Updated Oct. 3
When you begin a new season as the reigning Stanley Cup champion, you are automatically entitled to be ranked as the No. 1 team in the league.
|The Red Wings signed Ty Conklin (pictured) to back up Chris Osgood after Dominik Hasek retired. (Getty Images)|
That should be a scary thought for the rest of the league, but the reality is that winning has become synonymous with the league's model organization since the early '90s, and perhaps never more so than since the lockout ended. In those three seasons, the Red Wings have demonstrated a remarkable consistency, becoming the only team to win at least 50 games in each one while amassing a total of 352 points, 36 better than the No. 2 mark in the league.
Now Detroit is set to begin its title defense with a lineup that has retained all the key members of the championship run and added offensive star Marian Hossa and quality backup goaltender Ty Conklin.
There will be challenges, of course, beginning first in the Western Conference from traditional powerhouse rivals like San Jose, Dallas and Anaheim, and from some improving upstarts such as Chicago and Edmonton. Talented Eastern Conference teams like Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and a few others could have a say in things before it's all over.
But until someone proves otherwise, the Red Wings are the leaders of the pack.
Here then are the preseason Power Rankings: