Thanksgiving, one of the most underrated holidays on the calendar, offers a chance to express gratitude for the little things in our lives. In this week's edition of the NHL Power Rankings, we find something for every team to be thankful for, regardless of its position in the standings.
For the Stanley Cup contenders, it's a relatively easy exercise. The Dallas Stars, the new No. 1 team in our power rankings, have a laundry list of things to appreciate. They score goals. They get saves. They pile up wins. It's going to be a bountiful hockey Thanksgiving in The Lone Star State.
For the teams with a little less luster than the Stars, there are still reasons to be grateful. Granted, some of them are a little harder to find than others, but that just makes them even more special. Even the Edmonton Oilers can celebrate a silver lining, despite the fact that they celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, which was last month.
Let's take a look at the newest NHL Power Rankings while celebrating the spirit of Thanksgiving this week.
All expected goals and goals saved above average data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
|Depth | The Stars have gotten off to an excellent start, and their elite depth has been on full display. Nine different Dallas players have scored at least four goals this season. For contrast, the Avalanche and Golden Knights each have six. The Stars have made a concerted effort to upgrade their forward group as a whole, and it has paid off. Free agent acquisition Matt Duchene already has 15 points on the season. That takes a lot of pressure off the Stars' top weapons.
|Power plays | Few teams in the NHL are more excited to see an opposing player make the shameful skate to the penalty box than the Rangers. With weapons like Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox, they are built to hammer teams on the man advantage. They have 10.3 xGF/60 on the power play, which has led to the Blueshirts converting on 32.7% of their opportunities. Both of those numbers rank second in the NHL.
|Stability | Over the last handful of years, the Bruins have seen heart-and-soul players leave the franchise. Zdeno Chara. David Krejci. Tuukka Rask. Patrice Bergeron. David Krejci again. Losing those types of players might sink other franchises. However, the Bruins have kept chugging along, now with players like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy leading the charge. It seems like Boston has built a self-sustaining machine.
|Sam Reinhart | With 14 goals in 18 games, Reinhart is off to a silly start in Florida. Reinhart has been a consistent scorer throughout his career, and especially after joining the Panthers in 2020, but this is another level of absurdity. Reinhart's career high is 33 goals, and he is on pace for 67 in 2023-24. I don't think he'll get there, but Florida will be more than happy to ride out this hot streak in the meantime.
|Hotel beds | I'm not sure whether the Kings have poor mattress quality at their homes or what, but they are absolutely thriving on the road this season. Los Angeles is 8-0-0 away from Crypto.com Arena, so I can only assume that the players really love some quality room service and a high thread count. Now they just need to make their L.A. residences more reminiscent of that hotel experience.
|Quinn Hughes | The Canucks' captain leads all players -- not just all defensemen -- in points this season. David Pastrnak, Nikita Kucherov, Cale Makar and literally everyone else are looking up at him right now. Vancouver has outscored opponents 23-11 with Hughes on the ice at five-on-five. Hughes is playing at the top of his game right now, and he is the biggest reason for the Canucks' hot start, which has vaulted them to No. 2 in the Pacific Division.
|Shot attempts | The Hurricanes are not afraid to let it fly from anywhere on the ice. Last season, they led the NHL with 4,450 shot attempts at five-on-five, which was over 100 more than the next closest team. This season, Carolina is on pace to lead the league yet again with 974 five-on-five shot attempts through 17 games. The Canes are more than willing to bombard teams with shots until they finally break down.
|Alka-Seltzer | A Stanley Cup celebration in Las Vegas is enough to turn anyone's brain into mush for a couple months. That's why no one would have blamed the Golden Knights for getting off to a slow start in 2023-24, but it seems like head coach Bruce Cassidy had the right cure for a Stanley Cup hangover in his office. Vegas is 13-4-2 and leads the Pacific Division after a torrid start.
|Cale Makar | If this one seems a little obvious, that's because Makar left me no choice on this one. If you thought Erik Karlsson's 101-point season was impressive last year, just wait until you find out that Makar is on pace for 130 points this season. He's also on a seven-game point streak and has three points in each of his last five. Did I mention Colorado is controlling 57.1% of the expected goals with him on the ice at five-on-five?
