Do NHL Power Rankings Matter?
Do early season NHL power ratings mean anything? With a long season ahead and so much volatility in the league, can we place any stock in the best-to-worst team rankings?
Since we're on the subject, let's look at this week's power rankings according to NBC Sports:
1. Florida Panthers (LW: 5). A three-game winning streak, including wins against Washington and St. Louis, helps the Panthers regain the top spot. They have the league’s best record (by points percentage) and have built a heck of a team.
2. New York Rangers (LW: 9). Are they best team in hockey? Not sure of that. But they have superstars in the right places to carry them pretty far. Their only loss over the past month was a 2-1 loss to Toronto, another of the league’s hottest teams at the moment.
3. Minnesota Wild (LW: 10). He is not the only one responsible for it, but it is amazing how much the arrival of Kirill Kaprizov a year ago completely changed the identity and playing style of this team.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 1). Little bit of a slip-up the past two games but they are still playing great hockey this season. The past will haunt them until they do something different, but try to enjoy the moment if you are a Maple Leafs fan.
5. Washington Capitals (LW: 2). The way they have continued to score goals and win with so many key players sidelined has been impressive, and overshadowed a nice bounce back season so far for Ilya Samsonov in net. Also, Alex Ovechkin keeps chasing Wayne Gretzky.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 7). The way this team is still playing without Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point at the moment is absurd. An insanely deep team and organization. You do not win back-to-back Stanley Cups by accident.
7. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 6). Cale Makar is going to be one of those guys that is head and shoulders above everybody else at his position.
8. Calgary Flames (LW: 9). The defense and goaltending has been great, but they are still scoring goals, too. Johnny Gaudreau specifically is having a huge year. Good news for him in a contract year.
9. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 3). The true barometer for this team will be what they look like when their power play and penalty kill numbers come back to earth a little bit.
10. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 4). Their only wins over the past seven games have come against Philadelphia and Buffalo. They have hit their first slump of the season. Not going to worry too much yet.
11. Dallas Stars (LW: 15). Things are starting to come together here for the Stars as they are looking like the team they were supposed to be. They have won nine of their past 10 games, allowing more than two goals in just one of those games. As of Tuesday they have a six-game winning streak.
12. Las Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 11). Still trying to find some consistency, but given the injury situation they have done their job to stay in it until everybody can get back in the lineup (and that is starting to happen).
13. Boston Bruins (LW: 12). They are keeping the seat warm for Tuukka Rask. The question, though, is can they find somebody to play center?
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 14). Jake Guentzel is one of the best wingers in hockey and he is playing some of the best hockey of his career right now.
15. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 17). They are starting to play their way out of the slump that took over most of November. Still feels like Connor Hellebuyck has another level he can get to this season.
16. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 22). The two players they need to be great (Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider) look great, and they are still in playoff contention approaching the new calendar year. Not only are better days ahead, they are close.
17. St. Louis Blues (LW: 13). They started the year 7-1-1 but are just 5-7-3 in the 15 games since then. Trending in the wrong direction.
18. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 19). Will they make the playoffs? Not sure, but they are absolutely exceeding expectations and have some real promise ahead.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 16). Columbus is better than expected right now, but is that going to be enough to sneak in the playoffs?
20. Nashville Predators (LW: 18). This might be the best Nashville can hope for right now with this group: Fringe playoff contention.
21. San Jose Sharks (LW: 23). The biggest shocker of the season might be the play of James Reimer in goal. They might have had another Stanley Cup Final appearance over the past six years with goaltending like he is giving them.
22. Seattle Kraken (LW: 24). Big step backward against Pittsburgh on Monday night but they are still 5-2-1 over the past eight games so they are definitely going in the right direction.
23. New Jersey Devils (LW: 20). Such a promising start that is getting erased.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 25). They have been a lot better since the coaching change but they buried themselves with such a terrible start.
25. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 20). The thought here was that if Carter Hart was good, the Flyers would be good. He has been good, and the Flyers have still been lousy. Not exactly a good sign for the rest of the team.
26. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 26). They are either winning a lot of games in a row or losing a lot of games in a row. Right now it is more of the latter.
27. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 27). Tough to see how things get better anytime soon here with this roster. It is a long road back to the playoffs.
28. New York Islanders (LW: 28). The losing streak is now at 11 games. Some of it is out of their control with their COVID issues and mounting injuries, but nothing is going well here even outside of that.
29. Ottawa Senators (LW: 32). They strung together a couple of wins this week but this is still a bleak situation with little progress.
30. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 31). The significant organizational changes were long overdue.
31. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 30). They did not need injuries to Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli. That makes an already thin lineup even thinner.
32. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 32). You have to look for positives here. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a positive, if only to be used as another trade chip.