NHL Power Rankings: Win the Stanley Cup, be ranked No. 1
The NHL season begins Wednesday night, which means there's no better time to rank all 30 of the league's teams by power.
1. Chicago Blackhawks
A different team, sure, but you get the benefit of the doubt when you win two Stanley Cups in three years. And three in six.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
Three teams won 50 games in the East last season, and Tampa was left standing when it was all said and done. That matters. The same club is coming back, and Jonathan Drouin will score more than four goals this season.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. That'll move the needle.
4. Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber, Roman Josi, and Seth Jones. The latter two are 25 and 21 respectively. Defense wins championships.
5. Anaheim Ducks
Everyone's high on the Ducks, but last season's plus-10 goal differential was the lowest of all Western Conference playoff teams.
6. Washington Capitals
Justin Williams takes teams to the promised land. It's science. That top six looks amazing, and Braden Holtby is for real.
7. St. Louis Blues
The Tarasenkshow must go on, and that's great for hockey. Imagine if Paul Stastny decides to show up.
8. Los Angeles Kings
Darryl Sutter won't let this team miss the playoffs two years in a row. They're back.
9. New York Rangers
When you have Henrik Lundqvist in net, you're guaranteed a top-10 ranking. Some questions up front, and it'll be interesting to find out whether Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes are ready to take their next steps.
10. Montreal Canadiens
If Alex Galchenyuk blossoms, the Canadiens could end up in the Stanley Cup Final. Even if he doesn't, the Canadiens could end up in the Stanley Cup Final, because Carey Price is that good.
11. Minnesota Wild
That deep a blue line means Devan Dubnyk doesn't have to be as good as he was last season, and that's a good thing, because he has no chance of repeating that performance.
12. New York Islanders
They'll put on a show for Brooklyn.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets
We're about to find out how good Brandon Saad is. Spoiler: he's a star.
14. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings could make the playoffs without a coach.
15. Winnipeg Jets
Mark Scheifele and Nik Ehlers on the second line? Yes, please.
16. Ottawa Senators
They're young and hungry. That's a recipe for success in today's NHL.
17. Dallas Stars
Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi don't exactly inspire confidence, and the blue line is thin, but it's going to be fun watching the Stars try to outscore their problems.
18. San Jose Sharks
There's too much talent in San Jose for the Sharks to win only 40 games again. The Martin Jones addition is huge.
19. Vancouver Canucks
Flip a coin. Heads: the Canucks are good. Tails: they're awful.
20. Florida Panthers
Jaromir Jagr's mullet makes the Panthers a borderline playoff team.
21. Calgary Flames
Regression is never enjoyable.
22. Colorado Avalanche
The hockey world will be reintroduced to Nathan MacKinnon this season, and we'll all be better for it.
23. Boston Bruins
Does Don Sweeney know what Don Sweeney is doing? Too many things need to go right for the Bruins to make noise in the East. And this is a massive season for David Krejci.
24. Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid Connor McDavid.
25. Buffalo Sabres
They won't be the worst, and that counts for something.
26. Philadelphia Flyers
How many bad contracts can one team have? The answer is Philadelphia.
27. Arizona Coyotes
They're going to lose a lot of games, but at least they're going to lose while playing Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. It would help if Mike Smith wasn't an abomination.
28. New Jersey Devils
It's a little sad, isn't it, what the Devils have become. The over-under on goals scored by Travis Zajac is set at 13.5, and games Cory Schneider plays at 74.5. What are you taking?
29. Carolina Hurricanes
Name five players on the Hurricanes roster other than the Staals, Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin, and Cam Ward.
30. Toronto Maple Leafs
Pain is pleasure.