NHL 2013 Power Rankings: Chicago Blackhawks Top The List
NHL Power Rankings
While fans of the NHL have been thrilled to see the game they love return, they should also realize that it goes by faster than you think.
Especially during a shortened, 48-game season.
We are approximately one week through the 2013 campaign and fans have a general idea of what their team is looking like through a handful of games. There are teams such as the Blackhawks and Blues, who appear to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. Then there are the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jackets who are, well, themselves. Hey, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all, right?
A few storylines have taken the league by storm. Can Patrick Marleau continue his red hot start? Are the Ducks and Lightning legit? Though short, this NHL season will be incredibly exciting. Heck, it already has been.
Anyway, it may be early, but I thought now would be an ideal time to share my power rankings through a week of action on the ice. There are a handful of significant surprises surrounding this list, including teams that should be cup contenders but aren’t nearly meeting expectations. So, without further ado, enjoy my very first power rankings of this short hockey campaign. If you disagree, that’s great. Feel free to comment your own thoughts down below. Enjoy the rankings as well as the rest of the action-packed season.
Adam Pfeifer is an NHL and Fantasy contributor for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
30) Florida Panthers
Kris Vertseeg, Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim. All injured. Still, this team has looked downright awful, ranking dead last in goals scored per game. At least rookie Jonathan Huberdeau has looked impressive, right?
29) Calgary Flames
Balance is an issue for this team, as only five players have scored a goal this season. Roster has little to no upside. Poor Jarome Iginla.
28) Columbus Blue Jackets
They still aren't very good, but Columbus seems to be playing with more intensity this year. They also gave the Blackhawks and Red Wings a run for their money. Sergei Bobrovsky is playing well in net but their ability to score goals (just 1.60 per contest) is disheartening.
27) Phoenix Coyotes
The Yotes have allowed a ridiculous 20 goals in just five contests. Their only two points of the season came against the Blue Jackets so ... there ya go.
26) Washington Capitals
Finally! The Caps got their first win of the season on Sunday night but still have issues. Alexander Ovechkin scored his first goal of the year and will continue to get better. But will he get help? Joel Ward has played well thus far, but it is hard to believe he will keep it up. Not to mention the Capitals defense has some question marks, allowing almost four goals per game.
25) Toronto Maple Leafs
Just when you think they are about to get something going, you remember something. It's the Leafs! They have surrendered 12 goals over the last two games. And will Phil Kessel ever light the lamp?
24) Buffalo Sabres
Can anyone on this offense outside of Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville contribute? It also appears that fatigue has settled into the Sabres over these past three games.
23) Colorado Avalanche
Surprisingly, the Avalanche have the best goal differential in their division. But with the loss of Steve Downie for the year (torn ACL), the fight between the team and reigning leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly and the recent injury to captain Gabriel Landeskog, there are just too many question marks.
22) Edmonton Oilers
Are the Oilers fun to watch? No question. However, they are too inconsistent. They win won, lose one. Young offensive talent can be found all over the ice, but defense is still a concern.
21) Nashville Predators
The Pred's record could be much better than it currently is if they hadn't lost in three shootouts already. Pekka Rinne is doing all that he can, but with 10 goals scored in five games as a team, the offensive consistency is a concern.
20) Carolina Hurricanes
Taking both games of a home-and-home against the Sabres got the Hurricanes back on track. Until Cam Ward plays like he is capable of, this is nothing more than a bubble team.
19) Philadelphia Flyers
You can't play the Panthers every night, sadly. The Flyers should be a contender, but injuries continue to kill this team as well as a lack of executing on special teams. The good news? Once again, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is not to blame, so don't even think about it, Flyers fans.
18) New York Islanders
I have said it for months now, but this team is a few pieces away from taking that next step. Led by emerging star John Tavares, this group is fun to watch but must execute closing out games.
17) Dallas Stars
The return of Jamie Benn to the lineup is monumental to a team with a handful of offensive threats. This team could surprise some people out West, assuming they stay healthy.
