NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes take top honors

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

November 12th, 2021

Neither of the Top 2 Stanley Cup favorites in pre-season – the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights – are in our initial power rankings of the 2021-2022 season. Here are our Top 10 teams in the NHL with just about one month in the books.

1. Carolina Hurricanes (10-1-0)

When you think of the Hurricanes, you might think of talented forwards Andrei Svechnikov (15 points) and Sebastian Aho (12 points) first, but it’s goalie Frederik Andersen who’s stolen the show in Raleigh this year.

Picked up in the offseason from Toronto on a bargain two-year, $9 million pact, the Carolina netminder has played in 10 of his team’s first 11 games, going 9-1-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .939 save %. That’s gone a long way in earning his team the top goal differential (plus-20) in the league to this point.

2. Florida Panthers (10-2-2)

They may have topped the Hurricanes last Saturday in the battle of unbeatens (counting regulation only), but the Panthers promptly lost their next three contests, hence why they’re No. 2 on this list.

Florida boasts a dynamic trio of forwards in Selke Trophy winner Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Anthony Duclair, and also possess one of the early Norris Trophy favorites in Aaron Ekblad at the blueline. Sergei Bobrovsky (6-0-1, 1.73 GAA, .946 save %) is in the midst of a nice bounce-back season between the pipes.

3. Edmonton Oilers (10-2-0)

We’re running out of adjectives to describe just how good Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are at hockey.

Both of them are off to starts not seen since the days of Mario Lemieux, so it’s only natural that the Oilers would have won 10 of their first 12 contests.

4. St. Louis Blues (8-2-2)

The Blues haven’t won consecutive games since starting the season 5-0-0, but they have a legitimate excuse for their inconsistency. Ryan O’Reilly and Torey Krug have both hit the COVID list, while Brandon Saad and Brayden Schenn have also missed time due to injury.

St. Louis has to be happy to have a productive Vladimir Tarasenko (12 points) back on the ice, but the team leader in both points and points per game is the promising 23-year-old forward Jordan Kyrou (14 points over 12 games).

5. Calgary Flames (7-3-3)

A rollicking start has had some Flames fans thinking big, but Calgary already appears to be coming back down to earth.

They’ve lost four of five games to begin November, and are in the midst of a grueling stretch of nine games in 15 days that wraps up just before Thanksgiving. Jacob Markstrom (1.81 GAA, .935 save %) needs some more consistent production from his forwards.

6. Washington Capitals (7-2-4)

Thursday’s win over the Detroit Red Wings was special in a couple of ways for goalie Zach Fucale, who made his NHL debut. He was the first Caps netminder to post a shutout in his professional debut, and the first debuting goalie to shut out the Red Wings in their illustrious 95-year history. 

But the story of Washington’s season is clearly the ageless Alex Ovechkin (11 goals, 11 assists), who just tied Brett Hull for fourth all-time in goals (741). Can he win an astronomical ninth career “Rocket” Richard Trophy?

7. Minnesota Wild (9-4-0)

The Wild keep their opponents guessing, because just about anyone on this team can score.

A total of 17 skaters have registered at least one goal for Minnesota this year, with only winger Ryan Hartman (seven goals) recording more than five. The Wild scored five goals in four straight games (all wins) before Vegas held them to two tallies on the tail-end of a back-to-back when last seen.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-3)

The defending Stanley Cup champs appear to have turned the corner after a bumpy start, as they’ve pointed in six straight tilts (4-0-2).

Forward Alex Killorn has eight points in that span, and is shooting at 30.4% for the season.

9. New York Rangers (7-3-3)

Nine of the first 13 games for a young Rangers team have been on the road, yet they cling to a respectable record in head coach Gerard Gallant’s first year behind the bench.

However, they can’t keep relying on Igor Shesterkin (2.37 GAA, .931 save %) to bail them out between the pipes. The Rangers have the second-fewest shots per game in the NHL (25.7), and the fifth-most shots against (33.8).

10. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-3-0)

So far, so good for the Blue Jackets, who are the most rested team in the NHL with only 10 games under their belts.

They’ve had just under a week to recover from the second of a pair of wins over the Avalanche, in which Oliver Bjorkstrand put the icing on the cake with his team-leading 15th point.