Salute Magazine introduces the NHL Power Rankings, our breakdown of the best and worst teams in the National Hockey League.
We here at Salute don’t just look at the won-lost record (although that is certainly helpful) or simply go with gut feeling. The NHL Power Rankings have a formula to them: one-half is based on play during the season as a whole, one-quarter is based on play over the last 10 games and the final quarter is based on play since the previous week’s rankings.
Needless to say, the first rankings will be almost completely based on play in the first two weeks of the season. Also needless to say, expect rankings to fluctuate heavily in the first few weeks.
- MONTREAL CANADIENS (7-0-0)
You can’t do better than perfect, and the Habs are just that. The highly-anticipated match with the Blues ended in a 3-0 blanking and a show-stopping performance by goalie Carey Price.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at Calgary, Sun. vs. Winnipeg, Tue. vs. Ottawa, Thu. vs. NY Islanders
- DALLAS STARS (6-1-0)
The Stars have learned to mix in a little defensive play with their high-octane attack, and have resumed their Road Warrior ways, going 4-for-4 on an Eastern Conference road trip. Winning on the road will be a vital skill in a very tough Central Division.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Florida, Tue. vs. Anaheim, Thu. vs. Vancouver
- NASHVILLE PREDATORS (6-1-0)
They’re tied for the Central lead with Dallas, but also by way of shootout wins and one-goal squeakers. And forward James Neal is off to a hot start, with eight points in seven games.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Pittsburgh, Wed. at San Jose
- WASHINGTON CAPITALS (5-1-0)
After a rough loss to San Jose, the Caps are back on track with four straight wins, including a 4-1 trumping of defending champ Chicago. T. J. Oshie is fitting right in with his new team.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at Edmonton, Wed. vs. Pittsburgh
- NEW YORK ISLANDERS (4-1-1)
After being swept in a season-opening home-and-home with Chicago, The Isles have detonated with four wins in a row, averaging 4.50 goals per game and putting an end to the Todd Richards era in Columbus.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Boston, Sat. at St. Louis, Mon. vs. Calgary, Thu. vs. Carolina
- ST. LOUIS BLUES (5-2-0)
Vladimir Tarasenko has picked up right where he left off from last season, although Montreal did a masterful job of closing him down. The Blues start a long homestretch tomorrow against some tough visitors.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. NY Islanders, Tue. vs. Tampa Bay, Thu. vs. Anaheim
- TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (4-2-1)
A shootout loss to Nashville on Tuesday was tough to take, but needs to shake it off: they resume their road trip through the Central in search of their first win against that same division.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at Winnipeg, Sat. at Chicago, Tue. at St. Louis, Thu. vs. Colorado
- NEW YORK RANGERS (5-2-1)
They do lead the Metro Division, but the Caps and Isles each have two games in hand and could overtake them. Their form is improving, with recent shutdowns of two hot Pacific teams, San Jose and Arizona.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Philadelphia, Sun. vs. Calgary
- SAN JOSE SHARKS (4-3-0)
After a perfect start to the season, the Sharks have seen their lead in the Pacific Division evaporate with three straight losses. Goalie Martin Jones has regressed a bit, but is getting no offensive support.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Carolina, Wed. vs. Nashville
- MINNESOTA WILD (4-1-1)
The Wild have weathered a very tough early schedule and the re-emergence of John Tortorella behind an NHL bench. For what it’s worth, they’re by far the best fourth-placed team in the league.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Anaheim, Sun. at Winnipeg, Tue. vs. Edmonton
- OTTAWA SENATORS (3-2-2)
If this keeps up, the Sens will be the most seasoned team on the breakaway – they’ve already logged three shootouts, including the last two games that ended in losses to Nashville and New Jersey.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Arizona, Wed. vs. Calgary
- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (3-2-2)
Home is not where the points are. The Canucks sport an 0-2-2 record at home, which hardly makes Rogers Arena a snakepit for visitors. In other bad news: Montreal visits this week.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Detroit, Tue. vs. Montreal, Thu. at Dallas
- WINNIPEG JETS (4-2-0)
The Jets look like great playoff contenders again with a strong early showing and their only two losses coming in close games against very good opponents (St. Louis and the Islanders). Four home games in a week could vault them into the thick of the Central Division race.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Tampa Bay, Sun. vs. Minnesota, Tue. vs. Los Angeles, Thu. vs. Chicago
- CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (4-3-0)
After raising the banner, the Hawks have looked downright average in the early season, including a shutout loss to the Flyers. Having Philly fans chant “She Said No!” at Patrick Kane probably didn’t help.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Tampa Bay, Mon. vs. Anaheim, Thu. at Winnipeg
- ARIZONA COYOTES (3-3-1)
Four losses in a row, including the first wins of the season for Boston and New Jersey. After a great start, the Coyotes risk a serious decline unless they can come back from this road trip with some points.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Ottawa, Mon. at Toronto, Tue. at Boston
- FLORIDA PANTHERS (3-3-1)
The Panthers aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but they are playing better than most would have expected. They’ve won the games they’ve supposed to win: the next step is to start winning a few they’re supposed to lose.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Dallas, Tue. vs. Colorado
- NEW JERSEY DEVILS (3-3-1)
The last four games for New Jersey have gone into overtime, two of those into the shootout, and the last three as wins. Devils fans may not see the playoffs, but they’re seeing a lot of drama.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Buffalo, Tue. at Columbus, Thu. at Philadelphia
- PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (3-2-1)
You can’t tell which team will show up on a given night. Will we see the team that Florida curb-stomped 7-1, or the team that blanked Chicago? Whatever happens, somebody in orange needs to step up and start scoring.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. NY Rangers, Tue. vs. Buffalo, Thu. vs. New Jersey.
