The NHL season is already three weeks old. Some teams are off to hot starts and some teams are off to slow starts. The NHL season is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Who are the Top 10 teams entering the third week of the NHL regular season?
10. Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks are going through a youth movement right now and they have shored up things on the defensive end at the moment. Anaheim is playing hard but it is a matter of how long they will be able to keep this up for. John Gibson is one of the best goalies in the NHL. Their record so far this season is 5-2 with 10 points. The Pacific Division is the weakest division in hockey. They have only scored 18 goals, but they have only given up 12. Preseason ranking: not ranked.
9. Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have scored 27 goals so far this season, but they have given up 18. Buffalo also got off to a hot start last season and they fell off a cliff. Ralph Kruger is the new head coach of this team and so far this team has responded positively to him. Jack Eichel leads the team with 10 points (four goals and six assists). His plus/minus is -3. Buffalo currently sits in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-1-1 record with 11 points. Preseason ranking: not ranked.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs: Whenever this team looses a game, it appears as if their is going to be a panic attack inside the locker room or within the fan base. Everybody needs to stop overreacting to every loss with this team. They didn’t lose a Game 7 in the playoffs, it is only October and there is a lot of time left in the season. The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the most talented offenses in all of hockey with John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, and Auston Matthews. The defense is still a major concern with this team. They have given up 28 goals so far this season and Toronto has scored 31 goals so far this season. They will be another first-round exit if the defense isn’t fixed or they could miss the playoffs entirely. Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock needs to calm his team down. Preseason ranking: 4.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay is not off to a hot start, but this team is human after all. This team will some point heat up. This team has been having some defensive issues so far this season. They have a tough schedule coming up as they will be on the road on Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. The Tampa Bay Lightning will then play the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each have recorded eight points so far this season and Mikhail Sergachev has recorded six assists so far this season. Tampa Bay’s record so far this season is 3-2-1 with seven points. They sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. They have scored 23 goals and have recorded 18 assists so far this season. Preseason ranking: 1.
6. Washington Capitals: Washington seems to be two different teams when Braden Holtby is in net compared to Ilya Samsanov. Holtby has been horrendous this season. Holtby’s record so far this season is 1-1-2 with a .846 save percentage and a 4.27 ERA. Samsanov’s record so far this season is 3-1 with a .933 save percentage and a 1.84 GAA. Braden Holtby is on a contract year and it will be interesting to see if this keeps trending. John Carlson leads the team with 14 points and he has recorded 11 assists. This is one of the most talented teams in the NHL. To no surprise, Alex Ovechkin leads the team with five goals. They have scored 26 goals and given up 26 goals last season. Washington currently sits in third place with a 4-4-2 record with 10 points in the Metropolitan Division. Preseason ranking: 6.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pittsburgh Penguins keep finding ways to win even without Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, Jared McCann, and Bryan Rust. Sidney Crosby continues to be one of the best players in the world. Crosby has scored four goals and has recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. Jake Guentzel has scored five goals and has recorded two assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 2. Kris Letang has recorded six assists and Sam Lafferty has stepped up and has scored three goals so far this season. Matt Murray has been very good in net so far this season. His record is 4-2 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.65 GAA. They have won four straight games and Head Coach Mike Sullivan has done a tremendous job of getting the best out of his players and it appears as if they are not playing with any expectations right now. They are 5-2 with 10 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins have scored 28 goals and have given up 18 goals so far this season. Preseason ranking: 7.
4. Edmonton Oilers: The Edmonton Oilers are currently 6-1 with 12 points and they lead the Pacific Division so far this season. Edmonton doesn’t have a good bottom six/6 at all. It has been the Connor McDavid, the Leon Draisaitl, and the James Neal show so far this season. McDavid has scored five goals and has recoreded 12 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. Leon Draisaitl has scored six goals and has recorded nine assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. James Neal has scored eight goals and has recorded one assist so far this season. His plus/minus rating is even. David Tippett is the new head coach this season and he has changed the culture of this hockey team. If they did not have Connor McDavid, this team would be in big time trouble. Edmonton has scored 29 goals and they have given up 19 goals so far this season. Preseason ranking: not ranked.
3. Carolina Hurricanes: The Carolina Hurricanes sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 6-2 record with 12 points so far this season. Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour has his team focused and they feel like they are ready to take their game to the next level. Carolina has a solid mix of youth and veterans. This team does not rely on one player and they are hoping some of these players on the roster pop and become superstars. The Hurricanes have scored 28 goals and they have given up 21 goals so far this seaosn. Dougie Hamilton leads the team with nine points (five goals and four assists). His plus/minus is eight so far this season. Andrei Svechnikov leads the team with seven assists. Erik Haula leads the team with six goals. Preseason ranking: 10.
2. Boston Bruins: The Boston Bruins might have the best line in the league right now with Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak. The bottom six has been struggling. Boston is a five to ten times better version of the Edmonton Oilers right now. The Bruins have an elite defense as well and Bruce Cassidy is an elite coach. Boston currently sits in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-1 record with 10 points so far this season. They have only scored 16 goals but they have only given up 10 so far this season. Their top line ha s comibined for 11 of the 16 goals so far this season. Preseason ranking: 2.
1. Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche were the last team to lose a game this season. They lost 3-2 in overtime on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen is a solid duo. Nazem Kadri has been very good as well. The defensive unit is very underrated. Colorado’s record so far this season is 5-0-1 with 11 points. They sit in first place in the Central Division. The Avalanche have scored 24 goals and have recorded 15 assists. MacKinnon scored a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins and he has scored a total of three goals and recorded six assists so far this season. His plus/minus is one. Mikko Rantanen also has scored four goals and he has recorded six assists so far this season. His plus/minus is also one. Jared Bednar is also one of the best coaches in the NHL. He has built this team from the ground up and it is potentially very possible that Colorado wins the Stanley Cup title for the first time since 2001. This will be a fun season for this team. They are very good from top to bottom. Preseason ranking: 9.