Washington Capitals take top spot on Sports Illustrated's off-season power rankings


capscelebrategoal.jpgDespite the fact that they ran away with the Presidents Trophy last season, it’s almost refreshing to see a media member sing the praises of the Washington Capitals.

Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir did just that, placing the apple of Ted Leonsis’s eye No. 1 in his off-season power rankings. Here is what he said about the Caps.

Possibly the most important offseason in club history has been little more than re-signing several young components (Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Schultz, etc.) and sweeping out the trash on the blueline to create real opportunities for John Carlson and Karl Alzner. But honestly, what else did George McPhee need to do? The Caps are loaded up and down the roster. Rather than make some regrettably overpriced free agent acquisition, he can fine tune the engine down the stretch. All things considered, it’s the right approach.

I enjoy the fact that Muir resisted “What have you done for me lately?” syndrome, but many hockey types would agree that there are some questionable decisions on the list. It’s a bit surprising that three of the top four teams are from the Eastern Conference, with only the Chicago Blackhawks coming in at No. 2.

The Los Angeles Kings are an up-and-coming team, but I’m not sure they deserve their No. 7 ranking (oddly enough, Muir “politely disagreed” that the Kings will be contenders … and then only ranked three Western teams in front of them).

That being said, it’s a pretty solid list and power rankings are frequently good filler reading. Take a look at Muir’s rankings and feel free to let us know which team you think should take the top spot.

Weaver announces retirement after 633 NHL games

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning
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Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.

“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.

“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”

Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings