Some of the early season surprises have started to come back down to earth, while others are surging on. Colorado has been the best team so far, as reflected by its record, while the Bruins and Golden Knights are also off to terrific starts.
1. Colorado Avalanche (3): Not only are the Avs undefeated, but they’ve rolled over good teams like the Bruins and Capitals in their run.
2. Boston Bruins (4): The Bruins have played a bunch of teams that struggle to score, but results are results, with just one flaw so far.
3. Vegas Golden Knights (1): Their only losses are to a good Bruins team and a weird Coyotes team. Every part of their game is clicking, though.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (9): They’ve been the talk of the league so far, and one loss to Columbus on the second night of a back-to-back isn’t going to slow them down terribly.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (5): The Leafs still haven’t been challenged. That changes with a pair of games against the Bruins coming up.
6. St. Louis Blues (6): The Islanders loss is pretty bad and they gave up six to the Canadiens earlier in the week. Not time to panic yet but not very Blues-like games.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (2): It was already a rough start for the Lightning, but dropping a game to the Senators is going to lower them even more.
8. Washington Capitals (7): The Caps have had some blips, giving up six goals to the Preds, handing Dallas its first win, then getting shellacked at home to the Avalanche.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (13): Despite no Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have found ways to score so far.
10. Winnipeg Jets (23): They’ve been much better than anyone could have expected given the nightmare training camp and start to the year. Their defense has holes, but results haven’t been all bad.
11. Nashville Predators (11): The bizarro-Predators are having trouble in net but they’re scoring like crazy and Matt Duchene has been excellent for them.
12. Buffalo Sabres (19): Buffalo started last season hot as well. They’re likely not as good as they’ve looked, but getting points early is always good.
13. Edmonton Oilers (16): James Neal? In this economy? That’s certainly not sustainable but the Oilers have started off well.
14. Calgary Flames (8): It’s even worse for the Flames scoring woes that James Neal has shattered his season total from last year. But, hey, they have Milan Lucic.
15. San Jose Sharks (15): Patrick Marleau’s addition, of all things, seems to have been the spark the Sharks needed.
16. Montreal Canadiens (12): The Habs have been incredibly inconsistent but they did put up six on the Blues this week.
17. Philadelphia Flyers (21): Carter Hart is the Flyers’ only real hope and he’s played well to start the year.
18. Detroit Red Wings (25): Anthony Mantha looks great and they started well, but that might be it for excitement in Detroit this season.
19. New York Rangers (11): Kaapo Kakko has been good!
20. Florida Panthers (17): There was some excitement for the Panthers this season but two losses last week sets them back a bit and they’re still having trouble scoring.
21. New York Islanders (18): The only time they’ve been scoring is against a bad Jets defense and then a come from behind win against the Blues.
22. Vancouver Canucks (28): It hasn’t been awful so far, and Quinn Hughes looks like a Calder conversation at least.
23. Anaheim Ducks (26): Sure, they allowed only 11 goals in their first five games, and John Gibson is excellent, but a competent team would have found a way to win that game in Boston.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets (20): Four points in five games is never good but they’ve played alright given expectations so far.
25. Dallas Stars (22): Things could not be much worse in the NHL than they are for the Stars right now. They have enough talent where a turnaround wouldn’t be surprising at all but boy is it bad right now.
26. Arizona Coyotes (27): They started scoring a little bit but they also started giving goals up.
27. Los Angeles Kings (30): When Jonathan Quick starts struggling, things are only going south for the Kings.
28. Chicago Blackhawks (29): Defense has been just awful so far but they’ve gotten some decent results, too.
29. Ottawa Senators (31): They’re pretty bad but they beat the Lightning and the Devils and Wild look actually worse for now.
30. New Jersey Devils (14): For expectations to be so high after the offseason, the Devils start has been as Hell-ish as possible.
31. Minnesota Wild (24): Not only can they not score, but they can’t stop anyone.