NHL Power Rankings: From Maple Leafs to Red Wings, the best thing going for each team so far
After two weeks of hockey, here's what each team can hang its hat on
The 2018-19 NHL season is chugging along, and we've now had about two weeks of hockey to digest -- or regurgitate, depending on whether or not you follow the Detroit Red Wings.
Early on, we've had some contenders showcase their stuff -- the Toronto Maple Leafs are particularly promising with their juiced-up corps starring Auston Matthews, as expected. We've had some lowly clubs surprise with hot starts -- the Ottawa Senators aren't nearly as unwatchable as we predicted thanks to a ridiculous amount of shots on goal, but we'll see how long that lasts. And we've had some anticipated playoff candidates stumble out of the gate -- the Florida Panthers, a popular wild-card pick, entered this week without a win, and the San Jose Sharks, despite their all-world blue line, have been slow to gel.
It's all a pretty nice microcosm of two weeks in an NHL season, where teams can stack up points in a hurry.
This week, as we run through all 31 teams around the league, we've decided to stick to the positives (mostly). In the latest edition of NHL Power Rankings, we're not only shuffling the 2018-19 pecking order, which the Maple Leafs now sit atop, but also identifying the best thing that each and every club has going for it after about 14 days of regular-season action:
|1||Maple Leafs||When Auston Matthews slows down, there will be plenty of guys who pick up the slack.||3||46-28|
|2||Predators||Ryan Johansen is back.||1||47-29|
|3||Bruins||Patrice! (And also: They apparently have some nice Tuukka Rask insurance.)||3||49-24|
|4||Hurricanes||They're aggressive, and they don't plan on changing.||7||46-29|
|5||Devils||They're collecting wins as fast as they can. (Seriously. This was supposed to be a year for regression, so a 3-0 start goes a long way.)||11||31-41|
|6||Lightning||Just check their roster. Get their scorers angry over a goal drought, and they light it up.||4||62-16|
|7||Ducks||John Gibson. Hands down.||--||35-37|
|8||Avalanche||This space should probably just say "Nathan MacKinnon" regardless of the question.||1||38-30|
|9||Capitals||Alex Ovechkin, experience and the fact we're only a half-dozen games in.||6||48-26|
|10||Jets||Their young talent. Cop-out? Perhaps, but nothing is more promising for their turnaround than their youth.||5||47-30|
|11||Stars||That first line. How beautiful it is.||1||43-32|
|12||Blackhawks||Lucky pucks and overtime periods.||4||36-34|
|13||Canadiens||Just a man named Carey Price.||13||44-30|
|14||Penguins||Evgeni Malkin is on a tear, and Sidney Crosby is still on the team.||1||44-26|
|15||Flames||Mike Smith can still be a whole lot better.||8||50-25|
|16||Sabres||Conor Sheary has life outside of Pittsburgh.||1||33-39|
|17||Canucks||They were able to muster three wins before Elias Pettersson went down.||10||35-36|
|18||Sharks||They have big names? (Seriously: There's plenty of time to gel.)||6||46-27|
|19||Blue Jackets||Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are playing for next year's contracts.||1||47-31|
|20||Kings||You can pretty much only get better on offense. (Well, kind of.)||6||31-42|
|21||Islanders||Mathew Barzal's upside.||--||48-27|
|22||Flyers||They'll get James van Riemsdyk back some day.||3||37-37|
|23||Panthers||Roberto Luongo shall return.||5||36-32|
|24||Blues||The defense in front of streaky Jake Allen is at least doing its part most of the time.||2||45-28|
|25||Senators||They're getting good practice with lots and lots and lots of shots.||5||29-47|
|26||Wild||They can't possibly keep losing so many one-goal affairs.||2||37-36|
|27||Golden Knights||They're doing just fine with possession of the puck.||12||43-32|
|28||Oilers||Connor McDavid. That's all.||3||35-38|
|29||Coyotes||You can only get shut out so many times.||1||39-35|
|30||Rangers||They've got just enough to make the rebuild appear competitive.||1||32-36|
|31||Red Wings||Again: The empty seats will now be black instead of red.||2||32-40|
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