NHL Power Rankings: Panthers take over top spot; Rangers, Oilers climb

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we are still in that murky gray area of the NHL season where teams are producing some wildly unexpected results. There is a lot of noise at this point in the season where we try to sort out what is for real, what is a mirage, and who needs to start thinking about hitting the panic button.

One thing that does seem pretty clear, though? The Panthers look legit, and they take over the No. 1 spot in this week’s NHL Power Rankings thanks to a 5-0 start heading into Monday. Not only are they unbeaten, they have flat out dominated (what should be) some of the best teams in the league.

The Oilers and  Rangers also make big jumps, while Vegas takes an unexpected fall. We take a look at all of that and more.

Where does your team rank?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1.  Florida Panthers (Last week: 2). They look fantastic. Maybe even better than the preseason expectations. It is okay to get excited, Panthers fans. Your team is legit.

2. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 1). If Frederik Andersen bounces back here that answers a big, important question for the Hurricanes.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 3). They have played without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and now are without Bryan Rust and Kris Letang. They are still scoring five goals per game and looking like their Stanley Cup window is still open.

4. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 13). When you have Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitil you should be one of the best teams in the league. Not sure if the Oilers are anything close to that, but you can not argue with the start.

5. St. Louis Blues (LW: 9). Jordan Kyrou looks like he is about to have a breakout season for the Blues, and that will be a welcome development.

6. New York Rangers (LW: 16). Now that Henrik Lundqvist is no longer there to steal games Igor Shesterkin has arrived to take over that role.

7. Boston Bruins (LW: 6). Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are picking right up where they left off — dominating. As long as that line is going, they have a chance on most nights.

8. Minnesota Wild (LW: 7). They are 4-1 entering the week despite getting so-so goaltending and zero goals (but five assists) from Kirill Kaprizov. The goaltending will get better and Kaprizov will start scoring goals.

9. Washington Capitals (LW: 10). The two big questions for the Capitals this season were goaltending and Evgeny Kuznetsov bouncing back. So far so good on both fronts.

10. New York Islanders (LW: 12). They are starting to put it together, and Ilya Sorokin is taking over the goaltending job. He is dominating.

11. San Jose Sharks (LW: 26). A bounce back year for Erik Karlsson seems like a must for this team to be competitive. He has six points in five games so far.

12. Dallas Stars (LW: 14). They needed Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov back in the lineup. Now they need them to start scoring goals.

13. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 5). They have not yet found their game. Their only two wins came in overtime and they have not actually played with a lead during any game this season this season.

14. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 4). Do not get used to this spot. They are going to get this right. But they are not there yet.

15. New Jersey Devils (LW: 19). Jack Hughes‘ injury takes a little wind out of the sails during a nice start. They need him. 

16. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 17). Cam Atkinson looks like a perfect fit and Joel Farabee is at the very beginning of a major breakout season. All eyes shift to the goaltending, which has been very good so far!

17. Calgary Flames (LW: 20). What a great start for Elias Lindholm with six goals in the first four games.

18. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 23). They need Elvis Merzlikins and Patrik Laine to dominate to keep them in it. Both players have been very good so far.

[Related: Laine, Merzlikins powering Blue Jackets’ strong start]

19. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 25). It is going to be remembered as the Conor Garland trade and not the Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade.

20. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 27). Great sign for the Jets: Pierre-Luc Dubois is off to a fantastic start.

21. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 22). Get excited about Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. These are going to be the players to turn this thing around.

22. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 8). If there is a team that does not deserve the benefit of the doubt early in the season it is this team.

23. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 11). The main problem here is injuries. A lot of them. To significant players. That better be the problem, anyway.

24. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 24). It was a fun start but reality is going to start setting in here.

25. Ottawa Senators (LW: 21). Even with .925 goaltending this season they have still only won two of their first five games. Not a great sign.

26. Seattle Kraken (LW: 15). They have lost two third period leads during this four-game losing streak entering the week. They spent a lot of money on defense and goaltending to protect those leads.

27. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 18). Anze Kopitar is still great but things have really gone down hill since that big season opening win against the Golden Knights.

28. Nashville Predators (LW: 29). Big win against Minnesota on Sunday night, but still not sure about this team if Juuse Saros is not superman in net.

29. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 28). Nice start for John Gibson, and there is some promising young talent here. That makes for a promising future. Present is still pretty bleak for the Ducks.

30. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 31). Offense finally woke up against Detroit. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield combining for zero goals and two assists through six games is making it difficult on the offense.

31. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 30). Not sure what else to say here except this has to be what everybody expected this season.

32. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 32). Not sure what else to say here except this has been the absolute worst team in the league so far and every game seems to be a new embarrassment for them. Record setting.

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