We’re a week into the “Big Trade” and so far we haven’t learned much (you can blame the Avs and Sens and their perfectly timed trip to Sweden for that). While it certainly sunk Colorado further into its rebuild mode, it will take some time to play out for Nashville and Ottawa.
We’re seeing some movement from teams that had rough starts to the season, most notably the Rangers and San Jose. And we’re still waiting for some teams—ahem, Edmonton—to get going.
Here’s how we see teams stacking up in the NHL, from 31-1 (stats and records through Monday’s games):
31. Arizona Coyotes
Last week: 31 (—)
A bit more competitive of late and that coincides with the return of Antti Raanta. Some stability in net should improve things a bit.
30. Florida Panthers
Last week: 28 (-2)
If Roberto Luongo turns it around, there’s so much offense here that it could work. But that’s a big if right now.
29. Buffalo Sabres
Last week: 30 (+1)
Evander Kane and Jack Eichel have been really good. Everybody else? Not so much.
28. Carolina Hurricanes
Last week: 26 (-2)
There’s a promising young defensive core and they rank 11th in goals-against, but there’s simply not enough offense. Give it a few years and the ‘Canes could be good.
27. Minnesota Wild
Last week: 18 (-9)
Chris Stewart has cooled off, and their only hot scorer is Jason Zucker. Just too many injuries and not enough depth in Minnesota.
26. Edmonton Oilers
Last week: 25 (-1)
25. Colorado Avalanche
Last week: 21 (-4)
They’re lower than their record suggests, but the Avalanche will take a hit from the Duchene trade. Now’s the time for Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen to take over the team.
24. Montreal Canadiens
Last Week: 29 (+5)
Some encouraging signs, especially for Jonathan Drouin. Charlie Lindgren has been dominant in four games.
23. Anaheim Ducks
Last week: 14 (-9)
Ryan Getzlaf is out two months, and a bad start gets even worse. You have to wonder if this starts to spiral downward.
22. Boston Bruins
Last week: 24 (+2)
Great special teams, middling offense and defense. There are encouraging signs with youngsters David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy, but you have to wonder a bit about the old guard.
21. Calgary Flames
Last week: 19 (-2)
This will be a team to be reckoned with once the offense heats up… but it’s just not there yet.
20. Detroit Red Wings
Last week: 27 (+7)
For all the back and forth in the last few years in net, it’s Jimmy Howard that has finally taken the crease back. He’s the backbone of a defense that is ranked 12th.
19. New York Rangers
Last week: 23 (+4)
They’re starting to pick things up, but are still allowing too many goals. Some good performances from Mika Zibanejad and J.T. Miller, and the re-awakening of Kevin Hayes, Rick Nash and Jimmy Vesey is beginning.
18. Philadelphia Flyers
Last week: 12 (-5)
Good to see Claude Giroux playing well, and Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek have been great. The Flyers need more from their offenive depth—particularly Wayne Simmonds and Valtteri Filppula.
17. Washington Capitals
Last week: 22 (+5)
Injuries certainly hurt, but they’ve gotten great performances from Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The rest of the team, though, has been average.
16. Chicago Blackhawks
Last week: 15 (-1)
A weird dynamic here—a top defense and penalty kill, a middling offense and woeful powerplay. Do they meet in the middle? Or can the offense, with all the stars, match the defense?
15. Dallas Stars
Last week: 16 (-1)
The best power play in the league makes things better, but even that only translates to [RANK] 2.9 goals per game. Jason Spezza needs to pick things up.
14. San Jose Sharks
Last week: 17 (+3)
The Sharks are starting to pick things up and they’ve won six of seven. Martin Jones should be getting some (way-too-early) Vezina talk, but the offensive stars aren’t holding their weight yet.
13. New York Islanders
Last week: 10 (-3)
This is quietly an elite offense, especially with the recent play of rookie Mathew Barzal. They need to pick a goalie and stick with him—even if that goalie comes from elsewhere.
12. Vancouver Canucks
Last week: 11 (-1)
At what point does this remain the real deal? When the Sedins pick up their game-not a sentence written often.
11. New Jersey Devils
Last week: 5 (-6)
Coming back to earth a bit, which is to be expected. They would benefit from guys like Drew Stafford, Marcus Johansson and Jimmy Hayes playing a bit better, as well as the return of Travis Zajac.
10. Ottawa Senators
Last week: 12 (+2)
Hard to gauge Duchene’s fit after just a few games. Having him and Erik Karlsson on the power play should prove to be lethal.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week: 4 (-5)
A bit of a swoon, even with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky playing well. One area of improvement? The power play: the Jackets have the worst in the league.
8. Nashville Predators
Last week: 20 (+12)
Turris had a nice debut, with a goal and assist, but the biggest impact will have to be on Ryan Johansen—only eight points in 16 games. Defense has been great—Subban, Josi and Ekholm are all averaging over 25 minutes.
7. Vegas Golden Knights
Last week: 6 (-1)
Reality might be starting to hit, but we’ll reserve full judgemental until No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury comes back. This is the best David Perron has played since 2013-14, when he scored 28 goals.
6. Winnipeg Jets
Last week: 9 (+3)
Connor Hellebuyck is 11th in goals-against average, Blake Wheeler is third in points and Mark Scheifele is sixth in goals. Second-year sniper Patrik Laine? Tied for 11th. This team is for real.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
Last week: 8 (+3)
Goalie Matt Murray looks like he’s getting better, and so does the secondary scoring. There’s more room for improvement—Bryan Rust has two goals, and Carl Hagelin has one. But the Pens are still winning.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last week: 7 (+3)
No need to worry, as they rebounded from losses to Los Angeles and St. Louis to beat Vegas. The best thing for Toronto is that there’s a lot more they can get from Tyler Boazk, Mitch Marner and Leo Komarov.
3. Los Angeles Kings
Last week: 2 (-1)
Fully healthy and it shows—Jonathan Quick has a 2.27 goals-against, has already matched his shutout total (NUMBER) from last season, and is on pace for his best year since 2011-12, when he won the Conn Smythe trophy.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week: 1 (-1)
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov remain the most fun and high-scoring duo in the league. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been really good in his first season as a starter. And then there’s Brayden Point: he quietly scored 40 points in his rookie year. He already has 17 this season, fourth on the team.
1. St. Louis Blues
Last week: 3 (+2)
Jake Allen is thriving in goal and Jaden Schwartz is an early Hart Trophy candidate, but it’s Brayden Schenn that has made a huge impact. Acquired in June for Jori Lehtera and two first round picks from Philly, he’s been worth it. He has 20 points, and he hasn’t even gotten going on the power play—he led the league last year with 17 on the man-advantage.