It has been an extremely volatile week in the NHL Power Rankings. Teams all across the board are shuffling around, some making pretty significant jumps in either direction, the Ottawa Senators surge their way up and the Vancouver Canucks slump their way down.
Stanley Cup Contenders?
Some of the most probable Stanley Cup contenders are off to less than ideal starts, as the Colorado Avalanche have been extremely average while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Edmonton Oilers have been disappointing.
The Lightning are sitting with the Montreal Canadiens at the bottom of the powerhouse Atlantic Division, though in their defense they’d be in a playoff spot pretty much anywhere else in the league. The Oilers have shown that the holes in their roster are not filled in the way they looked on paper through the offseason, with defensive woes, invisible depth scoring, and a massive question mark in net early on in this campaign.
The Buffalo Sabres are a team to keep an eye on moving forward. Currently sitting second in the Atlantic Division with a 4-1 record, the Sabres are poised to make a huge jump up these rankings with another good week. Will this trajectory continue through the season for them? History says it won’t as this team often has excellent starts and then trails away by the end of the calendar year.
Let’s take a deeper look into a few of the biggest movers of the week, the Ottawa Senators, the St. Louis Blues, and the Vancouver Canucks.
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The Ottawa Senators are Surging
With all of the offseason hype around their moves, bringing in guys like Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat at forward, Cam Talbot in net, and some top prospects such as Jake Sanderson and Shane Pinto winning roster spots, the Senators were a team to watch. They could begin taking the next step to being competitive or they could crash and burn in the thunderdome that is the Atlantic Division.
Early on, results have been a mixed bag. But their performance in the third calendar week of the season, a 3-0-0 record with 18 goals for, is showing signs of life.
Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson are making a formidable duo on the wings of the top line with eight points each through five games. Debrincat and Giroux have five and four points respectively, while offseason bargain signing Tyler Motte is having one of the best offensive stretches of his career with five points in five games.
Goaltending is still sort of an issue for the Senators, as Anton Forsberg has been serviceable but not a game changer. Ottawa might have to tighten things up a bit defensively to help their goalie out and find ways to win games.
St. Louis Blues Just Won’t Quit
Every year it looks like the St. Louis Blues might start falling behind the other teams in their division but every year they build their roster in a way that helps them sustain their competitive window. Early indications this season show more of the same. The Blues are off to a wonderful start as the last truly undefeated team in the league (though they have played a couple less games than other teams).
The team’s second line of Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas, and Vladimir Tarasenko have been amazing, with five, four, and six points respectively through the team’s first three games. And Jordan Binnington has been showing signs of a bounceback in net with a .940 SV%, a 1.65 GAA, and a shutout victory over the Oilers on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues, if they keep this up, can take advantage of a hot start to give them some breathing room in the standings and of their questionable division with the Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, and Dallas Stars all having uncertainty following them and their performance.
Vancouver Canucks Slumping
The Canucks were just the subject of one of these posts heading into the season as they looked to be poised to disappoint. And they have somehow managed to fall short of these low expectations.
Vancouver is the only winless team in the league at this point, having done so in tragic fashion by giving up multi-goal leads in their first four games of the season, an NHL record.
Nothing is really working for the team right now, from roster composition dysfunction to a lack of depth to poor defensively play and very little production from their best offensive players, these are dark times for this team.
The end of Saturday’s game against the Sabres saw the first jerseys of the season hitting the ice as frustrated fans showed their discontent by toss their sweater over the glass.
Early indications seem to show this is a team desperately clinging to mediocrity trying to avoid a rebuild but everything that happens puts them closer and closer to needing one.
What do you think will stop the Vancouver Canucks slump? Drop a comment down below!
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