Hockey

NHL Preseason Power Rankings

NHL Preseason
Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Opening Night/Week is finally here, so we’re here to tell you where your team lies at the start the season, in our CSM NHL Preseason Power Rankings.

32: Buffalo Sabres

This really comes as no surprise at all, as Buffalo, in recent years, has just been a total dumpster fire. This season is not about wins. It’s about getting young players NHL experience, while also trying to get the first overall pick. Really tough-to-watch hockey ahead. Something to keep a close eye on, though, is the Jack Eichel situation, which recently got more interesting when he was stripped of his captaincy after he failed his yearly physical.

31: Arizona Coyotes

This one isn’t that surprising either, with the lack of talent on Arizona’s roster. They lost key players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak all in trades this off-season. At least one bright spot for Arizona are their new full-time Kachina jerseys.

30: Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks don’t really have a lot to look forward to other than their super-young core. This season is going to be all about Getzlaf mentoring the young stars like Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale.

29: Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has a lot of potential upside to their newly formed roster this year. With some of the names including draft picks Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, and also a newly acquired Alex Nedeljkovic from a trade with Carolina in the off-season.

28: San Jose Sharks

San Jose is just holding on for dear life from a complete rebuild of their franchise. And the bricks could easily start to fall early on with trade talks looming, getting hotter and hotter around Tomas Hertl.

27: Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus has been in a downward spiral ever since their 2019 first round upset of the Lightning. Don’t expect things to get any easier for the Jackets, with there being a really competitive Eastern Conference this year.

26: Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators do have some potential, but not a lot. The Sens could easily make some noise and stir up the Eastern Conference Standings a bit, with household names on their roster, including Brady Tkachuk, and Matt Murray.

25: Nashville Predators

It is officially the Juuse Saros era in Nashville, after future HOFer goalie Pekka Rinne retired in the off-season. Saros has a lot to bring to the table in Nashville, and even possibly a sneaky second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

24: Los Angeles Kings

The Kings have a boat load of league-ready prospects that could possibly see NHL ice this year. If all pieces of the puzzle fit together early, Los Angeles could be a very dangerous and scary team in the future.

23: New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils were quite active this off-season, adding two defenseman in Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves, although this might not seem like enough for New Jersey to be classified as a playoff team. This certainly could be a reality in the future with a few more tweaks and changes.

22: Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames are staring head-on with another possible mediocre season. But that might just be able to be turned around this year, with a pretty decent forward group in Calgary.

21: Montreal Canadiens

Although the Canadiens had a Cinderella run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last year, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen again. Montreal has lost a number of key players to injuries and free agency, and it’s going to be hard for them to get back on track.

20: Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are coming off a horrible season in which they made a lot of off-season changes to make up for. But the biggest burning question is if Carter Hart can regain his full potential and lead Philadelphia back into the mix.

19: Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are already looking great to start a new year of NHL Hockey. They acquired a few great players from Arizona in the off-season and dumped them even worse ones. Although, This group will have to have a lot of offensive support, if their bottom tier defense cannot hold.

18: Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks could be a severely underrated team in the NHL this year if they have a a healthy Kane & Toews duo. They also traded for Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury in the off-season for a little extra touch. Chicago has a variety of young stars to help them along they way, including Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. This team could easily march into the playoffs and upset a number of teams.

17: Dallas Stars

Coming off a brutally disappointing season in 2020. The Dallas Stars are looking to turn things around and make the playoffs. Which is very much possible with a healthy Tyler Seguin, surrounded by key pieces such as Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski.

16: Seattle Kraken

It is going to be exciting to see the Seattle Kraken come together and build their team. Bringing together players from every team across the NHL makes such a diverse population, and it helps to form an interesting team that the city is beyond excited to be a part of. It also gives all hockey fans a little stake in the new team. It is still unclear as to how well this team can perform together.

