The 2014-2015 NHL season is underway and has started with many early surprises. With two of the top prospects the NHL has seen in years with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, there could be a huge gap between the best and worst teams. The early power rankings are as follows:
30. Buffalo Sabres: After losing Ryan Miller last year, the Sabres don’t possess the talent to have a top team. Hopefully they can secure a top pick in next years draft.
29. Carolina Hurricanes: They have the star power and scoring, just struggle defensively. Cam Ward hasn’t been himself since their cup run in 2006.
28. Edmonton Oilers: Every year the Oilers seems to have the talent in young players, but can’t seem to pull it together to win.
27. Winnipeg Jets: the Jets have not been able to pull it together to have a very successful team. They have good talent in players like Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, but lack scoring depth.
26. Florida Panthers: The Panthers have been the worst team all around in recent years. They look slightly better this year after acquiring Willie Mitchel and Roberto Luongo, but don’t have the chemistry or scoring to go deep.
25. Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks finally have a consistent starting goalie in Ryan Miller. But after the Sedin brothers, they don’t have the depth.
24. Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes enter the season with a very similar team to last year. They hope to be led by veteran captain Shane Doan and top:5 defenseman Oliver Ekman:Larsson.
23. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have one of the better rosters in the NHL, having players like Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, but lack the goaltending to stick around most games.
22. Toronto Maple Leafs: After choking away a thought to be sure playoff berth last year, it’s hard to see the Leafs rebounding this year. If they can finish late in games, this season they could make a late run.
21. New Jersey Devils: The Devils enter the season with an exciting mix of young players and veterans. With Cory Schneider filling the void left by Martin Brodeur, this team could start clicking and become a threat to slip into the playoffs.
20. Calgary Flames: The Flames have been a disappointment to fans in recent years. They brought in the good players this year like Mason Raymond and if they get consistent goaltending could be tough to beat.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets played very well last year, even making it to the playoffs. They added veteran player Scott Hartnell and continue to play behind great goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky.
18. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan McKinnon was by far the most impressive rookie last year, and continues to carry it through this year. Patrick Roy is in his second year of head coaching and hopes to lead the team on a deep run. They lost forward Matt Duchene, but got veteran Jarome Iginla in his place.
17. Nashville Predators: The Predators hope to improve on a poor season last year, by adding players like James Neal and Olli Jokinen. Pekka Rinne needs to return to form in order for this team to return to the playoffs.
16. Minnesota Wild: Led by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild have one of the deepest teams in the league. If their goaltending comes to form they can be a real contender.
15. St. Louis Blues: With one of the best defensive front line in the league in Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues hope to finally have a break out year. They also picked up Paul Statsny to add much needed scoring depth.
14. New York Islanders: The Islanders have been a disappointment to fans, making the playoffs only once in the past seven seasons. They finally seem to have some good goaltending in Jarslov Halak, and with players like John Tavares anything can happen.
13. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings continue to make it to the playoffs every year. With veterans like Pavel Datsyuk and young players like Tomas Tatar, I don’t see them missing it anytime soon.
12. New York Rangers: After a disappointing loss in the Stanley Cup Finals last year, the Rangers hope to have another impressive year. If Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis can form some chemistry up top, they’re going to be hard to stop.
11. Washington Capitals: Washington finally made a step in the right direction by solidifying its blue line with players like Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. If Braden Holtby gets back into form, Ovechkin should keep the offense rolling.
10. Boston Bruins: Every year the bruins seem to be a contender late in the year. They’ve come up short the past two years but with a team loaded with chemistry you never know when they’ll heat up.
9. Dallas Stars: The Stars are coming off a great season, and added even more talent to already one of the best rosters in the league, in Jason Spezza.
8. Ottawa Senators: The Senators have lost some great players in recent years in Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza. They have replaced them with talents like Bobby Ryan and David Legwand, and still have young talents like Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Stamkos is coming off a short season last year after he broke his tibia. He hopes to bounce back and lead them to the playoffs, behind Ben Bishop who had 37 wins last year.
6. Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks are always hanging around late in the playoffs. After signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to big contracts, they hope to continue competing at a high level.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins continue to be one of the best regular season teams in the NHL. With a change in management and coaching, hopefully they can pull it together in the playoffs behind all:stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
4. San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to play at a high level at their high age. If they can stay consistent they should have no problem hanging around come May.
3. Anaheim Ducks: the Ducks are led by high scoring forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. They added big second line center Ryan Kesler and hope he can provide the scoring depth they’ve been missing in recent years.
2. Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens were rolling in the playoffs, until the injury or Carey Price forced them to start inexperienced goaltender Dustin Tokarski. They have a hugely talented young players like P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk to lead them.
1. Los Angeles Kings: After another impressive Stanley Cup win, the Kings head the power rankings for yet another year. With undeniable chemistry and outstanding goaltending in Jonathan Quick, they will remain at the top.