We are introducing a new feature at The Hockey Fanatic, the NHL Power Poll. Each month we will be listing our top 30 NHL teams based on performance, acquisitions, on and off ice activity and maybe even on potential for success. Which teams are the movers and shakers? Which franchises are struggling and which ones are impressing us the most? The opinions stated here are based on this Hockey Fans perception of the 30 NHL teams and we welcome commentary on the posts. Of course you will not agree with everything you see here, but again this is our opinion on which teams we feel are (or should be) at the top of our Power Rankings.
With that as we are still in the NHL offseason, here is the inaugural NHL Power Rankings for August 2015.
NHL Power Rankings – Aug 2015
Let’s start where the season left off shall we?
- Chicago Blackhawks – the defending Stanley Cup champions will be starting the season with a few roster moves, but they are poised to make another run for the Cup.
- Tampa Bay Lightning – well if the Stanley Cup Champs begin the season in the top spot of our NHL Power Rankings then its only fair that the runner ups are in second place. The Bolts will be entering the 2015-16 season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Stamkos wants to win and he wants to win now. Will the Bolts regress this season? Only time will tell.
- Montreal Canadiens – these guys finished with a surprising 110 points last regular season good enough for number two in the League. They’ve got PK, they’ve got Carey Price and they’ve added a few cogs in Zack Kassian and Alex Semin. Their Stanley Cup Odds are listed at 21-1. If a Canadian team will win the Cup, your best bet this season is on the Habs.
- Anaheim Ducks– this team looks like a powerhouse. I was suspect of their goaltending last season but they proved me wrong in the Playoffs. The Ducks should have another great season this year. They are 8-1 favorites to capture the Holy Grail this year.
- St. Louis Blues – this team appears to be built for the regular season. They just can’t seem to get it done in the playoffs. Not many off season changes were made, but then again they probably didn’t need to make many. The Blues should finish atop the Central Division. They are 17-1 odds to win the Cup this season.
- Los Angeles Kings – look for this is to be a rebound year for the Kings. They’ll most likely finish second or third in the Pacific Division and the addition of Milan Lucic makes this team a physical team with a solid back-end.
- Washington Capitals – the Caps have added TJ Oshie who could put up the best numbers of his career playing with Ovie and Nicklas Backstrom this season. I think with the changes to Over Time this season, this could be one of the team that benefits most. They should finish atop the Metropolitan Division. Odds makers have them as 9-1 Odds as winning the Stanley Cup.
- Dallas Stars – I love the additions that the Stars made in the off season adding the likes of Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya from the Cup winning Blackhawks as well as adding Antti Niemi in net. They are in a tough division but this team will compete for a Playoff spot no question.
- New York Islanders – a good young team on the rise, the question is how much better can these guys get? I question their goaltending, but this team should be able to put the puck in the net. John Tavares will be looking to further impress the crowd in Brooklyn.
- Winnipeg Jets – I like the Jets. They work hard have no real superstars but they seem to be in most games. They are in a tough division but should finish third in the Central. A pretty decent management team the Jets should be able to again compete for a Playoff spot.
- New York Rangers – the Rangers lead the NHL with 53 wins last season. Not sure if they will hit that again this season but this is still a fairly solid team. Look out for the Islanders though. We predict that the Rangers will fall a little bit this season maybe to third in the Metropolitan Division.
- Calgary Flames – the Flames are an interesting team to me. The Little Engine That Could… did they over achieve last season? They were the comeback kids. No team in the NHL has the work ethic like the Flames (and this coming from an Oilers fan). The Flames have a lot of great talent and while I’m not sold on their goaltending they have a pretty solid defense along with the addition of Dougie Hamilton. They have the highest odds of any Canadian team at 20-1 to win the Stanley Cup. I can’t see that happening but stranger things have happened.
- Nashville Predators – the Preds finished third in the West with 104 points last season. Not sure if they will be able to repeat that this season, however they have one of the best D-corps in the NHL with Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Seth Jones and goalie Pekka Rinne. Not sure if they’ll compete for the Cup but they should compete well for a playoff position.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – the Blue Jackets added up and coming power-forward Brandon Saad from Chicago in the off-season. They had 89 points last season and should be right around that this year. 22-1 Odds to win the Stanley Cup this season.
