It is a week with plenty of huge swings in the NHL Power Rankings as the performance trends start to settle in and its clear which teams are here to stay, for better or worse.
The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils are running away with the league at this point, though the Vegas Golden Knights are still close behind. The Bruins are 9-1-0 in their last 10 with a perfect 11-0-0 record at home, while the Devils, continuing their amazing start, are on a 12-game win streak, just one shy of the franchise record.
After a strong early season start, something that tends to happen for them, it comes as a surprise to very few that the Buffalo Sabres have gone on a cold streak to drop down the standings. Though it was a bit earlier than usual this year as they typically make it to American Thanksgiving before this happens.
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Despite starting the season well with a strong offense, it has since been tumultuous for the Ottawa Senators. They continue to lose games, GM Pierre Dorion is looking pretty defeated, and the team is in the process of finding a buyer and eventually being sold. They are currently 30th in the league and are 2-7-1 in their last 10 with no signs of things turning around anytime soon. Keep your eyes on the Senators as there may be changes incoming.
This week, we take a closer look at the early success of the Dallas Stars, how the Winnipeg Jets are outperforming the expectations of most, and the struggles for some new players with the Calgary Flames.
The Dallas Stars Are a Lot Less Deboer-ing Now
One of the biggest criticisms of the Dallas Stars over the past 10 or 15 years has been their difficulty scoring. It’s an issue that has plagued them through multiple coaches and significant roster turnover. But early on this season, the Stars are scoring and it is making a huge difference.
Currently Dallas leads the Central Division with 24 points in 18 games. In those 18 games, they have scored 71 goals, an average just shy of four goals per game, putting them second in the league in goals for. Importantly, it is over a full goal more per game than they have averaged in any of the previous four seasons.
Even though the Stars are giving up approximately the same amount of goals per game, that extra goal for is propelling them up the standings and making the team a lot more fun to watch.
While Jason Robertson leads the team with 27 points in 18 games, it is worth noting a bit of a resurgence from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. After being called out yet again for their poor performances in past seasons, the former has 20 points in 18 games while the latter has 15 in his 18 games.
The sustainability of this hot start will come into question soon, as Dallas’s possession numbers are not great and their PDO is at the top in the league. This indicates they may just be getting lucky and will regress as the season goes on.
The Jets are Back?
Sticking with the Central Division, another team that is overperforming expectations early on is the Winnipeg Jets. After an extremely disappointing season in 2021-22 that saw their head coach resign, the team miss the playoffs, and a complete shake-up to the leadership group, the Jets are starting strong.
They have, at times, found themselves at the top of the division, but currently sit tied for second.
The biggest change? Goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck is putting up the best statline of his career right now. Through his first 13 starts, he has a .935 SV%, 2.07 GAA, and leads the league with a 12.53 GSAA.
The Jets are one of the worst teams offensively in the league, with only the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes having scored more goals. But the only team that has given up fewer goals than them is the Boston Bruins. Chalk it up to a rebound season by Hellebuyck, but also the system of new head coach Rick Bowness deserves some credit for helping the team improve their defensive prowess.
Are the New Flames Having Difficulty Adjusting to the Team?
It was going to be hard to predict how the Calgary Flames would perform this season after having their core absolutely shaken up by the loss of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, and the depth of the team lost Sean Monahan and Erik Gudbranson.
Kadri has been a fantastic addition for the team, keeping up his career-high pace from last season with 15 points in 17 games. But for Huberdeau and Weegar, the adjustment period seems to be taking a bit longer.
Huberdeau only has eight points in 14 games, a far cry from the pace that saw him put up 115 last season. He is currently averaging the least amount of ice time per game (17:01) since the 2014-15 season. In a similar fashion, Weegar only has four points in 17 games and is averaging a bit less ice time per game than the previous two seasons, which saw him, for the most part, lead the Florida Panthers’ defense in Aaron Ekblad’s injury-related absences.
The two former Panthers appear to be struggling to adjust to a new role with a new team. It’s only been 17 games, not even a quarter of the way through the season, but the Flames were definitely hoping for a bit more out of the new players, considering the amount of scoring in the lineup they needed to replace. The Flames have gone from sixth in goals for last season to tenth so far this season, and dropping in NHL Power Rankings.
Which team is ranked too high in the NHL Power Rankings? Who needs a boost next week? Drop a comment down below!
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