NHL Power Rankings: Predators settling in at the top

Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo! Sports are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.

31. Detroit Red Wings (Last week: 30)

Okay look I apparently have to say this again: You’re not allowed to be mad at me about any of this. That’s because, as I’ve already said, for the first four weeks of the season, teams are sorted 31-1 by win percentage. First tiebreaker is win total. Second tiebreaker is goal difference. Third tiebreaker is shot difference. I have not needed a fourth tiebreaker yet, but if I do I’ll figure it out.

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Anyway yeah these guys are really terrible. Like you almost can’t believe a team could have given up 35 goals in eight games but here we are.

You get the feeling things won’t be improving any time soon, either.

30. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 28)

One thing that probably will change is this team won’t keep scoring 1.4 goals a night. They have 10 goals on 254 shots. Generally speaking, teams don’t shoot under 4 percent for a whole year. Just my opinion.

29. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 21)

See yesterday’s 31 Takes for more information on why this team stinks but one thing I should mention here also is that their depth is absolute garbage. Among the worst in the league.

28. New York Rangers (LW: 29)

27. Florida Panthers (LW: 31)

They’re getting back on the right path, but an OT loss to Detroit is “end your season 76 games early”-level bad.

26. St. Louis Blues (LW: 25)

25. Dallas Stars (LW: 6)

This just goes to show how volatile things are at the beginning of the year. Sixth last week, 25th now.

It will shock you to learn that the answer for this club is probably right in the middle of where they’ve been the last two weeks. This is a pretty middle-of-the-road club that started out 3-1 and is now 3-4, having scored just two goals in their last three games. I guess that’ll happen to anyone but with a group this talented (if not particularly deep) it shouldn’t.

24. New York Islanders (LW: 19)

23. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 27)

Hey folks, these guys are up to two goals Connor McDavid hasn’t been directly involved with. Things are looking up!

22. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 24)

Imagine you’re a team that scores 3.6 goals a night but you’re only .500 because you’re giving up even more than that? And they haven’t even considered calling up Carter Hart, huh? Alright. Okay.

No problem if you’re the GM, anyway, because you can fire the coach and you’re a Flyers legend that would have to run Gritty through with a broadsword at center ice before anyone in the local media even mildly criticized you. “Mistakes were made, sure, but what could Gritty have done differently in that situation?”

21. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 26)

Normally I would be saying “Told ya so” about these guys but them being .500 after outshooting their opponents by 73(!) in eight games is not that kind of territory. They’re a very good team now, solidly, and doing this without arguably their best defenseman.

I figure they’ll get this turned around sooner than later, but for now I’m being really nice about their record. Just the kind of guy I am.

20. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 16)

19. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 7)

Weird to say that a Carolina team that has a positive goal difference and has points from five of eight games isn’t getting the bounces but they’re not getting the bounces. You have to accept at some point that this is just a team that doesn’t have goaltending (unless Scott Darling figures it out).

What’s amazing, then, is they might be able to shoot their way out of it for now; they have 183 shots on goal in their last….. FOUR games? And they’re 1-3 somehow? Good lord, if they can find someone to go even league average they might never lose again.

18. San Jose Sharks (LW: 23)

The Sharks, meanwhile, only have 162 shots in their last four games and they went 2-1-1. So, weird sport I guess.

17. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 17)

Saw a lot of flak last week over Sergei Bobrovsky getting left in to give up eight to an ascendant Tampa team and obviously he’s off to a poor start. But honestly, it’s not like Joonas Korpisalo is some kind of potential savior, and sometimes that’s one of those Send A Message moves from a coach like John Tortorella.

Plus, hey, if you leave him in for all eight instead of just giving him the hook after five or six, that might improve your negotiating position for a new deal provided it didn’t piss him off (which it might have and probably should have).

I dunno, I can’t get a read on these guys. Not to Dustin-Brown this but: Seth Jones only just got off the IR and he’s, y’know, really good. If they can tighten stuff up with a high-end defender back in the lineup, you can see this team taking off. They’re a game above .500. It could be a lot worse.

16. Washington Capitals (LW: 18)

15. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 8)

14. Chicago (LW: 5)

I have a Chicago take coming later this week I think but with Crawford back and looking great (albeit in two appearances) it really underscores how much luck — not just PDO but guys getting concussed and all that too — impacts even a seemingly elite team’s fortunes. Even if they draft well, almost every team in the league is one star player brain injury away from going right into the toilet.

13. Minnesota Wild (LW: 22)

12. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 14)

I know we’re supposed to act like it’s good when bad teams are unexpectedly good but it would seriously be a disaster if these guys didn’t have a top-five pick in this year’s draft. Especially with this management and ownership group.

11. Boston Bruins (LW: 3)

10. Calgary Flames (LW: 13)

Gotta say, I was skeptical but the Flames look pretty good so far. Of course, for them to continue this nice-ish run (5-3 to start the year) we’re assuming Mike Smith doesn’t melt down around Game 45 like he does every year and a Bill Peters system can keep on the straight and narrow when it comes to scoring chances.

I wouldn’t take either bet too enthusiastically.

9. Ottawa Senators (LW: 20)

The good news for the Sens is that, unlike the Canucks, I guess it doesn’t matter to them where they finish in the standings this year. And as long as they can keep shooting 14.4 percent, I think they can keep this up.

8. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 12)

The Pens are supposed to be not that good, right? That’s the way they look and the reputation they’ve cultivated in this early season, but they’re 3-1-2 and like a few teams above, I have a feeling they’ll right the ship sooner than later.

Important to bank the points when you’re not playing well, then.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 2)

6. New Jersey Devils (LW: 1)

5. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 15)

Same thing I said about Pittsburgh goes for the Jets. They’re not playing that well, but they keep winning and that’s fine if you expect them to be good, which in Winnipeg’s case, we all do.

4. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 11)

Now the Habs are such an interesting case. They’re plus-38 in shots and plus-4 in goals, and both those numbers are in line with each other in terms of what you’d expect.

Every underlying is real solid, too, except high-danger chances, but even their xGF% is pushing up to 54 percent. Their PDO is high but that’s due to goaltending, and they have a good goalie, so that might be sustainable too.

It’s one of those things where you don’t want to draw too many conclusions from seven games (they’re 4-1-2, which isn’t sustainable even if they stay good process-wise) and you don’t want to subvert expectations too much because everyone thought they’d be garbage this year, but I’m just saying you might want to start writing Claude Julien’s name at the top of your Jack Adams ballot to get out in front of it.

3. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 9)

Oh, maybe this’ll be the year Nathan MacKinnon gets the MVP he shoulda won last season.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 10)

1. Nashville Predators (LW: 4)

Tampa and Nashville running 1-2 in the league for most of the rest of the year sounds just about right to me.

The Predators are flying right now, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll slow down. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
The Predators are flying right now, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll slow down. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)

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