We’re one week into the 2016-17 NHL season, and there’s already been a few memorable performances.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored four goals in his debut. Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who led the league in scoring entering Tuesday with seven points, tallied a five-point night in the Bruins’ opener. And the Pittsburgh Penguins raised their fourth Stanley Cup banner to the rafters as they closed the book on their 2015-16 championship season.
Here are our first power rankings of the 2016-17 season. Remember, because a limited number of games have been played, these initial rankings take into account much more than current records (which are up to date as of Oct. 19).
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-0-0): The Lightning are the deepest team in the Eastern Conference and they’ve taken advantage of a favorable home schedule to begin the season.
2. St. Louis Blues (3-0-1): The Blues opened their campaign with wins over three playoff teams from last season — the Blackhawks, Wild and Rangers.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-1): The Pens have earned five of a possible eight points while superstar center Sidney Crosby recovers from a concussion.
4. Washington Capitals (2-0-1): Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finally scored his first goal of the season in Tuesday night’s win over the Colorado Avalanche.
5. San Jose Sharks (3-1-0): The Sharks gave up seven goals in a loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
6. Dallas Stars (2-1-0): Goaltending remains a problem in Dallas, but the good news for the Stars is Tyler Seguin (two goals, one assist in three games) has played well after battling an injury in September.
7. Nashville Predators (1-2-0): The Preds have a brutal early-season schedule, with their first eight games against playoff teams from last season.
8. Chicago Blackhawks (2-2-0): Marian Hossa scored his 500th career goal on Tuesday night. He joins Ovechkin, Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr among active players with 500-plus goals.
9. Florida Panthers (2-0-1): A perfect penalty kill (7 for 7) has been key to Florida’s early success.
10. Minnesota Wild (2-1-0): The Wild offense exploded for six goals against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
11. New York Islanders (1-3-0): One of the problems with the Isles’ disappointing start is a power play that’s scored on only one of its 11 opportunities.
12. New York Rangers (2-1-0): Former Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist surprisingly has struggled in net, but his team has picked him up with a league-high 14 goals scored among teams that have played three or fewer games.
13. Boston Bruins (2-1-0): The Bruins have given up the first goal in every game this season, but they’ve battled back to win two of those games. Right winger David Pastrnak is tied for the league lead in goals scored with four.
14. Montreal Canadiens (2-0-1): The Habs are unbeaten in regulation without elite goaltender Carey Price, who should return to the lineup soon after a severe bout with the flu.
15. Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0): Firing head coach Patrick Roy was the best move the Avalanche could have made in the offseason. This team already looks better.
16. New Jersey Devils (1-1-1): Taylor Hall scored the first two goals of his Devils career in Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade from the summer should be a huge win for New Jersey.
17. Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0): The Red Wings will go as far as starting goalie Petr Mrazek takes them.
18. Edmonton Oilers (3-1-0): The Oilers destroyed the rival Calgary Flames twice to begin the season, but then reality set in with a 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid and Co. are better than last season, but the playoffs probably aren’t a realistic target for this team.
19. Ottawa Senators (3-1-0): Sure, the Sens have won three of their first four games, but those victories came against the Leafs and Coyotes. Don’t be fooled; this isn’t a playoff team.
20. Philadelphia Flyers (1-1-1): The Flyers need much better goaltending from Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth if they are going to reach the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Both netminders have a sub-.880 save percentage.
21. Winnipeg Jets (1-2-0): Veteran forward Blake Wheeler was named captain in the offseason and he’s responded with five points (three goals, two assists) in three games.
22. Anaheim Ducks (0-3-1): Randy Carlyle’s teams are horrible at puck possession, and that’s been the case for the Ducks through four games. Making matters worse is the absence of No. 1 defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who remains unsigned as a restricted free agent. Anaheim desperately needs him.
23. Toronto Maple Leafs (1-0-1): Matthews and his four-goal debut grabbed most of the headlines, and rightfully so, but fellow rookie forward Mitch Marner also has played very well to begin the season. Marner scored his first career goal in Toronto’s 4-1 over the Bruins on Saturday night.
24. Vancouver Canucks (3-0-0): The Canucks are a bad team, and three wins to begin the season doesn’t change that.
25. Los Angeles Kings (0-3-0): The Kings are winless and No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick is going to be out for a while because of an injury. It’s been a disastrous start for L.A.
26. Carolina Hurricanes (0-1-2): The ‘Canes were a popular preseason playoff pick, but a winless start highlighted by 12 goals against in three games is a bit concerning.
27. Buffalo Sabres (1-1-1): Losing forwards Jack Eichel and Evander Kane for an extended period of time because of injuries is a massive blow to the Sabres’ chances of making the playoffs.
28. Arizona Coyotes (1-1-0): The Coyotes lost 7-4 to the Senators on Tuesday night, but it was a night two of their young players, Tobias Rieder and Dylan Strome, won’t ever forget.
29. Calgary Flames (1-2-1): The Flames traded for veteran goalie Brian Elliott to improve their league-worst save percentage from last season, but he’s 0-2-0 with a lackluster .818 save percentage to begin his Calgary tenure.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (0-2-0): This quote from head coach John Tortorella after his team’s opening night loss to the Bruins tells you everything you need to know about the Blue Jackets:
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images