Photo: Greg Forweck/Getty Images
With the month of October almost in the books, NoVa Caps ranks all 32 teams in our power rankings. Some teams who were expected to be near or at the bottom have surprised so far this season while some expected Stanley Cup contenders are off to slow starts.
32. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes have started the season 0-7-1 and rank dead last in the league in standings points, goals-per-game (1.50), goals-against per game (4.50), and penalty killing percentage (54.2%). Though, this is largely expected as Arizona stripped their team down over the offseason to begin another rebuild.
31. Chicago Blackhawks
Despite acquiring reigning Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Seth Jones over the offseason, the Blackhawks have limped out to an 0-6-2 start. They rank dead last in five-on-five team save percentage (.8497), 31st in goals-against per game (4.50), and 28th in goals-per-game (2.12). And let’s not even get into the off-ice issues in Chicago that are a huge distraction.
30. Los Angeles Kings
The new offseason additions are taking time to integrate into the Kings’ system as Los Angeles is off to just a 1-5-1 start. The Kings rank 31st on the penalty kill (61.9%), 26th in goals-against per game (3.29), and 27th in goals-per-game (2.29). Things just got even worse as the team just announced that defenseman Drew Doughty will miss eight weeks due to a knee injury.
29. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens were expected to be worse than last season, when they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, with the losses of defenseman Shea Weber, center Philipp Danault, and left-wing Tomas Tatar but not 2-6-0 bad. Though, the loss of goaltender Carey Price, who entered the NHL’s player assistance program earlier this month, hurt this team.
28. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are 2-4-3 and rank 29th with an average of 3.56 goals-against per game. Goaltender John Gibson has not been as good as he needs to be as he is 2-2-2 with a .908 save percentage and a 3.07 goals-against average this season. Center Rickard Rakell was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury on Friday.
27. Nashville Predators
The Predators, who started a mini-rebuild over the offseason, have started 3-4-0 but defenseman Roman Josi has gotten off to a solid start with three goals, nine points, and a +5 rating in seven games this season.
26. Ottawa Senators
The Senators are also 3-4-0 to start the season but right-wing Drake Batherson has started out hot as he has four goals and seven points in seven games.
The Blue Jackets have started out better than expected as they are 4-3-0 through seven games but started a rebuild last season.
24. Seattle Kraken
After a 1-4-1 start, the Kraken have won two in a row, including a 4-1 win at home against the 5-2-0 Minnesota Wild. Left-wing Brandon Tanev has gotten off to a flying start with his new team with six goals in eight games but reigning Vezina Trophy nominee Philipp Grubauer is just 3-3-1 with an .897 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.
23. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are 3-4-1 and their offense has underperformed so far this season with an average of just 2.50 goals-per-game (24th). On the bright side, their goaltending tandem of Thatcher Demko (.921 save percentage, 2.62 goals-against average) and Jaroslav Halak (.917 save percentage, 2.07 goals-against average) has been rock solid.
22. Dallas Stars
Goaltender Braden Holtby may be on his way to a renaissance season in Dallas as he has started with a .926 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average. Unfortunately, he has not gotten a lot of offensive support as the Stars have averaged 1.75 goals-per-game (31st) and he has a 2-3-0 as a result. Though, defenseman Miro Heiskanen (two goals, seven points in eight games) has gotten off to a nice start.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have not started the season well as they are 3-4-1. Even worse, right-wing Mitch Marner has just two assists in eight games while center Auston Matthews has just a goal and two points in five games. Their average of 2.00 goals-per-game ranks 29th while their 12% power-play efficiency is 28th.
20. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche have allowed an average of 3.71 goals-per-game (30th) and have scored an average of 2.71 goals-per-game, though defenseman Devon Toews, center Nathan MacKinnon, and left-wing Gabriel Landeskog have all missed time this season. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper has not been as advertised so far as he has started 3-3-0 with an .893 save percentage and a 3.19 goals-against average. It’s still early, but this has been a disappointing spot for the Avalanche.
19. San Jose Sharks
After a surprising 4-0-0 start to the season the Sharks have lost three straight, including back-to-back losses to the Predators and Canadiens where they were outscored 7-1. Right-wing Timo Meier and center Logan Couture have both gotten off to nice starts as each has nine points through seven games this season.
18. Boston Bruins
The Bruins got off to a 3-1-0 start before dropping back-to-back road games to the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes where they were out scored 7-1. The Bruins are clearly better that the ranking indicates, but their 3-3 record to date is mediocre for a team with the talent they have.
17. New York Islanders
The Islanders have started a grueling stretch where they start the season with 13 games on the road by going 1-2-1 but won two straight (both shutouts), including a 2-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
16. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have looked determined to take a step forward to start the season as they are 4-2-2 without their leading scorer from last season in left-wing Jakub Vrana. Though, losing to the Canadiens 6-1 was a low.
15. New Jersey Devils
After making some significant upgrades over the offseason, the Devils have started 3-2-0 with their only losses coming against the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames. Center Pavel Zacha seems poised to take another leap forward as he has earned four goals and five points in five games.
14. Vegas Golden Knights
After trading Fleury in the offseason and losing right-wing Mark Stone and left-wing Max Pacioretty to injury early in the season, the Golden Knights got off to a 1-4-0 start but have won three straight, including back-to-back wins over the Avalanche and Stars. Center Chandler Stephenson is Vegas’ surprise leading scorer with four goals and nine points in eight games.