15: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have a tough road, especially at the beginning of the season. With Malkin’s shoulder surgery and Crosby’s wrist surgery, it will be difficult not having the experience and leadership on the bench, as well as missing their on-ice play. This is Jake Guentzel’s chance to showcase his abilities and leadership. Otherwise when the Penguins are finally healthy, they will be a dangerous team, as always.

14: New York Rangers

The Rangers showed glimpses of what the future of their team can be last year. A perfect balance of leaders like Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox. Plus, a solid young core with decent goaltending could be just the perfect recipe the Rangers have been trying to cook for years.

13: Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have always been a decently good team in recent years. But Winnipeg could finally take the next step that they have been looking to take for a few years. If Connor Hellebuyck puts up another great season, and the Jets offense dominates like last year, and the defense can hold on it’s own, Winnipeg would be a great bet to be a playoff team.

12: Minnesota Wild

The Wild are coming up on a great season with a superstar player that Minnesota hasn’t seen in a long time. Kirill Kaprizov is possibly the next big name in the NHL, if he can produce another huge season for the Wild. And if he does, the Wild have great support all around, in all aspects of the game, which is a perfect match for success.

11: St. Louis Blues

All the Blues need for a another great season of hockey, is just simply a reset button. And St. Louis kind of received it. With a healthy lineup, and a newly acquired red hot Pavel Buchnevich, the Blues are poised for success with a lineup that is filled with depth. The only remaining factor is if Jordan Binnington can have another great season like he did in 2019, when the Blues won the Stanley Cup.

10: Washington Capitals

The Caps are truly looking like a great team again. Alex Ovechkin will look to score another 30+ goal season and start to climb the ranks of the NHL’s All-time goal list. But it’s going to be hard for the Capitals to fight for space in a very crowded Metropolitan Division.

9: Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are looking as dangerous as ever with arguably the best duo in the Big Four, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Both of them are coming off of monster seasons, and will look to do the same this year; to push Edmonton past the first round of playoffs.

8: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs are coming off a heartbreaking first round upset to the Canadiens in the playoffs last year. Every year, the Maple Leafs goal is to win the Stanley Cup, although it’s not completely out of reach. Something more realistic for Toronto fans should be simply winning a single playoff series. And it’s definitely possible with Art Ross, hopeful Auston Matthews, and his trusty sidekick, Mitch Marner.

7: Florida Panthers

Florida looked awesome last year in every aspect of play. Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are emerging as the league’s top forward duo, and will continue to thrive for years to come. The only question for the Panthers this year, is whether or not Sergei Bobrovsky and rookie Spencer Knight, can back up all of the Panthers hard work on the front lines.

6: Boston Bruins

The Bruins are always a solid team, but this year it could just be a little more difficult for Bruce Cassidy’s squad. With Tuukka Rask recovering from off-season surgery and is still a free agent, the Bruins will have to rely on Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman to get the job done.

5: Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are looking to be a fierce team to play in 2021, but they could seem a lot less menacing with the off-season departures of Dougie Hamilton, Petr Mrazek, and Alex Nedeljkovic. Although Carolina did sign goalie Frederik Anderson in free agency, and still have plenty depth at defense. Carolina should still remain to be a team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

4: Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas is set for success at every position on their roster. With the trade of Marc-Andre Fleury this summer, there’s a giant question surrounding Robin Lehner and if he can still lead this Pacific Division powerhouse to a deep playoff run.

3: New York Islanders

The Islanders were very busy in the off-season, while adding depth to almost every position. With a trusty head coach in Barry Trotz, this team could easily be a sleeper Stanley Cup team.

2: Colorado Avalanche

Colorado has arguably the deepest roster in the NHL, and it’s about time for them to finally deliver something more than a second round exit. And they have the tools to do it, with Hart hopeful Nathan MacKinnion, and Norris hopeful Cale Makar.

1: Tampa Bay Lightning

This comes to no surprise as the Lighting repeated as Stanley Cup Champs last season. With a star studded roster, and the best goalie in the league, it would come as no shock if the Lightning can strike three times.

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