Courtesy Twitter: @BlueJacketsNHL

Week one of an exciting NHL season is in the books.

Leen Amin

In the first week of the 2021-22 NHL season, teams welcomed fans back to arenas, Canada hosted American teams for the first time since before the pandemic, and the Seattle Kraken made their debut.

Some of the best teams in the NHL just a few months ago are off to a rocky start and teams that struggled to win now have some fight in them.

Here are our power rankings after the first week the 2021-22 season.

32. New York Islanders

If someone had told Islanders fans a few months ago when their team was in the Eastern Conference Final that they would open the season 0-2 while conceding 11 goals over that span, would they believe it?

The Islanders colossally underestimated Nick Leddy’s importance to the team. A 38-year-old Andy Greene, a 44-year-old Zdeno Chára, and an unproven Noah Dobson just aren’t going to cut it.

31. Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens are really missing Carey Price and their injuries are hurting them, big time.

30. Winnipeg Jets

A rocky start for a team that should be much better. A flat-out bad penalty kill and an uncharacteristically poor Connor Hellebuyck have the team in a bad place.

29. Nashville Predators

The Predators, who have had trouble scoring lately, are actually doing pretty ok offensively. This time, they’re surprisingly inadequate in their own zone.

28. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes are winless and have scored just three goals in two games, but goaltender Karel Vajmelka looked strong in his NHL debut.

27. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks had quite the offseason, but that isn’t translating well, so far. The defense is in shambles and leaving Marc-André Fleury out to dry. How hot is Jeremy Colliton’s seat, exactly?

26. Calgary Flames

The Flames’ one game of the season, a loss in the Battle of Alberta, was highlighted by Rasmus Andersson headbutting Edmonton’s Kailer Yamamoto and then getting fined.

25. Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers had a disastrous second period in their season-opener and Carter Hart exhibited similar struggles to last season, but he settled in and the Flyers were at least able to take the game to overtime. S

peaking of struggles carrying over, the Flyers had trouble staying out of the penalty box, which ultimately killed them in their first game.

24. Dallas Stars

The Stars were perfect on the penalty kill until their game against the Ottawa Senators, which didn’t go great.

Injuries have already begun to pile up and the organization is in the news because of rumors surrounding a potentially huge extension for defenseman John Klingberg.

23. New York Rangers

The Rangers have just one win, but their play has clearly improved under Gerard Gallant. Igor Shesterkin has bailed out a so far underwhelming defense and is looking like a Vezina candidate.

Unfortunately, the young Kaapo Kakko has been placed on IR. Do the Rangers have enough RW depth to manage without him?

22. Vancouver Canucks

A better roster should net better results. We’re only three games in, but at least this start to the season looks like it’s going better than last.

21. Seattle Kraken

The new kids on the block have probably been better than most expected.

The third period has been an issue for them in each game they’ve played- the defense, especially, sits back on leads, something that almost never works out. But the team plays very competitive hockey and every game is a close one.

20. Detroit Red Wings

What a start to the season for a Red Wings team that was pretty terrible not too long ago. Dylan Larkin was hit with a questionable suspension and is now injured, but there isn’t much to complain about regarding this much-improved team.

19. Washington Capitals

The Capitals have looked pretty good, but how far will relying on Vítek Vaněček and Alex Ovechkin get them?

18. Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights are suffering from some serious injury issues to key guys like Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and Alex Tuch. Not good.

17. Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche will establish themselves as one of, if not the, best teams on the planet sooner rather than later. They’re scoring, as expected, but the defense could be playing better.

Their start to the season has been highlighted by the absence of superstar Nathan MacKinnon and suspension of captain Gabriel Landeskog.

16. Los Angeles Kings

How well is Anže Kopitar aging? The Kings captain has a whopping seven points in just two games.

15. Anaheim Ducks

John Gibson suffered an injury, but looked great in Anaheim’s season-opener. Mason McTavish, who just scored his first NHL goal, is here to play.

14. San Jose Sharks

It’s been just one game for the Sharks, but after a slow start: the power play looked good, goalie Adin Hill settled in, and the rookies really showed out.

13. St. Louis Blues

It’s also been just one game for the Blues, but it’s good to see that they were scoring and playing great defense against a dangerous Avalanche team.

12. New Jersey Devils

What a season-opener it was for the Devils. Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored in his debut, rookie Dawson Mercer notched a point in his NHL debut, oh, and Jack Hughes is that guy.

11. Boston Bruins

A nice win to kick off the Bruins’ season was overshadowed by a big eight-year deal for superstar defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

 

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10. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are getting it done without their superstars and Mike Sullivan just became the winningest coach in team history.

9. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are a respectable 2-1, but their star forward Nikita Kucherov left their game against the Capitals with a not-so-pretty injury.

8. Ottawa Senators

Another surprise. The Senators are not only racking up wins against good teams, they’re doing it without their best player, Brady Tkachuk. Chris Tierney has stepped up and deserves a good deal of credit.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews will be very happy to join a 2-1 on Monday in his season debut against the Rangers.

6. Buffalo Sabres

Yes, you’re reading this correctly. We don’t know how long this will last, but the Sabres have absolutely been one of the best teams in the league to kick things off.

They left all their Jack Eichel drama in the offseason and, as they say, are showing up as an annoying and difficult team to play against. Their penalty kill seems to have transformed and Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson are on fire.

5. Minnesota Wild

They have the depth and they have the fight. The Wild have the passion and character as well as the necessary players to never be counted out of any game. Expect another strong season from them.

4. Edmonton Oilers

Two words, as usual: Connor McDavid.

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Frederik Andersen has been great in net and Nino Niederreiter is absolutely buzzing. Maybe Carolina’s offseason wasn’t terrible, after all.

2. Florida Panthers

Five goals in each of their first two games coupled with good goaltending should be quite the recipe for success for this great Panthers team.

1. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets ended the season as the worst team in hockey, but open the 2021-22 season as the best.

They look good everywhere. They’re actually scoring and have been spectacular in their own zone. A game-winning goal for Patrick Laine was celebrated nicely by the fans, too.

For Matiss.