- LOS ANGELES KINGS (3-3-0)
Those last three wins came in the last three games, with Jonathan Quick returning to form in goal. With a favorable schedule coming up, they have a real chance to seize control of the Pacific.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Carolina, Sun. at Edmonton, Tue. at Winnipeg
- DETROIT RED WINGS (3-3-0)
The Hype is all about McDavid and Eichel, but Dylan Larkin has made an immediate impact on a Red Wing roster that can surround him with talent. But three straight losses are not how a team moves up in the Atlantic Division.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at Calgary, Sat. at Vancouver, Tue. vs. Carolina
- EDMONTON OILERS (3-4-0)
Connor McDavid might be the savior that Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov were supposed to be. But forgive the rest of us for being skeptical.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Washington, Sun. vs. Los Angeles, Tue. at Minnesota, Thu. vs. Montreal
- PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (3-4-0)
Pittsburgh’s offense has been anemic, as Evgeni Malkin leads the team with a mere five points. This is squandering a very good recent run by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (.924 save percentage.)
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Nashville, Wed. at Washington, Thu. vs. Buffalo
- BOSTON BRUINS (2-3-1)
The B’s got off their season-opening skid, but fell to the Flyers in OT. If the ship doesn’t right immediately and consistently, Claude Julien could become the second coaching casualty of the season.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at NY Islanders, Tue. vs. Arizona
- CAROLINA HURRICANES (2-4-0)
Beating the Avs? Not really that impressive. Shutting them out? Actually, fairly impressive.
Upcoming Games: Fri. at Los Angeles, Sat. at San Jose, Tue. at Detroit, Thu. at NY Islanders
- COLORADO AVALANCHE (2-3-1)
Come on, boys. Columbus at home. Two points, ripe for the taking.
Upcoming Games: Sat. vs. Columbus, Tue. at Florida, Thu. at Tampa Bay
- BUFFALO SABRES (2-4-0)
Jack Eichel scored two quick goals to kick off his much hyped NHL career. And, like the rest of the offense, he then vanished.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Montreal, Sat. vs. New Jersey, Tue. at Philadelphia, Thu. at Pittsburgh
- ANAHEIM DUCKS (1-4-1)
They picked up a big win against Minnesota, but they gave up an inexplicable loss at home to Colorado and were thumped in Nashville. No player on the very talented roster has more than two points after six games, and the rest of their road trip is brutal.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Minnesota, Mon. at Chicago, Tue. at Dallas, Thu. at St. Louis
- TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (1-3-2)
Now that the Cubs are out, Leafs fans can resume hogging the spotlight for the most Miserable Fan Base in Sports.
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Montreal, Mon. vs. Arizona
- CALGARY FLAMES (1-5-0)
After four straight losses – including back-to-back poundings at home to Edmonton and Washington – last season’s playoff run is looking harder and harder to repeat.
Upcoming Games: Fri. vs. Detroit, Sun. at NY Rangers, Mon. at NY Islanders, Wed. at Ottawa
- COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (0-8-0)
For tickets to playoff games, go to http://www.columbuscrewsc.com/
Upcoming Games: Sat. at Colorado, Tue. at New Jersey