13. Tampa Bay Lightning
The defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions have started the season 4-3-1 but lost right-wing Nikita Kucherov for 8-10 weeks due to a lower-body injury earlier this week. Center Steven Stamkos has come out hot with five goals and 12 points in eight games.
12. Buffalo Sabres
With a resolution to the Jack Eichel situation rumored to be close, the Sabres have surprised many to start this season as they are 5-1-1, including a 5-1 win over the Lightning earlier this week. Though, do not get your hopes up as we have seen this movie many times with this team and their .9497 five-on-five save percentage will likely come down with Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski as their tandem.
11. Winnipeg Jets
After an 0-2-1 start, the Jets have won four straight but against the Ducks, Predators, and Kings. Their only real test so far this season has come against the Wild, which they lost 6-5 in overtime. Left-wing Kyle Connor has gotten off to a nice start with six goals and 13 points in seven games but goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has just an .891 save percentage and a 3.67 goals-against average.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh is 3-2-2 but center Sidney Crosby is set to make his season debut against the Devils on Saturday. Rookie left-wing Drew O’Connor has started hot out of the gates with three goals and five points in six games as have center Evan Rodrigues and left-wing Danton Heinen, who have the same stat line through seven. In addition, goaltender Tristan Jarry has been solid with a .933 save percentage and 1.78 goals-against average in five games. Though, center Evgeni Malkin will be on the shelf until at least December with a knee injury. Right-wing Bryan Rust is also out due to a lower-body injury.
9. New York Rangers
After starting the season with back-t0-back losses, the Rangers have won five out of six with their only loss coming against the red hot Calgary Flames. Defenseman Adam Fox has picked up where he left off last season as he has seven assists and eight points in eight games and goaltender Igor Shesterkin is 4-1-1 with a .944 save percentage, a 1.81 goals-against average, and one shutout. They are a big reason why the Rangers are fifth in the NHL with a 2.25 goals-against per game average.
8. Philadelphia Flyers
The orange and black have started the season 4-1-1 and center Sean Couturier has come out of the gate flying with six assists and nine points in six games. Newly-acquired right-wing Cam Atkinson has fit in well with six goals and seven points. Their goaltending tandem of Carter Hart and Martin Jones has also started well.
For the second consecutive season, the Capitals have started 5-0-3. They have allowed an average of just 2.38 goals-per-game (sixth). Left-wing Alex Ovechkin shows no signs of slowing down with as he leads the NHL with nine goals and co-leads the league with 15 points, and center Evgeny Kuznetsov has come out hot with five goals and 12 points (fourth). Though, they are 0-3 in overtime this season and center Nicklas Backstrom and right-wing T.J. Oshie will miss some more time due to injury.
6. Minnesota Wild
The Wild are 5-2-0 and right-wing Mats Zuccarello has come out swinging this season with three goals and seven points in six games. Though, their 3.00 goals-per-game (13th) and 3.14 goals-against per game (23rd) are rather ordinary.
5. Calgary Flames
The Flames have been a surprise team to start this season after sweeping a five-game Eastern Conference road trip, which followed a 0-1-1 start. Center Elias Lindholm (seven goals, eight points), left-wing Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, 10 points), and left-wing Andrew Mangiapane (seven goals) have all come to play this season while goaltender Jacob Markstrom is 3-1-1 with a .952 save percentage, a 1.59 goals-against average, and two shutouts. They now begin a five-game homestand against the Flyers on Saturday.
4. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers have also gotten off to a surprisingly good start as their five-game season-opening win-streak came to an end with a 5-3 loss to the Flyers on Wednesday. Center Connor McDavid is tied for the league-lead in points (15) and second in goals (seven). Meanwhile, the Oilers also have three of the top-six assist leaders in center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (nine), McDavid (eight), and center Leon Draisaitl (eight). Goaltender Mikko Koskinen has also started out nicely with a .926 save percentage and a 2.62 goals-against average in four games.
3. St. Louis Blues
The Blues started the season 5-0-0 before falling to the Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday. Center Jordan Kyrou has been a surprise to start the season as he has seven assists and nine points in six games and right-wing Vladimir Tarasenko has come out hot with four goals and eight points.
2. Florida Panthers
The Panthers are a league-best 8-0-0 but lost their head coach Joel Quenneville on Thursday after he resigned in the wake of the Blackhawks sexual assault scandal. Left-wing Jonathan Huberdeau has three goals and 10 points to start the season and center Aleksander Barkov has four goals and nine points. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is finally fitting into Florida’s system as he is 6-0-0 with a .944 save percentage and 1.81 goals-against average.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
The 7-0-0 Hurricanes get the slight edge over the Panthers with reigning Jack Adams Award winner Rod Brind’Amour behind the bench. Right-wing Andrei Svechnikov (seven goals, 11 points) has earned a point in every game this season and a goal in all but one. Center Sebastian Aho has also started out well with five goals and 10 points. Meanwhile, goaltender Frederik Andersen has made his case for the starter’s job as he has gone 6-0-0 with a .956 save percentage, a 1.33 goals-against average, and one shutout.
By Harrison Brown