Power rankings: Wild on Minnesota

Ross McKeon

In his debut for Yahoo! Sports, NHL analyst Ross McKeon ranks the league's teams 1 through 30. The power rankings will be a weekly staple on Tuesday for the remainder of the season.


1. Minnesota Wild (5-0-1) – Shootout loss in L.A. Tuesday prevents Wild from going 6-0 at the start of a second straight season, but only two even-strength goals against in six games is astonishing.


2. Ottawa Senators (6-1-0) – Had just as little time off as Ducks, but are showing more fire at the outset, and they've done it with a goalie – Martin Gerber – they haven't been able to trade for a year.


3. Detroit Red Wings (4-2-1) – They have good players but they also have a really good coach in Mike Babcock, and that's not talked about nearly as often as it should come to light.


4. Carolina Hurricanes (4-1-1) – Champs in 2006, M.I.A. from the playoffs last year, but yo-yoing back to contender status, the Canes get goaltending from Cam Ward that earned him Conn Smythe honors.


5. Philadelphia Flyers (4-1-0) – Off to a faster start than expected, but don't lose sight of the fact the Flyers are beating struggling teams. A daunting stretch of eight straight road games is just around the corner.

Tampa Bay

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1-0) – Another recent champ (2005), the Lightning are winning despite getting only average goaltending at the outset, a bugaboo that haunted Tampa Bay all last season as well.

New York Rangers

7. New York Rangers (2-3-0) – How long can they keep this up? Jaromir Jagr and Chris Drury are averaging 23 minutes per game for the Blueshirts.


8. Colorado Avalanche (4-2-0) – Offseason signings Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan have received the early-season pub, but it's super sophomore Paul Stastny and those great bloodlines doing most of the damage.

San Jose

9. San Jose Sharks (3-2-1) – They have scored two or fewer goals in all but two games, which doesn't make sense with their depth and skill level up front.


10. Anaheim Ducks (3-4-1) – Rebounding to score six goals and beat Detroit 24 hours after getting shut out at home was the Ducks' first gut check of the season. As incomplete as it is, Anaheim will find a way to succeed.


11. Vancouver Canucks (3-3-0) – Daniel and Henrik Sedin have blossomed into the stars they were projected to be, but should-be star Roberto Luongo has a goals-against average above 3.00 and a save percentage below .900.


12. Pittsburgh Penguins (2-2-0) – How does a .500 team that gives up as many goals as it scores rate so high? Trust us, this team is fast, skilled and exciting, and that's a very good thing for this city right now.


13. Buffalo Sabres (3-2-0) – Averaged a league-best 3.76 goals per game last season with Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, and are scoring 4.0 per game this season without the former co-captains. Go figure.

St. Louis

14. St. Louis Blues (3-1-0) – So what if the power play is clicking at less than 10 percent. The Blues are killing off everything in sight (94.7 percent while shorthanded), and they just might sneak up on a few teams.


15. Boston Bruins (3-2-0) – The reward for a 3-2 trip through the Pacific Division? All 77 remaining games are in the Eastern time zone.


16. Washington Capitals (3-2-0) – Won their first three, then surrendered 10 goals in losses on back-to-back nights. With this much youth, don't be surprised if inconsistency plagues the Caps all season.


17. Chicago Blackhawks (3-2-0) – Teenage forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews look like real good rookies, but you have to wonder: Are the 'Hawks are setting them up to succeed or to fail?

New Jersey

18. New Jersey Devils (2-3-0) – They're 2-3 heading into Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but still three more road games remain before New Jersey finally plays a home game Oct. 27.


19. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-2-0) – If Pascal Leclaire keeps up this pace – 1.67 GAA and .942 save percentage – that's going to make coach Ken Hitchcock's challenging task to contend for the playoffs a possibility.

New York Islanders

20. New York Islanders (3-3-0) – Remember how Bill Guerin (no goals in the postseason) was a trade deadline bust for San Jose? He doesn't have any as captain of the Islanders either, but he does have six helpers.


21. Dallas Stars (2-2-2) – Quick, who leads the Stars in scoring – Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov, Jere Lehtinen? Try Niklas Hagman. Again, the offense does not subscribe to the "everything is big in Dallas" theory.


22. Montreal Canadiens (2-1-2) – Habs look like they're in for a rollercoaster ride as their first five games were all decided by one goal (the 3-1 loss to Carolina on Oct. 13 included an empty-netter).


23. Calgary Flames (2-2-2) – This doesn't take a lot of analysis. Notoriously slow-starting Miikka Kiprusoff has played every minute and is sporting a 3.33 GGA and .875 save percentage.


24. Nashville Predators (2-3-0) – David Poile, the vastly underrated GM, has presided over the model of stability in the front office, but how long can he keep the ownership uncertainty from being a distraction?


25. Florida Panthers (3-3-0) – Who plays for this team? What is its identity? Anyone, anyone? Bueller?


26. Edmonton Oilers (2-4-0) – Not that they're burning up the league, but just where would the Oilers be without the impressive contributions of rookie forwards Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner?


27. Toronto Maple Leafs (2-3-2) – The heck with all the goaltending controversy of who is No. 1 – Vesa Toskala or Andrew Raycroft – the Leafs are not very good on defense.

Los Angeles

28. Los Angeles Kings (2-5-0) – Won just once in four games at Staples, and now take their underwhelming show on the road to Calgary and Vancouver on consecutive nights. Ouch.


29. Phoenix Coyotes (2-3-0) – Mikael Tellqvist, Alex Auld and David Aebischer. You get the feeling goaltending is going to be a problem in the desert all year long, and that year will be shorter than for most teams.


30. Atlanta Thrashers (0-6-0) – The league's only winless team is in a fragile state and one has to wonder if GM Don Waddell might follow coach Bob Hartley, dismissed Wednesday, down the plank.