1 – Vegas Golden Knights
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that the defending champs are still the top dogs. After 13 games, the Golden Knights hold a league-best record of 11-1-1 and a goal differential of +24, second only to Vancouver. As was the recipe last season, none of Vegas’ players find themselves at the very top of the league statistically, but many of them have been pitching in. Longtime Knight William Karlsson currently leads the team with 15 points in 13 games. This team is simply built to win, and it seems to be all they really do. Until they show anything else, they’ll likely remain at the top of our Power Rankings.
2 – Boston Bruins
They just continue to win. Backed by Ullmark and Swayman in net again, the Bruins are off to a terrific 10-1-1 start and have remained at the top of the Eastern Conference and our Power Rankings. They may not have the names that they did last year, but the team has fully bought in defensively, allowing a league-low 23 goals through 12 games. David Pastrnak leads the way with 17 points, but the goal scoring isn’t what’s going to win this team a lot of games again this year.
3 – New York Rangers
Artemi Panarin is HOT right now. He’s had a point in every game so far this season, and the Rangers have cruised to an 8-2-1 record through 11 games. Like Vegas, the Rangers are deep everywhere on the ice and even without Igor Shesterkin playing his best, they’re a very tough team to beat. Dealing with New Jersey and Carolina in the Metro all season won’t be easy, but New York should certainly be up for the task.
4 – Vancouver Canucks
The best start in franchise history has the Vancouver Canucks in the top five of our Power Rankings for the first time in a very long time. Not many teams can say they have three major award frontrunners, but the Canucks certainly can at this point in the season. Thatcher Demko has been terrific in net, and Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are the top two scorers in the league right now. A little regression may come at some point, but Rick Tocchet’s team has proven they are very much for real.
5 – Dallas Stars
The Stars are coming off back-to-back losses, but to be fair, both were against teams ahead of them in these Power Rankings. Dallas is a great team centered around young skill, veteran leadership, and rock-solid goaltending. They haven’t necessarily gotten the best production from their top guys yet, but their current record is still one of the better ones in the league. When Robertson, Pavelski, Hintz and Heiskanen really hit their stride, the Stars will be another very tough team to beat in the West.
6 – New Jersey Devils
New Jersey may be a little shorthanded with Jack Hughes out of the lineup right now, but they’re still one of the most dangerous teams in the NHL. They could certainly do a better job on the back end and in net, though, and that should be the main focus for the team all season. It’s clear they can score with anyone but having two goaltenders with SVPs below .900 is something that cannot continue if they want to be one of the best teams in the league. If Akira Schmid or Vitek Vanecek finds their game, look out.
7 – Los Angeles Kings
To be honest, the Kings could easily be higher up in these Power Rankings. They’re 7-1-2 in their last ten games and easily one of the toughest teams to play against in the league. No one on this team will dazzle you with stats, but as a whole, they’re extremely good at wearing teams down and grinding out wins. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are still as good as ever, and the Kings should be taken as a very serious threat in the West.
8 – Colorado Avalanche
Their three losses haven’t been pretty this year, but it’s going to be very hard to ever count out the Avalanche this season. With Nathan Mackinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen leading the way, the Avs should win a lot more games than they’ll lose. If there’s one thing they should be slightly concerned about, it’s goaltending. Alex Georgiev started the season extremely well but has been on a bit of a cold streak of late that they’ll certainly want to snap. Either way, though, this team is still a great one.
9 – Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start, but I wouldn’t worry yet about the Hurricanes. They’ve played nine games on the road as opposed to four at home, and they haven’t gotten the solid goaltending they’re used to from Anderson and Raanta. Also, Andrei Svechnikov is just coming back from an injury and the defence is still getting used to the additions of Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo. I think the Canes will only get better as the season goes on, and I still expect to see them right near the top of the Eastern Conference by the end of it.
10 – Detroit Red Wings
After being slated in at the 5th spot in our last Power Rankings, the Wings are starting to return to what we thought they would be. Alex DeBrincat started the season as one of the league’s hottest players, but in the last six games, he has just one assist. In this stretch, the Wings are 2-4-0. Detroit needs a little luck to get as hot as they were coming out of the gates, but that’s OK. Led by DeBrincat, Dylan Larkin, and Mo Seider, this team is still a lot better than they’ve been in a long time.
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