NHL Power Rankings: Predators make strongest opening statement, Rangers sink to the bottom
Taking stock of all 31 NHL teams after one week of the 2018-19 season
It's really hard to take stock of NHL teams even halfway through the season. It's even harder -- no, impossible -- to take stock of NHL teams just a week into the season.
But you know what? We're doing it anyway.
Some teams have played just one game, and others have played a handful. But hockey is back, and that's what matters! Early on, we've already got a couple of pretty solid realities: The defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals are not hung over from their title run, the Erik Karlsson trade did not make the San Jose Sharks invincible, and the New York Rangers most definitely are smack dab in the middle of a rebuild.
As we run through all 31 teams in this week's edition of NHL Power Rankings, keep in mind that we've got some gigantic risers and some monumental decliners -- but no definitive answers. The Caps may be hot along with the 2016-17 Western Conference champion Nashville Predators, and the Sharks may not amid a 1-2 start, but just because we thrust someone like the Dallas Stars into the top 10 after one week of hockey doesn't necessarily mean we think they're going to stay there. We're trying to balance season-long expectations with the small sample size we've got, so be prepared to get dizzy.
With one week down and many more to go, here's another look at the NHL pecking order:
|1||Predators||If Pekka Rinne stays upright this year, they are in for another awesome ride.||1||22-11|
|2||Lightning||Andrei Vasilevskiy: Early Vezina favorite.||1||26-7|
|3||Capitals||Hey, hey, hey. The champs are still good! And the offense is alive and well.||4||20-9|
|4||Maple Leafs||Auston Matthews can't do it all, but the workload should even out as we move forward.||1||22-10|
|5||Jets||Nothing to worry about here. Most of the guys who should be hot are hot.||2||22-10|
|6||Bruins||Thank Patrice Bergeron they were able to recover from Opening Night.||2||18-12|
|7||Ducks||These Ducks continue to find ways to fight while banged up.||7||19-12|
|8||Blackhawks||We don't expect them to stay up here for long, but just look at their goal production: Fifteen in three games!||14||11-19|
|9||Avalanche||They're going to be hard to write off as long as Nathan MacKinnon is on the ice.||10||18-10|
|10||Stars||We see you. This first line is for real.||10||17-14|
|11||Hurricanes||Only three other teams have scored more goals.||13||14-13|
|12||Sharks||Not quite the start we expected. Still, they can't fall all the way down with their defensive talent.||8||19-11|
|13||Penguins||It's hard to say whether their star power is truly in flux. It's usually safe not to bet against them.||4||15-12|
|14||Kings||They could slide soon, because the age and the injuries are already showing via Jonathan Quick.||2||12-20|
|15||Golden Knights||We knew it'd be hard to replicate 2017-18, but this was still a slower start than anticipated.||9||19-15|
|16||Devils||They've got a tough week ahead with the Caps, Sharks and Stars on tap.||1||11-14|
|17||Sabres||Yes, Jack Eichel, yes! The NHL is better if the Sabres aren't a dumpster fire.||9||20-10|
|18||Panthers||Tough loss for Bob Boughner's club in the net, but they're talented enough to be OK.||3||13-13|
|19||Flyers||Can Gritty play goalie?||6||13-15|
|20||Blue Jackets||Their offense is like clockwork. Slow, often painful, clockwork.||10||18-12|
|21||Islanders||If anyone's bound to drop from their ranking this week, it's probably them. But good for Barry Trotz.||4||17-12|
|22||Blues||They need good Jake Allen if they're going to be serious this year, and they have bad Jake Allen right now.||11||13-15|
|23||Flames||So much for an explosive start on the way to the playoffs. Mike Smith must be better.||5||22-11|
|24||Wild||They're better than No. 25, but if everyone outside Zach Parise keeps on with the status quo, there will be issues.||8||17-14|
|25||Oilers||Rough schedule to open the year traveling all over.||4||18-14|
|26||Canadiens||Maybe Carey Price is great, after all.||4||17-12|
|27||Canucks||Take a look at their youngsters and try not to get at least a little excited about their future.||2||16-17|
|28||Coyotes||They're still trying to score for the first time, so ... yeah.||5||14-17|
|29||Red Wings||At least soon there won't be any more empty red seats in the house.||1||14-16|
|30||Senators||Until the unknowns of the rebuild put things together consistently, they have to stay down here.||1||15-16|
|31||Rangers||Oh, it's bad. Fourteen allowed goals in just three games.||4||15-13|
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