff Bladshill has to be fired sometime this season. Valtteri Filppula is on some nights playing more than newly minted captain Dylan Larkin. This isn’t 2012.

Last Week’s Rank: 19

30. New York Rangers (2-4-1)

While not having the worst record in the league, the Rangers have easily been the most disappointing team in the league. Alexis Lafreniere finally scored his first NHL goal however, coach Dan Quinn’s seat should already be on fire.

Last Week’s Rank: 27

31. Ottawa Senators (1-6-1)

It’s going to be a long season for the Senators as they have struggled mightily to score goals in any capacity. Matt Murray has looked shaky to start but there is not much help in front of him.

Last Week’s Rank: 21