The NHL season is live and in its stride as we are about to end the month of November and go into December. The league has shaped up a lot differently this year than anyone could have expected, with the Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche not anywhere near cracking the top ten teams so far this year. So without further ado let’s look at our top five teams in the power ranking going into December.
The Hurricanes have been ferocious so far this season, and are currently only sitting behind the Panthers by one point despite having two fewer games played. So far in the year, the team has only been defeated twice, and that makes them a rather scary team to go up against. With the freshman Seth Jarvis rolling on a high note and breaking into the top line, it’s not surprising to see an extensive point streak. Playing alongside him are two other young superstars in Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, who have both made names for themselves in Carolina, and the team really couldn’t be imagined without them in the top two lines. Further, when looking at this team defensively they have done absolutely amazing, with Frederik Andersen performing amazingly in the net and the defense in front of him looking absolutely solid in the hands of Jaccob Slavin and Ethan Bear on the top line as well. Overall, this team could look to recapture their position at the top of the league through the early weeks of the month, and look like a serious early contender for the cup.
This list would be lacking if it didn’t contain the Florida Panthers in the top two in power ranking. While the Panthers are currently topping the league by one point, they have been a goal-scoring machine, with the top points players being Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Anthony Duclair, a stellar forward combo for the team. The hindrance to their performance has been the number of goals that they give up, with 47 goals against so far this season. This has led them to three overtime losses, and two regular time losses. Overall, the team will most certainly be strong throughout the season, as they have the depth to contend against an injury crisis, but they need to find a way to stop bleeding goals against if they want to claim the top spot in the power rankings.
The Flames are a rather surprising addition to this list, but they have the greatest goal differential in the league, and currently sit at fourth in the standings. Jacob Markstrom has been a save machine in net and made remarkable strides, his partner in net, Daniel Vladar, has Also yet to be defeated in regulation during the season, and has maintained a goals-against average of under two so far this season. In terms of point production, the team is led by Johnny Gaudreau with 22 points. The tenured player has done amazingly so far this season, but he is joined by a strong accompanying center of Elias Lindholm, which has led to many points for the pair of them, and looks like it could continue to be strong throughout December.
The Washington Capitals have looked fairly strong already this season, especially as Alex Ovechkin looks to top Wayne Gretzky‘s all-time goal record, a feat that cannot be accomplished without the team rallied behind him as they have been so far. Upfront, the first line has had an absolutely amazing performance, as Ovechkin has been supported by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson, leading to the two having a fair number of assists, as well as putting up goals themselves which have led to Ovechkin getting 15 assists so far. In net, Vitek Vanecek has stepped up to the plate in a big way, having faced close to 300 shots so far, and only having a total of 28 goals against. His partner on the other side of the tandem is Ilya Samsonov, who is currently undefeated in regulation time, and has three shutouts so far this season. From a goaltending perspective, this team looks like an absolute powerhouse, which could see them move up in this power ranking in the coming months.
While the Maple Leafs had a rocky start to the season, they have since bounced back, for the most part, putting up a lot of points, and starting to get back into the shape that they had hoped to start the season in. Top four forwards John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and William Nylander top their team in point production so far. The weakness to this team has been giving up goals, as out of those same top four attackers, only Matthews has a positive +/- rating. Picking up the extra work in defense has been Alexander Kerfoot, as the player boasts the highest +/- among the team, as well as having a fair few points to his name. The big surprise for the Maple Leafs would have to be the production and stepping up of player Michael Bunting, as the forward has now taken on first-line minutes, and largely looks like the replacement for Zach Hyman in that line. Before coming to the team, Bunting was lucky to have third-line minutes, but now he has stepped up in a big way and looks perfectly comfortable doing so. In net, perhaps the league’s most humble goalie, Jack Campbell, has looked strong, maintaining a goals-against-average of 1.66, and a save percentage of .944, one of the best in the league. As well, young star Joseph Woll has yet to be defeated in his two starts, as on Sunday night he posted a shutout against the Islanders. If this team can band together and get everyone involved in plays that stop the opposing teams from putting up goals, then they could easily move to be cup contenders this year, while also possibly moving up in this power ranking.
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