NHL Power Rankings: Big risers and fallers after first week

Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo! Sports are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams and their chances to win the Cup, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.

31. Ottawa Senators (Last week: 31)

Yes, it’s only two games but these guys looked very bad at every position and got outscored more than 2-to-1.

Things are awful fluid at this time of year, but it’s hard to see much room for improvement with these guys. Feels like you can just pencil them into the 31st spot all year.

30. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 29)

Then again, while we had good reason to believe Columbus would absolutely be worse this year, its quality of play in the first week of the season didn’t even measure up to the rather low expectation. This is just my opinion but if you get outscored 11-3 in two games, you did not do well.

29. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 28)

28. Minnesota Wild (LW: 23)

Last year it was a thing where the Wild didn’t have offense but were among the best defensive teams in the league by certain metrics. Through two games, well, they don’t even have the defense anymore. Can’t score, can’t keep the puck out of the net, and outshot by nine in two games. Could be a longer season than we thought, gang.

27. Chicago (LW: 22)

That performance in Prague left a lot to be deserved even if the score was relatively close. Let’s just say it was a good thing they were playing the Flyers.

26. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 25)

25. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 26)

I absolutely don’t buy it with these guys but they played better than expected to start the year (only marginally looking worse than their opponents) in two wins. That’s something.

24. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 21)

One goal in two games? Didn’t these guys try to add offense?

23. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 30)

I guess what I would say is these guys don’t so much look good relative to where I had them to start the year, but Anthony Mantha certainly does. They’re winning and that’s nice, but you’d like to see maybe more than one guy do all the scoring.

22. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 20)

At least with the Oilers, it’s two guys doing all the scoring, right?

21. Dallas Stars (LW: 13)

Well, subpar scoring (six goals in three games) and subpar goaltending (eight goals against on 83 shots) will get you three losses, yup. Obviously still time to sort out all that and maybe Roope Hintz really did take a step, but boy this is making a lot of the “Stars Are Competitors!” talk look not great early.

The Stars aren't yet looking like the contenders many predicted they would be. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Stars aren't yet looking like the contenders many predicted they would be. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

20. New Jersey Devils (LW: 19)

Meanwhile the Devils look worse than even I expected, and I had a lower opinion than a lot of other Smart People.

19. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 17)

18. New York Islanders (LW: 16)

17. New York Rangers (LW: 24)

Okay, well we’re back to the “one guy is doing all the scoring” thing and that’s not ideal at all, but I gotta give the Rangers this: They were fun as hell to watch this week. You gotta respect that.

16. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 15)

They’re about two injuries on the blue line away from just having Paul Maurice suit up. He was a defenseman in junior so that’s allowed.

And look, you can’t really blame him for where the team’s at — and like the Rangers, they’ve at least been fun to watch — but this has been an ugly start to the season.

15. Florida Panthers (LW: 14)

14. San Jose Sharks (LW: 4)

I think 10 spots is as far as I can legally drop a team with this much talent that also has a 90.9 PDO to start the year. But man, they don’t look that good, either. At least, not defensively.

The offense is fine, but not great, but they’re just giving everyone free shots at Jones and Dell. Those guys probably aren’t that good to begin with, so you’d think it’s important to, like, play BETTER defensively in front of them. But hey, the talent!

13. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 18)

I’d be a little worried about this team playing past regulation twice in two games and basically coming up 50/50 on the coin flips but that comeback against the Leafs at least had to be pretty encouraging for them.

12. Nashville Predators (LW: 11)

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 10)

Well, Evgeni Malkin is out long-term. I think that just bumps up Jared McCann and Teddy Blueger. I couldn’t pick the Pens’ No. 5 center out of a lineup. It’s probably some Wilkes-Barre guy I’ve heard of in passing.

Anyway, the Pens needed a bounce-back season and between this and the start to the year (getting smoked by Buffalo then even-more-smoking Columbus), it’s a big “who knows?” from me. I don’t have a ton of faith this goes well without Malkin, but maybe I shouldn’t count out Sidney Crosby.

10. Calgary Flames (LW: 9)

Process looks great, but Colorado handed it to ‘em again in the opener before they tightened things up against Vancouver. Think they’re still good but that goaltending remains a worry.

9. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 27)

Let’s just start by saying I don’t think this is an incredible team and this hot start probably isn’t sustainable. But man if they don’t look really really really good under Ralph Krueger. Jeez. Sure, beating your opponents 10-3 over two games in goals isn’t gonna last, but if you’re almost 1.3ish expected-goals up every game you play, you’re gonna be just fine regardless.

Again, I don’t think this is indicative of the full 82, but they came out flying and earned both wins pretty cleanly. Excited for what comes next.

The Sabres are on fire to start the season. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Sabres are on fire to start the season. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

8. Washington Capitals (LW: 8)

7. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 12)

These guys might be as-advertised. As with so many other teams (especially in the West), we’ll have to wait and see on the goaltending, but early returns are at least solid.

6. St. Louis Blues (LW: 7)

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 1)

Not a good start to the season here. They’re already talking about how they can’t take things for granted just because they’re super talented and all that, and it’s like, “Boy you didn’t even wait until the date in October hit double digits before you started in with that talk?” Pretty concerning.

I mean, they’re going to be fine. They also played the Panthers twice and the Hurricanes once and those are gonna be two tough outs all season, at a minimum. Still, three points from three games isn’t what anyone would have expected from them, so…

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 5)

One bad period isn’t and shouldn’t be enough to convince anyone this team has problems. Yeah it was a third period on national TV, but still. The defense definitely needs to be better (whether it can be as currently constituted is a different story), but they honestly look like they’re gonna win a ton of 6-5 games all year and I love it.

3. Boston Bruins (LW: 2)

2. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 3)

Pretty comprehensive thrashing of San Jose at home and on the road to open the season. In my opinion, if you outscore your opponents 3-0 on the first 10 penalty kills of the season, you’re doing something right. Everything else looks real good too.

1. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 6)

Well, jeez. Not sure you can make a stronger statement in any game than to hold Tampa to two shots on goal in the last two periods plus overtime. Hurricanes did it. And oh yeah, they’re 3-0-0 despite a sub-100 PDO because they really do have the puck that much.

Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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