- Detroit Red Wings – these guys haven’t missed the playoffs in quite some time. This year might be the year. Losing Mike Babcock might be a little too much for this squad that finished sixth in the Eastern Conference last season. 19-1 Odds to win the Cup, I think the Wings will finish third in the Atlantic and be hard pressed for that 8th and final playoff spot.
- Pittsburgh Penguins – not sure about this team. The addition of Phil Kessel may add a few goals but hey these guys still have Crosby and Malkin. They will most likely finish in 4th or 5th in the Metropolitan Division but this team is injury prone and in my mind is in need of a number one goaltender before they can be a sure fit playoff contender.
- San Jose Sharks – the Sharks are a better team than they have shown in recent years. I think that there is stiff a riff going on between Doug Wilson and some of the key players on the team but we will see how the start of a new season affects this squad. 12th in the West last year just doesn’t seem right for this team. Look for them to improve this year. Otherwise this team might begin a down slide after being one of the most successful regular season teams over the past decade.
- Ottawa Senators – this team surprised many last season. They were as good as any team down the stretch but just ran out of gas in the playoffs. No real superstars up front for the Sens but Kyle Turris is beginning to show signs of being a dominant player. I would like to see the Sens give Curtis Lazar some more ice time but hey that’s just me.
- Edmonton Oilers – the biggest move the Oilers made in the off season was not getting Connor McDavid. It was rolling out the change to management. For nine years this team has toiled in misery. McDavid will help, but the Oilers need defense, they need goaltending and they could use a power forward to compete with the Lucic’s, Thornton’s and Getzlaf’s of the division. 38-1 odds to win the Cup this year; I like most Oilers fans would just love to see them make the playoffs this season. Sadly I feel that the misery will continue. I’m not sold on Cam Talbot as a starter (the Oilers should have nabbed Niemi IMO). Most likely scenario for this team is that they finish 4th or 5th in the tough Pacific Division.
- Vancouver Canucks – I feel that the time has passed for the Canucks. I like the management team, but the on-ice product leaves a little to be desired. Bieksa is gone following Kesler to Anaheim. The botched goaltending situation from a few years back will still haunt this team although Ryan Miller played better than I expected last season. 52-1 favorites to win the Cup this season. Place your bets folks…
- Florida Panthers – on paper this is not a bad team. This is another team that struggled in OT and in shootouts. Lots of young talent here so the Cats could surprise a few, but expect them to finish 5th in the Atlantic Division.
- Boston Bruins – decent goaltending could carry them but their forwards are lackluster and their defense mainframe of Zdeno Chara is aging. A number of changes were made but I can’t say that the Bruins are going to be better this season. #FallFromGrace
- Minnesota Wild – not sure if Devin Dubnyk can repeat his performance from last year. If he cannot, the Wild could be in trouble.
- Philadelphia Flyers – a new coach and few changes mean that the Flyers are in for another long season this year. 84 points last season just will not cut it. The young players need to step it up a new era is needed in Philly.
- Colorado Avalanche – not sure what to think of the Avs, but I do feel that they will take a step or two back this season. 65-1 odds to win the Cup says it all.
- Arizona Coyotes – a few decent moves in the off season but after four seasons of 99,97,87,and 89 points respectively, the Yotes compiled a mere 56 last season and were 29th overall. We have them in 26th to start the season but that could easily be 28th. 200-1 favorites to capture the Stanley Cup this season.
- Buffalo Sabres – the Sabres might have lost out on Connor McDavid but they still got an nice little player in Jack Eichel. I like the changes the Sabres made in the off season acquiring Ryan O’Reilly (whom I feel is considerably overvalued) but nonetheless the Sabres fortunes should be on the rise.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – lots of change in TO this off-season. However when management says that they are going to take it slow it could be a while yet before the Leafs are Cup contenders. Will the most expensive coach in NHL history (Mike Babcock) make that much of a difference this season?
- Carolina Hurricanes – these guys need an overhaul. Look for the Canes to be bottom dwellers for a few seasons as they need help at all positions. 300-1 odds on favorites to win the Cup.
- New Jersey Devils – the poor Devils are in for a few years of sub-playoff hockey as this team will struggle to keep pace with the other teams in the Metro Division. Lou Lamoriello’s departure means that Ray Shero will have his hands full trying to keep this team out of the cellar. This team did not do well in OT or shoot-outs last season so new rule changes may inflict further pain if the Devils cannot seal the deal in regulation.