By: Rossy Pasternak
Here on SportsNak, we will be doing weekly updated power rankings, with features about three teams each week. The season is now in full swing, as today marks the quarter mark of the season, and things are starting to heat up in the NHL. These rankings are not only based on the standings, but also the level of team play. All stats are taken from NHL.com. (GD stands for goal differential, the difference between goals scored and goals against)
The Bottom Feeders (30-21):
30. Edmonton Oilers (7-12-1, 15 pts, -8 GD)
29. Colorado Avalanche (7-12-1, 15 pts, -5 GD)
28. Philadelphia Flyers (6-9-5, 17 pts, -23 GD)
27. Carolina Hurricanes (7-10-3, 17 pts, -18 GD)
26. Columbus Blue Jackets (8-14-0, 16 pts, -16 GD)
25. Calgary Flames (8-12-1, 17 pts, -25 GD)
24. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-10-4, 18 pts, -10 GD)
23. Buffalo Sabres (8-1o-2, 18 pts, -12 GD)
22. Anaheim Ducks (7-10-4, 18 pts, -17 GD)
21. Vancouver Canucks (8-8-6, 22 pts, +4 GD)
Connor McDavid went down with a broken clavicle, and the Oilers now find themselves back in familiar territory; last place. Not everything looks so bad for the Oilers however, as their young guns are starting to produce at an exceptional rate. This production is led by young centre Leon Draisaitl. In Germany, Draisaitl is known as “German Gretzky”, and he is proving his homeland correct so far. Paired with Taylor Hall, Draisaitl has racked up 7 goals and 10 assists in his first 10 games this season. The last Oiler to earn 17 points in their first 10 games was Mark Messier, way back in 1989-90. Hall, as of this writing, is sitting fourth in NHL points, with 24. It isn’t only Draisaitl who has come up and made a difference, but also heralded defenceman Darnell Nurse. Nurse has 5 points in 11 games, and has been playing big minutes since his call-up. The original plan by Peter Chiarelli called for patience, with the Oilers not wanting to rush their prospects, as they have in the past with Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, and Nugent-Hopkins. With all the injury troubles Edmonton has had this season, bringing up the prospects was necessary, and so far, they have impressed beyond anyone’s expectations.
The Middle of the Pack (20-11):
20. Florida Panthers (8-8-4, 20 pts, +1 GD)
19. Arizona Coyotes (10-9-1, 21 pts, -4 GD)
18. Boston Bruins (10-8-1, 21 pts, +6 GD)
17. Winnipeg Jets (10-9-2, 22 pts, -8 GD)
16. New York Islanders (10-8-3, 23 pts, +6 GD)
15. New Jersey Devils (11-8-1, 23 pts, E GD)
14. Detroit Red Wings (11-8-2, 24 pts, -3 GD)
13. Tampa Bay Lightning (10-9-3, 23 pts, +3 GD)
12. Chicago Blackhawks (11-8-2, 24 pts, +2 GD)
11. Los Angeles (12-8-0, 24 pts, +6 GD)
Travis Hamonic has requested a trade from the Islanders, and would like to go to Western Canada, where his family is. The former second round draft pick has blossomed into a top-4 defenceman in the NHL, and is one of the most valuable players on the trade market right now. Hamonic has stated that he wants a trade because of a personal matter, not because of any ill will towards the Isles. Hamonic is under contract until the 2019-20 season at an affordable $3.86 cap hit, so he is a highly valuable asset. Rumours have been swirling about a possible trade to Edmonton for a package that would include one of Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz. Also in the mix are Hamonic’s hometown Jets, where trade talks would start with Jacob Trouba, and the Calgary Flames, who will not want to trade T.J. Brodie. Although Hamonic is hoping for a trade, in my personal opinion, there is not a trade available that will make sense for the Islanders. They will want more than just Trouba from the Jets, which would be a tough pill to swallow for the Jets, and I doubt the Oilers pull off a trade with Eberle and Schultz involved. Calgary has already stated that Brodie will not be included in trade talks, which have seem to put an end to that match. Hamonic may have to wait out the year in Brooklyn, or expand his list of possible destinations.
The Best of the Best (10-1):
10. Pittsburgh Penguins (12-8-0, 24 pts, -1 GD)
9. Nashville Predators (11-5-3, 25 pts, +5 GD)
8. Ottawa Senators (10-5-5, 25 pts, +4 GD)
7. Minnesota Wild (11-5-3, 25 pts, +6 GD)
6. San Jose Sharks (13-8-0, 26 pts, +8 GD)
5. St. Louis Blues (13-6-2, 28 pts, +5 GD)
4. Washington Capitals (13-5-1, 27 pts, +17 GD)
3. Montreal Canadiens (16-4-2, 34 pts, +28 GD)
2. New York Rangers (15-3-2, 32 pts, +25 GD)
1. Dallas Stars (17-4-0, 34 pts, +24 GD)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are having some flashes of greatness early on this season, but they are still just 12-8; and for a team with that much star power, they should be doing much better then that. Remember though, “superteams” in the past have taken some time to gel, but when they clicked…man did they click! Just take the Miami Heat for example: in their first year with LeBron, Bosh and Wade, it took them a couple months of the season to figure it all out; you could even say they didn’t fully figure it out until the next season. With the Pens, it is the same thing. The comments from Malkin, the rumours of players not getting alone; it all comes with the territory. When you are a team with such high expectations and don’t meet those expectations, the criticism comes naturally. Fans and media alike are impatient in the sense that everyone expected the Penguins to be great right off the bat. I agree that with a team that skilled, that they should be doing better…but I haven’t lost patience. As the season goes on, they will start to create chemistry and produce at a high rate. There is no way that a team with Kessel, Crosby and Malkin are going to play this poorly for a whole season. I agree with some critics that maybe a head coaching change could be made, but I think that’s as far as the Pens brass will go, if they even go there at all. Those Malkin rumours are actually quite funny and entertaining. There’s no chance they move him. I think that in a month or so, we will be writing another Weekend Update and the team we’ll be talking about in the top 3 will be Pittsburgh.
That concludes this week’s rankings. Check back next Saturday for the updated rankings and stories.
Do you agree, or disagree with our picks? Comment below!