The 2023 NHL Season is now nearly three weeks in the books. With Halloween on Tuesday night, nothing may be more frightening than what's going on in the province of Alberta right now. Lauded by many as one of the odds-on favorites to capture the Stanley Cup, the Edmonton Oilers have stumbled out of the gate. Following their 3-0 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers on Friday night, Jay Woodcroft's group has lost four of their last five games to sit seventh in the Pacific Division.
Meanwhile, for their neighbors three hours to the south, things haven't been much better for the Calgary Flames. Now under the guidance of new head coach Ryan Huska after choosing to part ways with Darryl Sutter, Calgary was booed off the ice on the back of their shutout loss to the St Louis Blues on Thursday Night. In the debut of our weekly power rankings article, here is where every team stands with November on the horizon.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
Despite falling to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, the defending Stanley Cup Champions have picked up right where they left off last year, rattling off six straight victories to open the season. The Golden Knights have a surplus of depth scoring with talented players up and down their lineup. Furthermore, with two elite goaltenders in Adin Hill and Logan Thompson, who sit top 10 in the NHL in save percentage and goals against average.
2. Colorado Avalanche
The current leader of the Central Divison, the Avalanche, have once again been led by the play of their trio of superstars in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. However, no player has been a bigger bright spot for the team than Ryan Johansen. Bringing him in from the Nashville Predators in the offseason, the 31-year-old center has scored four goals in six games to begin the year.
3. Boston Bruins
Boston was expected by many as a team to take a step back. Both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired following the conclusion of last season. Instead, the Bruins have the top record in the Eastern Conference. They have picked up points in each of their first eight games. Give credit to 19-year-old Matthew Poitras, who has stepped in and given the team depth when it was desperately searching for some.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Set to return home after picking up 7 out of 10 possible points on their road trip, the Maple Leafs could finally have themselves a homegrown star franchise goaltender. Stepping in for the struggling Ilya Samsonov, Joseph Woll has won each of his last three starts while posting a 1.33 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage.
5. New Jersey Devils
The early front-runner for the Hart Trophy, Jack Hughes, had quickly blossomed into one of the game's brightest superstars. Through seven games, the former number-one overall pick has five goals and 13 assists to lead the league with 17 points. What remains concerning for New Jersey fans is the team's back end. Struggling to fill the losses of both Ryan Graves and Damon Severson in the offseason, the Devils are allowing nearly four goals per game.
6. Dallas Stars
With wins over the Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins this past week, the Stars are beginning to pick up momentum. With all the makings of a true Stanley Cup contender, Joe Pavelski continues to get it done year in and year out. He leads the team in goals (3) and points (6). Paired with the play of Jake Oettinger, the 24-year-old has posted a 1.44 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage through four starts. They will be tough to beat if he can keep that play up all season long.
7. New York Rangers
Aiming to sweep their five-game road trip on Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, the Rangers knocked off the Seattle Kraken, Flames, and Oilers by a combined margin of 10-2. Home to one of the best power plays in the NHL, New York is clicking at 34.48 percent with the extra man, the second-highest mark in the league.
8. Detroit Red Wings
Props to general manager Steve Yzerman for his additions in the offseason to help bolster a young Red Wings group. Through six games, Detroit leads all teams with 36 goals scored. Looking rejuvenated in the rear of a down year with the Ottawa Senators, Alex Debrincat leads the NHL in goals (9) while only trailing his teammate Dylan Larkin and Hughes in points (13).
9. Los Angeles Kings
Following their back-to-back wins over the Arizona Coyotes this week, the Kings have won four of their last five while picking up points in five of their previous six. Home to one of the deepest forward cores in the NHL, five players on the team have already recorded seven or more points. If both Cam Talbot and Pheonix Copley can hold up in between the pipes, Los Angeles is a dark horse threat to win the Western Conference.
10. Vancouver Canucks
In one of the surprises across the league, the Canucks have jumped out to a 5-2-1 start. Knocking off the Blues on Friday night, Quinn Hughes continued to build on his early bid for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman. The Florida native scored his second and third goals of the year to bring his season point total up to eight.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
Shaking off their slow start, the Lightning have settled into a groove. The team blanked the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. They followed up with a 6-0 beatdown of the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. With massive question marks in goal after losing star netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jonas Johansson has held his own as the starter. Giving Tampa Bay a chance to win each night, he owns a 2.56 save percentage and a .925 goals-against average across seven starts.
12. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina lost three straight games to close out their road trip. The Hurricanes returned home and got back in the win column with victories over the Kraken and the Sharks. Nonetheless, the club continues to have problems on the blue line, leading them to give up an NHL-worst 4.71 goals per game. Brett Pesce going on the injured reserve list doesn't figure to help this situation.
13. Florida Panthers
Matthew Thachuk has scored just one goal in his first seven games. Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky has been inconsistent, with four goals allowed on 29 shots in his most recent start against the Canucks. Enter Sam Reinhart and Evan Rodrigues, who have both stepped up to help the defending Eastern Conference champions get back over .500. The former has scored seven goals in his first seven games, while the latter is pacing the group in assists (6).
14. Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg had its four-game losing streak snapped by the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. The Jets blew a two-goal lead before falling in a shootout. Connor Hellebuyck is beginning to play better. After allowing 13 goals in his first three starts, the one-time Vezina Trophy winner has surrendered just five in his previous three.
15. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota has lost five of its last six games on the back of its 3-0 start to the season. Primarily due to a mounting list of injuries, the Wild have been without their captain and top blue liner Jared Spurgeon. He has yet to play in a game this season due to an upper-body injury. Moreover, following the first 30-goal campaign of his young career last season, Matthew Boldy has appeared in just two games due to an upper-body injury.
