How does the league look two weeks into the season?
The 2021 NHL season is off to a flying start. The Dallas Stars haven’t played yet and both the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals are dealing with COVID-19 issues themselves, but the league’s been pretty fun, so far.
The Anaheim Ducks are still terrible and the Tampa Bay Lightning are still dominant. Our biggest surprise to kick off the season? The wildly impressive Montreal Canadiens.
N/R Dallas Stars
The reigning Western Conference champions have yet to play a game after a COVID-19 outbreak saw 17 players test positive.
30. Chicago Blackhawks
Man, do the Blackhawks look bad. They’re the only remaining team to not have a win so far in this young season. No forward depth and question marks in net are proving to be detrimental to this team. It’s going to be a long season for Chicago.
29. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks were expected to be bad this season, but this bad? They’ve scored a grand total of six goals and their top-six forwards have left a lot to be desired. Could Trevor Zegras be on the horizon?
28. Ottawa Senators
The Senators actually haven’t played atrociously this season, especially at even-strength, but winning just one game and losing three in a row will only get a team so high on this list.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets aren’t playing well and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that one of their stars, Pierre-Luc Dubois, is desperate to leave. Granting him that wish might be in the team’s best interest.
26. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are scoring goals, but aren’t exactly doing enough to win games. Players not named Jack Eichel or Taylor Hall are going to have to step up.
25. Arizona Coyotes
The 2021 Coyotes aren’t the team we saw last year. They’re actually scoring goals but goaltender Darcy Kuemper has had a rough start to the season.
24. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are this high just because they were finally able to get their first win of the season, and they did it against a dangerous Colorado team. Could this mark the beginning of a turn-around?
23. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks definitely don’t look like the exciting team that had so much fight in it just a few months ago. The fact that Elias Petterson has just one point through six games and the defense is in absolute shambles would explain their 2-4 record.
22. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers seem to always have the same problems: depth, defense, and goaltending. Get Connor McDavid out of Edmonton.
21. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have some good scoring and their power play has been excellent, but Devan Dubnyk is woeful to watch.
20. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have improved dramatically in less than a year thanks to veterans like Bobby Ryan, who cannot be stopped.
19. New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are just 1-2, but their record isn’t indicative of their play, which has been competitive and really not all that bad.
18. New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils are off to a surprisingly hot start, but their most recent loss showed that their weaknesses (especially special teams) will end up being costly.
17. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh’s lack of depth and terrible defense and goaltending, especially, could end up costing them a playoff spot in an incredibly tough division.
16. St. Louis Blues
The Blues will probably be okay in the long run, but (surprise, surprise) Jordan Binnington is preventing the team from going on a tear.
15. Boston Bruins
Who would’ve thought? The fact that it took four games for the Bruins to get their first even-strength goal of the season is concerning. David Pastrnak’s absence is glaring.
14. Washington Capitals
The Capitals got off to a good start but are now on a two-game losing streak and have found themselves in COVID-19 trouble. The next week or so won’t be easy for Washington.
13. Florida Panthers
The Panthers are undefeated, but both wins have come against the miserable Blackhawks. So I guess this means they technically haven’t played at all.
12. New York Islanders
The New York Islanders aren’t scoring as much as the other top teams (then again, do they ever?), but they aren’t really conceding, either. This doesn’t include the five-goal shutout they suffered at the hands of their rival Rangers, of course.
11. Nashville Predators
They’re coming off a loss, but the Predators have looked pretty good to start the season. It looks like everyone is contributing offensively, which is always a good thing.
10. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes have five players on the COVID-19 list and we don’t know when they’ll play next, but they looked dominant from top to bottom to start their season.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been fun to watch, but their most recent loss and zero goal differential prevent them from landing in a higher spot on the list.
8. Colorado Avalanche
Nathan MacKinnon is elite and the team does look good, but their two losses could’ve been avoided.
7. Calgary Flames
The Flames have been quite the surprise. The power play is working, almost everyone is scoring, and Jacob Markstrom seems to have solved their long-standing goaltending problems.
6. Winnipeg Jets
What the Jets have done might not be sustainable but they’re 3-1 and are on a two-game winning streak. The fact that they’re doing this without Patrick Laine makes it even more impressive. Oh, and Connor Hellebuyck is still elite.
5. Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov is a star in the making and Cam Talbot has been getting the job done in net. The Wild are buzzing.
4. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have conceded more goals than we’re used to seeing, but their scoring is still elite and they almost always find ways to get points.
3. Montreal Canadiens
This is probably the biggest shock of the list. The Canadiens can’t lose in regulation and can’t stop scoring. Offseason moves have paid off and Nick Suzuki appears to be a star in the making. The future’s bright in Montreal.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
The reigning Stanley Cup champions haven’t missed a beat. They haven’t had the hardest schedule by any means, but what they’ve done so far certainly is sustainable for such a high-caliber team.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas is 4-0 with a goal difference of nine in spite of an ineffective power play to start the season. Wow!