16) Detroit Red Wings
After being spanked by the Blues on opening night, it appears the Wings have found their groove. They defeated the Wild this weekend, as well as picking up a tough point against the Blackhawks.
15) Los Angeles Kings
The defending Stanley Cup champs look nothing like it but the return of Anze Kopitar will spark the team immensely. Dustin Brown must also play like more of himself if this team has any chance of repeating.
14) Winnipeg Jets
I love this team. I really do. One of the loudest and toughest crowds for opposing teams to play against. Evander Kane is looking like a legitimate scorer and this team has an awful lot of resiliency.
13) Vancouver Canucks
The Sedin twins are, well, the Sedin twins. They will continue to score points at will. However, the goaltending issue remains to be a constant headache and this team misses Ryan Kesler ... badly.
12) Anaheim Ducks
They may be averaging the sixth-most goals per game, but are also allowing the fourth-most as well. Defense wins championships, my friends. Sure they will continue to score goals with a plethora of offensive weapons at the helm, but can they stop them. I think not. But hey, if Daniel Winnik continues to light the lamp, maybe this team can contend.
11) Montreal Canadiens
What happened to last season? The Habs are playing tremendous team hockey right now. Only one player on their team is a minus (Lars Eller). Defenseman Andrei Markov looks like a top tier defenseman and the team has won three games out of five. Don't forget. This is all without P.K. Subban.
10) New York Rangers
Despite the unfortunate slow start, the Rangers are still a scary team in the league. Behind Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash, the goals will certainly come. And it also helps when you have the best goaltender in the planet stopping shots. New York will right this ship in a hurry.
9) Minnesota Wild
Zach Parise has made an immediate impact for this club, already posting nine points through five games. Their powerplay is suddenly one of the most dangerous in all of hockey. However, Ryan Suter still needs to prove he was worth that off-season money.
8) New Jersey Devils
They are allowing a third-best 1.75 goals per game and Martin Brodeur appears to still have a lot left in the tank. And oh by the way, Ilya Kovalchuk is pretty darn good.
7) Tampa Bay Lightning
I'm not 100 percent sold that they are a top-ten team, but as of right now, you can't argue. They have the most explosive offense in the league, averaging a top-ranked 4.80 goals per contest. Not only do they have the obvious offensive weapons, but rookie Cory Conacher looks like a legitimate Calder Trophy contender.
6) Ottawa Senators
Craig Anderson is quietly playing outstanding between the pipes, with a ridiculous 0.74 GAA and a .975 SV%. Not to mention, Kyle Turris has scored four goals in five games, and looks like an All Star.
5) Pittsburgh Penguins
Sure they lost to Toronto and Winnipeg (better than people think) but the Penguins are still one of the biggest threats. They have Sidney Crosby. They have Evgeni Malkin. But more importantly, goaltender Marc-Andre Fluery is silencing the doubters, which is crucial to their success.
4) Boston Bruins
In my eyes, Boston is without a doubt the best team in the Eastern Conference. The loss of Tim Thomas means nothing, as Tuukka Rask is holding his own. With the same core for years and an emerging superstar in Tyler Seguin, Boston could be the team to beat in the East.
3) St. Louis Blues
The west is dominating! St. Louis was my Stanley Cup pick before the season started and I'm sticking by it. A two-headed dragon between the pipes, a rookie scoring machine in Vladimir Tarasenko and a terrific defense only allowing 17 shots per game is extremely promising.
2) San Jose Sharks
Perhaps the surprise team of the year so far, San Jose is certainly for real. It's early, but Patrick Marleau is the league MVP right now and Anti Niemi is quietly playing superb in net (2.01 GAA, .933 SV %). Veteran leadership and a deep roster makes for a dangerous hockey club.
1) Chicago Blackhawks
Heading into this season, people believed that this team was good. Maybe somewhere between the five and eight seeds. But boy, has Chicago taken the NHL by storm so far? The team has started 6-0-0, which is the best in franchise history. With weapons all over the ice in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, as well as a goaltending issue that may be resolved, watch out.