|William Nylander | That William Nylander is so hot right now. Coming off an exceptional showing in the NHL Global Series last weekend, Nylander has started the 2023-24 season with points in 17 straight games. He leads the Maple Leafs with 30 points, and the team has shelled opponents when Nylander has been in the game at five-on-five. The only problem for Toronto now is that the price for Nylander's next contract only increases by the day.
|Balance | Winnipeg is getting the job done at both ends of the ice so far this season. Not only are the Jets fifth in GF/60 at five-on-five (3.07), but they are also seventh in GA/60 (2.09). That has led to a 10-5-2 start for Winnipeg, and it seems like the team has put the disappointing end to 2022-23 behind it. The Jets seem poised to fill the vacuum that is third place in the Central Division with so many other teams off to pedestrian starts.
|Longevity | The Lightning's main core has a lot of mileage on it. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman are all at least 30 years old. Andrei Vasilevskiy is knocking on that door at the age of 29. Few players are able to maintain an elite level of play at that stage in their careers, but the veteran Bolts have done just that. All of the aforementioned players are still key cogs in a Stanley Cup contender, and they really haven't shown any signs of slowing down.
|Extending the window | When you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on the roster, rebuilding is not an option. That's why new GM Kyle Dubas made it abundantly clear this past offseason that he doesn't have much interest in tinkering around the edges. He went out and landed Erik Karlsson in a blockbuster deal, and the Penguins are going all-in to win the Stanley Cup for at least one more year.
|Positive health updates | The Devils have been banged up to start the 2023-24 season, and you can see that in the standings. New Jersey is currently out of a playoff spot with one day until Thanksgiving, but missing your top two centers will have that effect on a team. That said, the health news has been somewhat positive lately. Jack Hughes returned to action last Saturday against the Rangers, and Nico Hischier has returned to practice. Now, the Devils just need to get Timo Meier back on the ice.
|John Tortorella | I didn't like the hire when the Flyers made it, but I think Tortorella has handled this young roster better than I anticipated. In Tortorella's second season on the job, Philadelphia is 10-7-1 and second in the Metro Division, and it isn't even riding an unsustainable run of shooting or goaltending. The Flyers are ninth in five-on-five expected goal differential (52.64%). Tortorella is getting through to this team.
|Saves | The Capitals have gotten a lot of them lately. Since Nov. 1, they are 5-1-1, and their team save percentage is 93.37%, which is good for sixth in the NHL over that stretch. Charlie Lindgren has had a lot to do with that. His 7.28 goals saved above average in November are third in the league, and Lindgren has played in just four games. He has been saving the Caps' bacon a lot lately.
|Last season, there was zero optimism in Anaheim, but things are drastically different in 2023-24. The Ducks are playing fun hockey, they're winning games and their future looks very bright. Mason McTavish, Troy Terry, and Pavel Mintyukov all look like they could be star players for a long time. Even John Gibson looks rejuvenated. Trevor Zegras is off to a slower start, but even with that, it looks like the defensive side of his game has taken a step forward.
|Jeff Skinner | The Sabres are having some trouble finding offense this season, but that is not the case for Skinner. He leads the Sabres in goals with eight and continues to defy Father Time. In his 30-year-old season last year, Skinner tallied 35 goals, and he's well on his way to hitting that mark again in 2023-24. He just needs a little more help from the rest of the roster.
|The Yzerplan | The Red Wings' rebuild is still in progress, and they have cooled off after a hot start. Still, there are some things to like about what Steve Yzerman has done in Detroit. He has acquired some solid young talent and filled out the rest of the roster with some veteran presence. Will it all come together one day? Maybe. Maybe not. But there is a clear vision for the Red Wings, it comes from a franchise legend -- and "Yzerplan" is fun to say.
|Competence | Arizona has been the butt of jokes in the last handful of years. Outside of their sweet kachina jerseys, there hasn't been much to like about the Coyotes. Between their arena issues and the on-ice product being anywhere from putrid to mediocre, it was hard to get excited about them. Now, the Yotes are one of the most exciting teams in the league. Their young prospects are starting to come into their own, Clayton Keller is becoming a real star, and the team took active steps to ice a possible playoff team in the offseason. What a turnaround.