16. Philadelphia Flyers
Coming off a 75-point campaign in 2022, to the shock of many, the Flyers entered the week atop the Metropolitan division. This is despite a tough schedule that has seen them face off against the Golden Knights, Stars, and Oilers. Benefitting from the return of both veterans Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier, the duo has combined for 15 points while playing over 17 minutes a night.
17. New York Islanders
For the Islanders, the good is that their goaltending tandem of Illya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov will give the team a chance to win every night. Already the first duo on the year to each record a shutout, New York owns the sixth-lowest team save percentage at .921. Nevertheless, Lane Lambert's group needs to find more scoring production to take the pressure off both their netminders.
18. Nashville Predators
Largely a new group under new general manager Barry Trotz, the Predators aggressively retooled in the offseason by bringing in multiple veteran players, including Ryan O Reilly and Luke Schenn. Enjoying an up-and-down start to the season, one area the team has improved mightily is with the man advantage. The team clicked at the six-lowest rate in 2022. Nashville's power play is hitting at 23.53 percent to begin this season.
19. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa looked to be a contender for the Atlantic Division early on. However, they have dropped three of their last four games. The team is again hindered by the issues that plagued them a year ago. Both Anton Forsberg and their big offseason acquisition, Joonas Korpisalo, have struggled in the net. Moreover, DJ Smith's group is still way too sloppy in their own end.
20. Buffalo Sabres
With the hopes of taking the next step forward this season, Buffalo finished one point out of the playoffs a year ago. The Sabres' potent offense has gotten off to a slow start. Don Granato's group ranks in the bottom half of the league in both goals per game (2.88) and shots on net per game (30.1). Goaltender Devon Levi is still not ready to return from a lower-body injury. Things do not get any easier for Don Granato's group with games against the Flyers and Maple Leafs on the horizon this week.
21. Montreal Canadiens
Holding onto the third spot in the Atlantic Division after their 5-2-1 start, this Montreal team will be pesky all year long. Back following his season-ending shoulder surgery in 2022, Cole Caufield is one of the most exciting young players in hockey, with all the makings of a future 40-goal scorer. Furthermore, Sean Monahan is beginning to turn back into the player who saw him get drafted sixth overall by Calgary.
22. Edmonton Oilers
Without Connor McDavid over the last week, the Oilers went 0-2 without the reigning Hart Trophy winner while being outscored 11-4. Ultimately returning against their provincial rivals, the Flames, in the NHL's heritage classic on Sunday, Edmonton finally appeared to look like the team many people picked to win the Stanley Cup before the season in a 5-2 victory.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus dropped three straight games last week to the Islanders, Canadiens, and Ducks. Needing to get more out of Johnny Gaudreau if they hope to compete in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division, the 30-year-old remains goalless on the year. Moreover, the team's young trio of Kirill Marchenko, Kent Johnson, and Cole Sillinger have also struggled mightily.
24. St. Louis Blues
Even with having a group littered with young, skilled offensive players, St Louis is among the bottom three in the league in goals per game (1.86), shots on goal per game (24.7), and power play percentage (4.8). On the bright side, for Craig Berube's group, the play of Jordan Binnington has allowed them to stay afloat regardless of their scoring troubles. Fresh off a disastrous 2022 campaign, the former third-round pick owns a .926 save percentage and a 2.33 goals-against average.
25. Anaheim Ducks
In the middle of a rebuild, the Ducks knocked off the Blue Jackets, Bruins, and Flyers after starting the season at 1-4. Just one goal off the current NHL lead, Frank Vatrano is fresh off a hat trick against the Flyers on Saturday night. Nonetheless, this team is likely headed for the draft lottery again.
26. Arizona Coyotes
Arizona only has six points to show through the first seven games of the season. Nevertheless, the Coyotes play hard every night. Connor Bedard will garner all the attention amongst the rookies across the league this season. Be that as it may, Logan Cooley has all the makings of a future franchise centerman. The Pittsburgh native has picked up points in two of his last four games.
27. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh elected to bring back the same team in the offseason after missing the playoffs and run it back with the hopes of winning one more Stanley Cup with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They made the splash off the summer by acquiring reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson from the Sharks. Regardless, with just three wins in their first five games, you have to wonder if the window is closed.
28. Seattle Kraken
The Kraken shocked the world and made the playoffs in their second year in the league. Seattle looks more like the team from their inaugural season early in 2023. Matty Beniers has just three points in nine games following his Calder Campaign. Furthermore, Philipp Grubauer owns a dismal .896 save percentage and 3.04 goals against average.
29. Calgary Flames
Calgary is an unmitigated disaster. There has never been a bigger fall from grace across the league than Jonathan Huberdeau's. Just two years removed from a career-high 110 points with the Panthers, the former third-overall pick has just four points in eight games while being a minus-nine. With an extensive list of pending unrestricted free agents, you have to think significant changes are coming for the Flames and general manager Craig Conroy.
30. Chicago Blackhawks
Connor Bedard is settling in through seven games. The reigning number-one overall pick scored two goals against the Golden Knights on Friday night to bring his season total up to three. Without Taylor Hall, he was placed on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Chicago will likely shuffle linemates to play with their 18-year-old phenom. This rebuild is going to take a while.
31. Washington Capitals
One of the oldest teams in the NHL, Washington is far from a contender. Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie have yet to score a goal while combining for just two points through eight games. On the bright side, Alex Ovechkin is beginning to heat up as he eyes Wayne Gretzky's all-time goals record. The great eight has found the back of the net twice in his last four contests.
32. San Jose Sharks
Closing in on the all-time record for most losses to begin a season, the Sharks are still searching for their first victory. Following their loss to the Capitals on Saturday night, San Jose has now been outscored 20-3 over its last five games. They rank in the bottom third in both goals scored and goals allowed. It's going to be a long year for David Quinn's group.
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