NHL Power Rankings: Rangers, Predators on the rise as Lightning stay on top

It didn't take long for the first blockbuster trade of the 2017-18 NHL season to materialize.

And what Sunday's three-way deal centered around Matt Duchene did was send a couple of would-be contenders in different directions. Whereas the Avalanche finally opted to play the long game and collect draft capital for their veteran center, the Ottawa Senators made it clear they were after an immediate boost in their race behind the white-hot Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic. The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, might have made out the best from the Duchene swap, adding Kyle Turris to their talented corps just as they wrapped up a second straight win and a step forward in a busy Central Division.

Only time will tell, of course, just how the trade affects teams' playoff hopes, but if anything, the early move suggests that a few clubs are big believers in their potential.

If anyone's justified in believing that around the league, it's the Lightning, who remain atop our power rankings after another big week from Steven Stamkos 2.0, the Nikita Kucherov setup man. Fear not, though, because we also have several teams on the move, including both New York squads.

Biggest Movers
13 Sharks
8 Wild
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Lightning How long until you're sick of hearing about Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, the dynamic duo? -- 21-6
2 Blues They're quiet no longer. Five wins in their last six games, and they're the leaders of the West. 2 21-8
3 Kings Jonathan Quick is the NHL's best model in the net outside Columbus. 1 20-8
4 Blue Jackets They've been whacked with injuries here and there, but John Tortorella has 'em rolling. 4 19-10
5 Devils Dare we suggest their youthful promise is the best in the East? -- 16-9
6 Golden Knights Goalie No. 4 just got his first career win. There's so much to love about this band of misfits. 3 19-9
7 Islanders Welcome to the top 10! Who guessed in preseason that the Islanders would be best repping New York out of the gate? Not us. 4 16-10
8 Senators Incorporating Matt Duchene should be a treat for Sens fans. They need some encouragement after four losses in six games. 2 9-12
9 Canucks There's a grit factor with these Canucks. Brock Boeser, of course, helps quite a bit. -- 14-12
10 Sharks It remains to be seen whether their streak is indicative of a real turnaround, but they're finally using that defensive talent to play games their way. 13 16-10
11 Maple Leafs It turns out you can't just score tons and tons of goals and still win. 4 20-10
12 Jets Thank goodness for Steve Mason, who so swiftly gave way to Connor Hellebuyck. 5 17-8
13 Stars Finally, they got a complete-game victory. If only it hadn't taken the Sabres to elicit their top stuff. 2 16-13
14 Predators The tides are turning here, and the addition of Kyle Turris should have Nashville roaring. The deep get deeper. 5 18-7
15 Avalanche Not so sure they'll reap immediate benefits from the Duchene deal, but they're sitting far prettier than anyone expected. 3 13-13
16 Flames A close win over the Devils on Sunday was much needed. 2 16-12
17 Flyers If they could just start on the right foot (skate), they might be a top-10 team at this point. 7 11-11
18 Blackhawks The old guard is overdue. Chicago's had just three non-empty-net goals in its last three outings. 5 14-11
19 Penguins They're really not as bad as their goal differential says they are. But they're not capitalizing on their chances. Sooner or later, this act should get together. 2 16-12
20 Red Wings Way to put the Oilers right back in their place. 2 11-13
21 Ducks John Gibson certainly hasn't been the problem of late. 7 12-11
22 Rangers For the Rangers' sake, Kevin Shattenkirk had better hope his OT winner was a sign of new life. 5 16-11
23 Capitals If they're going to overcome their inconsistencies, they need the Tom Wilsons of all lines to keep stepping up. 3 18-11
24 Wild How do you hold the Pens to one goal and, a week later, fall 2-0 to the Blackhawks? Corey Crawford, that's how, I guess. 8 15-11
25 Bruins Angry Brad Marchand is Entertaining Brad Marchand. 1 14-9
26 Hurricanes Talk out of Carolina is that Bill Peters is the No. 1 scapegoat right now. 1 11-10
27 Panthers If you wanted proof the Panthers are still a year or two away, just look at their last four games. 1 11-14
28 Canadiens Wait, so the answer to all the Habs' problems was ... replacing Carey Price? 2 13-14
29 Oilers The nightmare ends when Peter Chiarelli somehow figures out how to return help for Connor McDavid to this lineup. 1 12-16
30 Sabres Just keep Jack Eichel in mind. 1 7-17
31 Coyotes Fifteen games. Sixty-two goals allowed. Not good. -- 7-21
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