|Youth | We here at CBS Sports recently ranked the best young cores in the NHL, and the Senators were near the top of the list. That's because they have a slew of highly talented players at or under the age of 26. That means their best hockey is likely still ahead of them. Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stützle are leading that pack, and Ottawa has a lot to look forward to, even if this season doesn't quite pan out.
|Bounce-backs | After a disastrous season in 2022-23, the Blues have been an improved team this year. A lot of that rebound is due to the goaltending of Jordan Binnington and the production of Robert Thomas. Binnington went from -19.1 GSAA last year (101st) to 7.29 GSAA this year (seventh), and he has already stolen several games. Likewise, Thomas just had an eight-game point streak snapped, and he has 17 points in 17 games. He looks much better after taking a bit of a step back last season.
|Weak division | The Flames have gotten off to a poor start this season, but despite all their issues, I'm not writing off their playoff chances yet. That's mainly because the Pacific Division is pretty top heavy. Outside of the top three teams -- one of which is due for some major regression -- no one has really stepped up as a threat. The Kraken have taken a step back, the Ducks still have their flaws, the Oilers are a disaster, and the Sharks are the worst team in hockey. The Flames have won five of their last eight and have started to turn things around.
|Discipline | All NHL teams love to stay out of the box, but that's especially true with the Islanders. They have one of the worst penalty kill units in the NHL this season. They've killed opposing power plays at a rate of just 69.5%, which ranks 31st, and they're giving up quality looks at one of the highest rates in the NHL. The penalty kill just continues to burn the Isles.
|Regression | Frankly, the Oilers have to be thankful for regression because it's one of the only things giving them hope that the season can turn around. Edmonton is 30th in the league standings, but they are fourth in five-on-five expected goals share (56.2%). On top of that, the Oilers' five-on-five shooting percentage sits at 6.61%, which also ranks 30th. Eventually, that should improve, but will it be in time for this team to make a playoff push?
|Overtime | Don't let the Kraken's place in the standings fool you. They have not played well in the early going, but they still occupy a wild card spot. That;s because five of the team's 13 losses have come in overtime or a shootout, the most in the NHL. That has allowed Seattle to remain afloat in the playoff race while it sorts out some early-season issues.
|Change | The Predators hadn't been Stanley Cup contenders in a while, and they finally decided to make sweeping changes this past offseason. There is a new GM and head coach in town, and several franchise icons were shipped out to make room for younger players. Nashville has taken its lumps early in the 2023-24 season, but it's encouraging that the organization recognized that things had stagnated on and off the ice. Now, there are fresh eyes in charge in the front office and behind the bench.
|Rising salary cap | The Wild have fallen behind in the Western Conference playoff race already, and a team with postseason expectations doesn't exactly have room to make upgrades. That's because Minnesota is carrying $15 million in dead cap money through 2024-25, thanks to the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Even though the Wild can't do much about it this year, the increased salary cap should give them more wiggle room next summer.
|Sean Monahan | Monahan has been one of the best early-season surprises this season. After injuries derailed his first season with the Canadiens, Monahan has been cooking through the first 18 games of this season. Monahan already has six goals, which matches his total from 2022-23, and he has been a menace in front of the net. At this rate, Montreal will be able to get a nice return for the pending UFA at the trade deadline.
|Connor Bedard | I have a sneaking suspicion the Blackhawks will be thankful for Bedard for a very long time. The Blackhawks won the most hotly contested draft lottery in years, and they are already reaping the rewards. Bedard instantly made Chicago roughly 10 times more watchable, and he is averaging nearly a point per game as a rookie.
|Ohio State football | Big game up in Ann Arbor this weekend, huh? Should be a great week to focus on that and ignore the fact that the Blue Jackets have won one of their last 10 games and head coach Pascal Vincent just healthy scratched Patrik Laine! Nothing bad going on here, no siree.
|The fleeting nature of life | This season will be long and miserable, but it will end eventually. Nothing lasts forever, not even this 2023-24 Sharks season. Of course, the team will have to take the ice in 2024-25, but things can't really get much worse than they already are.