Hockey fans, rejoice! It is time for the start of another season of action. It’s important to know where the teams stand entering a new season after the eventful few months this summer brought. There are some teams that have a completely new look that make their performance hard to truly predict. And some, who may underperform due to other reasons, like the Boston Bruins injury woes impacting the top half of their lineup, and dropping them down the NHL power rankings for the first week.
Although the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks have already technically started the regular season with their games in Europe, the official opening night of the 2022-23 season is Tuesday, October 11th.
The Calgary Flames are the primary team in this category, with the loss of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk and the addition of Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.
On paper, they look just as strong, if not stronger. But we have to see the team on the ice to know the impact on the team’s chemistry and the loss of an identity piece like Tkachuk.
The Colorado Avalanche will be looking to defend their Stanley Cup victory and are poised to be a strong contender once again. But a bit of a hit to their forward depth and unproven starting goalie options leave them susceptible to regression.
To go along with this week’s NHL power rankings, here are a few of the bigger movers from preseason action and teams to keep an eye on early this season.
From this offseason’s power rankings, where the Bruins were still seen as a strong option, they will be a team to watch early on. It was already known that they would be short Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk due to injury. And that made their high ranking a bit risky, considering their depth.
Now, Taylor Hall is also out due to injury for a few weeks which just makes things worse.
The impact of the coaching change is going to cause difficulties as well. It still baffles the hockey world why Bruce Cassidy was let go when he was. But it happened and now with Jim Montgomery at the helm, it could very well be the beginning of the end for the Bruins’ competitive window.
Because of the Boston Bruins injury woes making depth issues more apparent, the unknown impact of an untimely coaching change, an aging core, and some other teams putting up a promising showing in the preseason, the Bruins have fallen a few spots to 15th in the opening night 2022-23 NHL power rankings.
The inaugural season for the Seattle Kraken was incredibly disappointing. They finished third last in the league with no help from their, quite frankly, atrocious goaltending and mediocre offense. But with some exciting prospects like Matthew Beniers and Shane Wright and the acquisition of Oliver Bjorkstrand, they should be a bit better at scoring.
And if early indications from the preseason are worth anything, Philipp Grubauer, the presumed starter, may look like the Vezina finalist the Kraken thought they had signed. A .939 SV% over his three preseason appearances is much more respectable than his numbers from last season.
And overall, the team seemed more sound on the ice. 18 goals for and 12 goals against in six games is a promising start. Does the preseason really indicate anything? No, not really. But there may be some valid hype building around the Kraken for the season that may make them worth watching that has sent them a few spots up the power rankings.
The Vancouver Canucks are a very polarizing team in predictions for the season. A lot of analytics-based projections place the Canucks fairly high up in the standings. JFresh’s model, for example, has them finishing second in the Pacific Division. Many of them have the Canucks placed in a playoff contender spot.
The Canucks have something going for them that gives them a major boost in analytics-based prediction models. A top-tier goalie in Thatcher Demko. Aside from him, Vancouver’s roster is a bit shallow with questionable defensive depth.
It seems far more likely the Canucks struggle to stay afloat in a division with the Edmonton Oilers, Flames, Vegas Golden Knights, and the upstart Los Angeles Kings.
And that was assuming they had their full roster. The preseason has been rough on the Canucks as they have potentially lost Ilya Mikheyev, Brock Boeser, Tyler Myers, Travis Dermott, and Conor Garland to injury. Their depth will be tested and it could easily lead to a slow start that is going to be difficult to come back from.
For those reasons, the Canucks have fallen a bit down the power rankings to start the season.
Which team is ranked too high? Which team is ranked too low? Will the Boston Bruins injury issues make as big an impact on the NHL Power Rankings as predicted? Drop a comment down below with your thoughts!
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